Give Me Your Hand is a taut and thrilling story about a pair of scientists who share a childhood secret. Kit Owens and Diane Fleming were high school best friends gunning for the Severin scholarship for girls who aspired to scientific careers. Then one day, Diane shares a terrible secret that completely changes the way Kit feels about her, and that haunts Kit long after they’ve graduated.
Fast forward ten years, and both women are in the running for prestigious research positions with Dr. Severin herself. Dr. Severin and her team are studying a condition called PMDD, which is basically PMS that’s so bad, it can cause psychological damage. Diane’s secret has never fully left Kit, and when a night of drinking makes Kit reveal more than she meant to, the race for the research spots becomes even more complicated.
I loved so much about this novel. I love the complicated friendship between Kit and Diane, and how genuine admiration and respect for each other is intermingled with a touch of jealousy and a LOT of fear. I love that the book is about women scientists, and that Dr. Severin is this mentor figure whom both Kit and Diane aspire to become. The scene where she took them both to lunch and spoke a bit about the challenges of being a woman in STEM was super compelling and inspirational, and I almost wished Kit and Diane didn’t have that secret between them, so they could just bask in this moment and kick some scientific ass together.
Diane’s secret was unexpected for me. I had an inkling of what it was fairly early on (Abbott gives us a not-so-subtle clue at an English class discussion of a Shakespeare play), but the cold-bloodedness of the truth was a surprise, as was Diane’s response to the incident years later. I love that Abbott took a risk with Diane, making her capable of such an unsympathetic action, but also portraying how deeply she felt about it and how much she wished she could find a scientific reason for what she did and more importantly, for who she is.
The present-day twists and turns are fast paced and tightly plotted, and I love how everything eventually comes together to the novel’s emotional core. Give Me Your Hand is a compelling story. I love the science angle and the women in STEM angle, and I especially love how complex and flawed Abbott’s women characters are.
Thank you to