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What Doesn't Kill You
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What Doesn't Kill You

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  500 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
"I really thought I had a handle on life -- then it broke off."

Opinionated, straight-talking, and witty, Tee is a fly forty-something. Divorced since her daughter, Amber, was young, Tee has been "handling her business," supporting herself after her would-be songwriter husband took off for L.A., and she's done all right. Organized, responsible, hardworking, and loyal, Tee w
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Touchstone (first published 2009)
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Reading Mom
Jan 29, 2009 Reading Mom rated it really liked it

What happens when an unforeseen tragedy occurs? Well, for Thomasina "Tee" Hodges, whose life always seemed so on track, life begins to unravel at the seams after her boss dies and she's out-placed. Bills, debt, collections, lies and chaos begin to leap out the closet that she so carefully tried to organize.

Forget the fact that Tee has splurged on a lavish wedding for her only daughter, Amber! What about the future and the bills that continue to arrive on her doorstep, with no money in
Jan 25, 2009 OOSA rated it it was amazing
Life Cycle

“What Doesn’t Kill You” is a superior read. Writing duo, Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, distribute a well-written novel with a smooth tempo. Fans will be spellbound by Tee, a stubborn person, whose life has hit a hard snag. While planning her daughter’s wedding, Tee learns that her services are no longer desired at Markson & Daughter, a company that she regarded as more than a place of work. Before the ink can dry on all of the checks she’s written, Tee’s outrage on being let go
Jan 15, 2009 Carleen rated it really liked it
Tee's story is one that far too many people will be able to relate to. Bad for the economy, but good for readers who check this one out. Tee loses almost everything and in the process gains what she didn't even know she was lacking. If you've lost your job or you're stuck in a bad job or a bad relationship or just anywhere you don't want to be, read What Doesn't Kill You. It'll lift you up, make you laugh, and show you what's possible (even in a bad economy). A very hopeful book that flies by an ...more
Nardsbaby Reader
Definitely Destiny

Fabulous forty-ish Tee is droll and straight like that and enjoys life. Right now she's throwing an elaborate wedding for only child, Amber, and baby son-in-law, JJ. While things on the home front appear picture-perfect, her career is a sore topic. After twenty-five years of dedication, hard work and commitment, she was dismissed. Instead of sobbing and sharing her bad news, Tee maintained her composure. A few drinks too many and a hangover isn't the only thing Tee woke up with
Linda Robinson
Apr 18, 2010 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing
Tee Hodges' year-long bout with reality on steroids is a super read. Anyone who has looked up at the sky, and shouted "Really?" when your last nerve has a boot stomped on it, can disappear into Tee's life and reemerge shaken, stirred and sassier. After a calamitous series of choices (some of which we have all made more than once), Tee, asleep at life's wheel, wakes up in a situational traffic jam of entirely human proportions. The first-person narrative is excellent and the characters so sculpte ...more
Nandi Crawford
Tee's story is something that is happening every day now. The right hand assistant of a business owner who suddenly dies, and when her daughter takes over, loses her job, is a story that is happening every day. While I am so glad that these two ladies are tackling this subject, I am truly surprised that no one else is at present. There are so many good things that can come out of this recession, but only if we put forth a great effort. Great book. I recommend it.
Feb 17, 2009 Angela rated it it was amazing
Absolutely Great!
Shelley Shockley
In their latest novel /What Doesn't Kill You Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant have offered a new style and new voice - first person.
This timely novel is told from the experience of the novel's main character Tee Hodges who has found that she must reinvent herself just as she reaches her prime.
As usual, one of the most enjoyable elements of DeBerry/Grant novels is that their characters are mature women, not retired grandmothers but women in their forties and early fifties - a segment often overlo
Feb 18, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
This was a really cute book and I really like the characters in it. It starts out with Tee being at her daughter's wedding. She has way too much champagne and finds herself the next morning in bed with the best man, the groom’s cousin. We learn that Tee was with a company and spent twenty years there and the founder of the company, Olivia dies. Soon thereafter, Olivia’s daughter takes over and Tee is without a job. Tee then has to file for unemployment. It seems that it is one thing after anothe ...more
Ebony EyeCU Evans
Jan 15, 2014 Ebony EyeCU Evans rated it really liked it
Appropriately Titled!

Although extremely wordy, I felt full on committed to the unraveling of Thomasina Hodges world and hanging on to the hopes of situations improving! The two authors did a great job painting a vivid portrayal of relatable characters, real life situations and unfortunate circumstances. Through Thomasina's journey of misfortune, mistakes, pride and self reflection...I found myself giving thanks for my blessings. By the end of the read, I was FULL ON CLAPPING AT THE GROWTH AND RE
Georgiann Hennelly
Apr 23, 2010 Georgiann Hennelly rated it really liked it
Tee is an opinionated , straight talking and witty women . She is a fly fourty something divorced since her daughter Amber was young. She has been supporting herself and done all right . But than everything changes , First she loses her longtime job and doesn,t tell anyone. Than she gives her daughter the wedding of her dreams and after over indulging in champagne wakes up in bed with the younger best man .For the first time in twenty five years Tee doesn,t know who she is or what she is going t ...more
Michele Minor
Apr 27, 2010 Michele Minor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
At the beginning of the book Tee wakes up in the bed of the best man, Ron of her daughter's wedding that she had spent a lot of money on and she had lost her long time job the week before through reorganization. Her spending habits catch up with her when the bill collectors call her at all hours of the day. She hides the truth about her financial situation from her family and friends since she feels that it is none of their business. During this time of trial and tribulation she finds out who he ...more
Feb 12, 2009 Brandi rated it liked it
I think Tee's story was very relevant especially with the times we are living in now; however I found myself annoyed with Tee for most of the book. I understand her situation was difficult to deal with but her total avoidance through most of the novel really irked me. At what point do we put pride aside and at least attempt to do something about the difficulties at hand??? I guess that is a reality for some people though the bottom has to fall out before they stand up and take notice.
Carolyn Alleyne
Feb 04, 2013 Carolyn Alleyne rated it it was amazing
Great book. These authors are excellent at showing characters at their worse but also giving them the ability to overcome. I identify with Tee always wanting the best and being the best, but not always realizing what you think is best really isn't. Also, as I look around at so many of us who have done what we're supposed to do then we wake up one morning and say, wait, hold up, what am I doing??? This isn't what I want to do with my life.
Jan 07, 2012 Malcaj rated it it was ok
It took me awhile to get into this book. It started off slow, picked up the pace in the middle but by the end I was just ready to get to the end and finish the book. I could relate to the main character's economic struggle but that that was all. I also didn't like how she handled the situation with G and that she didn't seem to care. There were some good parts and humor sprinkled in here and there but overall I really couldn't relate to any of the characters.
Aug 03, 2014 Shavonne rated it liked it
If you're unemployed and about to lose everything-home, car, credit and bill collectors are calling you nonstop-"What Doesn't Kill You" will take your mind off your troubles, atleast temporarily. Additionally and hopefully, you'll remember that who you are is not your home, or car or credit; and you can make it through that trial,if you hang in there. "What Doesn't Kill You" was an easy read; and there is that balance I enjoy when reading a book-narrative and dialogue.
Sep 19, 2011 Efundunke rated it it was amazing
Excellent! The only authors to date whose books I procrastinate to finish because it's so sad to part with the characters. I see a lot of Tee in me. Definitely glad she started working for herself and got paid back in full to pay Didier back, lol. A motivating story. So human. I love how there are no happily ever after DeBerry & Grant novels. Just real and true to form.
Feb 10, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it
Well, we all face adversity in life and Tee was no exception. What I always find interesting is how differently we deal with adversity. While there was nothing earth shattering about what Tee faced in her life, the manner in which she faced it was unique to Tee. These are the stories of our life and I always enjoy reading them.
Oct 22, 2012 Sharron rated it liked it

I read the book entirely, only because I have to finish what I start. I found the way the book was written difficult to understand in the beginning but I caught on somehow. Also it was kind of boring to me. With those things being said I actually got inspired by the end of the book so I'm happy that I kept reading to get the message that the authors intended.
Jul 25, 2011 Jessica rated it really liked it
One of the best first person novels, I've read in a long time. The main character was compelling, self-deprecating, and seriously funny. I laughed out loud in so many places. I like these authors, and have enjoyed other books of theirs in the past, but for some reason they are not on my auto-buy/borrow list. I'm going to have to see what else I've missed from them.
Good book! It took me a while to read it, as i kept putting it down and forgetting to go back to it, but once i took it back up i realized it was a pretty quick read after all. Once I got to the part with the cruise and where she got the first new job, I couldn't stop reading. I enjoyed it.
Pat Winick
Feb 21, 2015 Pat Winick rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the story. Not really a cautionary tale, but maybe a little. A story about how quickly things can fall apart, yet how self-awareness and the ability to make personal change can make all the difference.
Mar 11, 2009 Karli rated it did not like it
I got bored with this book. There was nothing about the plot that made me want to find out what happened next. I couldn't identify with any of the characters either.

Stopping is rare for me. I like to finish things. Maybe someday when I'm really bored and have nothing else I'll try for more...
Anita Dawson
Jul 09, 2013 Anita Dawson rated it it was amazing
The story line of this book touches so many lives in the work force today. What do you do when you lose your job after many years and are forced to reinvent yourself. Great story line, great journey and great perspective.
Dec 18, 2015 LJ rated it it was amazing
Loved this book! Hope they will reprise this character, I'd love to hear what happens next!!!
Jennifer Davis
Apr 09, 2013 Jennifer Davis rated it really liked it
Good read....not a real page-turner, but a good book. I really enjoy these authors.
Gail Franklin
Jun 13, 2009 Gail Franklin rated it really liked it
Good book I wanted to know more about her and Ron. But it was a feel good book
Oct 10, 2012 Ladonna rated it really liked it
This book is awesome. The most relatable and realistic portrayal of job loss that Ive ever read!
LaCharmine Jefferson
Loved it! It's a must read.
Linda Grayson
May 22, 2013 Linda Grayson rated it liked it
Started kind of slow but got better towards the end.
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We are best friends who’ve been co-writing women’s fiction for twenty of our twenty seven years of friendship. Uptown is our seventh novel. For more information about who we are, what we do and/or to read an excerpt of Uptown please visit We can also be found online at:,,
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“One of the great jokes of life is that by the time you're old enough to recognize how little you know, all you can do is mop up the aftermath, dump it in a giant personal hazmat container and move on.” 2 likes
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