Review of You Only Get So Much by Dan Kolbet

After a tragic, life-changing event shatters Billy Redmond’s idyllic life forever, he becomes You Only Get So Much by Dan Kolbeta reclusive loner. He chooses to live alone in the Montana Mountains and remain estranged from his family for the next twelve years. He thinks it’s better and safer for everyone that way. When he returns to Spokane for his brother’s funeral, he’s determined to stay just one day. He has no idea his life will be turned upside down once again.

“You Only Get So Much” is a heartfelt story of a man who punishes himself for far too long because of a one-time indiscretion. Eventually he learns he’s been duped several times over, by more than one person. It’s a story that makes us pause and wonder how well we really know the people we are closest to – and how well we really know ourselves.

There’s a lot going on in this book. The story branches out in several directions, using several characters. Yet, the author takes great care to intricately and memorably develop each character so readers can easily connect and sympathize with them. I found Billy’s character to be likable, sensitive and caring. Billy’s moody, broody teenage niece, Kendall, was spot on. His critical, judgmental mother was believable. Billy’s romance with his old flame, Michelle, was wonderfully charming. The author’s clever sense of humor added some comic relief to the drama.

I thought the book would have flowed a bit better if it had been written exclusively in past tense, instead of reverting to present tense at various points. But I didn’t think this took anything away from the story.

This is the second book I’ve read by Dan Kolbet, having previously read and loved “Don’t Wait For Me”. The two books are distinctly different, but equally wonderful. I would recommend reading “You Only Get So Much” if you’re looking for contemporary fiction with an emphasis on family life and romance.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton