Each Thanksgiving the Dickinson siblings gather together for a traditional meal and watching of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles on VHS. Little do they know that their gathering in the fall of 2016 will see their yearly gathering begin to profoundly change. Whether it’s the oldest brother Pete and his wife expecting their first child soon or middle brother Charlie’s wife’s latest diagnosis (it’s not good) or youngest sister Sophie and her tradition of naming the turkey after her disastrous previous Thanksgiving date from the year before, the next four years of the Dickinson’s lives are going to be a roller coaster ride.
You Can Thank Me Later is a bittersweet slice of the ups and downs a family faces over the course of four years. Checking in every two years at the Thanksgiving gathering, Kelly Harms weaves together a profoundly moving story that never fails to tug at the heart strings. There are moments of great hope, moments of great sadness, and lots of potential disasters for the three siblings. But all along the way, Harms never hits a wrong note nor does she allow her story to become too maudlin or melodramatic.
There were multiple points during the story that I found a bit of a lump in my throat, while at other I couldn’t help but grin with glee and hope.
Like a great Thanksgiving dinner, this one left me feeling completely sated but somehow wishing I had just a bit more room for just one more bite of everything. I wouldn’t be averse to Harms checking in with the Dickinson family again at some point in the future if only to see how certain developments in Sophie’s life pan out.