This week’s installment of Favorite Titles Friday explore the novels of Emily Giffin. I found her books one day when I was perusing the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble and came across Something Borrowed, which I knew was about to be released as a film, so I decided to buy it. I also picked up the other titles in the bargain bin by her, Baby Proof, and Something Blue. They were only $3.99, which made the purchases a no-brainer, in my mind I was practically making money by buying them. I read all three in a matter of days, and then returned to B&N where I purchased the rest of her books and plowed through them as well.
This edition of FTF will also contain my review of her newest book, First Comes Love.
(WARNING: Some Spoilers)
I have previously reviewed Something Blue, but I’ll give you a quick synopsis of Something Borrowed and Something Blue since they are about the same characters, and can give you an idea of the types of stories Emily Giffin is so great at telling. Something Borrowed is about Rachel, the smart, dependable, loyal and always good friend willing to go the extra mile. She is a people pleaser, and known for being her best friend Darcy’s sidekick. The good girl to Darcy’s wild child. They have spent the majority of their lives side by side, accompanied by Rachel’s other best friend Ethan who isn’t exactly Darcy’s biggest fan due to the way she walks all over Rachel. The real trouble begins when Rachel meets Dex on her first day of law school. He’s handsome, charming, and comes from a very wealthy family. She and Dex grow close over the next three years of school, joining each other for late night cram sessions, quizzing one another, and always having a good time together. Although Rachel has feelings beyond friendship for Dex, she never tells him because she doesn’t believe he’d ever go for a girl like her. As the two get together one night to celebrate graduation, it seems as though Dex also shares feelings for Rachel until Darcy shows up and begins to flirt heavily with him. When the idea of Rachel and Dex dating comes up, Rachel quickly dismisses it citing that they’re only friends, which leads Darcy to ask Dex out. Flash forward a few years and Rachel is still single, turning 30, still best friends with Ethan, as well as Darcy even though that she and Dex are now engaged she tries her best to be happy for them. When a wild night out leads to Rachel blurting out to Dex that she had a huge crush on him in law school, it also leads Dex to ask her why she never told him because he felt the same. The two end up beginning an affair behind Darcy’s back, which leads Darcy finding out and vowing to never speak to them again but they are finally able to be together.
In Something Blue, Darcy is reeling from her broken engagement, despite the fact that she had also cheated on Dex and is now pregnant with Dex’s childhood best friend Marcus’s baby. With no one else to turn to when it becomes apparent that Marcus wants nothing to do with being a father, she flees to London where Ethan is now living and working as a writer. Despite them never getting along and Ethan always being the one to call Darcy out on her bad behavior, they find a balance and begin to enjoy living together and Darcy tries to prepare herself for her impending motherhood to twin boys. With Ethan by her side, Darcy begins to build a life for herself and puts her selfish and self serving ways behind her and she and Ethan begin their life together as a family.
There’s a fun thing that Emily does that I love that she’ll mention the name of a character in one of her other books and drop it in like a little easter egg. I’ve always thought it was neat that she did that. She really is such an amazing writer, and she continuously crafts novels that are impossible to put down, so real and human, with universal themes that make every reader feel like, “That could be me.” She is the type of writer that says things about love, marriage, and motherhood that we all feel but feel too ashamed to admit and her readers (including me!) adore her for it. All of her female characters tend to have some similar qualities that I imagine Emily herself possesses, that no matter how hard their story gets, they always find a way to get through it, no matter how badly facing the reality of it will hurt. The whole time you read her books, you really feel like you’re alongside her characters on their journey.
Giffin’s last book before First Comes Love, The One & Only admittedly made me feel uncomfortable at times because of the relationship between the main character, Shea, and Clive Carr aka Coach. Coach’s complicated relationship with his daughter Lucy, Shea’s best friend who has always been more like a sister, stems from the fact that she didn’t share his love for football the way Shea did and still does which causes friction between the two best friends. They all live in the college town of Walker, Texas where football is practically a religion and Coach Carr is king, but when his wife passes away, it causes Shea to reconsider all of her life choices and truly wonder why she made them. She quits her job at Walker and starts writing for the local newspaper, and even starts dating the fictional star of the Dallas Cowboys, but still harbors romantic feelings for Coach Carr, which eventually cause her to end the relationship. Her feelings for Coach Carr start to become mutual, complicating Shea’s life even more as they hide their budding relationship from everyone around them for fear of judgement from their community and most of all, her best friend/his daughter Lucy, who is still dealing with the loss of her mother and finding out that her best friend is dating her father would definitely add to the complicated emotions she is already experiencing. The book explores the dynamic between Shea and Coach Carr and how it changes from hero worship as a kid, to a father-daughter like bond, to a co-working relationship, then finally a romantic connection. I really enjoyed the football aspect of the book since I am an avid LSU fan, and the fact that a woman involved in a football organization actually knows the game instead of just pretending to know to woo a guy. However, I can’t say it was one of my favorite books of hers, but it was still expertly told and well written and an overall interesting story. The story was fun to follow along with and really keeps you interested throughout.
Review: First Comes Love
First Comes Love, is about the aftermath of one family’s tragedy and how it has effected each of their lives. The Garland Family, the parents and their three children, Daniel, Meredith, and Josie live a happy life. All three children are heading down their own path and things seem to be moving toward happy lives. Then disaster strikes in the form of a car accident that takes the life of Daniel, who was the anchor that held their family together. After his death, each family member handles it differently, and the story picks up 15 years later. Despite the fact that the shock and initial all consuming grief has worn off, Daniel’s death still informs each of their lives. Their parents divorced after his death due to their father’s drinking, and the relationship between the two sisters Josie and Meredith is still just as contentious as it was when they were teenagers. Meredith is married to Nolan, who had been Daniel’s best friend and practically a part of the family but had never been anything to her but her brother’s friend until after Daniel’s death. They began to spend time together and developed a relationship much to the delight of her parents, which led to their marriage and the birth of their daughter, Harper. Meredith is a tightly wound lawyer, who loves her daughter but finds herself wondering if she made the right decision by marrying Nolan. Was she ever in love with him, or was it just the fact that they both shared a bond with Daniel and marrying him felt like the right thing to do?
Josie is a 1st grade teacher, and hasn’t been as lucky in the relationship department. Her best friend and roommate Gabe, who she has a straight and platonic relationship with, has been cause for many boyfriends to be jealous but it was always Gabe who was there for her, and their relationship was more important to her than the problems it caused in her romantic relationships. After having lost Will, the one person she ever truly loved, after a misunderstanding that caused him to dump her, she has practically given up on finding true love. Now, the reality of the life she could have had with Will stares her in the face every day as she teaches his daughter Evie in class, and is forced to interact with Will and his seemingly perfect wife. Josie is 37 and knows her biological clock is ticking, and her prospect of finding a man to share her life with are slim to none, so she decides to take on the role of a single mother and get artificially inseminated. Her family is surprised by her decision but is happy for her, but her sister Meredith thinks this is just another one of Josie’s schemes and finds it ridiculous that she would do such a thing.
Meredith’s marriage starts to experience trouble, and Josie begins the search for a sperm donor. As they both try to sort out their lives, they find out that their differences that have kept them from having the ideal sisterly relationship may be what finally mends their splintered bond. In an honest, real look at the lives of these women who still feel the tragedy of the death of their brother wrapped up in all the decisions they’ve made in their life, Emily Giffin explores how grief, guilt, love, tragedy and the bonds of family can effect a person in the way that only she can. I hate the term “Chick-Lit” which her work is often described as, but she’s one of the best damn writers of it there has ever been and she never shies away from complex stories of characters. I love her books and always look forward to reading them. I recommend her books to any fans of great fiction with strong female characters.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of Favorite Titles Friday and the review of First Comes Love.
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