Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Report: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Well, I've owed you this book report for a while now, and I've had a hard time figuring out where to start in my review. Let me just get this out there from the beginning: I didn't finish the book. I have good reason, which is what I'm going to share with you today, but if you're looking for a tried and true review from someone who actually read Giffin's book cover to cover, look elsewhere!

I'll say that I was really drawn to Something Borrowed because of its publicity, the recent movie based on the book, and the fact that everyone I know who had read it in its entirity insisted it was a must read. They all said I'd want to read that, then Something Blue and all the other books to follow. So, I borrowed from an eager friend anxious for me to finish so we could chat about it and dug in.

Immediately I felt wary of reading after noting a quote on the front of the book from the auther of The Devil Wears Prada, "You don't have to lust after your best friend's boyfriend to worship this book (trust me on this)...Here's a heroine you'll root for and a book you won't want to put down. I loved it." The back cover of the book explains the premise of the book: good girl gets drunk and sleeps with best friend's fiance, only to discover she has true feelings for him and can't "put the past behind her." Put the past behind her? How about own up to her poor judgement, confess to best friend and make things right?

Now I have no problem reading about people making mistakes, or struggling with their own bad habits and consequences of poor decisions. Give me a book with love triangles and drug abuse any day, but what tipped me off that this book wasn't one I'd like to embrace was what happens immediately after the heroine, Rachel commits her act of betrayal. She and said fiance make a pact to brush it all under the rug and go on with life as if nothing happened. She didn't seem to feel badly enough about the decision to make right on it. Besides that, the whole draw to entice readers to dig in is the lusty gossip of transgression. I'm sorry, betrayal and adultery just isn't exciting to me.

I know too many people (even knowing one is enough isn't it?) whose lives have been ransacked by divorce, adultery and other forms of infidelity to see any entertainment factor in it. The preview on the back cover of the book states, "...she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren't always neat, and sometimes you have to risk all to win true happiness." In this case, I believe we are the ones who blur the lines between right and wrong rather than the lines themself being unclear. There are some things in life you just don't do and when you do, you own up to your mistake immediately and do what you can to preserve relationships.

The friend who loaned me the book assured me they "even the score" later in the book after I confessed to her I was having a hard time swallowing the first few chapters, but how can you really even the score? Does said best friend sleep with heroine's love interest? Which is, oh right, her own fiance...still doesn't hold much of a draw for me.

Again, the book promises to have you "laughing, crying, and calling your best friend" by the end of it. Honestly, this really isn't a tale of true friendship at all. Darcy, the engaged betrayee, is a terrible friend. She's completely self absorbed, obsessed with her own looks and happieness, and bends everyone's desires around her to match her own. She's the popular Pied Piper of their social scene. As we learn more about the two women and their history going back to jr. high school, we learn that Darcy has exhibited this selfish and bullying behavior since the day she and Rachel met. I'm not sure if this is supposed to help the reader to justify Rachel's act of betrayal or not; either way that's not a "best friendship" I really want to read about.

As I get older (I know 30 isn't THAT old) I learn more and more about what true friendship means and things that are and aren't worth risking in relationships. Marriage is sacred. Family is sacred. And true friends are those that would lay down their own lives to save yours. There's nothing funny or exciting about hurting another person physically or emotionally, and any book that exalts those ugly things just isn't one I'm proud to have on my shelf.

There's my two cents, kids. I'd love to hear yours!

Love and Honey,


Charissa Fry said...

100% agree. Well said.

Sunshine said...

This book is definitely not going to be a glimpse into morality by any means.

This paragraph is a Complete Spoiler Alert, if you intend to finish the book: The intended heroine falls for her best friend's fiance and they create what is to be considered a true lasting love. While the best friend who is engaged cheats on her fiance with his best friend; ends up pregnant and in love with him.

I can see where you would have a hard time getting past the first few chapters but it is incredibly well written and by far one of my favorite books. I have read every book by Emily Giffin. You have to take it for what it is, a story. I don't think loving this book implies you would ever sleep with your best friends fiance or anything. It's just an easy read with a captivating dramatic story line.

Personally, I couldn't put it down. :)

Missy Rose said...

Thank you for your comment and sharing your perspective, Sunshine. You certainly have a point and I don't mean to imply that reading this book would be cause to sleep your best friend's fiance, per se. My thoughts are simply that the story line is an example of lifestyles filled with choices that only cause pain, which is saddening to me rather than entertaining or captivating. And this particular story line hit very close to home to me on several levels, even if it is just a story. I do agree with you that Giffin is an exceptional writer, and the book is an easy read with a dramatic story line! Thank you for sharing in the discussion and visiting my blog!


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