Thursday, May 26, 2011

Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin Something Borrowed tells the story of Rachel, a young attorney living and working in Manhattan. Rachel has always been the consummate good girl---until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend, Darcy, throws her a party. That night, after too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy's fiancé.

Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for the one guy she should run from. As the September wedding date nears, Rachel knows she has to make a choice. In doing so, 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.

I had seen Something Borrowed and the associated Something Blue books by Giffin as they seem to be in every airport bookstore I've ever been in. I had contemplated buying them only I rarely buy books at the airport. I've usually packed far too many to read to begin with.

But the movie release pushed my hand and reminded me of the book--one I had mentally filed in my "to be read" list only to subsequently forget about. Now there was no forgetting. I marched to my local Borders and immediately picked up the book and as soon as I did, I couldn't put it down.

I'm amazed I hadn't read Giffin's work before. None of my friends had recommended her books to me, we never read one in my book club, and yet here was something fabulous. Clearly I'm not the only one to think so as Giffin is a New York Times bestselling author.

What I love about this book and Giffin's writing style was that I immediately felt the voice of the main character. Sometimes novels begin a little stale, you need to invest some time in getting to know their back story and only then does the voice really seem to feel authentic. Not so here, in Something Borrowed. We hear Rachel so vividly and Darcy too, that we know these girls. We know them in our life, maybe on some days we're bits and pieces of them too.

Giffin's also has an amazing cast of supporting characters including friends Ethan and Hillary whom I loved. Dex, as Rachel's love interest and Darcy's fiance, plays a central role in the story but for much of it I couldn't determine how I felt about him. There was always a part of me that was on edge as the wedding date approached and I feared how he might hurt our heroine.

In the end, however, it's really Darcy and Rachel who steal the show. And Giffin's never takes a short cut with their development. She creates characters we love and hate, we disagree with but sympathize with too, who are complicated and messy, who disagree and yet complement one another in a million little different ways--sometimes simply because they have shared history and other times because despite their differences Darcy and Rachel "get" one another. This, of course, is also why the stakes are so high, why as readers we're so torn who to cheer for or what to hope for for our characters. Do we want Rachel to really be with Dex? Is he really her soul mate or simply confused? Is he leading her on and will pick Darcy in the end? Does Darcy knowingly use Rachel? Why won't Rachel speak up and demand what she wants in love--and friendship?

I didn't know how I'd react to the affair that drives the storyline or whether Rachel's see-sawing about how she feels would get old quickly. As readers, however, Giffin's really allows us into Rachel's thoughts, her memories, creates so many layers to Rachel's friendship--and rivalry--with Darcy that somehow each internal dialogue, the churning turmoil that Rachel deals with feels real and not recycled in the least. To write characters who are all so clearly imperfect and who never quite fall into total villain or hero slots is difficult but makes the book seem all the more real.

In short, Giffin's writes a great chick lit book that takes no shortcuts in character development or storyline. Her characters are memorable and this book is too. Pick it up!

As for me, I'm off to see it at the movies. How can I not? Kate Hudson is the perfect Darcy and I just absolutely adore both Ginnifer Goodwin and John Krasinski. Here's a sneak peak at the trailer if you haven't already seen it:

If you've seen the film or read the book, what did you think?

1 comment:

  1. I surprisingly enjoyed the film. I LOVE chick flicks, but it's so hard to find a good one. There were lots and lots of things to point out that I adored. Ethan telling off Rachel = my fav. It's a scene that a ton of chick flicks lack: a friend bold enough to tell the heroine when she's being an idiot.