Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Review: The One & Only by Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin's long-awaited seventh novel is FINALLY here. The One & Only explores love in all its forms: loving the wrong person, loving the right person, loving your job, loving your family, loving your friends, and learning to love yourself.

Let me just preface this review by saying that I love Emily Giffin and I whole-heartedly agree with this review about Emily:

“A modern day Jane Austen.” — Cincinnati Enquirer.

I loved her books before she was popular and I frequently recommend them to my friends. Her books are charming, well-written, and easy to sink into. I'd even say that her books are cathartic! Better yet, she's truly talented; she doesn't need to write sex to sell books. She writes romance with substance, filled with relatable, memorable characters and masterfully writing the moments that make us ache, and smile, and laugh.

But sadly, The Only & Only did not stand up to her other books. Not even close. And it wasn't just that it's about a woman who falls in love with a man who is twenty years older... who is also her best friend's father... and a man who JUST lost his wife. It's because Shea is a painful protagonist to deal with. She's weak-willed, foolish, selfish, and a bad friend. She doesn't seem to know what she wants for herself in life, and she's never willing to think about the future in much detail. I found myself reading desperately through the book, hoping she wouldn't end up falling for her friend's father. But in the end, Lucy's deep, moral (and RATIONAL) beliefs actually meant nothing at all. Lucy very suddenly gives her friend her blessing, cuing the happily-ever-after for the reader. Ugh.

Emily's stories are so powerful BECAUSE of the realistic qualitiy to her books, specifically her characters. She is really good at writing about love, loss, and everything in between. But the relationship between Coach Carr and Shea doesn't feel real anymore than it feels right. A REAL happy ending (and a redeemable one at that) would have had Shea end up alone and starting fresh, dealing with her own personal issues and figure out how to love herself. THAT'S a happy ending!

I'm heartbroken to give such a low rating to one of my favourite authors. Emily Giffin is extraordinary and I'm looking forward to an eighth book from this talented author. But this story about a small-town girl with Daddy issues is something I'd like to forget.

2.5 Stars

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