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Book Shortage

Chronicling my 2015 reads on this swanky new website.

SPOILER ALERT!

The One & Only

The One & Only: A Novel - Emily Giffin

"My life was a regular cakewalk, and although I had doubts lately about the direction it was going in, I didn't understand why so many people seemed to have the philosophy that easy was inversely proportionate to worthwhile."

 

This post is my unedited opinion, not a review and may contain spoilers.

 

I didn't realise that Something Borrowed was written by the same author who wrote this. If I knew I would never have given it a chance, because the movie version was AWFUL. Though I can't decide whether that's because I condemn the characters' actions against my own moral judgement or because it is truly a bad film.

 

It seems that Emily Giffin enjoys writing about love at the expense of everything. The kind of love that destroys friendships, tears families apart and ruins everyone's lives for the sake of the two selfish people at the centre of it.

 

The One and Only was similar in that it also contained characters with ambiguous morals and no regard for the loved ones whose lives they would destroy. In many ways, I found this story to be more disturbing than Something Borrowed, because of the nature of the couples' relationship before it became romantic.

 

I identified with Shea's character at the start, despite her not being that interesting. Her main source of enthusiasm is Texas football which somehow garners the interest of handsome quarterback Ryan, whom she begins a relationship with. The only love scenes in the book are with Ryan, which seems to imply that Shea and Coach's love for each other transcended the physical chemistry she had with Ryan. But I can't imagine why anyone would support Shea and the Coach ending up together. How could it possibly be okay to date a) your best friend's father and b) so soon after his wife passed away? There's "forbidden love" and then there's "don't even go there" and this story is inching on the latter. Their relationship started with the father-daughter dynamic, thus romantic feelings shared by both parties is troubling, (it also doesn't help that Shea had a tumultuous relationship with her own father).

 

Just no.

 

As a credit to the author, the writing is very engaging. Despite the fact that it was littered with American football references, I was glued to the story and I felt the character build up and subsequent tension was stronger than many other novels in this genre. The only real fault of the book in my opinion (besides the ghastly characters) is that there were storylines that didn't go anywhere (the NCAA and Shea losing her job for example), I didn't understand how they fit into the story.

 

I also found it quite sly that Lucy started off as a likeable character, but further into the book she was portrayed as a tad neurotic, (how dare she be mad that her best friend and father are in love!) I'd say most women would have behaved exactly like Lucy did if they were in her situation.

 

While I never wanted to throw it against the wall, it wasn't the most memorable book for me. I read it after The Silent Wife and I wasn't able to form a strong enough opinion on that book to write a post about it.