August 15, 2014

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

But I have learned that you make your own happiness, that part of going for what you want means losing something else. And when the stakes are high, the losses can be that much greater.
-from Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

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In Emily Giffin's popular chick lit novel, Something Borrowed, we follow protagonist Rachel's plight to be the woman she always envisioned herself to be: a lawyer in New York City, married with children; the only thing she missing is the marriage and children. Rachel's 30th birthday only magnifies her unhappiness, especially because she's the maid-of-honor in her best friend Darcy's wedding; a wedding to Dex, one of Rachel's closest friends from law school. After her birthday party, Rachel and Dex end up sleeping together which kick starts an affair that Rachel never expected. What she and Dex have seems so real that Rachel can't help but want him to call off the wedding. She knows she will lose either Dex or Darcy because of her clandestine relationship, but she has to work out which will be the greater loss.

In so many ways I can relate to this book because, like Rachel, when I was in elementary school turning 30 meant I'd be married with 2.5 kids and own a house with a white picket fence in the suburbs. Even though I'm engaged, I can still very closely relate to Rachel's feelings of inadequacy as her life is not as on point as she had envisioned, especially with everyone around her progressing with marriages and babies. But what I could not get past is the glorification of having an affair and how this book tries to make it sound like it's okay because everyone is doing it. Maybe I'm too sheltered or prudish to appreciate the drama of this book, but I would rather maintain the value of an exclusive relationship than buy into the horrible morals and ethics this book parades around as the status quo.

When I began this book and saw the direction it was heading I strongly felt that it had to turn the train around, that there was going to be some redeeming quality which was the marker for its commercial success. Afterall, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson found it to be a good enough story for their 2011 movie. But instead this book tried to justify Rachel and Dex's affair by villainizing Darcy and trying to make Rachel into this stronger person. Don't get me wrong because Darcy is clearly a painfully selfish person that you couldn't pay me to be friends with; but no matter how long they have been friends, by age 30 Rachel should have separated herself from that type of person and become responsible for her own actions. Instead she scapegoats Darcy for sabotaging every major part of her life and has become one of the most embarrassing excuses for a woman in a novel I've seen in a long time.

I was so irritated by how Rachel suddenly throughout this affair decides that she needs to stop putting her friends' needs above her own. Oh yeah, real convenient when you're having a sexual relationship with your best friend's fiance!! Rachel and Darcy are both separately what is wrong with women in society today and why so many women tear each other apart rather than build each other up. Despite always being there for Darcy, Rachel has never helped her but only perpetuated Darcy's bad actions by passivity. Honestly, I don't know how I finished the book, and if I hadn't listened on audio book there's no way I would have finished.

There was one point toward the end where I thought the book was going to redeem itself and I was so excited. But nope. I really can't understand how this book is so successful. Ordinarily when I write a negative review I'm happy for others who can enjoy it, but this one I just can't wrap my head around. If you enjoyed this book, let me know how you were able to get around the whole cheating aspect. I just feel like if Dex had any class he would have broken it off with Darcy and if Rachel had any class she would have waited for that to happen after their first drunken sexcapade before continuing to be just as selfish as the best friend she villainizes out of convenience. UGHH.

Bottom Line: Sorry for all the ranting, but I really just cannot recommend this book. Watch the movie instead if you really need to. 2/5 hearts because the writing is fine but the story is atrocious. Even if you don't mind the cheating, try to get over Rachel's whining and never-ending analysis of how lame she knows she is.

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