I don't usually read contemporary women's fiction or 'chick-lit', but this book was a loan from my daughter. We don't exchange books very often, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity when she recommended it. Thank you Big V!
Meet Rachel White, 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 fiance. 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 should run from. In her wildest dreams (or worst nightmare?) this is the last thing on earth Rachel could ever have imagined happening.
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.
Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin was her debut novel. She tackles some pretty controversial subjects in her first book: infidelity being the obvious one, but with that comes the question, what constitutes betrayal? Is there such a thing as justification for betrayal? Who exactly betrays whom in this novel? It turned out to be both interesting and fun to find out.
Written in first person through Rachel's point of view, Ms. Griffin weaves a complex story about relationships, a damaging, toxic friendship and its consequences. Consequences that affect not only the two people involved, in this case Rachel and Darcy who have been best friends since childhood, but all those caught in the middle.
Rachel's thirtieth birthday serves as the catalyst. Darcy throws Rachel a "surprise" birthday party where everyone drinks too much. At the end of the night, the last ones left at the bar are Rachel and Dexter. Dex is Darcy's fiancé and Rachel's old friend from law school. The two friends decide to go to another bar for more conversation and drinks. Before they know it, Rachel and Dex end up in each other's arms -- a mistake that interestingly enough neither seem to regret too deeply.
Rachel realizes her feelings for Dex are deeper than she first thought as she attempts to forget the "Incident." The fact that her feelings seem to be reciprocated by Dexter makes it tougher to move on. Slowly, but surely, the two embark on a sober affair that turns out to be both physical and of the heart. As a couple, you can feel their connection and chemistry, but their situation turns out to be both difficult and complex.
At this point Dex and Rachel are cheating, but the fact that Darcy is written as a manipulative, superficial, immature, and self-centered character makes it easier to actually root for them. It was an interesting dilemma. Darcy is an unsympathetic victim. Or, is she a victim? Rachel, on the other hand, is down to earth and a likable person -- it's easy to connect with her and to sympathize with her ongoing insecurities and conflicts.
There are no black and white answers here; instead you'll find plenty of gray areas. Through Rachel, Ms. Griffin explores some pretty uncomfortable questions about the limits of friendship and how far a person can or will go to maintain that friendship. The breaking point is what she highlights in this book. Her characters are flawed and none are innocent or spared.
Ms. Griffin does an excellent job of character development while telling the story from Rachel's perspective. Her characters' personalities come through crystal clear. Rachel, Dexter, Darcy, Marcus, Hillary and Ethan are a great cast of characters that kept my attention even while I either disliked them or disagreed with their decisions.
A combination Sex in the City / 'chick lit' book, Something Borrowed felt like a fast paced soap opera, with some great twists, wonderful characterization and dialogue and I couldn't stop reading until the end. I have the follow up book, Something Blue, Darcy's story, and will definitely read it.
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Series: Followed by "Something Blue"
Released: March 10, 2005Grade: Solid B
Visit Emily Griffin here.