Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin


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.
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!

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, 2005
Grade: Solid B

Visit Emily Griffin here.

14 comments:

  1. I think Emily Griffin is the author my brother's gf raves about. I like chick lits but have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy them. Now you have me wanting to read her too. Hils, will you stop adding books to my TBB/TBR pile?! Kidding, I love it! hehe.

    Sooooo...can you please tell me if Dex and Rachel get together?

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  2. I've seen this one around a lot. Or maybe it's that I'm always seeing it at Target? LOL.

    It sounds really good, and I KNOW I'd root for Rachel and Dex from the get go, but it will eat away at me because I truly detest the whole cheating thing, even if I can't stand the one(s) who's getting cheated on.

    Great review, though. :D

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  3. Tabitha, I can understand why your brothers gf likes Griffin. Hmm... well, if I tell you about Rachel & Dex then I'll give away the ending. Do you want to know that if you're reading the book? ;P

    Christine, the cheating issue is a tough one. I also tend to detest it in romance. In this case, I was actually wanted Rachel to do what was right for her -- not necessarily rooting for Dex & Rachel. Did I agree with her decisions, personally? No.

    Griffin certainly doesn't glamorize infidelity with this book. She's pretty blunt, and as I said above not one character is spared. In the end, even those who win, somehow lose. Tough subject matter, but well executed. :)

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  4. Well, it's good that the infidelity wasn't glamorized. That would REALLY get to me. It's much more realistic when no one is spared, as you said. I'm sure I would appreciate the writing and the story's execution. I imagine it must difficult to write such tough subject matter and pull it off in a happily ever after kind of story.

    I suppose I'm not dead set against reading it. I do read and love Megan Hart's work and she writes some morally controversial stuff. Well maybe not controversial... definitely thought provoking in that I really don't approve of or want the right thing OR the wrong thing. Does that make sense?

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  5. Yes! I would like to know please! Oh wait, if you tell me here it will spoil for others. I can check out the ending at the bookstore. Target always carry EG's books so it won't be hard to find out the ending, lol!

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  6. Christine, that definitely makes sense. It's how I felt while reading this book. BTW, the toxic friendship played a major part in my interest -- more than one tough subject in this story.

    This type of book is definitely NOT for everyone, & not one I would usually choose to read, I think that's why it surprised me.

    Tabz, I'm e-mailing you the answer to your question. No need to look it up at Target, lol!

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  7. Haha. Thank you! Off to read the goodies!

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  8. I've seen this and the other books in the series around and while curious, am still on the fence.

    This does sound like something I would like if in the right mood.

    Loved the review Hils!

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  9. I've seen this one around for a long time and almost picked it up when it just came out, but in the end, I decided not to... simply because it was chick-lit. I can enjoy it from time to time, the genre, but then, the storyline didn't appeal to me really. Like you say, infidelity is tricky to make it work.

    Are you planning to read the other books from this series?

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  10. Thanks Leslie. If or when you're in the mood for chick-lit, I can recommend the writer. This book I recommend also, as long as you don't mind the subject matter. :)

    Nath, what I said to Leslie, lol! Definitely enjoyed the writer's style. My daughter lent me 2 more books: Something Blue and Baby Proof. I'll definitely be reading them when the chick-lit mood strikes again. :)

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  11. Can you please email me with who dexter chooses? my email is demetramensah-bonsu@hotmail.com

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  12. Sure Ghanaian Beauty, I'll send you an email with the answer. :D

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  13. You know, I just read this one too!
    I didn't even really know much about it until I saw the trailer of the movie.

    Anyway, I agree with your review.
    I really liked Rachel - even if I did wish she was more assertive at times - and her relationship with both Darcy and Dex was so complex.

    anyway, did you read Something Blue?

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  14. Wasn't this a complex situation? I loved what Griffin did with it -- all the moral grey areas. And yes, Rachel had such a tough time being assertive, especially with Darcy. That toxic relationship I was talking about above... and those friendships that are not always healthy ones. Poor Rachel in more ways than one.

    I have Something Blue, but have not read it yet! Maybe I'll do so this year. :)

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