May 13, 2011

Review: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Something Borrowed

Rachel White is the consummate good girl. A hard-working attorney at a large Manhattan law firm and a diligent maid of honor to her charmed best friend Darcy, Rachel has always played by all the rules. Since grade school, she has watched Darcy shine, quietly accepting the sidekick role in their lopsided friendship. But that suddenly changes the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel finally confesses her feelings to Darcy's fiance, and is both horrified and thrilled to discover that he feels the same way. As the wedding date draws near, events spiral out of control, and Rachel knows she must make a choice between her heart and conscience. In so doing, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren't always neat, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.

Just a FYI at the beginning. As this review was written by Sue it might contain spoilers ~ Tanja

You all know by now that a hobby of mine is reading books that have been or are about to be adapted into a movie.

When I was at the theater, all excited to see Water For Elephants, still on my NYC high from talking to a couple thousand people being able to see Rob in person for 4 seconds, getting to hug Sara Gruen(a HUGE highlight of my trip and she was worth standing 16 hours in the rain to meet),... Oh wait, that is all another post about my adventures.

ANYWAYS, I was sitting in the theater with my hubs when a movie trailer came on about the movie Something Borrowed based on the best selling book by Emily Giffin. I was all excited thinking "YAY! A book and the movie comes out soon" and I did not remember T ever talking about this book so maybe T has not read it.

SILLY SUE should have checked with her T before spending the $7 on Barnes and Noble!

Rachel, played by Ginnifer Goodwin
The story is about this woman Rachel. Rachel is one of those passive people that I tend to laugh at. She is turning 30. She works as a lawyer in Manhattan
She lives alone. She has the perfect friend that everyone secretly hates because Darcy is obnoxious loud and always gets what she wants
and Rachel is in love with her best friends fiance.

It is more complicated than that. Rachel and Darcy have been best friends since they were little girls and I have to agree with the character Ethan, their male friend from grade school, that Darcy has spent her life running roughshod over Rachel turning everything into a competition of "I can top you because I am great and you are plain boring Rachel and lets see how far I can push your buttons till you crack!"

Darcy has to always best Rachel she had been doing it since they were kids. 

Rachel had a crush on a boy 
BAM Darcy would have a crush on same boy and get him to date her

Rachel wanted to get into Notre Dame 
BAM Darcy said she did

Rachel wants to get the best score on the SAT 
BAM Darcy tops her by 5 points (which is impossible I guess because according to the book they score by 10. I have no idea I took the ACTs but that is besides the point)

Darcy, played by Kate Hudson
You see Rachel has had a crush on the fiance Dex since she went to law school with him (confused yet? I know I am!) SHE introduced him to her best friend BUT Rachel being the passive person did not think she was good enough to date Dex so she gets Dex and Darcy together! HOW this makes sense to Rachel I will NEVER understand but again I am not a passive person if I want something I get it perhaps THIS is my main problem with the book. I cannot understand the main characters motivations because it goes against EVERYTHING that makes sense in a strong independent woman.

WELL at her 30th surprise birthday party Rachel and Dex end up getting a bit drunk and sleep together. SO it is beginning of a summer romance where Dex the wimp, and Rachel the passive whiny people pleaser sneak around on Darcy the annoying.

I can honestly say that throughout the book I wanted to get these characters in a room and SLAP all of them.

I wanted to tell Dex to grow a set of balls, and shit or get off the pot. I wanted to tell Rachel to grow a damn backbone. And I just wanted to tell Darcy to shut up and stop thinking about her hair and her weight and quit flirting with everything in pants!!

Dex, played by Colin Egglesfield
I said on Twitter that I would LOVE to get to talk to the author and I would adore to have her get her characters into a room to defend themselves for their actions.

WHAT KEPT me reading this book was this: These characters are crafted in such a way that you WANT to find out what happens to them, no matter how annoyed you are with the process!

  • I wanted to see if the wedding would take place.
  • I wanted to see if Dex would finally make a choice.
  • I wanted to see if Rachel would finally say "ENOUGH! I am doing this FOR ME because damn it I deserve it!"
  • I wanted to see if Darcy would finally screw up and be left with only her shallow friends that are such a bunch of sycophants I was seeing them as bobble head dolls instead of people.

Ethan, played by John Krasinski
THE ONLY character I adored in this book was the one you do not see enough of. I loved Ethan. The friend of theirs from school that ended up living in England. Rachel goes to visit him, and all I could say is WHY are you not going for THAT guy??

Darcy is a self indulgent annoying character. Sadly the whiny behavior of Rachel does not make up for this. Dex, well, I have not read such an annoying frustrating man in ages.

So I guess what I am saying here is this: I do not recommend that you buy this book. Borrow it, if you want to see for yourself what is going on.
If not I'd give it a pass. If you enjoy characters that are well written but are so frustrating you want to strangle them, then, by all means buy the book.

IF you liked this book I want to talk to you. I want to hear WHY and I want to know what redeeming things you found in these people. So leave me comments. I'm off to find something good to read with at least one character I can like and feel some empathy for.



Anonymous said...

Hi, Sue!

I saw the preview, read the book and then saw the movie. I was addicted to the book while reading it because like you I wanted to see how the hell they were going to work this out.

I have to hand it to Giffin in the sense that she took something I am strongly against - infidelity - and did it in a way that made you not hate Rachel so much as want to smack her around a few dozen times for being so stupid. And Dex...I mean...really? Six years with Darcy? I think Giffin should have shortened the time Darcy and Dex had actually been together.

However, in my need to understand the characters and in my need to put them in a real life scenario I looked at it this way: Dex felt stuck in something that was familiar and after six years, expected. So he went with it until he realized that the woman he had wanted the whole time before Darcy, liked him back. The floodgates opened and wha-la - he went for it.

The thing I liked about the movie that wasn't so much in the book was how Dex's family played a large role in why he was going along with the marriage.

There were aspects in the movie I liked better than in the book (like the fact that Ethan is around all the time and still had a crush on Rachel), and there were things I liked better in the book (like how Darcy was much more bitchy and self-centered) than in the movie.

I do agree though, Rachel was annoying in the book. And Dex's waffling got old and annoying as did Darcy with her "All me all the time" attitude. Frankly, I think Giffin should have written the book from both Rachel and Dex's perspective. There were so many times I wanted to crawl inside his head to find out what he was thinking and feeling - what was it like to go home to Darcy? Had he been harboring these feelings for a long time? What made him stay with her for six years? Was Darcy different alone? What was their relationship like?

So, that's my two cents.

Tanja said...

Have you read Something Blue? If not it's basically the sequel to Something Borrowed but from Darcy POV and the first 100 or so pages are a retelling of Something Borrowed how Darcy saw the whole situation. Might give some insight on what has been missing from the first book (I personally found these 100 pages to be very annoying)

Anonymous said...

I don't think I could read Something Blue. I hated Darcy with a passion. Probably because I had friends like her in high school that I later ditched when I got older!

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