Having read the likes of Sophie Kinsella and Cecelia Ahern when it came to the popular yet frowned upon genre of chick-lit I wanted to venture into deeper waters to find the wonders (or not) of this much enjoyed area of fiction. It didn't take me long to look up and find a list of renowned authors and their remarkable work, I only had to decide which one to pick.
Right now I have in my book shelf some added names like Jane Green, Marian Keyes, Jennifer Weiner, Jen Lancaster and Emily Giffin to give Kinsella and Cecelia some company.
I started with Emily Giffin's Something Borrowed as the synopsis had me very interested.
Rachel White is a lawyer in NYC who hates her job and is single.., at thirty. She is the quintessential good girl, always playing by the rules somehow never getting what she wants. Darcy, her childhood best friend presents a complete contrast in being an extrovert; a beautiful and spirited girl who has to have everything her way. It's a love-hate friendship as we see through the story how the simple Rachel puts up with the annoyingly narcissist behaviour of her best friend, never standing up for herself. Always letting Darcy have her way with everything, be that a bag pack or a boy crush. That is until she crosses the big 3 0. After one too many drinks at the birthday party Darcy throws for her, Rachel decides to throw caution to the wind and finds herself spending the night with Dexter; a handsome, amazing guy, her long time friend from law school, and Darcy's fiancé. Yikes!
She finds herself being attracted to and falling for a guy she should run from; what with her being the maid of honour for their wedding that's to take place in only a few months. Everything changes when Dex confesses his true feelings to Rachel. What follows is their secret affair that is considered a relationship since they both are in love, except for the tiny bit of him being already engaged. To her best friend.
Rachel is a girl we would all like; simple, plain and with a sweet disposition who truly loves Dex. I would hate my protagonist to be one, but Rachel is a doormat. The way she leaves the fate of her love life and friendship in the hands of Dex, and is ready to live with whatever he decides made sure I wouldn't include her in my list of favourite female protagonists.
The characterization of Darcy makes it very difficult to like or sympathise with her. Darcy's selfish and shallow character makes us root for Rachel, who has always been in the shadow of her effervescent best friend. She's a very trying character, annoyingly self-absorbed . She walks the planet like she owns it, believes everyone to be a puppet in her hands. Although there were times when you could tell that she has a good heart deep down, you soon realize it's way too deep to wager and probably lost for good. I happen to know a few people who resemble her so much that it was evident she would find no sympathy from me.
Giffin surely has the ability to take what we normally would look down upon, infidelity, betrayal etc and romanticize it. One of the characters puts it aptly when she says the world is not that black-and-white. The world has no moral absolutes. It's a good story, with relatable characters and a skewed yet likeable plot. Light, fun yet smart, this book is a complex and engrossing narrative about friendship.
On the whole, a good addition to the my women's fiction list. I haven't got around to reading the sequel, Something Blue, it's still sulking in my book shelf so I better be good and finish it.