Mephistia's Reviews > Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
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Aug 11, 11

bookshelves: literary-fiction, relationships-romance-f, relationships-nf
Recommended to Mephistia by: Ronelle
Recommended for: Jessica
Read in August, 2011

It's an okay book. I admit, through a lot of it, I felt frustrated at the protagonist, Rachel. I felt most of the indecisiveness and drama of the situation arose from her inability to act, instead of react. I suppose that was what the book was really about, was Rachel growing and changing as a human being -- but I didn't feel that she had, at the end.

At the end, I still felt she was an essentially passive, indecisive character who saw things as happening "to" her, not because of her choices and actions or inactions. Worse, she thought because she had one non-passive moment in the book (two, if you count the trip to England, although I still consider that passive because she was fleeing rather than addressing, and she still planned on going through with the wedding) that she had changed.

It's a bit like when I read the Shopaholic series. The story was interesting enough, and the dialogue was fun and the characters engaging enough -- but I felt frustrated through most of the book because all the problems were made of the protagonists own failings, and failings they were reluctant to recognize or address.

And yeah, like everyone in the world, I have my own failings that I'm uncomfortable looking at head-on, so I should probably be more sympathetic . . . but the failings put forth in this book (betraying her best friend by cheating with her fiance; not ever telling her BF how she makes her feel) are failings created by her own passiveness and inability to communicate. Likewise, in the Shopaholic series, all the issues are manufactured by the protagonists inability to communicate and act like a mature adult.

At least in the Shopaholic series, the protagonist has the excuse of being a somewhat flighty, materialistic person with good intentions but no real ability to self-reflect or accurately judge the seriousness of a situation. In this book, the protagonist is presented as a careful "good girl" type, a woman who weighs her actions, observes the world around her, and can incisively describe personalities and motivations of most of the characters -- yet she's completely blind to the (obvious) dynamic between herself and Darcy. It's a bit irritating and baffling. I've never met someone like that -- the "smart/fat/geeky/whatever" half of an unequal friendship always seems to be aware of the true dynamic, and most every friendship I've seen like that ended after high school, when the smart/fat/geeky/whatever half came into her own in college, while the pretty/lucky/popular half steered moored in high school mentality.

Dunno. If you're a fan of the Shopaholic series, or the type of literary fiction that is mostly manufactured angst, you should like these. They aren't badly written, the characters are likeable enough (would have liked to see way more of Ethan), and it's reasonably introspective -- but not too heavy for a light, fluff read. It's forgettable and fun. Good for a plane ride or a beach read.
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