Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Author: Emily Giffin
Genre: Women's fiction, contemporary fiction
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin, 2007
Source: Borrowed from my sis-in-law
Claudia does not want children. She's known this since she was a little girl, playing "aunt and niece" with her baby dolls instead of pretending to be the mother. Her husband, Ben, feels exactly the same way, as she found out on their first date. They both want freedom and autonomy, and no matter how fulfilling their friends and family say children are, they are more interested in their current lifestyle. That is, until their good friends have a baby, and Ben starts feeling fatherly urges. Claudia is forced to evaluate her goals and her relationship and decide what is most important to her.
I am going to preface this by saying that from the back of the book, I thought that this would be a book about a woman finding out she was pregnant and learning how to deal with the news. In reality, having a baby isn't really the central issue of this book -- it is relationships and how they change with time, how issues two people agree on at first may not remain constant throughout a relationship.
The book followed Emily Giffin's selfish woman syndrome. Claudia knows what she wants, and she is resentful towards Ben that he has changed his mind about what he wants. As a woman who very much wants to have a baby, her attitude was a little incomprehensible to me (I am one of the baby-hungry women that drove Claudia insane throughout the story), but I tried to understand the difficulty of having what she thought were very solid life plans uprooted. I would be frustrated if my spouse completely changed his tune on a significant issue, just as she was. However, the way she reacted to that change frustrated me -- instead of working through it, they both decided that on either side they were unchangeable. And while the book is Claudia's journey through dealing with her stubborn opinions, it still bothered me, that two adults, supposedly mature, would be so stubborn and so unwilling to work through their issues. Throughout the book, I really didn't connect with any of the characters -- they all struck me as immature and selfish, unwilling to budge from their rigid viewpoints. The only character I really did enjoy was Ethan, a character from Something Borrowed and Something Blue who popped up unexpectedly and who of course managed to direct Claudia towards better behavior during his brief few pages in the book.
While I didn't enjoy the characters, the book still entertained, and I caught myself peeking ahead more than once to see how things played out. Giffin's writing style is addictive, and she enmeshes her characters in dramatic quandaries that drive me crazy until I can know how things will come together.
Giffin fans will probably read and enjoy this book; I didn't hate it, despite its being my least favorite of the books (yes, I enjoyed Darcy's narrative voice more than Claudia's). However, I would recommend another of her novels rather than this one.
Warnings: Language, sensuality