Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin
St Martin’s Press, 1st edition, 2008
Genre: chick lit, romance, pop lit, fiction lite
Synopsis & Review: Ellen and Andy Graham are exactly one hundred days into their perfect marriage when Ellen has a chance encounter with her ex Leo, the One that Got Away. Flustered, she tries to go on as she was before, enjoying her perfect life, but she keeps finding her way back to Leo. Though he broke her heart eight years previous, Ellen can’t help but recall what they once had together–and what might have been. As Ellen struggles to adjust to a move from New York City to Atlanta, she questions her career, her marriage, her life, and her choices.
Though this one improves somewhat upon Giffin’s first two books, it doesn’t compare very well to Baby Proof. Instead, Giffin falls into the old habit of an excellent premise weighed down by a dragging plot and weak characters. Most of the characters are completely lacking in life, and simply serve as placeholders, and Giffin’s usual strongpoint, the relationships between friends and partners, are full and lackluster. Leo is particularlly shallow, with so little substance to his character that his and Ellen’s relationship remains unconvincing; Giffin tells us that they had a passionate, tumultuous affair instead of showing us, and it doesn’t work. Giffin creates fairly real situations for her characters (though there is always too much perfection or swooniness), ones recognizable to any woman who’s had That One come back out of nowhere, but they aren’t well supported by the novel’s faulty structure. Although the decision between two loves could be a compelling read, Ellen and hers just are not very interesting, and the matter is not helped by the very predictable ending (title again, hello!). The story drags along sluggishly while Ellen goes through her “should I or shouldn’t I?” torment–amazingly, hardly anything actually takes place in the 300+ pages, something I would be fine with were the introspection of any interest.
A timekiller, but otherwise not worth the effort.
Cover: Pistachio green with an effeuiller la marguerite for the o in ‘one.” Fairly tolerable, though I’m disappointed I’ll have to wait for another novel for the lavender cover.
I turn and walk briskly to the couch, feeling Leo’s eyes on me. I sit, cross my legs, and fix my gaze out the window onto Wilshire Bulevard, my mind racing. What is Leo doing here? Is he trying to tempt me? Taunt me? Torture me? What will Suzanne think when she bursts into the lounge at any moment? What would Andy say if he could see me now, braless in a swanky lounge, martini ont he way, with my ex-lover just across the room?
21 July – 22 July