Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In Which Trai Reviews 'Something Blue'

This book is a sequel to Something Borrowed (click for my review), starting just about at that book's end, so spoilers will have to be given as part of the plot summary. I recommend reading the two books in order.

The Book: Something Blue

The Author: Emily Giffin

How I Found It: Same way as the first: Shiri Appleby, an actress I admire, recommended them via her Facebook page.

The Review: Darcy Rhone had it all: a glamorous PR job, a loyal best friend (Rachel), looks, money, and a great fiance, Dex. But despite having it all, she wanted more. She began an affair with one of the groomsmen in her wedding, Marcus, and unexpectedly became pregnant with his child. Dex broke off the wedding, and Darcy believes it is because he can feel her pulling away from him. That is, until she goes to her best friend Rachel's to give her the news about the called-off wedding and her affair... and discovers that Rachel has, in fact, been having an affair of her own. With Dex.

This is where we left things at the end of Something Borrowed. Darcy's infidelity is revealed to Dex, and it is clear that blame is on both sides. Darcy, however, doesn't see it that way, and declares that she never wants to see Dex and Rachel again. She is determined to make things work with Marcus, to reform him from his sloppy ways and make him into another Dex. As the weeks pass, however, Darcy finds herself consumed with thoughts of Rachel and Dex. When Marcus disappoints Darcy's upper-class family, things begin to fall apart: Darcy's mother is horrified by the news that Darcy is pregnant by someone she perceives as not good enough, and Marcus soon dumps Darcy when it becomes clear he doesn't love her and that she still isn't over what Dex and Rachel did. Darcy's personal relationships are crumbling one by one, until Darcy decides it's time for a change. She packs up and travels to London, where her and Rachel's childhood friend Ethan is living and working as a writer.

Ethan at first is less than thrilled at Darcy's presence, as she is needy and distracting. Ethan eventually forces Darcy to realize how shallow she has been and how much she will need to change to become a good mother, and Darcy begins to take it upon herself to do just that. She must look inside herself to determine who she wants to become--and just who she might want to be with.

I was definitely wary of this one at first. I thought Something Borrowed was fantastic, though it could have used a little more tying up at the ending, and I wasn't sure how much I'd like this story. Darcy comes off as unsympathetic and horribly mean at the end of that book, and anyway, I was definitely more of a Rachel and not at all like a Darcy. Why would I want to read about a character that I couldn't relate to and didn't even like?

It is a testament to Giffin's skill as a writer that I was utterly in love with Darcy's story and that I even liked this one better than Something Borrowed, which surprises me immensely. It was great to see the other side of the story and then to see how everything turned out, all from a different perspective. Rachel and Darcy were two entirely distinct voices, and both were very believable.

That being said, Darcy isn't always likable and doesn't become so until maybe two-thirds of the way through (roughly). I found myself rolling my eyes at her antics and her complete disregard for her pregnancy, but I had to keep reading to see if she really would change. Ethan getting her to realize her selfishness was satisfying and made me cheer for Darcy even more as she comes to realize that she wasn't entirely blameless in the mess with Dex, Rachel, and Marcus and that a change is in store for her. My all-time favorite fictional love story involves a man changing for his girlfriend, and even if there's that saying that people never change, I like to believe that in good love stories, they do. That was exactly what happened, and by the end of the book, I really was in love with the new Darcy and had tears in my eyes at a few points.

The book was a definite page-turner, as you want to find out if Darcy really can change, and if she will ever forgive Dex and Rachel. There is also the developing friendship between Darcy and Ethan, and the question of their potential romance. I think this book was more satisfying than its predecessor because we were given the time to see Darcy and Ethan's relationship really develop, as opposed to Borrowed, where Dex and Rachel are in bed by the end of the first chapter and the backstory is given to us pretty much upfront, as their relationship to each other is established right from the start. With Ethan and Darcy, we get to see their friendship improve and then witness Darcy's growing attraction to him. Ethan was developed more from his brief appearances in the first book, and we get some more background on Darcy's side of the story of the school days she shared with him and Rachel. It was fun seeing stories recounted in Borrowed from the opposite point of view. There is also sufficient closure given about how Rachel and Dex's relationship has progressed after Something Borrowed, which I was really glad to see.

Overall, I really, really loved this book. The writing was well-done and believable, the characters were realistic and sympathetic, and Darcy's gradual change was well-written. Giffin's books sounded right up my alley when I first read about them, and at this point I think I'm going to dive headlong into her third book. This book (and its predecessor) are highly recommended by me for someone looking for chick lit with substance or a good beach read.

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