Monday, July 11, 2016

FIRST COMES LOVE BY EMILY GIFFIN - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, First Comes Love by Emily Giffin. Thank you to Penguin Random House for sending me this book in their Blockbuster Books Binge Box. A review was not requested, however I am providing one as a complimentary copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.


While Emily Giffin is not an unknown author to me, this is the first book of her's that I have read. And I have to say, I can definitely see why she is such well-loved author.

This story follows two sister, Josie and Meredith as they reflect on their lives thus far while preparing to face the fifteen-year anniversary of their older brother's death. The sisters are in their late thirties, and Daniel would have been turning 40 years old.

Told in alternating perspectives, Josie struggles with being thirty-seven, and while she has a career she loves, a first grade teacher, she is missing that traditional husband and children that she always anticipated. She pretty much swears off dating and starts researching sperm banks, to fulfill her dream of motherhood.

Very much the opposite of Josie, Meredith is married (to her brother's best friend) and has an adorable four year old daughter. She juggles the stresses of home life with being a pretty decent attorney. However, she begins to wonder if she was ever really in love with her husband, as opposed to just the idea of making a bad situation good.

One of the aspects in this book that I struggled with was the dynamic between Josie and Meredith. They were pretty much always bickering about something and most of the time, it was just little things. I think, just because personally, I have a close relationship with my sister, I just couldn't, or I guess, didn't want to picture them fighting so much. At one point, Meredith even says that she doesn't want another baby, one of the reasons being that it might be another girl, and she doesn't want Harper to have that relationship with a sibling. This made me quite sad, but also really brought to life how bad their relationship is.

I did, however, mostly really enjoy this book. I found the plot to be interesting, it was just the family's normal life, with a little bit of tension because of the anniversary.

Obviously, this book deals with some really heavy topics, death and grief, divorce, and just general unhappiness in the structured life one has come to know. Part of Meredith's issues are that she didn't really choose this life, one thing just kind of led to another. She was just at the right, or wrong, depending on how you look at it, place at the right time.

Even as a reader, there are so many "what if's" going on in my mind, regarding all the characters. "What if he went to the bathroom before leaving the house?" "What if she didn't come home that weekend?" "What if she told the truth?" There were a lot of different scenarios that could have played out, but of course, they didn't, so this is the story we got. It kind of puts everything in perspective and reminds you of that old adage, everything happens for a reason. There are a million different variables in every situation and you can't control what happens, no matter how hard you try. I think that is one of the big life lessons in this book. No matter how much planning or stressing or whatever you do, everything can change in a split second, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.

I think that the main issue I had with this book was that I am not the right audience for it. At my age, marriage and kids are way, way, WAY off in the very distant future, and I think that's part of the reason why I didn't really connect as well with the characters. The marital issues and feelings of being a "spinster" are not ones I deal with so I felt a little out of place. These characters are late thirties, and I just think I'm about twenty years too young for this story.

Also, for those of you who have read some of Giffin's other books, Ellen and Andy from Love the One You're With are in this book a little bit, Ellen is Meredith's best friend and closest confidante.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book. I'm not sure if I'll be picking up more books by Giffin soon, not because I didn't like the writing, I did, it was very good, but I just think that I'm TOO young for these storylines.