A Book in Review: The One & Only

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I'm excited to review another book for you this week! I picked up The One & Only at Target for one simple reason — I've read all of Emily Giffin's book. This is her seventh! I started with Something Borrowed and never looked back. I did wait for this one to come out in paperback, though.

The One & Only by Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin writes stories about female friendships and romantic love —and often how the two collide (and sometimes, disaster ensues ;).

In The One & Only, Shea Rigsby is a 30-something living in a fictional Texas football town who's feeling stuck. Stuck in a somewhat dead-end job, in a less-than-stellar relationship, and in the town she was born and raised in. The book opens with a town tragedy, which causes Shea to do some serious re-evaluation. "I couldn't fight the knot of dissatisfaction with the status quo, all the things that had always felt comfortable, good enough." Shea's position is relatable — not unlike the quarter-life crisis many of us are surely experiencing. The big life changes she makes to "shake things up" may not be as relatable — but are certainly interesting.

Shea's best friend, Lucy, seems to have it all together. She's married, has a child, and her father, Coach Carr, is the nearly worshiped head football coach of the fictitious Walker Broncos. Shea's father is somewhat out of the picture, her parents long divorced. One of my favorite parts of the book was witnessing how Shea and Lucy, who are so different,  still have a clicking friendship. Underlying Shea's trials and failures in life and love is the story of the Walker Broncos' season, led by Coach Carr.

I enjoyed following the football season (as a sports fan myself) and the meaningful, relevant commentary on the dark side of the NCAA (as a former NCAA athlete). Shea is a huge football fan, and, knowing some huge football fans who are female it was refreshing to see that represented accurately in literature — not in a gimmicky "she's one of the boys!"way. However, if you're someone who can't get into sports, I might skip this book. It's not a book about sports, but there are so many references that, if you don't know the difference between the Heisman Trophy and the Stanley Cup, it might be difficult to enjoy.*

*I mean that in the nicest way. There are many topics I am clueless about as well.

Without giving too much away, I'll say some of the love story in this book is so unconventional that, at times, it made me uncomfortable. Giffin kind of called my bluff in an interview in the back of the book, saying, "I've always been fascinated by complicated, unconventional relationships. I think, if we're honest, many of us have a rather narrow definition of romantic love and have a tendency to dismiss, or at least feel uncomfortable with anything that falls outside those parameters." I think that's a thought-provoking way to look at it, but I still was not completely satisfied with the book's ending. It left me feeling more questionable than content.

That being said, Giffin knows how to write a page-turner. She's adept at ending chapters with cliff hangers that make you want to keep reading! There were some surprises in this book, but I honestly expected there to be a few more twists and turns along the way. If you've never read Giffin before, I'd recommend starting with Something Borrowed. That one, and Baby Proof are my two favorites.

Have you read all (or some) of Emily Giffin's books? Which is your favorite?

p.s. One thing Giffin does is use characters from her older books in her new books. I've always been able to spot the connections before, but this time, I'm stumped. Supposedly, a male character from Heart of the Matter makes a short appearance in this book, but I can't figure out who. I haven't read HOTM in years, and don't remember it well, but if you know can you please tell me? It's kind of driving me crazy :)

1 comment:

  1. I seriously love that you do these book reviews! I almost always choose a book based on a recommendation. It's the best way!