I started reading this book with my mouth shaped a little bit like this: O.
This book has a great premise. It follows main character, Rachel, a no longer twenty-something, who falls in love with her best friend Darcy’s fiancé, Dex.
That’s one hell of a hook.
It’s one hell of a book.
But Rachel is not one hell of a person, nor are any of the main characters.
Rachel is supposed to be the protagonist, but she’s so stuck in her own way that she ends up playing the antagonist, too. Everything is such a fight with her.
I loved peaking into her head–be prepared to peak into her head when you read this book, because half the pages are made up of her thoughts–but she sort of made me hate her. She’s just SO pathetic. I just can’t get over it. Even in her brain she’s pathetic. Yes, she’s real, she’s real pathetic.
By the end of the book I was sort of screaming RACHEL YOU PATHETIC HAG WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH YOU.
And the rest of the characters? God. All the characters are crazy oblivious. They are unseeing, selfish, exhausting, annoying, and completely dense. I had a hard time understanding the dynamics of any of the relationships, it’s as if we actually came in and watched the lives of these millennials unfold without ever knowing a single thing about them and then tried to understand why any of them liked each other at all with no back story because they’re all so fucking horrible. I still don’t understand. BECAUSE THERE WAS BACKSTORY. AND A LOT OF IT. AND I STILL WAS LIKE WHAT???? WHY ARE YOU AND DEX RIPPING EACH OTHER’S CLOTHES OFF?
Darcy is really the only character I could understand. She’s supposed to play the antagonist, and if it weren’t for Rachel’s obnoxious obliviousness, she would have made a great one. She is superficial, two-faced, selfish, competitive, everything you want in a villain. And that’s why she sort of wins the character war for me. Because you understand her.
The rest of them are trying to convince themselves they’re good people when in reality, they aren’t. At least she knows she fucking sucks.
Here’s a summary of each one:
- Rachel is in a job she hates. In a career for the main reason that she couldn’t think of anything better to do. Best friends with someone who is quite obviously not a good friend. Seeing said not good friend’s fiancé behind said not good friend’s back. And still planning to be the maid of honor in said not good friend’s wedding to the man Rachel is in love with. Has no idea how to be happy and thinks that her falsified happiness at the end is pure happiness when it isn’t.
- Dex is so unaware of what he wants that he doesn’t even realize he’s in love with Rachel until seven years into a relationship with her best friend, the best friend whom Rachel introduced him to after she and him had struck up a friendship in law school.
- Darcy is a self-serving predator who is basically going about life with the thought that “as long as it looks good, it is good,” bouncing around in her head.
The rest don’t have enough of a part to really matter. Though Marcus is substantial in that he does the bare minimum because he was bullied for getting into a good college in high school. Lol. Still hasn’t gotten over it. He’s thirty.
I hate people like these people. The type of people that think they have it all figured out because they live in apartments they paid for and have jobs. NO. THAT’S NOT HAPPINESS. LOL. NO. UGH.
Do you get the picture? These characters are just the worst. Your innards will be steaming with the need to scream by the end of this book because they’re all so resolute in “Gonna Suck Forever” that they can’t just take a step back, gain some awareness, and realize, gee, maybe life doesn’t have to be this fucking useless.
Now the writing was PHENOMENAL. There were beautiful lines, good dialogue, nice scenes with great settings.
The pacing was a bit off, the relationship between Dex and Rachel felt very rushed and then it just lagged altogether. Would have loved to have seen their friendship a bit more before they were completely devouring each other in the back of a cab.
I don’t really understand how Rachel didn’t realize she had feelings for Dex in law school. Like I get that she turned off any and all potential there with the thought that he would never go for a girl like her, but why is she only just now realizing it? And him too? Why is the only blurry gray line we get in the backstory a mere brush of a thumb under Rachel’s eye after laughing so hard she started crying while they were studying for torts?
OH. I’LL TELL YOU WHY. BECAUSE THESE CHARACTERS ARE DENSE AS ALL HELL.
The sex scenes were a little odd to me. It was like they either could have used a little bit more attention or a little bit less. Like either you’re saying “And then we proceeded to undress in our senses of urgency and fall on the bed,” or “I ripped his shirt from his shoulders, baring all that skin-colored armor, so hard and sculpted like bed rock, and he laid me down on my back, hands moving over me… etc.” What we got was sort of an in between. I wasn’t a huge fan. And the phrase “make/made love” was so overused. Give us something more. How was it this time? How did it differ from the last?
No such luck.
The way Emily Giffin, the author, wrote the friendship between Darcy and Rachel was really… incredible. I’ve had a few competitive jealous friendships like theirs in my lifetime. So I can say for sure that she was spot on. Every bit of back story was spot on. Darcy is a tyrant and Rachel is subdued because of it. If this book was sort of an antagonist-antagonist look at a toxic friendship… it would have been a knockout. The romance portion killed that. Dex just made both of them look like idiots.
The plot was driven only because there’s a wedding date and obviously things need to get sorted out before then. I’m actually surprised any of them got their shit together. With their levels of “who am I, what is my place in the world?” you would think that this book would have ended with a wedding like nothing had ever happened.
Anyway, interesting read. I read the whole thing and it even kept me up most nights. So for that… it is a recommended read.