Sunday, August 31, 2008

Julie's Review: Love The One You're With

A chance encounter with an old flame in Giffin's bittersweet, sometimes mawkish fourth novel causes Ellen Dempsey to consider anew what could have been. Shortly after marrying Andy, Ellen runs into Leo, her intense first love. Leo, a moody writer, has secretly preoccupied Ellen ever since he broke her heart, so after seeing him again, Ellen wonders if her perfect life is truly what she wants or simply what she was expected to want. This scenario is complicated by Ellen's past: the early death of her mother and subsequent disintegration of her family have left Ellen insecure and saddled with unresolved feelings of guilt. These feelings intensify when Andy's career takes the newlyweds from Ellen's beloved New York City to suburban Atlanta. As Ellen's feelings of inadequacy and resentment grow, her marriage begins to crumble. The novel is sometimes bogged down by characters so rooted in type that they, and the story line, can only move in the most obvious trajectory. However, Giffin's self-aware narrator and focus on troubled relationships will satisfy those looking for a light women's lit

Review: In the age of Google, Reunion, Facebook, My Space what woman hasn't casually looked for an ex-boyfriend? I say woman because I think it's more of a girl thing than a guy thing. Guys aren't as curious about exes as girls are, at least in my experience. There's a fine line between being curious about what they are doing and finding out on a personal level. Ellen Dempsey (which just makes me think of Patrick Dempsey YUM) bumps into the one guy who broke her heart years ago on a NYC street and that leads to the downward spiral in Ellen's life. See Ellen hasn't even been married to Andy for a year yet and while their life seems perfect, bumping into Leo has sent Ellen on the "what if" path for the whole book! I didn't love or hate Ellen, I just couldn't relate. I've run into ex-boyfriends and while it's nice to catch up, it's also nice knowing that you are where you are supposed to be in life. Ellen's problem is that she doesn't think she got to make that choice, that somehow choices were taken away from her.

I can see why Ellen is charmed by Leo but for me I could see through his crap. He's one of those "wants what he can't have" guys and Ellen telling him she's married just upped the game big time. I honestly believe if she had said she was single his flirting with her would have ended or at least he wouldn't have been as persistent.

I liked her sister Suzanne the best out of all the characters. I found her to be the most realistic of all of them. Granted we didn't know much about her and only from Ellen's point of view, but she did seem to be objective in her descriptions of the people around her.

I enjoyed the ending of the book and the epilogue. I was happy with the outcome of the book if I did feel it was a little too much "neat bow" syndrome.

While I enjoyed Love the One You're With I would recommend Something Borrowed, Something Blue or Baby Proof before it. Even though it wasn't my favorite book, I do like the way Emily Giffin writes and will probably buy her next book when it comes out.

Final Take: 3.75/5

Related: Lisa's Review: Love the One You're With


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