Sunday, May 16, 2010

Julie's Review: Heart of the Matter

Summary: In the popular Giffin's latest, Nick Russo is a pediatric plastic surgeon; his wife, Tessa (sister of Dex, from Something Borrowed), is a professor turned stay-at-home mom living a cushy life in Boston. Nick is called in to care for a six-year-old burn victim, and Nick's devotion to his work is soon tangled up in his attraction to the boy's mother, Valerie, a single attorney. Narrated in turn by Tessa and Valerie, the action centers around—will they or won't they, and, if they do, will Tessa forgive him? While unclear what Nick finds so unsatisfying in his marriage, adultery is always tempting and Tessa and Valerie both have their charms.

Review: I've been an Emily Giffin fan since my sister bought me Something Borrowed, Something Blue and Baby Proof a few years ago. She writes clear and identifiable characters. You always attach yourself to one of the main characters. Heart of the Matter is no different; in fact I think this is her best book yet.

The opening chapter introduces us to Tessa, a happily married women with 2 kids and recently decided to give up her career to stay at home. She's at dinner with her husband, Nick, when he gets paged. See, Nick is a pediatric plastic surgeon and there's been some kind of emergency. We later find out that it was their anniversary and it will be the night that she looks back at that changed their lives.

We are next introduced to Valerie. She's the mom of the little boy that Nick is coming into to work on. Valerie is a self-sufficient single mom, who has a a wonderful support system in her twin brother Jason and her mom, Rosemary. While, Ms. Giffin did a great job of writing Valerie and telling her POV, I just didn't like her. I felt awful for her son Charlie but I didn't feel anything but disdain for her. I don't care how lonely you are and vulnerable, you know a man is married, you back off. You put the brakes on and you stop having contact except when needed. I understand that Nick is Charlie's doctor but what doctor makes house calls?? Now, is it all Valerie's fault...of course not; Nick shares a lot of the blame.

This book had me in tears at the end. (Thank goodness my husband fell asleep when I was finishing it). My heart really went out to Tessa. I could feel everything she was feeling, I could see where she was headed before she got there and like a bad horror movie, I found myself saying "No!! Don't do it". "Don't go there".

I'm sure by my comments you can tell who I sided or identified with so I don't think I need to be too specific. Was Nick a bad guy? No, I think he was bored. I think his life was so good that he didn't know what to do, so he set out to destroy it.

I won't turn this into a bashing men review because that's not the purpose of the book. It makes you think about the situation through the eyes of both women. What makes us tick? What makes solid marriage, go off course? Can you get back on course? Do you even want to? It's a hard look at the state of marriage in today's society.

I wasn't too happy with the ending. To be honest though, I'm not sure how it could have ended with me being happy. Maybe, just maybe that's the lesson. Nothing turns out the way you think it will and you are the only one responsible for your happiness.

Final Take: 4.75/5



Six May 17, 2010 at 9:09 AM  

I have yet to read an Emily Giffin book, never had a desire to until now. Great review. I can't wait to read it.

BTW, the only doctors that make housecalls are doctors to celebrities. Lucky shites.

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