Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review: First Comes Love

Emily Giffin - First Comes Love
Published: June 28, 2016 by Ballantine Books
Genres: Adult, Romance
Pages: 380
Find on: Amazon, Book Depository, Goodreads
Rating: 2/5

In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

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I’ve read all of Emily Giffin’s books except for The One and Only, which I skipped only (unintentional pun! boohoo) because the MC of that book hooks up with her best friend’s father, ala American Beauty.

First Comes Love is about sisters, Josie and Meredith, and I gravitated toward it obviously, because I have a sister. Sisters quarrel, but in the end, we love each other. Hopefully. Despite how I love and hate some of these books, I always see nothing new in one of these sisterly relationships and I always find myself relating, and thinking “Aaaah, she’s just like my sister! Oh, we’re like that!”

Josie is a first-grade teacher and she hates kids yet wants one of her own. Interesting combination, no? After being dumped by her boyfriend, she finds his daughter, whom he's had with his new wife, in her class, much to her shock. Meanwhile, her sister, Meredith, is happily married to an irrevocably perfect man, Nolan, and they have a four-year old daughter named Harper.

There were plenty of unrealistic facts in this book. Mainly, the children asking relationship questions? I don’t remember asking my teacher any of those, and Josie running into her ex doesn’t consume the whole plot. She bumps into him and his new wife a total of two times. Given how Emily’s other books have turned out, I was worried she was gonna attempt to re-steal him from his new wife.

And “a mild eating disorder.” ala Meredith’s past. Also: Nolan, Meredith’s husband, was so perfectly perfect, I refuse to see an issue with him. Even when they argued, he was still complimenting her. This book is the essence of #FirstWorldProblems.

“You’re marrying Nolan Brady. He’s gorgeous. He’s loaded. He’s funny. And he’s a really nice guy.”

“I know,” I said, feeling guilty and ungrateful.

“I mean…look at that rock.” She took my left hand in her right and shook it.

“I know,” I said, gazing back down at my ring. “But it’s not really me. Neither are these gowns.”
Josie was dumped by her boyfriend, Will, prior to the novel, because she lives with her platonic guy friend, Gabe. Josie and Meredith’s brother, Daniel, died in a car accident, also prior to the plotline, which Josie (and Nolan, to a lesser extent) blames themselves for.

Literally, Gabe is so manipulative. For a few minutes, I was convinced he was not-straight for a few minutes (apparently, he’s dated thousaaands of girls) but whenever Josie went out with her new beau, Pete, a successful Match.com match. He’d get all pissy. Get a life already, and why does one, who is thirty-eight, still live with their platonic guy friend? Move in with your boyfriend already.

Thus, Josie decides on IVF to pursue her dreams of a child. Not that she shouldn’t be having a child, quite frankly. Because she couldn’t decide to choose from an anonymous sperm donor to Pete, who she met five minutes ago, to Gabe, her sociopathic best friend.

This also makes IVF sound like a breeze. I know, it is possible to get pregnant on your first try, but unlikely. Like I said, still possible. Also, Josie’s thirty-eight. (#justsayin) Josie is injected gleefully and tells everyone, and a chapter or so later, she’s announcing her pregnancy.

“So no lawyers either? Like you were going to use with Pete?”

“Correct,” I say, getting butterflies hearing Pete’s name and thinking about our dinner plans tonight. I push him out of my mind and continue, “They just take the sample from Gabe…then wash and process it to basically concentrate the sperm and maximize the chances of conception…Then they just shoot it up there. It’s a supereasy procedure.” I pat my stomach and smile.
Wow, Josie. If only.

Meredith and Nolan are a couple I couldn’t relate to, which isn’t Giffin’s fault. Truly, I saw no problem with Nolan. Their biggest problem was whether they should have more children. Admittedly, I skimmed her chapters. They have a toddler daughter and marital issues, and she attends therapy and kids’ parties, and includes “Hashtag blessed” in daily conversation.

Emily Giffin’s writing is phenomenal, and she’s one of the only adult writers I can actually stand. Where We Belong and Baby Proof are my two favorite novels by her. I regrettably gave away my copy of BP. If you’ve read her other books, you can probably skip this. There’s nothing entirely noteworthy here.

2 comments:

  1. Aw man, this doesn't sound great. I mean... I guess I can definitely relate to Meredith a bit more than you, being the parent of a toddler and having a shit marriage but like... still, I don't really get WHY she has a shit marriage? And none of these fucking people should be having kids! Meredith seems to be not wanting ANY of her current life, so maybe MORE kids isn't the answer? And Josie... uh... that isn't how reproduction works at all. Like you said, yeah, it's POSSIBLE, but unlikely- especially at 38! And I feel so bad for this fictional kid, because Gabe sounds like someone who you do NOT want half of your DNA made up of... and Josie kind of sounds the same so... sorry kid, you're screwed. Definitely shall be passing on this, but I enjoyed your review!!

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    1. Gabe was such an ass UGHUGUGHGH. It's definitely not Emily's best, that's for sure. I would recommend Baby Proof. Anything except The One & Only. I've heard many mixed things. Seriously, Josie was so desperate, it was embarrassing. hahah. Thanks!!

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