Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers has completed downloading. Yay! But I’ll watch it tomorrow, since my friend wants to watch it as well.

As promised, I shall review my summer reading books as I complete them, and I’m happy to say that I finished the first one last night – err, I mean, this morning, at about 1:30am. The book is Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, your typical chick flick book. It’s usually the kind of genre that makes me roll my eyes, but I have to admit, my curiosity was aroused because of the movie of the same title that came out last month (6th May, to be precise).

The story begins with the dilemma: The protagonist Rachel has a one-night stand with her best friend’s fiancé, Dexter. But readers can’t blame Rachel for long, because she slowly reveals the whole backstory behind the messy affair – she used to go to the same college as Dex, and they were very good friends, but due to obvious misunderstandings they never manage to get together, so Dex gets snatched up by Darcy, Rachel’s best friend since forever.

As the plot unravels, one thing is clear – Dex is your typical indecisive yet hot and smart guy, while Rachel is the World’s Flakiest Woman – “flakey” in the sense that she has no sense of resolve or willpower. She also has little to no self-esteem due to being in Darcy’s shadow, and her lack of assertiveness makes the reader want to scream in frustration. It’s like watching a couple dance while trying not to touch one another. Of course, if Rachel were more assertive, or Dex more decisive, there wouldn’t be a reason to write this story (or at least prolong it for 300+ pages), but still. Even though it’s a little difficult to blame them for having an affair, it doesn’t mean that these characters were extremely likable. For Rachel, she gives up way too easily on almost everything, whereas for Dex his hesitation to take action emasculates him. Readers end up rooting for their relationship only because it’s a little better than having Darcy marry Dex, as Darcy seems to love herself more than anyone else, including Dex. And she loves for all the shallow reasons, so Rachel becomes the better alternative.

However, I must say that I loved the small details the author adds here and there to make the characters more authentic, such as Marcus’s (one of Dex’s friends) “‘I never skipped a night wearing my retainer’ smile.” They were not your typical descriptions of people, and added to the character’s image. Plus for a light read, it was something I could breeze through easily and mindlessly, which is pretty much the whole point of reading chick flicks. That, and to indulge yourself in a sappy-happy ending. And Emily Giffin more than meets these expectations with flawless language, witty humour, and an attention to detail that doesn’t degrade the book to something more sloppy and unrefined.

In addition, regardless of my criticisms, the book’s bound to be better than the movie. My conclusion? Read it if you have time and just want to escape reality for a while, but I’d recommend borrowing it from the library instead of buying. That way you can also honour the book’s title and really make it “Something Borrowed”; ha ha! Ahem. Please excuse my terrible puns.

Final book rating: 6/10.

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