Sunday, June 8, 2014

Book Review: "The One & Only" by Emily Giffin

"The One & Only" by Emily Giffn
First published in 2014
432 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5
(image source)

I loved Emily Giffin's last book, "Where We Belong," (my review) and was excited to read her latest novel. "The One & Only" is a bit of a departure from Giffin's past books, and I'll say upfront that if you don't like football or you're sensitive to unconventional romance, this novel is probably not for you.

"The One & Only" is supposed to be a story about finding yourself and breaking out of your comfort zone -- taking risks to get the life you want. Shea Rigsby has spent her whole life in the small north Texas town of Walker, a place where everything centers around Walker University and it's stellar college football program. Shea lives and breathes football, having grown up best friends with the head coach's daughter. Now, as an adult, she works for Walker in a sports PR capacity.

Approaching her mid-30s, Shea has been feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied with the boring, safe, easy life she's made for herself. With a small push from family and friends, Shea realizes that change is desperately needed -- she breaks up with her boyfriend, a good-natured but immature former Walker football player who she fails to see a long-term future with, and starts pursuing new career opportunities. Soon she's dating the star quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys (also a former Walker player) and interviewing for a sports reporter job at the Dallas Post. Everything is falling into place perfectly, but Shea can't truly be happy because she's forced to confront her romantic feelings for someone else -- someone she can't have, but who might be her "one and only" love.

I like sports and have a working knowledge of college football, thanks to a husband who bleeds Florida Gator orange and blue. And I enjoyed the journalism element since I, like Shea, have a journalism degree that's gathering dust. But I think Giffin may have made a mistake focusing the plot so heavily on football -- I can see how non-sports fans would have a really hard time getting into the story.

Another problem is that Shea isn't always the most likeable of main characters. Part of what makes the book interesting is the "what would you do in this situation" aspect. And Shea does not always choose to go in the direction that we think she should. I suppose she's a realistically flawed character, but in order for that to work we as readers have to sympathize with her.

While I had slightly mixed feelings after closing the back cover, I tore through this book in excellent time. I had difficulty putting it down and enjoyed the story. Giffin is a good writer and has a knack for spinning gripping tales that get to the heart of women's emotions.

1 comment:

  1. I've not read any of her books, but they do sound interesting. I may have to put "Where we Belong" on my growing list of 'to be read'.


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