by Emily Giffin
” I ripped out a page and wrote: “Steps to Becoming a Better Darcy.” I thought for a second, replaying Ethan’s speech. Then I wrote:
1. Go to an ob-gyn in London and prepare for motherhood!
2. Be more healthy, i.e., eat better, no caffeine or alcohol
3. Find some new girlfriends (no competing with them!)
4. Let my family know that I’m in London and that I’m okay
5. Get a job (preferably a “do-gooding” job)
6. Stop buying clothes (and shoes, etc.) and start saving money!
Then, because something still seemed to be missing, I threw in a catchall:
7. Refine my character (i.e., be more thoughtful, less selfish, etc.) “
Emily Giffin is a Queen in the land of chick-lit, whether she likes the title or not. Face it – when your novel is turned into a movie starring Kate Hudson, you have to admit that your book is one of those that is thrown in a beach bag with sloppy dog-eared page markers and smudged pages from greasy chip fingers. It’s a novel that will be passed around in a book club full of women drinking wine and spiked coffee on a lazy Saturday night somewhere in the MidWest, spending more time filling their glasses than speaking on the unforgettable nuances or unexpected plot twists of your latest story. Giffin’s books are never going to go down in history as “the next Great American Novel” nor will they ever be on any high schooler’s required reading list. Women read Emily Giffin while taking a bubble bath or sipping on a glass of red wine on a Friday night as they try to get over the fact that “he who must not be named” (and no, I’m not talking about Voldemort) hasn’t called, all while trying hard not to accept that he’s just not into her. While some authors will fight against their books being labeled “chick-lit”, I have always thought it best to simply accept and embrace the title, as these books always seem to be bestsellers, extremely mainstream, and future film scripts.
Something Blue wasn’t the one turned into a movie, however. It was Something Borrowed, Giffin’s first published work. The story follows Rachel, a solidly good girl who plays by the rules until she finds herself in the ultimate taboo – in love with her best friend’s fiancee. And what’s worse, he is in just as much in love with her. Darcy, the best friend whose shadow Rachel perpetually falls under, has always gotten everything she has ever wanted – by hook or by crook. Her flamboyant and bratty personality dwarf her best friend’s dreams and accomplishments and you truly don’t feel sorry that Darcy is losing her man. Dex (the fiancee) is the handsome and perfect-on-paper king to Darcy’s queen and while Darcy cannot wait to plan her perfect wedding, she’s having a hard time fitting in meetings with her wedding coordinator around secret sexual liaisons with Marcus, the groomsman she’s currently sleeping with.
Rachel and Dex fall in love – that real kind of love that comes around only once in a lifetime (if you’re lucky). They know it’s wrong. The readers know it’s wrong. I mean, stealing your best friend’s fiancee – no matter how annoying said best friend is or how willing said fiancee is to be stolen- is a big no-no in the world of girl code. But you root for them and you’re happy for them, and even though Darcy can be a pain in the rear, you hope she can find happiness too. I mean, if Rachel loves her, then you know that Darcy has some redeemable qualities.
Something Blue is where Darcy finds that happiness, in the most unlikely of places – in herself.
” I had nothing to say to that, so I just turned the tables right back on him and said, “I knew it all along.”
This was a total lie. I never in a million years could have foreseen this moment. The shock was too much to bear. But that’s the thing about the sucker punch; the sucker element hurts worse than the punch. They had socked it to me, but I wasn’t going to be their fool too.
“I hate you both. I always will,” I said, realizing that my words sounded weak and juvenile, like the time when I was five years old and told my father that I loved the devil more than I loved him. I wanted to shock and horrify, but he only chuckled at my creative putdown. Dex, too, seemed merely amused by my proclamation, which enraged me to the brink of tears. I told myself that I had to escape Rachel’s apartment before I started bawling. On my way to the door, I heard Dex say, “Oh, Darcy?”
I turned to face him again. “What?” I spat out, praying that he was going to say it was all a joke, a big mix-up. Maybe they were going to laugh and ask how I could think such a thing. Maybe we’d even share a group hug.
But all he said was, “May I have my watch back, please?” “
Spoiled Darcy is used to having it all and not having to work too hard to get it. She lives a glamorous lifestyle in one of the most prestigious cities in the world and she is adored by men (whether they belong to her or not is beside the point). But when she finds out her best friend, mousey little Rachel, has stolen her fiancee and worse – that Dex is actually in love with Rachel over Darcy and is leaving her veritably standing at the altar, she finds her world shaken. She’s not necessarily sad to say goodbye to Dex; more like she is embarrassed to have had the tables turned on her for once. The fact that she’s losing her picture perfect man to a woman she has never deemed true competition is a hard pill to swallow. To compound the problem, Darcy finds out she is pregnant, and if she’s quite honest, she is not sure who the father could be. Unfortunately no amount of denial will change the fact that she is about to become Darcy with a forever Plus One.
After obsessing over Rachel and Dex and their relationship so much that she has exhausted everyone around her, Darcy decides to flee New York to London and crashes into the world of her childhood friend, Ethan. Her plan is to transition her sparkling and amazingly lavish lifestyle from one impressive city to another, but reality soon slaps her in the face. Darcy does everything she can to avoid the real world and impending changes in her life, including falling into another relationship with another wrong guy. She cannot resist trying to fix her problems with all her old tools of the trade and mistake after mistake begins to take it’s toll on her formally indomitable spirit.
Soon enough, Darcy finds herself surprisingly disturbed as she begins to see herself through Ethan’s honest eyes and realizes that she has to change herself from the inside out if she has any hope of being a decent mother. In the brilliantly charming writing style of Emily Giffin, Darcy is slowly transformed and redeemed – with a lot of laughs and some heartache along the way. Darcy has to find a way to move on from spoiled socialite to nurturing mother, a path that is difficult for even the most skilled of women. Putting someone else first when you’ve always been the star of your own life is a difficult role to commence, and Darcy is finally ready to finish something she has begun.
” As I looked at the picture of us, I thought about everything that had happened between Dex and Rachel and me, deciding again that the cracks in our relationships had been a breeding ground for deceit. Dex and I had cheated on each other because we weren’t right together in the first place. Rachel betrayed me because our friendship was a flawed one. I lied to her about Marcus because of the same negative undercurrent — the unspoken competition that can corrupt even the best of friendships. That had ruined ours.
As much as I wanted to hold them responsible, I knew that I was not blameless. We were all accountable. We had all lied and cheated. But despite everything, I knew we were still good people. We all deserved a second chance, a chance to be happy. “
Something Blue is a great read for any lover of the chick-lit genre, and I suggest reading Something Borrowed first. There is also a prequel to Rachel and Darcy’s friendship before their tangled love triangle – The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone. But I will say, I enjoyed Something Blue much more than it’s counterpart – Darcy is obnoxiously snobby and full of herself, but the transformation is so endearing and I love it when you find yourself cheering for someone you previously didn’t think deserved it. I felt much more invested in Darcy than I did Rachel and the layers that had to be removed before she could truly find something pure and good in herself were fun to read.
” Love and friendship. They are what make us who we are, and what can change us, if we let them.”
If you read Something Blue and enjoy Giffin’s writing, I also suggest Baby Proof – my favorite of her novels. It chronicles the lives of a couple who upon marrying, mutually agree that they will never have children. The husband decides to change his mind and the couple split, leaving the wife in a serious bout of contemplation about her future as a mother. . . or as a single woman.