At long last, my weekly book reviews have returned. I am hoping to keep up a little better but as you all know, I have been very, very busy lately. This week however, I want to review one of my all-time favorite author’s latest piece of chick lit…The One and Only by Emily Giffin.
I really wanted to like this book and it was well-written, but somehow the story line fell apart for me, or I kept waiting for something to happen that never did.
In case you have not heard about this story it concerns main character Shea who has been obsessed with Walker College football all her life. Her own backstory is a little tragic and it makes sense that as a little girl, she developed a huge crush on her best friend’s father, who also happens to the coach if the afore mentioned football team. Over the years, he’s been a quasi-father figure to her and she’s always acted like he could walk on water. Naturally, she attended Walker and when the opportunity came to work for her idol, she took it.
In the One and Only, “Coach” is now widowed, causing all of Shea’s feelings for him to come to the surface. I would have been fine with this (a lot of Giffin’s fans have found the May-December romance thing a little weird) but I couldn’t help being annoyed at the main character and the fact that she seemed to have no life outside of this long, unrequited crush. Yes, there is a lot of football talk, and that didn’t bother me (other readers have not like that…but I will say Giffin does her homework and I marvel at her knowledge) but I couldn’t help wondering why this girl was so obsessed with Coach that she couldn’t imagine living her life or having her career anywhere other than the school where he coached. Loyalty is great, but the character, for me, bordered on one-dimensional.
The book also seemed hampered by subplots that, in my opinion, didn’t go anywhere and a main storyline that seemed obvious but took forever to get off the ground. Shea endures a strange, abusive relationship that was almost gratuitous, there is an NCAA investigation that never comes to a head and it takes forever to find out whether or not Coach Carr has feelings for her as well.
As much as I love Emily Giffin, and I DO love her work, lately I can’t help wondering if she has a lot of good ideas for her stories that somehow fall apart in the retelling. She is masterful at exploring relationships and feelings, and it is that skill that kept me enthralled by what I assumed would be a big, cataclysmic…something. However, in the end…I didn’t feel that The One and Only delivered. Borrow It.