SOMETHING BORROWED by Emily Giffin focuses on Rachel, a 30-year-old single lawyer living in New York City. Rachel has a best friend from way back, Darcy, who is getting married to a law school friend of Rachel's named Dex, with Rachel as her maid of honor. At the beginning of the book, Rachel and Dex spend the night together, and thus begins the tale of the unrequited love of Rachel and Dex.
The two of them agree to keep their one night a secret from Darcy, who has a few secrets of her own. Rachel even tries to date Dex's friend, with no real success. Rachel takes turns feeling guilty and justifying her actions by remembering all the past wrongs that Darcy had done her. There has been a long history of Darcy stealing boys from Rachel, copying her clothes and not being a very good friend to her. Deep down, though, Rachel knows that this does not excuse her actions. She longs for Dex to tell Darcy the truth so that he can begin a legitimate relationship with Rachel. After months of secret meetings and postponing any serious talks, Rachel delivers Dex an ultimatum: call off the wedding, or their love affair is over.
This novel is similar to THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA and "Sex and the City." Rachel is a realistic protagonist who readers will end up caring about. Giffin could have easily made Dex into nothing more than a glorified pig, but he is honestly torn between two women. Darcy is a little harder than Rachel to like, but she is the epitome of the driven New York City businesswoman. The interactions among these three main characters are realistic and interesting. There is an element of suspense as to what will end up happening between Rachel and Dex, and whether or not Darcy will find out about their affair.
SOMETHING BORROWED addresses the societal viewpoint that there must be something wrong with a woman who is still unmarried at the age of thirty, and Rachel accurately feels that pressure. While attending a friend's baby shower, Rachel almost feels apologetic for not having married or raised a family, and the other shower guests seem to think that she is in a different class than themselves. This is a realistic situation that women face in today's society.
Giffin's writing style is excellent, and she has a good grasp on characterization. In a growing market, she will stick around for quite a while.
Reviewed by Melissa Palmer on January 23, 2011