I’m not generally in the habit of reading chick-lit books, but I had been hearing good things about Giffin’s writing. So when I was casting about for a good audio read, I took a chance with this one, thinking it would be a mite different from my usual reads. I was pleasantly surprised. The audio version was preformed very skillfully by Jennifer Wiltsie, who had a frank and involving voice that lent itself nicely to nuance and captured the restrained intensity of feeling that Rachel always found herself mired in. It was an audio title that was easy and pleasant to listen to, and I blew through it pretty quickly.
Okay, so I have to admit that I’m not crazy about stories that feature infidelity as their main focal point, but for some reason, Rachel’s plight really won me over. I think most of this had to do with Giffin’s skill at making Darcy, the fiancee and friend from hell, such a flaming bitch. Darcy wasn’t only obliquely competitive, she was snide about it, and her path to supremacy over her friends is paved with lies, self aggrandizement and shameless self promotion. Oh, yes, and she was also supremely whiny and co-dependant. The only thing that stretched credibility for me was the fact that Rachael hung around for so long and put up with this nonsense. Darcy was that friend that you always feel slightly miffed about having to actually hang out with; the type of woman who is so dominant and pushy that she edges every female out of the room with the force of her vindictiveness and ill-humor. But she depends on Rachel even as she competes with her, and does and says some incredibly mean things to everyone around her.
Please don’t misunderstand and think that I’m trying to say that if you’re a big enough bitch, you deserve to be cheated on, because that’s not what I’m saying at all. In a perfect world, infidelity wouldn’t exist and people would have the cojones to just be honest and admit that things aren’t working or that they’re attracted to someone else. But this isn’t usually the way it works, and when someone gets itchy pants, they usually go a-hunting, much to the dismay of their partners. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t condone infidelity, but in this case, I could very clearly see why it was happening. There were a lot of factors to consider, and resentment, jealousy and spite were just the tip of the iceberg. There were also issues related to missed opportunity, lies and misdirection, all from some very surprising corners. In this way, Giffin manages not only to be relevant, but also believable. Rachel is not a tart looking to steal away her best friend’s man. In fact, she’s more of an unexpected catalyst between Dex and Darcy, which is one of the things that made this book so involving.
As the illicit affair lengthens and becomes something a lot more serious, revelations about all three parties are made and it becomes clear that there’s no real winner or loser in this triangle. There’s a point when things begin to derail and everything takes off in its own direction, good intentions notwithstanding. Of course, there are also a handful of other characters that were also very realistic and played their roles to perfection, but really, the main intersection was between the two women that loved Dex and the complicated web that ensnared both of them. At this point I must say that Dex wasn’t your typical horndog, which I appreciated. He had morals and scruples but at times he was a little bit of a wuss. I liked him, for the most part, but wondered how he ever got into such a tangle with Darcy to begin with!
This was a pretty solid book that I enjoyed more than I expected to. I think if I were to rate it as a chick-lit title, I would have to say it was a little more serious and less flippant, which is one of the reasons I think I enjoyed it so much. I would also recommend this one on audio, because Jennifer Wiltsie embodies Rachel beautifully and believably, and the audio moves by at a nice clip. Though this book has not totally convinced me that I need to dive right in to this genre, it was a pleasant diversion and a nice light snack of a read. Recommended.