I’m having a good reading week. Finally.
I finally read, and enjoyed, The Hotel at Place Vendome: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Mazzeo. I’ve been trying all week to come up with a review that accurately portrays the book – I’ve scrapped three attempts so far.
After that I read The One & Only by Emily Giffin. I wasn’t sure what to expect because the last book of Giffin’s that I read left me feeling kind of “meh.” That was a number of years ago and I haven’t had the urge to read another of her books til now.
When I logged the book on Goodreads, I made the mistake of glancing at the reviews of the book so far. Lots of one star reviews. Even more grumbling about how it was like reading a bad episode of Friday Night Lights (a show that I’m currently taking down on Netflix). I wondered if I had made another poor book choice.
But I have to say, I really enjoyed this one. I liked that this book, a definite “chick lit” pick, was set in a small town in Texas instead of New York, London or LA. I liked that the main character didn’t work in PR or publishing but that it still had all the elements of classic chick lit: best friend in touch 5 times a day; a string of eligible and not so eligible men to date; a romantic dilemma enmeshed with tons of dramatic complications.
Shea Rigsby lives in Walker, Texas, a town obsessed with college football. Their team, headed by Coach Carr, happens to be one of the best in the NCAA. Shea has grown up as a surrogate sister to Lucy, Coach Carr’s daughter. When Coach Carr’s wife Connie, hugely popular in the community and the foundation of her family’s life, passes away suddenly everyone stumbles as they try to form an existence without her. Shea, a close friend of the family tries to juggle being there for her best friend Lucy in the aftermath with her growing realization that she’s not living the life she ought to be and working out her confusing romantic feelings for the aforementioned string of potential bachelors: Miller, the gym coach who’s a nice guy but can barely remember to pick up the mail every day; Ryan James, the star quarterback for “America’s Team” the Dallas Cowboys; and most conflicting of all, Coach Carr, recent widower and father of her best friend.
I would agree with some of the comments that the characters aren’t super well-developed. It’s a first person narrative that doesn’t delve too deeply into the psyches of the supporting cast. The rest of the characters kind of slot themselves into spots direct from central casting: bossy best friend, sexy older man, QB with emotional problems, absentee dad trying to make good etc.
But I liked the book for taking the genre in a new direction, for centering a romantic story on a girl who loves sports in a football crazy town. I liked that Shea was able to hold her own with the men in her world and even though the romantic story line between Shea and Coach Carr did make me a smidge uncomfortable (don’t get me wrong, I love me an older man. But her best friend’s dad?? Her surrogate father? Less than a year after his wife died? *shudder*) I liked the way Giffin worked through the story line.
I unapologetically enjoyed this one! If liking chick lit is wrong, I don’t want to be right!