First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Josie and Meredith are sisters with an often antagonistic relationship. Older, impulsive Josie is single and seems to approach life head-on. Meredith, a married lawyer with a four-year-old daughter is more cautious and often annoyed by what she sees as her sister's antics. Josie, a first grade teacher, wants to find a man and settle down, but she wants to become a mom more than anything. Meanwhile, Meredith feels restless and trapped in her marriage, plagued by doubts and insecurities. Meredith and Josie lost their older brother in a tragic accident: an incident that influences and affects their entire family, even after fifteen years. With the anniversary of Daniel's accident looming, Josie and Meredith have to face their painful past, for once and for all.
This was a difficult book, but one I really enjoyed. I will warn you up front: neither Josie nor Meredith is a particularly likeable character. However, they were, at least to me, relatable, which is key. Their flaws are human and ones we can spot in ourselves and those around us. This book particularly hit home to me as a very real portrayal of how families deal with with loss and grief. Giffin did an excellent job of showing how Meredith, Josie, and Daniel's parents and close friends were still so affected by his passing after fifteen years. This will hit home to others in similar situations, grappling with the guilt and grief that comes with losing someone you love.
The book isn't always easy to read because of this, but I do think it's worth it. There are some comedic moments in there as well. Still, sometimes it's good to read about real life and to see it portrayed so realistically and clearly. The characters are flawed, but vivid and real and you become invested in their lives. Their tangled web is a twisted one, but it's one you want to see them emerge from. By the end, I found myself smiling and feeling at peace; I had really become caught up in these characters' lives, which I feel is the sign of a good book. It's not the tense sort of novel I'd like to read all the time, but this one resonated with me.
I received a copy of this novel from Netgalley (thank you!); it is available everywhere as of 06/28/2016.
Emily Giffin's "The One & Only" was one of my favorite books of 2014 - you can read my review here.
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