First Comes Love | Emily Giffin
My first note about this book: Does Emily Giffin specialize in making unlikable characters?! Not exactly the feeling you want to get off the bat from a book you're reading. I LOVED her early books: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof... enjoyed the next few... but by the time her most recent book rolled around, I really thought I had grown away from liking Emily Giffin. (It was on my TBD list for June). Happily, I enjoyed First Comes Love.
First Comes Love opens quickly and starts with tragedy. The family experiences and immense loss, and part two of the novel picks up fifteen years later. We become introduced to sisters Meredith and Josie who of course could not be more unlike. Meredith is the sister that has always "done the right thing"- married the perfect man, and the career, had the perfect child. Josie is the wild child who was often seen as selfish and dramatic. Now that she is getting older she wants a child of her own, despite not being in a relationship with anyone. The tragedy is mentioned quite a bit and what happened understandably changed the course of the family members' lives.
Strengths: I liked the juxtaposition between the two sisters. That said, it was so extreme on both ends, it bordered on ridiculous. For example, Meredith became so obsessed with having the perfect life and perfect family she wasn't able so see that she was breaking down. Josie was flip and a lot of her decisions seemed to be driven by a desire to contradict Meredith. I also love to think about what might have been. That which might have been was a big theme in this book, and it's interesting (and also terrifying) to think about how things can change in an instant. Finally, I liked that the book talked a bit about modern families and that Josie wanted to be a mother on her own.
Weaknesses: The characters were often parodies of themselves. Again, I couldn't stand the sisters during the beginning of the book but came around to Josie toward the end. I still don't like Meredith. The plot also hinged on an event that I think the author wanted us to take a lot of stock in... but I didn't buy it. With all that the family has gone through in the last 15 years, I had a hard time buying that this one event would nearly break apart the family.
Overall, better than her most recent books. Unlikable characters, but still an entertaining read. Rating: 3.5/5