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Book Review: All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

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The location is Nashville and the focus is on two very different families residing in two different sides of the track, so to speak.

Nina Browning is from a small town but is currently married to Kirk Browning, one of the richest men in town especially after a recent business deal. They have a son named, Finch (she loves Atticus Finch that much) and he is the typical wealthy family child who attends the town’s elite private school and has just received admission into Princeton. Nina seems uncomfortable with all the wealth and has recently started questioning who she has become amidst all this wealth.

Then there’s Tom Volpe, the overprotective single dad who is a carpenter living paycheck to paycheck and devotes most of his time to his daughter, Lyla who also attends the private school on financial aid. A party happens, compromising pictures are taken and spread around and suddenly everyone mentioned above is intertwined in some form while dealing with the repercussions of this infamous picture.

Emily Giffin is a chick-lit queen and is almost guaranteed for a quick, easy light-hearted read so that was my intent in picking this up. Also, I find the cover to be mesmerizing. It’s just a captivating blue that’s screaming “pick me up and read!”. But, I forget we live in a time where everyone is having a social issue awakening and as such, this book was no easy, breezy chick-lit. It had substance and a moral compass in it.

I liked how fully fleshed out the main characters were. The book is told from the pov’s of Nina, Tom and Lyla. Giffin goes back into each of their histories and provides enough material for us to know why these characters are the way they are and how they react to the incident, in present time.

Giffin also does a good job of portraying the teenage mind in the way she tells Lyla’s point of view. Any adult reading can expect Tom and Nina’s actions but I can see some head scratching when it comes to Lyla’s till you remember that she is still just 16 and really doesn’t know much yet.

I audio’d this and thought the narrators did a good job with this, although if you hate southern accents then you might want to skip that. I know I said this book was meatier than her usuals but it was still written with the light hearted vibe of her romantic novels. You don’t feel this heavy weight in your heart due to this writing style. But as a trigger warning, it does address various levels of sexual violation. A character is raped but the details are not mentioned at all; you just know that sex was had without the woman’s consent.

I enjoyed the book and would recommend it. Has anyone read it? Leave a comment!

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