Sunday Burgs book review
Reviewed by Alison M. Armstrong. She is a member of the Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library Board of Trustees and is collection management librarian at Radford University
Emily Giffin is the author of five bestselling novels including “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” and “Baby Proof.” Her latest book, “Where We Belong,” is, like her other books, a fun read. Marian Caldwell thinks she has her life all figured out. She has a wonderful, powerful boyfriend who is also her boss and she hopes he will eventually push aside his commitment issues, take the plunge and marry her. She is 36, the writer of a fairly popular TV show and, while not positive, she thinks she may want to have a child before she is too old.
One night in her Manhattan apartment there is a knock at the door. She thinks her boyfriend has returned after a spat, but instead it is someone from her past. You can probably guess who this young female, Kirby Rose, might be. But, I will let you be taken in by this story, engaged and waiting to see what will unfold as you learn about Marian and Kirby.
Kirby is an independent high school senior. She struggles with decisions about prom, college and the future she is embarking on. She also grapples with changes in her friendships and her life and faces an ethical dilemma.
Giffin gives each woman a voice and equal time telling their story by switching perspectives for each chapter. She lets the reader take turns hearing a side as she goes back and forth chapter by chapter, roughly concurrently in time. The span of time in the book is relatively short, but quite a bit goes on in those months.
These women are a generation apart so the reader may identify more with one than the other in some aspects of their lives. You may find yourself recognizing feelings of loss, betrayal, the awkwardness of high school, friendships, first loves, old loves, and hope for the future. Of course the list goes on and on: disappointment, regret, insecurity, courage, freedom and heartache to name a few more. It is all there.
The title leaves the reader guessing as they go along. Where who belongs? As you read, you will see a longing to belong and about belonging and, you will be touched. The chapters are relatively short and, like any good book, they never end cleanly. You will want to hear the other side and see what happens next. You will want to find out if it is too late to belong.
No matter how old you are, admittedly, you are likely female, but, whatever age you are, you will find connections to your life. If, however, you were listening to Pearl Jam in 1995 or were a fan of “Aiden” in Sex and the City, you will certainly make some connections.
Much of the book is about the past and the future. Halfway through, Marian muses, “Wondering if you can ever really go back to the way things once were.”
“Where We Belong” is a fantastic story and a hard novel to put down. Beware, you may be touched at unexpected times. A subtle meeting or an innocuous conversation may speak to you and your past or your hope for the future and where you belong.
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