Synopsis: Shea’s comfortable life is thrown into chaos after an unexpected tragedy strikes the close college community in which she lives. Shea begins to question her life, and circumstances around her until she is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets.
Author: Emily Giffin once practiced law, but later decided to write full-time. She is the author of multiple popular books including Something Borrowed, Baby Proof, and Heart of the Matter.
Plot: The primary plot was our main character, Shea, lusting after the coach of the college football team she also works for. He is also her best friend’s recently widowed father, a man who in many ways was like another father to herself. She doesn’t even call him by name but rather “Coach.” At times the storyline made me downright angry with female sports writers and fans being marginalized; painted with the stereotype that we only watch sports to see the men…WRONG! This read like a terrible, rejected Friday Night Lights script (anyone else remember that show?).
Subplot: These were hardly paid attention to by the author and were largely forgettable. But what was most shocking is the handling of a subplot involving sexual assault perpetuated by the College’s former Quarterback, turned pro and Shea’s current boyfriend. Basically Coach explains it away by saying the girls in question were trashy and lying. Yes, that old “excuse.”
Pacing: It’s an understatement to say this book dragged on (and on, and on). Usually I can read one of Emily Giffin’s novels in an evening or, at most, two days. This one took the better part of two weeks. Many times I considered quitting, but it was like reading a train wreck and I was waiting for payoff— for the main character to smarten up and others to get their comeuppance—that never came.
Character Development: In a word? Terrible. There isn’t a single character I can point to and say “I really liked him/her.” I couldn’t relate to anyone of the characters on any level, and none possessed any redeeming qualities. They were one-dimensional with no clear direction.
Quote: So much of how we see the world is a matter of interpretation. A matter of wishing and wanting and hoping rather than really deep-down believing.
Verdict: From essays on topics I am interested in to biographies to mysteries… There aren’t many genres I won’t pick up. I always consider “Chicklit” to be a palate cleanser, something I read right after having finished a rather unsettling (emotionally or intellectually) book, and Giffin’s novels are usually a safe bet. However, this is not the case with The One and Only. It wouldn’t be out of line to say the quote I picked out is the only thing I liked in the whole book. It felt like the book was written by someone else entirely, and I expected so much better from this author. In case it isn’t clear by now, this is not a book I would recommend to anyone. Ever. Under any circumstances.