Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The One and Only - Book Review

I've been highly anticipating Emily Griffin's next novel for a long time having thoroughly enjoyed most (but not all, I'm looking at you Baby Proof) of her previous novels. They are great fluffy summer reads to dive into; real page turners filled with stories and characters that keep you interested.

Unfortunately, this novel was a huge letdown for me. I intentionally didn't read too much about the novel in advance as I knew I was going to pick it up regardless of what it was about and wanted to be a bit surprised. I was. This was a novel chock full of football. Not my cup of tea right from the beginning, but  the endless football references of players and plays, past and present, first started to bore me, and then started to grate on my nerves. It was a novel much consumed with football in every way: it was set in the small football town called Walker, the main characters were all football lovers who could talk about nothing else, save the best friend Lucy who was the only voice of reason. Throughout the novel, Lucy and I were both screaming "Stop the football madness!!!" I mean, these people were most focused on the upcoming 'big game' than on their relationships with the people around them. When someone freaking dies I think you should stop asking about football for the length of the funeral, please.

(Depending on what you've read about the book, this paragraph may be a spoiler! Skip to the next paragraph if you're worried!)

The football love wasn't the only off putting thing in the story, the relationship between the main character, Shea, a Walker football obsessed 30-something and Coach Carr, the revered coach of the Walker team (practically Texas royalty) and Lucy, Shea's best friend's dafd, was certainly uncomfortable. Despite believing that age is just a number and love comes in many forms, this relationship was full of misses for me. It seemed too soon after his wife's death and Shea showed no regard for this fact, nor the fact that it was Lucy's father. Shea's love is also wrapped in childhood crush and myth in a way that feels like she is compensating for the missing father figure in her life. On Coach Carr's end, he basically raised Shea which definitely gives the whole thing a weird vibe.

All in all, I just could not get into the novel for these reasons and more. One of the most important things to me in a novel are the characters, specifically their depth, and their development. In The One and Only, the characters are hollow and one-dimensional. I just couldn't identify with them or their plights, especially in regard to their obsession with football. And that's saying something because this is coming from a huge soccer fan who understands loving a team and wishinghopingpraying they will win!

I would give this one a skip and next time I'm going to make sure the plot of the novel interests me before I pick it up!

Keep reading!

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