A room without a book is like a body without a soul - Cicero
To Be Read Soon!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
A powerful, provocative novel about marriage and motherhood, love and forgiveness.
Tessa Russo is a stay-at-home mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie-a boy who has never known his father. Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, they are strangers to one another and have little in common, aside from a fierce love for their children. But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined.
This is the moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most.
Being a huge fan of Emily Giffin's novels (well mostly just Something Borrowed and Something Blue) I was really looking forward to Heart of the Matter. Let me just say that I was kind of disappointed. It wasn't very fun and it took me so long to read it! But once I got over my disappointment (and myself, for that matter!) I was able to experience the beauty of it. (It did take me the time I would usually spend reading about 5 books, but whatever, I shall put that aside starting now).
Heart of the Matter was a heartfelt book that took me inside the workings of family and marriage, and Emily Giffin shows her amazing insight and writing abilities again, just dealing with more subdued subject matter. Which happened to not be my cup of tea. I did love, as I do in all of Giffin's books, the incorporation of past characters which is always welcoming and promises cohesiveness throughout seemingly stand-alone novels.
I would recommend this book to someone a little bit older than me, or someone who is married and can relate more to the theme of the novel. I can tell that the book is deep, emotional, insightful, realistic, and so very true, I just think it was not for me.
Spoiler Alert: Don't read past this point if you don't want to know specific book details!
The book did start off with some momentum, and I could tell just by the intricate style of Emily Giffin's writing that the book would ring true and be very soul-touching. But as I read on and realized that yet another one of Giffin's book would be about adultery in some form, I found myself forlorn and not really wanting to pick up the book.
The style of narration was good, I enjoyed living the lives of both women, and seeing their different interactions with Nick in all situations. This really gave me insight into the reality of affairs and family dynamic as a whole. And I felt that that theme was portrayed wonderfully and truly. I just really didn't relate to it.
The affair took me on such an emotional rollercoaster, always getting me to think in different ways. At first I loved the seemingly secure marriage that Tessa and Nick shared, but also found myself rooting for the love blossoming between Nick and Valerie, even though I have a very firm stance on adultery already. And then when things started coming to light with Tessa and Nick, I came to enjoy the denouement of the book, which really investigated the true relations in love, family, and life. I really do appreciate the messages that Heart of the Matter offers.
Overall, I think that Emily Giffin is a wonderful author and has the rare quality of just knowing exactly how to tug on one's heartstrings. She effectively creates a world that is so real. Whether she has experienced it or not, I don't know, but she always seems to write from someone on the inside of the story, and shares that with her audience, which I always appreciate. Family and marriage and love is never simple, and never as black and white as people think. This novel made me rethink things I was certain of before, and has changed me for the better :)