Book Review - Jackie K Cooper
FIRST COMES LOVE by Emily Giffin
It has been two years since we last had a novel by Emily Giffin. That is much too long to be deprived of the amazing talents of this enchanting writer. Now at last the wait is over and Giffin's new novel FIRST COMES LOVE has been released. The bad news is it took so long; the good news is it is worth the wait.
Giffin does not write trivial books. Her stories are deeply affecting and intellectually challenging. Her newest story is a prime example of these traits. In this book we deal with a tragedy within the Garland family. Daniel, the only son of the Garlands is killed in a car accident leaving behind his father, mother and two sisters to deal with their grief. Each deals with it in a unique way and each member of the family's life is affected to some extent.
Fifteen years after the accident the parents are divorced and Daniel's sisters Josie and Meredith are plodding through life. Josie is an elementary school teacher who is in her late thirties and unmarried. Her biological clock is ticking and suitable candidates for marriage are nowhere on the scene. Her best friend and roommate is a guy named Gabe and there are no romantic sparks between them. Josie is on the verge of giving up dating for good.
Her sister Meredith always wanted to be an actress but ended up going to law school. She sort of stumbled into it much the same way she stumbled into her marriage to Daniel's best friend Noland. They have a daughter Harper they adore and Nolan has begun to suggest it is time for child number two. Meredith seems to have it all but down deep she knows it is not enough.
There are enough relationships in this novel to fill five other books but each one is pertinent to the story and each one is developed in a way as to be completely fulfilling. Plus each relationship impacts all of the other relationships directly or indirectly. Kudos to Giffin for it takes a talented and resourceful writer to create a wealth of characters and have them all be fully described for the reader to understand and enjoy.
At its heart FIRST COMES LOVE is a story about sisters. Josie and Meredith aggravate each other like no one else can, yet no one else can love and understand the other as they can. Their relationship is complex but rewarding which is also an apt description of the book.
Two years is too long to have to wait for a new Emily Giffin book but FIRST COMES LOVE brings her back with a vengeance. Tales of sisters have been at the core of other great novels but Giffin turns that relationship upside down and makes her view a fascinating one.
FIRST COMES LOVE is published by Ballantine Books. It contains 400 pages and sells for $28.00.
Jackie K Cooper