Aug 30, 2011

The Weeknight Book Club: Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin.

After a long hiatus, The Weeknight Book Club returns.  I've just finished reading another Emily Giffin novel, Heart of the Matter.

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Heart of the Matter studies relationships and the way they change after a few years of marriage and a few children have made their mark on the carefree, impulsive and romantic individuals that met all those years ago.

Tessa is leading a comfortable upper middle class life in Boston as the stay at home wife of Nick, one of the city's best paediatric plastic surgeons.  Tessa gave up her academic career to devote herself to Nick and their two young children.  A decision that ocasionally plagues Tessa with guilt as her mother warned her to never do this and 'lose her self' for a man who may then take it all for granted and cheat (Tessa's parents divorced after her mother discovered her father's numerous affairs).  On top of this, Tessa is struggling to find herself in a new world of boisterous children and tennis playing mothers who gossip and lunch.  It becomes difficult for Tessa to know who her real friends in the group are as the mothers compete for places at private school and juicy gossip.

Valerie, on the other hand, is a single mother to Charlie.  She turned her life around by becoming a successful lawyer on completing a law degree at a prestigious university.  Charlie's father was a mediocre artist whose dreams were much more vivid than his talent and probably does not even know that he and Valerie have a child.

Their worlds collide through Nick.  Charlie's face is burned horifically in a sleep over accident and Nick is the surgeon who operates on him.  Tessa hears of the accident through the catty gossip of the ladies who tennis group.  She feel more compassion for Valerie than the woman whom all the ladies are siding with - a prominent society fixture who fears that Tessa will sue the family for what happened.
Nick takes a liking to Charlie over the months that he treats the boy in hospital.  Nick also befriends Valerie and innocent cups of coffee in the hospital cafeteria develop into dinners which then develop into 'house calls'. 

It is not long before Tessa is alerted of the affair and the lives of she, Nick and Valerie all begin to unravel.  A series of confrontations ensue and the novel ends with new beginnings for all three.
I'll be straight.  This was a well written chick lit novel that was easy to read and kept me turning the pages.  The narrative was well balanced between Tessa and Valerie without the sometimes annoying extremes that Rachel and Darcy were painted as in the Something Borrowed series.  Incidentally, Rachel is married to Dex who is Tessa's brother in this novel.

I found the ending satisfying.  It reflects the reality of long term relationships where no one is perfect and compromises are made however the reasons these compromises are made are never forgotten.  So life within the relationship is never quite the same again.  No matter what either party hopes or pretends.  This is probably the kind of chick lit you read when you're happy and secure about your own life and have overdosed on the details of Kim Kardashian's wedding and Beyonce's bump!


  1. I'm an Emily Giffin fan: I love Something Borrowed (please don't get me started on the film adaptation) and Something Blue. Her other two books - the protagonists annoyed me a little I have to say. I'll have to give this one a go.

    K xx

  2. Can I just say that I love a decent book review? Now go and see Senna, you'll love it ! x


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