I just finished Something Borrowed this morning. Finally.
One sentence summary: Mousey underdog woman steals her prettier, more successful best friend’s handsome fiance.
To elaborate: Rachel is a newly-30-year-old New York lawyer who leads a pretty plain life, at least when compared to her lifelong best friend Darcy, who appears to have all the luck in the world – beauty, a career she loves, and she’s engaged to Dexter, who the NYC business-casual version of Superman in Rachel’s eyes.
Spoilers abound from here on, just to be clear!
I feel like a failure as a woman for not enjoying it, but I also suspect I would feel like a failure as the woman I want to be if I had actually enjoyed it. I just can’t fully sympathize with a desperate wannabe 30-year-old, who is still richer than I’ll probably ever be, as she carries on an affair with her best friend’s fiance, all the while bemoaning her so-called lame life and lack of luck. I know I’m supposed to view Darcy as a materialistic bitch who thrives on making Rachel feel like crap, and is unfaithful on top of everything else, and as the “typical” American woman who is slightly soft around the middle and had to slog through college to get a job I don’t adore and never dated anyone especially romantic or glamorous, I know I’m supposed to root for Rachel, but I can’t.
Rachel is passive and weak and almost as spineless and self-serving as Dexter – I get it, they’re in love or something so that makes it all okay, but I can’t get behind some guy having his cake and eating it, too, by treating his fiance (whom he’s supposed to love) and his mistress (whom he supposedly loves) so poorly. The only character who seems to find fault with Dexter’s behavior is Rachel’s “actual” best friend, Hilary, and even she lets everything go when he finally calls off the wedding only a few days before and “love-making” (see: more vulgar synonym) away a 7 year long relationship.
It makes me irate because by the end, he claims to not feel any sadness or regret or to miss Darcy at all, yet he couldn’t bring himself to end it with her at any point in time over the summer, hm? Which means that he literally only stayed with her for sex, and then appearances. Such a stand up, honest guy, amIright?
Rachel slinks her away along, just allowing life to happen to her and then excusing her behavior through love, but mostly through this bizarre belief she clings to that she’s not doing anything wrong if she doesn’t dictate the events in her relationship with her best friend’s fiance, and her reliance on childish rules like “I saw him first,” and later “Darcy was twice was dishonest and disloyal.” Don’t even get me started on that one.
And if I had to hear about how thrilled Rachel was at the thought of Dex leaving Darcy for her, but then how simultaneously worried and sad she was about the possibility of losing Darcy’s friendship, I would have had to take an $800+ flight to England to just “get away” myself.
Throughout all of the plotlines that made me cringe so much, I also had to deal with the narrator’s numerous husky whispers. I guess the text calls for it, and I realize that if she had said half the things that made my skin crawl in a different way, it wouldn’t have made as much sense. But I still couldn’t stand her.
Anyway, although I clearly have a bone to pick with the moral content, the writing style wasn’t terrible, and it’s not as though it was marketed or suggested as some great piece of literature that would change the way I viewed the world and my place in relation to those struggling with any number of ailments. Obviously it’s chick lit. Obviously, it’s going to suck a little.