January 5, 2013

The Heart Remembers

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Release Date: July 2012
Publisher: Macmillan | St. Martin's
Pages: 372 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover
Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (from Goodreads)
Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. 

From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

Thoughts on Where We Belong
I don't know about you, but I figured out the connection between Kirby and Marian just from the cover blurb. I don't read Emily Giffin expecting a mystery, so I didn't mind knowing a little bit about what was to come in this book.

Where We Belong flashes between present day and some years earlier. We see Marian with her current love, Peter, and with her first love, Conrad. We also meet Kirby. About to graduate from high school, she's searching for something and believes she can find the answer with Marian.

The novel is narrated from both Marian and Kirby's perspective, and I do believe Giffin successfully transitioned between the two. They had unique voices and distinct personalities, which is a must if you are going to allow both characters to narrate.

I thought Marian was a typical Giffin heroine. She's smart and successful, but she also has the same sort of selfish streak that I often find in Giffin's books. It doesn't typically bother me too much - they are often realistic and relatable heroines.

In this case, I found myself questioning Marian's actions and wondering why she chose to handle certain things the way she did. Not because her choices seemed out of character - more because I couldn't always identify with her way of thinking. That's the only thing that made the book a little harder to get into. I did, however, really love Kirby. I thought it was smart to let her voice be a large part of the book because she was what pulled me in to the story.

The ending was a bit of a disappointment. I don't know for sure, but it certainly seemed like it was set up for a sequel. If a sequel isn't in the works, then I'd definitely say this is a bit of an unfinished ending. Still, Giffin does deliver good women's fiction, and I enjoyed the time I spend with these characters. I didn't love it, but it'd be great with some sun, sand and nice cold Diet Coke.

So Quotable
"Where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourself - a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that our heart remembers forever."

8 comments:

  1. I love Emily Giffin ... and I was happy with this one! I'm always intrigued by adoption books, but always find myself questioning the characters' actions as I'm reading. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense to me! I'm sorry you didn't like this one more. But great review! :)

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    1. Yeah, I love Emily Giffin, too! Even when I don't "love" one of her books, I still really like it. You know? Like this one wasn't my favorite but I still really enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to people who like her other books. And I find adoption stories fascinating too! I thought Emily handled that part well, even though I didn't find Marian entirely likeable.

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  2. Bah. I was such an Emily Giffin fan until some very strange drama this past summer that made me feel a little disappointed in her. Her last few books haven't done it for me, and I don't think I'm going to pick this one up. I'm really glad you read it + sort have solidified my current Giffin state. I'm hoping someone else can take Giffin's place in my chick-lit heart.

    A Diet Coke sounds so amazing right now, btw. (Also... still hoping they make a movie out of Something Blue? Wondering if that's still an option.)

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    1. I SO want them to make the Something Blue movie. I didn't love everything about Something Borrowed, but I still want to see the story finished. It seems like it's still an option, but I haven't heard anything recently and I know that the actors all have other projects going on right now. Who knows!

      And boo for drama! I don't think I know what you're referring to, but I'm not even sure I want to. Sometimes I try not to interact with or follow authors online so that they don't ruin my experiences with their books.

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  3. I have never read anything by this author! But I see her books all over the place!

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    1. Yeah, her books are all over the place! I've read all of her stuff, and I liked this one but it wouldn't probably be the one I'd recommend starting with :) I've loved some of her others more!

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  4. I've read most of Emily Giffin's books, but I honestly only really loved Something Borrowed and Something Blue. She's a good author, but I'm not always the biggest fan of her stories. This is a bit intriguing, but I'm still hesitant...

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    1. Yeah, I know what you mean. I loved Something Borrowed, Something Blue and Love the One You're With. The others have been good but not great reads for me. I think Emily is a talented writer - I usually just wish she didn't write about such selfish women. The stories usually revolve around choices I don't agree with which is the thing that makes it hard for me to love everything about her books.

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