I first read Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed several years ago.  In celebration of the movie coming out this weekend, I decided to re-read it before I go see the film.

Rachel and Darcy have been best friends since childhood.   Rachel’s always been the good girl, overshadowed by Darcy’s confidence and stunning looks. Darcy throws Rachel a thirtieth birthday party and at then end of the night, Rachel sleeps with Darcy’s finace, Dexter. While Rachel feels terrible for betraying her best friend, she also realizes that she truly cares for Dex and the story unfolds from there.

Something Borrowed was Giffin’s debut novel, but right away, she brings an intricacy to the plot that many other books that are also classified as chick lit often lack. Rachel could be any of us. Some of us could be Darcy.  Most of us have said, relative to some circumstance, “I could never….”  In this case, it is “I would never be the other woman/cheat with my friend’s boyfriend/have an affair.”  Yet Giffin shows us that in reality, there are no moral absolutes.

After all, Rachel is a nice person. Sure, she’s a bit jealous of Darcy, and has her own insecurities, but who doesn’t? She’s always been a loyal friend, often stepping to the sidelines as Darcy choreographed their friendship. Rachel doesn’t consciously seek out Dex to fall in love with him.  But things happen, and Rachel finds herself in love with the last person she expected, in the worst possible circumstance.  How many of us would be so quick to turn down true love even if it comes at the expense of a social taboo and the destruction of a friendship?  Life is messy.

What Giffin does so well is show the conflicting emotions of her characters. Rachel is both elated and miserable to find herself in love with Dex. Like any of us, she starts out trying to justify her situation.  It forces her to take a good, long look at her friendship with Darcy. Rachel must decide exactly what she’s willing to hold onto in her life, and what is worth risking for true happiness.

I’ve been a fan of Emily Giffin’s since Something Borrowed because of the foundation she sets in this book: Relatable characters in untenable situations who react humanly and realistically to their circumstances.