By: Emily Giffin
Published Year: 2018
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was.
Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school.
Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenage girl, happy and thriving.
Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame.
At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning.
Oooo! A new Emily Giffin book!
What I thought
Majority of the time, I enjoy Giffin's novels, but I wasn't crazy about her last one. I was a little nervous to start this one, but the summary intrigued me and I'm glad I did!
Without going too much into the summary (as you can read it above), the best way that I can describe this book is if an author heard about the Stanford Rapist and became inspired to create a story around that type of person a privileged society.
This is one of the first books this summer that I have found hard to put down. I was pulling for Nina, who seemed to finally realize that she did not like the world she lived in, my heart broke for Lyla and Tom who struggled with fitting into a world they didn't belong, and I was grossly curious about Nina's son Finch.
There are a lot of big issues tackled in this book; drinking, rape, child pornography, racism, classism, sexism, I could go on and on. I felt that Giffin did a nice job of balancing those issues. She made them seem serious but without making it so difficult I couldn't read it. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of moments where I felt uncomfortable. I don't think that a book should discuss those topics WITHOUT making you feel uncomfortable. But sometimes, I can't continue with those subjects because they are too harsh, and this book didn't make me feel that way.
I liked the way that the story switched between everyone's perspectives. It would have been easy to dislike Lyla and think she was a spoiled brat if the perspective had just been from Tom (when he was angry and dissappointed in her). Or even to think of her solely as a victim, if the story had only been told from Nina's perspective. Instead, it truly showed her (and the other characters) as a whole individual. There is never one side to any story, and I liked being able to read how every was impacted by what was going on.