Welcome to Round 1 of Literary Battles. Reading and writing are both constant battles for me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, but there’s always something to ruin the bliss: not enough time in my life for one or both of them, an author whose book doesn’t go the way I want it to, some Hollywood producer that “Hollywood-izes” my favorite book, a character that I hate or love to hate, cutting my favorite scene even though I know I must… And so it goes. Maybe you’ve had some of these battles, too. If so, come along for the ride and help me pick a side! If not, just grab some popcorn and watch the show, thankful that this isn’t you!
How can I battle a book? Don’t all writers love books? We love them so much we have to write them ourselves. Especially, how could I battle one with such a pretty gerbera daisy on it? (That’s just a pretty picture. It’s not the actual book I’ve battled.) Well, occasionally there is a book that drives me to drink (thus the wine glass). And unfortunately, I found one recently.
It’s not often that I encounter a book I don’t want to finish. I’ll usually stick it out for any number of reasons. Often I’m simply curious about the ending, even if I’m not enamored of the story. I’m a hopeful romantic, too, so there’s always hope inside me that I might be pleasantly surprised. Plus there’s the stubborn part of me that never wants to be defeated; so I’ll show that book that no matter how bad it is, I will still keep reading.
But this book is in a league of its own. Sports pun intended (for those of you that know the story). I loved the first two books I read by Emily Giffin (Something Borrowed and Something Blue). When I saw that she had written a story about a girl who loves football, my sports-loving self and inner Friday-Night-Lights fan jumped at the chance to read it.
Day one went pretty well. I loved all the sports knowledge the main character Shea possessed. I could relate to her love of sports and her desire for something better in life than what she had accomplished so far. Several days later, a few things began to annoy me. For example, her best friend’s dad, the Coach Taylor (Friday Night Lights reference) of this novel’s town, called her “girl” everytime he saw her. Like, “Hey girl, how’re you doing?” Hey girl? I tried to imagine any of my friends’ dads doing that, and I came up empty. And Shea’s knowledge of football stats started to become a bit annoying. I mean, she was on a date with a hot Cowboys quarterback and she called her best friend’s dad to discuss Heisman Trophy winners? Whaaat?
Which lead to the fear that hunkered down and rooted itself in my mind every time I then began to pick up the book to read: Is she going to…No, she can’t…but it seems like she’s going to….Ahhh, noooo, there’s no way….Or is there?
I couldn’t even voice the thought, it was that preposterous and disgusting and just downright wrong. But as I read more and more, it really seemed possible. (You see, even here, I haven’t told you what I was thinking yet. It’s like it’s so awful, I still can’t verbalize it.) I didn’t want to invest myself in 400+ pages only to discover my worst fear come to life. So I finally asked a friend who had read the book.
Me: “Um, in that book The One and Only, does Shea, the main character, end up getting together with… (long pause)…her friend’s dad, the coach?”
And with that…I said no more. I officially stopped reading the book. I cannot in my wildest imagination ever imagine any scenario where I would fall in love with my best friend’s dad. I cannot imagine that for any other person either. Gross. Disgusting. And just not realistic.
So, goodbye Emily Giffin. At least for now. I’m going to read Create Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino now. There shouldn’t be anything gross about this book. I hope.
Did I overreact? Have you read Giffin’s book? What do you think? Whose side are you on?