Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

Here is a summary of Heart of the Matter from Emily Giffin's website:

Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her mother’s warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life. 

Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie---a boy who has never known his father. After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance---and even, to some degree, friendships---believing that it is always safer not to expect too much.

Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children. But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined.

In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most. 

My Review:
I wasn't sure what to expect before starting to read Heart of the Matter by Giffin.  This is the first book I have read by this author and I think I stereotyped her as one of those fluffy romance creators, when this book turned out to be so much more.  Giffin puts us in the middle of a very unfortunate situation that spins out of control.

Tessa is one of our main characters who seems to have the perfect life with her plastic surgeon husband and two young kids. When she started to have children, Tessa decided to give up her career so she could focus on being a full-time Mom.  She loves her children but knows she falls short compared to the perfect neighborhood mothers that bring the perfect snacks to school and throw the ultimate kid parties.

Valerie is a single mom struggling to have a successful career and also be a good parent.  Her son Charlie attends a private school that is full of over-privileged children.  She doesn't believe in the lifestyles that most of the families from his school lead, but she finds a way to allow acceptance, knowing that Charlie needs to have friends.  When Valerie lets Charlie to spend the night at his friend's birthday party, she cannot foresee how events will spin out of control, and change her priorities and outlook on life.

I think many people may look at Giffin's books and feel that they are just fluffy women's fiction.  Personally, I felt this book was much more than that.  Giffin gave us a front row view of a very difficult situation from opposing perspectives.  After about the first seventy-five pages I admit that I didn't like where the story was going, but did not intend on putting the book down for any reason.  With themes of love, forgiveness, parenthood, and honesty, I think this book is going to make a great discussion for my book group and would also recommend it as a nice summer read.

My Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  This book came from my personal collection and I read it for my own enjoyment and as a book club selection.


bermudaonion said...

I've never read this author but thought her books were fluff too - maybe it's the titles? This sounds really good.

Anna said...

Glad to know her books aren't fluff. I have a few I bought at a library sale, but I haven't read them yet.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I've never read this author, but this story actually sounds like a good one I should try. Thanks for sharing.

Vicki said...

Another book to add to the TBR list!

Miss Remmers said...

I really enjoy Emily Griffin! I wonder how her books are on audio!

Miss Remmers said...


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