Friday, May 21, 2010

Review: "Heart of the Matter" by Emily Giffin

I'm pretty proud of myself: I waited two whole days before going out and buying Emily Giffin's latest, Heart of the Matter. It took a superhuman effort not to pre-order it, but my library had a copy on order, and I was trying to wait to buy it until it came out in paperback (my preferred format). Hubby saw me looking longingly at it on Amazon, though, and told me to buy it for myself as a late Mother's Day present. It didn't take much convincing, and I made a happy trip to the bookstore the next morning.

I've loved Emily Giffin's books since I first picked up Something Borrowed. Something Blue quickly became my favourite book of hers, and Love the One You're With and Baby Proof were good, but not as good as I had hoped. However, Heart of the Matter is, in my opinion, her best book to date. The subject matter is not as light as her previous books, but the depth of emotion and the skill with which she writes is incredible.

I'm going to be deliberately vague when describing this book, since the publisher's description is as well. Part of what made this book so compelling was discovering the various details of the plot on my own, and not having someone spoil it for me ahead of time. What I will say is that Heart of the Matter is written from the viewpoints of two very different women: Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and married to a skilled pediatric surgeon. She has recently quit her job so that she can stay at home and focus on being a mom, but her decision has left her with a vague dissatisfaction. Valerie Anderson is a single mother to six-year-old Charlie, as well as an attorney. She's fairly satisfied with her life, but can't shake the feeling that something is missing. One night the lives of these two women intersect, and nothing will be the same for them again. (And for those who are wonderding, yes, Rachel and Dex do make a guest appearance!).

As I mentioned, Heart of the Matter is one of Emily Giffin's best books to date. She conveys such emotion with her words- at parts of the book I literally gasped out loud, finding it almost painful to continue reading the story. I felt as though I was experiencing the things that the characters were; that's how involved I was.

Giffin also takes a difficult situtation, one where there is not a wrong or a right answer, and tries to present two views without ever choosing sides. Women will sympathize with both main characters despite themselves. I had a favourite viewpoint, given the choices I've made in life, but towards the end I felt sympathy for the other character as well. Now that's powerful writing!

It's hard to review a book and remain vague, but I really don't want to give anything away. Giffin takes a story that has been done before and adds a fresh spin to it, resulting in a compelling read that you'll think about even after you've read the last page. In short: I loved it, and highly recommend it to any woman, even those who are not fans of Giffin's previous work. Heart of the Matter takes things to a whole new level.

Rating: Easily 5 stars out of 5
Recommended to: Women, mothers, fans of chick lit and women's fiction
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, 2010 Chick Lit Challenge, RYOB Challenge 2010


  1. cool. i'm excited to read it. i still need to get a copy.

  2. I am so excited to read this one - I bought it from B&N on Thursday - can't wait to get to it!

  3. Two whole days! I love it! I really like Giffin as well - definitely on my TBR list!

  4. ANd good news for you Jonita! You've won the copy of Afer You by Julie Buxbaum on Manic Mommy!! Please email me your address asap and Julie will mail it to you! Remember I am moving THIS WEEK so if you can email me your address by MONDAY, we can make sure you get your book ... email me at! Thanks and congrats! Steph

  5. Oops, this was from Manic Mommy in case you weren't sure!

  6. I absolutely loved this book. Is there anything else you've read that is similar to Heart of the Matter? I couldn't wait to purchase this book since I am a fan of Emily's and I was not disappointed!