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All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin





Every time Emily Giffin releases a book I'm not quite sure how she can top her last - but she does.
Every. Dang. Time. 

Here's what I love about her work, she's not afraid to tackle relevant issues or messy relationships and does so with great finesse with her approachable, easy to relate to writing style. Her previous work has always been page turning prose that takes on social issues, delves into familial drama or navigates tricky relationships - but I'm not sure I've read another book by her that is as timely, powerful and emotionally charged as All We Ever Wanted.

Nina Browning has everything she could ever want. She belongs to Nashville's elite and uber-wealthy Belle Meade community, her son Finch is a star student at an elite prep school and is headed to Princeton and her husband Kirk is a successful businessman and devoted father.

Tom Volpe's life is a little less glamorous. By day he works a blue collar job as a carpenter, and by night drives Uber on the side. He hasn't been lucky in love and money is tight, but he makes enough to get by. He's a single dad - doing the best he can to provide for his daughter, Lyla.

Then an obscene photograph of a passed out girl at a party, complete with blatantly racist caption surfaces. The girl is Lyla and the photo originated from Finch's phone.

Nina and Tom find themselves in uncharted territory as parents, navigating what happened that night and questioning everything they thought they knew about their kids, parenting, ethics and those around them.

In a post Weinstein, #MeToo era - I think that many readers will find this book to be an incredibly relevant commentary on race, sexism, elitism, social class and a parent's approach to all of the above. It's a novel that is easily digestible, accessible and thought provoking that will resonate with Ms. Giffin's demographic. This isn't to say that there aren't a few weaknesses - I for one, really felt that the last 25% of the book was rushed and wish that the conclusion would have been a little more satisfying. I wanted a little more gumption from certain characters, but at the end of the day this is not my novel. These are not my characters. More importantly, I think what this book does really well is pose the question - "What would you do?" And to me, I think that exploration is really the point of this book.


Well done, Ms. Giffin, I can't wait to read what you come up with next!

Thank you, Random House / Ballantine Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy for review.
All opinions are my own.

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1 comment

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