I don't know why I read Emily Giffin books. I go away from every single one of them thinking Giffin herself must not be a very good person. It's not that she infuses infidelity in almost everything. It's the added layer of betrayal. We saw it in Something Borrowed. It wasn't enough for Dex to cheat on his fiancée, he had to so with her best friend. Giffin also does this thing where she makes the cheating or betrayal totes okay because the person cheated on or betrayed is a Certified Bad Human. It's just . . . icky.
That said . . . on to The One and Only.
I picked this book up for two reasons: one, it was in the clearance bin and Barnes and Noble and I cannot resist that clearance bin, and two, college football is the running theme through the book. HELLO!
The One and Only tells us the story of Shea Rigsby. She was raised in Walker, Texas, a fictional town described between Dallas and Waco. Walker lives and breathes by the Walker University football team, rival to non other than the University of Texas Longhorns. Shea's best friend is Lucy, daughter to Walker's head football coach, and the girls were practically raised together. Shea shares the town passion for all things football, attended Walker University, and works there as a thirty-something. Her world is shook when Lucy's mother passes away. Shea suddenly realizes that the life she's living isn't enough for her and she wants more.
Okay, so, first let's talk the good.
I was hesitant about whether or not Giffin could pull off the real vibe of football in the south. It's a straight up religion in these parts and I'm not sure people who don't live and breathe it every day really get it. Giffin does a pretty damn good job of capturing that vibe. As a college football fan, I'll absolutely give her props as far as that's concerned.
I didn't like or agree with all of Shea's choices but I kinda liked the character. She's my kinda girl: loves football and dive bars. And when she's in those dive bars, she's drinking Blue Moon and PBR. No chardonnay for this girl.
Now, what I didn't care for so much.
For starters, Walker University is in Texas and their biggest rival is UT Austin. So, of course, you think they're in the Big XII right? No conference is mentioned but they end up playing - in addition to Texas - Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State as well as Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M (all SEC schools), Florida State (ACC), and Stanford (PAC-12) as well as a couple schools from lesser conferences. I mean, if Giffin was going to insert them into a fantasy conference then it should've just been named. I realize this is BEC of me but I'm going to put on my "football fan hat" and call it for what it was: sloppy.
Now that we have that out of the way . . . the whole story is just not something very likely to happen. It seems kind of forced and, once again we have a betrayal. Two really. Shea conducts an emotional affair with one man while in a relationship with another (and, true to Giffin's M.O. this is all swept under the rug because her boyfriend had some major flaws). And Shea betrays her best friend Lucy, though she does rectify this by the end of the book.
My biggest issue, though, was that Giffin broached the subject of sexual assault by a college football player. And both characters discussing the incident kind of chalked it up to "well, there's no way he would do that." I understand that this is something that happens and happens way more often than it should (not just the actual assaults but the reactions to them.) However, I would've really liked to have seen it handled differently, not just glossed over in such an "oh well" type of way.
If you happen to be a Giffin fan and don't think she's a terrible person to the core, go ahead and pick this one up. If you're not, leave it in the clearance bin.