Emily Giffin is the author of The Heart of the Matter, Love the One You’re With, Baby Proof, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue. Her novels aren’t considered great literature – it’s what you would call “chick lit”, but I own all five of them and find them not only readable, but re-readable.
Why I love Emily Giffin:
- Her writing style. Her prose is simple and easy to read, much like having a conversation, and yet she can use yummy words with panache. She describes people, especially their actions, with astute little details that bring them superbly to life. Her dialogue is bang-on. And sometimes, she crafts a sentence that cuts to the core of an emotional moment in a way that takes my breath away.
- Her characters. They are incredibly real, multifaceted people who do sweet things and funny things and stupid things, and have quirks that make you feel like they’re your friends. And it’s fun hanging out with ’em.
- Her settings. She favours Manhattan, but also covers Boston, London, Atlanta, etc. She’s apparently unafraid of dating herself, so she makes frequent references to real places and people and current affairs – and you become immersed. Also, though I’ve never owned anything by Gucci, Versace, or Jimmy Choo (and surely never will), I know vicariously about fashion through certain characters.
- Her plot lines. Also very simple, real situations, where people make mistakes and mess things up in ways you can fully imagine, and they don’t always have fully resolved, unequivocally happy endings. I’m not sure how Emily manages to write stories that are completely realistic but somehow still so satisfying and escapist… but she does, and I like it.
- Her age. She is only six years older than I am, and her characters are at a similar stage of life. I can relate to all the things they go through, including memories of youth in the 80s. I think it’s kind of like how my mom feels about Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye – it’s great to have those reading moments where you go, “Oh yeah! I was there! I did that too!”
- Her updates. She must have known we were wondering about how Dex, Rachel, Darcy, and Ethan from her first two novels were doing – and she was kind enough to weave bits of their news into the plots of her later books. That… is just awesome.
- Her grammar. She knows the difference between “I” and “me” and how to use them. One of her characters is even a book editor and explains that very rule – earning her a whole bunch of points from this nerdy grammar maven.
- Her website. Her bio consists of a timeline that is full of photos and includes events such as writing her first book (The Funny Pandas and the Messy Room, written at age 5 or 6), her first kiss, and her mastery of the Moonwalk. SO GREAT.