Life Lived Out of Order
In this new novel by Emily Giffin, the Garland family is shattered when their only son, and all around golden boy Daniel, is killed in a senseless car accident. The story follows the lives of the two remaining Garland children, Josie and Meredith, as they make their way through life, dealing with their brother’s death in decidedly different ways. The book focuses mainly on the months leading up to the fifteen year anniversary of Daniel’s death, as both Josie and Meredith begin to take stock of their lives, and each discover that they are lacking some essential ingredient for happiness. Although their lives are very different, each sister is able to trace the source of their unhappiness back to the aftermath of the accident, and how they dealt with it.
Meredith found herself sucked into a relationship with Daniel’s best friend Nolan, whom she wound up marrying mainly because she knew how pleased it would make her family. She notes that her relationship with Nolan was like the silver lining of a tragedy…a very beautiful sentiment, but not something to base a marriage off of. Meredith is left wondering if the right type of love really came before marriage, or if she made a terrible mistake in walking down the aisle. And although she would never admit it, she seems slightly envious of Josie’s much more carefree lifestyle…even if that is what she constantly criticizes about her unpredictable sister.
Josie meanwhile, has suspicions about the role she may or may not have played in Daniel’s accident, which makes her unable to have a real relationship; she simply doesn’t think she deserves one, and so she tends to push away any men with real potential. She subsequently finds herself staring 40 in the face, still single, and with no child. She criticizes Meredith’s unhappiness because she has a hot husband and an adorable daughter, a life that has been lived in the perfect order…which is all she wants for herself. But, since there is no man forthcoming, she embarks on a quest to get pregnant using donor sperm. This decision results in plenty of hilarity as she tries to choose between her male best friend, and a guy she met on Match.com, to play the role of sperm donor. For Josie, life is definitely being lived out of the traditional order, but she may have just enough chutzpah to pull it off!
This book was enjoyable in the ways that most Emily Giffin books are. It was witty and fun, with healthy doses of drama and mayhem built in. The characters were original and quirky, but also very relatable; they all fit together perfectly, to make for a very readable story. The single caveat I need to mention, is for women who have dealt with infertility and the frustrations of IUI…one part of the story may enrage, or at least miff, you. Without giving too much of a spoiler, just know that some of the fertility clinic scenes and results are highly unrealistic. Other than that slight hiccup (which is really only based on my opinion), this is a fun and emotionally involving book, that I would recommend equally to staunch Emily Giffin fans, and to those who are new to her work. Preorder a copy of this book, you won’t be sorry!
Meghan is a coffee connoisseur, devoted milspouse, and exhausted momma to a three year old daughter and three dogs. She enjoys hiking, glamping, and traveling. You are mostly likely to find her reading good books in a hammock with a view of the ocean or mountains.