Book Review

HEART OF THE MATTER
by Emily Giffin

Genre: Mainstream

RT Rating

Heart-wrenching, gut-churning and guaranteed to make you uncomfortable. Watching these relationships collide feels as real as watching a car crash. The story alternates between the two women's points of view and the feelings of guilt and betrayal are so well crafted, they'll sit heavy in the pit of readers' stomachs for weeks after they finish the story.

Beautiful suburban mom Tessa Russo gave up her career as a professor to raise the two children she has with her perfect doctor husband, Nick. A pediatric plastic surgeon, he is called in when a 6-year-old boy suffers massive burns in an accident. Spending so much time with the boy -- and with his mother, Valerie, a single attorney -- causes him to fall head over heels into the case and then, the family. Nick and Valerie try to fight their feelings, but ultimately embrace them. However, when Tessa learns of the affair, the story truly begins. (ST. MARTIN'S, May, 368 pp., $15.00)

Reviewed By: Whitney Kate Sullivan

Publisher: ST. MARTIN'S

Published: May 2010

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Amazing book, hard to put down

Submitted by cwfulcher on June 23, 2010 - 2:49pm.

As is typical with a Emily Giffin novel, I have had emotions that have run the entire spectrum with this book. I have been angry, sad, happy, and anything in-between. I also have to say this is an eye-opening honest look at marriage that is completely relevant to today when women (and men) are taxed to the extreme and always trying to meet someone else's idea of what is perfect.

When I was about halfway through this book I didn't want to like it, in fact it partially depressed me and partially incited me to anger. But I kept going because like a train wreck, I wanted to see what happened. I'm glad I did. Emily Giffin's books seem to deal with infidelity a lot, and this one is no different. As the story continues I was made to think about life and marriage and how marriage is not about one person's happiness but about both, and about how much work a marriage is. No I don't think Ms. Giffin condones infidelity, but I think she makes us explore the whys of human nature and she does it in a way that makes you think and makes you not want to put the book down.

As this book was told from Tessa and Valerie's points-of-view, I spent time really liking and really disliking both of them. What I did really like was I could empathize with both of them. I think Ms. Giffin does an excellent job showing this explosive issue from all sides from all three parties involved (though less from Nick's but by the end we do learn more about what he is going through). This is not a gentle, happy-go-lucky story, but I didn't expect that. What I got from this was more than I can even explain. A lot of meat is packed into this book and while being a heady subject, the book never drags. You will find yourself wanting to know what happens next. I also really liked how Ms. Giffin interweaves the characters by coincidence reminding us that it really is a small world.

Overall, an amazing story that will not leave me any time soon. It has actually been a jumping off point for discussions with my husband as well so I think it is an excellent book that hits home with a lot of us (even if there is no infidelity in our lives).

As is typical with a Emily

Submitted by cwfulcher on June 23, 2010 - 2:48pm.

As is typical with a Emily Giffin novel, I have had emotions that have run the entire spectrum with this book. I have been angry, sad, happy, and anything in-between. I also have to say this is an eye-opening honest look at marriage that is completely relevant to today when women (and men) are taxed to the extreme and always trying to meet someone else's idea of what is perfect.

When I was about halfway through this book I didn't want to like it, in fact it partially depressed me and partially incited me to anger. But I kept going because like a train wreck, I wanted to see what happened. I'm glad I did. Emily Giffin's books seem to deal with infidelity a lot, and this one is no different. As the story continues I was made to think about life and marriage and how marriage is not about one person's happiness but about both, and about how much work a marriage is. No I don't think Ms. Giffin condones infidelity, but I think she makes us explore the whys of human nature and she does it in a way that makes you think and makes you not want to put the book down.

As this book was told from Tessa and Valerie's points-of-view, I spent time really liking and really disliking both of them. What I did really like was I could empathize with both of them. I think Ms. Giffin does an excellent job showing this explosive issue from all sides from all three parties involved (though less from Nick's but by the end we do learn more about what he is going through). This is not a gentle, happy-go-lucky story, but I didn't expect that. What I got from this was more than I can even explain. A lot of meat is packed into this book and while being a heady subject, the book never drags. You will find yourself wanting to know what happens next. I also really liked how Ms. Giffin interweaves the characters by coincidence reminding us that it really is a small world.

Overall, an amazing story that will not leave me any time soon. It has actually been a jumping off point for discussions with my husband as well so I think it is an excellent book that hits home with a lot of us (even if there is no infidelity in our lives).