Book Review: All We Ever Wanted
This week I bring to you a book review by author Emily Giffin. This is the first book I have read by Giffin and I totally enjoyed it! A lot of fellow readers at work read her so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. I found the social issues covered throughout this story very prevalent and relatable to present day. I love discovering a new author- Emily Giffin is not new but new to me! I can’t wait to read more from her!
Other book by this author: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, First Comes Love
The story starts off following Nina and her description of how her relationships with her husband has changed. Nina’s husband has made a lot of money and they live a very lush lifestyle. Their son Finch has applied to Princeton and they actually wrote a cheque to help him get in. Second family this book follows is Lyla who goes to the same private school Finch does but she does not come from money. She is a super smart kid who received a scholarship to go there. She was raised by a single dad -Tom- who is a carpenter.
Finch and Lyla are at a party and Finch snap chatted a photo of Lyla drunk, passed out with her clothing partially off exposing a breast. Lyla is Hispanic and the caption for the photo read- Looks like she got her green card” There was a green uno card beside her.
Now in today’s social media age this is a huge issue. With the Me Too movement in full swing, what better time to read a book like this. The rest of the book follows there characters trying to figure out how to deal with the repercussions of this event on so many levels!
When the parents of each side find how mad chaos ensues. Kirk and Nina approach this different ways. Kirk tries to throw his money around to get Finch out of trouble. Nina is more towards the moral side saying Finch should be punished. Behind this also is Nina’s experience while she was in college. She was drugged and raped so she sympathizes with Lyla. Tom is beyond furious and wants Finch expelled. Lyla tried to talk her dad out of making a big deal of this. She does not want the other kids in school to treat her different.
All these different approaches makes you wondering A) what would you do in this situation being the parent and B) Do you think all of these approaches actually happen in real life!!! It kind of makes me a bit uneasy but I believe that all these happen. I read this book back in May before the Me Too movement really took off. It just goes to show that some people in today’s society really think money and power can buy anything.
Nina feels so guilty about what her son did she goes to apologise to Tom in person. Little does she know that Kirk bribed him to keep silent. Disgusted Nina takes Finch to apologise to Lyla in person. He then says that Polly- his ex girlfriend- took the picture and now he really wants to hang out with Lyla. Finch takes Lyla to a concert being Nina’s back. All of this covers can money really buy happiness. Nina’s son does not respect her and thinks money will solve all his problems as does Kirk.
The tangle webs we weave get deeper. It initially looked like Finch set up Lyla to win her over but now he promises to come clean with Polly and tell her to come clean about the photo. Poor Lyla is so confused but just likes the feeling that a ‘cool’ guy is into her. They all have a meeting with the principle and everything gets more confusing. Polly is saying she did not take the photo. Is Finch lying or is he telling the truth?
Nina decides to get a divorce from Kirk. She asks her top notch Lawyer best friend Julie to represent her. The end of the story Lyla finds out that it was really Finch who maliciously took the photos. He had been lying to her this whole time. She gets worried about Polly and approaches Nina. Together they go and find that Polly tried to commit suicide!!
So it turns out that money really can’t buy happiness in Nina’s case. The epilogue is 10 years later. Lyla is a lawyer and Nina and Tom start a business together to build custom tree houses. They also open homes for abused women with some of the money. Tom and Nina do not appear to be a couple- boo I really wanted them to end up together. Lyla admits that Nina saved her life in the end. They are at an award show and Finch shows up. He finally realized his mother was right after he finds out his father gets caught up in a financial scandal.
So for those of you who have read this book about did you think. The core concepts of this book are deep and controversial! I really enjoyed how this book make me think about money, privilege and true happiness. Please feel free to leave comments below. Also I would love to hear if any of you have read other books by Emily and what are your favs!