This deep dive into a suburban community torn apart by a teenage girl’s half naked photo is a bit of a departure for Giffin, but she does a damn fine job of it.
Nina Browning married well. Growing up in a middle class family did not prepare her for the life that happens when her husband Kirk sells his high tech startup for some serious money. Kirk was brought up in the country club set, and has no trouble processing their new found wealth. Their only disagreements concern their son, Finch. Nina is afraid he is getting spoiled and does her best to ground him, while Kirk’s basic philosophy is if we can afford it, who cares.
Lyla is a scholarship student at the exclusive private school Finch attends. Self conscious of her status, Lyla has a huge crush on Finch so when he invites her to a party, she lies to her father and goes. Lyla’s dad, Tom, is a carpenter and a single parent who may struggle a bit raising his only child, but he is a good father.
Lyla gets drunk at the party and when a picture of her passed out on a bed, her breast exposed, is sent to a few students, of course it goes viral and the next thing she knows the whole school knows about it.
When Nina finds out she is devastated to learn that Finch is the one who sent out the pic. Kirk, on the other hand, figures he can just bribe his son out of trouble. Tom is furious and can’t understand why Lyla doesn’t want to pursue the culprit.
This is a story that seems like it could happen almost anywhere today. Giffin really explores all sides and writes a very compelling novel that would make for a very interesting book discussion. I couldn’t put it down. If you like Jodi Picoult, you will like this book. I sure did.
7/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
ALL WE EVER WANTED by Emily Giffin. Ballantine Books (June 26, 2018). ISBN 978-0399178924. 352p.