'Fifty Shades of Grey' Effect: 'Where We Belong' by Emily Giffin
In this current cultural moment, you'd have to just now be emerging from a caved-in mineshaft to have not felt the influence of "Fifty Shades of Grey" in some way.
But, it's the reason behind the book's popularity that's really telling, which, at least ostensibly, has resulted from millions of bored, overstressed married women vicariously living out their fantasies -- bondage and otherwise -- through E.L. James' characters. It's the same reason behind books like "Gone Girl," the best-selling thriller by Gillian Flynn that features a marriage between a liar and a psychopath. And "Bared To You" by Sylvia Day, which unashamedly hits many of the same notes as "Fifty Shades." And "If I Were You," by Lisa Renee Jones which advertises itself as "Fifty Shades" meets "Basic Instinct."
Like Us on Facebook
And now it seems we can add Emily Giffin's "Where We Belong," to the ever-growing list of demure, vanilla women gone liberated.
"We may then be especially drawn to this particular romanticized, erotically charged, semi-pornographic idea of female submission at a moment in history when male dominance is shakier than it has ever been," wrote Katie Roiphe in Newsweek recently.
Centering on a young, hot-shot professional female who can't find satisfaction in her personal life because she's living a lie, "Where We Belong" is garnering mostly positive reviews from critics.
"It's comfort food, filling at its best, with just enough of a kick to keep the pages turning," said Philly.com
In "Where We Belong," Marian Caldwell is a 36-year-old hotshot TV producer with a seemingly perfect life. She's dating the sexy head of the network. She lives in a great apartment. And she can fit into an emerald-green designer gown for an award show. But then the daughter she gave up 18 years ago shows up on her penthouse doorstep, looking for answers. As it turns out, Caldwell never told anyone about her daughter. Not her father. Not her friends. Not the child's father -- the dangerously handsome and yet emotionally available Conrad Knight. The only one who knew was her mother, back home in Chicago.
The unexpected appearance of Kirby Rose isn't a wholly welcome one. Kirby seems incredibly naive for an 18-year-old, afraid of boys and at a loss for a solid group of friends. Yet she's the source of much of the wisdom throughout the book, putting her finger on unsaid emotions and successfully maneuvering a number of awkward situations, from a shoplifting friend to a non-Beaver Cleaver family reunion.
"But my trepidation in approaching her newest work of fiction, 'Where We Belong' was quickly allayed by her graceful and inviting prose, her careful plotting and her vivid characterizations. Giffin's novel deals with the emotionally treacherous repercussions of adoption, as Marian Caldwell, a successful New York TV producer, gets a sudden and unexpected visit from the daughter she gave up for adoption 18 years ago," said USA Today.
"The coming together of two people who share a genetic heritage and little else is dramatically and emotionally risky. But Giffin makes the most of the opportunity, and "Where We Belong" had me riveted, in part because of the flawless reading by Orlagh Cassidy. This story might not be to every red-blooded male's taste, but it certainly worked for me."
According to US Magazine, Giffin was formerly the men's basketball manager at Wake Forest University during the Tim Duncan era. Giffin is also the author of "Something Borrowed," which was adapted into a film in 2011, and "Something Blue."
Have you read "Where We Belong?" Do you think it compares at all to "Fifty Shades?" Let us know what you think in the comments,