The rest of my family doesn’t know what DNF is. It means “Did Not Finish”. You could also call it “SR”, for Stopped Reading, which would be more accurate grammar. But the deal is, I haven’t DNF’d a book in literally years. Like, not since 2015 when I had to put down Field of 13 and The Day of the Triffids. I'm often against DNFing because I'm worried it shows a lack of effort on behalf of the reviewer, but pretty much every time I finished one chapter, I was already sick of the book.
Something Borrowed is a book released back in 2004 about an attorney, or attorney filer, named Rachel White from The Big Apple. To celebrate her thirtieth birthday, which she grew up always imagining it as the biggest deal of her life, when in reality she’s not even married nor has a boyfriend yet, her best friend Darcy throws her a late-night party. It’s swell but feels a bit like it was more Darcy’s party. But Rachel begins to wish it was her party in the first place and that she didn’t have time to come to it, because Darcy is getting married to this cool guy named Dexter, or Dex, someone Rachel had a crush on in college before he got engaged. They have a few shots, some beers, some wine, and they then kiss. Rachel can’t help but feel he’s the best kisser in the world, and the sexiest when they get back to her flat. Post-the-night, Rachel and Dex both realize their mistake and blush their way back into their regular lives, but their session together has opened a door for them both they didn’t realize was even there to open in the first place. Thing is, that door is already closed because Darcy and Dex are about to get married...and yet...
It’s harder than you think to begin writing a book properly. And usually, in the synopsis I would not reveal something like the protagonist cheats on her best friends fiancé, especially when that ends up being the whole point of the book. But that happens within the first chapter, before we’ve even gotten to know these people properly and before we know any legitimate reason other than they were drunk. I can understand the idea of having to start on a bang, but that’s too much of a banger, literally, for the first ever chapter. I would've started it off with Rachel planning a fun little get together for her thirtieth birthday and then Darcy announcing a surprise party where she switched all of Rachel's plans behind her back and told all her friends to come to this place she's very uncomfortable with rather than where she wanted. And maybe make it right after a really bad day at work or something. I can just picture it; that would've been a much better way to start the book, by allowing us to actually sympathize with Rachel for a bit.
Another thing; this isn’t really the book’s fault, in a sense. Maybe this just really wasn’t a book aimed at me. I often read and review books in the young-adult section, and I especially love reading about situations the characters are in where they could die, where they are being abused or brutalized, where they have to rebel against a corrupt leader or system to do what must be done. There are a few other books I’ve read and enjoyed that are admittedly aimed at girls in their late 20’s and above; ones that ring a bell immediately are Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen and Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series (I’ve read all eight but stopped reviewing them by Book 3 cause of how similar they are to each other.) Riding Lessons started with quite the big bang; it is revealed the protagonist was 18 when she got into a horse accident so bad her beloved horse got shot in front of her and she had to go into surgery and then quit riding altogether, and then years later, in one day she finds herself cut out of her job, her daughter’s flunking school tremendously and her husband’s leaving her. But those things aren’t the whole point of the book, and anyway, those are all things you wouldn’t expect to happen to someone in a whole day. In the Shopaholic series, it is sometimes, maybe even often annoying, how much money the protagonist seems to have and how much she carelessly wastes, but a few times she ends up in humungous debt and into arguments and fights with those either closest to her or who have the most influence over her.
Something Borrowed was about one misunderstanding that could lead to one of these Shopaholic-esque fights down the road. In the meantime, we’re subjected to Rachel’s history of dating, with a few glimpses of her friends and what she wants to do with her life and her feelings for Dex and Darcy. At the same time, while she really dislikes her job, we never get the impression she’s in any financial trouble whatsoever. In fact, the more we hear about how she buys a very expensive dress for one party that isn’t actually that important to the story, and seems to have no worry about the world crumbling around her (yes, there’s her close friend Darcy, but we learn how much of a jerk she can be and Dex still likes Rachel and so do all her other friends) the more we just don’t care about Rachel’s backstories. Usually I really enjoy learning about the characters I’m reading about through their stories. After all, brains were wired not to process information, but to hear and digest stories. But by the time we’re a third done the book and not much has happened between these backstories, and we realize we’re just waiting for a big inevitable climax to happen, the stories turn irrelevant, uninvolving, and completely boring.
Like, aside from thinking about Darcy every few pages, is there anything original in this book in the slightest? Sure, she has a friend on a different continent, some of her friends never give up no matter what and her parents really wish she had a kid by now...what else is there? Because of its sole main storyline being on the relationship between Rachel and Dex and trying to think of what to do after Chapter 1, the whole book is just subject to distraction, making us wait for the inevitable. I didn’t end up caring about any of these characters so I’m putting it down for now, and I probably won’t pick it back up. And if I do, my mind probably won’t have changed on it.
Something Borrowed is one of the most uninvolving books I’ve attempted to read in a long time. My mom wrote behind the cover back in 2006 that it was a predictable but fun, quick read. So I guess like all books, there are those who do like this book. It got made into a movie in 2011 too, which I have no intention of seeing. But it’s too difficult for me to imagine someone reading Riding Lessons or a thrill-ride YA and then going to and enjoying Something Borrowed.