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Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

The Best Man by Kristan Higgins2 Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

Yesterday I asked the readers of the RIASS Facebook page whether they make themselves finish reading a book thats really not to their tastes, or whether they put such a book down. And if the latter, at what point would they do so?

Theres a reason that this review is appearing about a week later than originally scheduled. And thats because it took me about a week to read this. And not because its a particularly long or challenging read. I simply found it incredibly difficult to get through, for a number of reasons, although having at long last finished the book, Im a little more mixed in my response.

Faith Holland has returned to her small New England home town after hightailing it out of there after a disastrous wedding day in which her fiance Jeremy came out as gay. Faith is not only nursing a broken heart, but also a good deal of loathing towards Levi Cooper, whom she blames for encouraging Jeremy to come out. Levi, meanwhile, is still recovering from the collapse of his marriage. But sparks, of course, begin to fly between Faith and Levi, no matter how much the two try to deny it by turning their attentions elsewhereLevi to his police work and his sister Sarahs struggles with fitting in at uni; Faith to her landscape design business and her utter determination to fix up her widower father with a new partner.

In a way Im glad that I forced myself to keep reading through this one, because the books few redeeming qualities are at its end. We begin to see some nuance to chauvinist Levi and obnoxious Faith (even though this mostly occurs through a series of excruciatingly long flashbacks), and they become slightly less appalling than they are at the outset of the book. Because, my goodness, if I knew these people in real life Id be fleeing away from their venomous, misogynistic attitudes as quickly as my little legs could take me.

Im afraid that Im one of those people who doesnt really find much humour in putting down people, and Im not someone who appreciates sexist, misogynistic attitudes, and'The Best Man'has plenty of both. Its this that had me very, very close to setting down the book by the end of the first chapter, and if I hadnt been asked to review this one, I would have been done with it then and there.

The anti-women sentiments abound in this book, so Ill just pull out a couple of examples for you. We have an instance where Faith is on a date with a man who is (unbeknownst to Faith) married, and whose wife shows up and begins calling Faith a whore over and over. We see Faith and her family constantly look down on other woman, calling her fathers maybe-girlfriend Lenora a gold digger (and indeed Lenora is portrayed as a money-grubbing individual; shes also made a subject of ridicule for the outfits she chooses to wear); and behaving cruelly towards another woman they initially think might have been a possible partner for Faiths father. And lets not even get into the horrible scene where a transgender person is called a shemale and where Faith and her sisters behave horrifically cruelly.

To be honest, Im not sure that I can think of one woman in the book whos actually portrayed in a positive light. Perhaps Levis sister? (Although shes not a great feminist herselffrom memory, she calls her room-mate a slut.) Its certainly not slutty Jessica, Levis ex from high school, and nor is it Levis ex-wife, whos portrayed as a man-eating beast.'If I subtracted a star each time the word slut, slutty or whore was used in this book, the universe would be a very dark place. (Incidentally, I just did a search and came up with fifteen instances of slut or slutty; sixteen of whore; one of whorish; and six of bitch or bitchy.)

We get the odd moment of positivity out of Faiths grandmother, but thats downplayed by her husbands apparent loathing of her. With this sort of attitude towards woman going on in this town, its little wonder that Faiths overarching goal in life is to get married (as you probably raised an eyebrow at in the book summary above, no, she didnt seem to care at all about Jeremys sexual orientation or his own happiness, just as long as he married her in the end)what else is there? Curiously, the only arcs that are dealt with with any degree of sensitivity are those of Jeremy and Levi.

Whats frustrating is that beneath all of this cheap name-calling and jokey sexist hatred, there is a story thats worth reading, but in my opinion, it definitely doesnt come out in the books current incarnationor at least, for a reader of my own outlook it doesnt. I have no issue with warts-and-all portrayals, but thats not whats going on here, and Im afraid that this one wasnt to my taste at all.

Rating: star Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higginshalfstar Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higginsblankstar Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higginsblankstar Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higginsblankstar Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

With thanks to Harlequin (via Netgalley) for the review copy

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Other books by Kristan Higgins:

Kristan Higgins Too Good to be True1 Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins2 Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins Kristan Higgins Catch of the Day2 Review: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins



  1. I find this review fascinating because I read this book and loved it! I didnt see many of the things that you saw. I am not sure whether to say that was because it was the right book at the right time for me and as such it really worked for me or if it was some other factor!

  2. I was wondering what triggered your question on Facebook the other night. Personally, Ive just forced myself to read through several books and came to the conclusion that I didnt particularly like a certain genre. I have a hard time walking away from reading a book which I see as a project I like to undertake, and I like to complete projects. But there are so many wonderful books out there that I actually would enjoy, so I want to start setting aside something that isnt to my taste and go forward with my own interests.