Book Club Review: Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin

1. Leo & Ellen’s meeting is accidental. Do you believe in destiny or fate??? Yes absolutely. Things come in my path not by my making, however, how I choose to react to it is completely within my power.

2. After running into Leo on the street, Ellen becomes very preoccupied with thought of him. Do you think that this is a normal reaction to running into someone you once loved? I believe it’s a very normal reaction for someone you had no closure with. Ellen had no closure, he simply just left her and when she could have had closure, Margot didn’t tell her about him coming to visit. I don’t believe you stop loving someone, so for her want to catch up with him, get her closure is completely within her rights. Do you feel that it is okay to maintain relationships with exes? And yes I believe you can maintain friendships with exes.
3. The Grahams’ world is vastly different form the world in which Ellen grew up. Would you be attracted to the Grahams’ world? Yes Do you feel a desire to leave her roots behind played a role in Ellen’s initial friendship with Margot? No, not at all. Do you think it’s possible to maintain a close friendship with someone from a much different background?? Why or whynot?? A friendship yes, a close friendship no. One thing my best friend and I often comment on why we understand each other is the similarity of our backgrounds.
4. In many ways, Andy seems to be an ideal husband. He is thoughtful, considerate, and successful. How do you feel about the fact that Ellen often questions her relationship with him?? I believe she only questions it because she never fully had her closure with Leo. She never understood why Leo left her, what she did, etc. Because of that, she couldn’t help but go down the “what if” path. I think it has nothing to do with Andy and everything to do with Leo. How do you feel when she compares Andy & Leo?? I think it’s a natural reaction to a woman who is confused. Notice how at the end, there was no comparison. Once she got her closure and her wake up call, she was single minded in her commitment.
5. How is Leo different then Andy?? Leo is all sparks and intensity as where Andy is calm and loving. Can you think of any ways in which they are similar? They both care about Ellen, they just show it differently. What do their similarities and differences say about Ellen?? She is a very complex woman, like us all. Are the two men reflections of truly different sides of her?? Absolutely!!!!!
6. Margot was the first person to be supportive of Ellen’s desire to be a photographer. Was Leo?? Not really Was Andy supportive of her career?? Not really Why or why not??? I kind of feel they both were blasé about her career, as if it truly didn’t matter.
7. What do you think it say about Ellen that she likes to view the world through the lens of her camera? I love that she did. She sees things differently than the rest of us. She can see little things most of us would overlook.
8. Do you think that Ellen made the right decision by taking the offer to shoot Drake Watters?? Yes!! At what point do you feel Ellen should have told Andy about Leo’s involvement with the Drake and/or Coney Island projects?? From the beginning Do you feel he would have been accepting if she had been straightforward with him?? YES!!! Do you think it’s’ every ok to withhold the truth from a spouse? Absolutely not!! Even if it’s not going to be a pleasant conversation, omission is the same thing as a lie!!!
9. When Andy suggests the move to Atlanta, do you find yourself rooting for Ellen to agree – or hoping that she’d stay in New York?? Do you feel she had good reasons for her decision?? I wanted her to go and be happy, to forget about Leo.
10. What are your overall thoughts on Leo?? Do you feel that he is genuine in what he says to Ellen throughout the book?? Yes I believe he was genuine, and I believe he loved her. Did your thoughts change at all as the story progressed?? No.
11. Margot doesn’t tell Ellen that Leo came back to the apartment to see her. She does this for Ellen’s “own good.” Do you agree?? OMG…NO!!!!!!! Do you see this as a betrayal or act of friendship or both?? AN ACT OF BETRAYAL!!! If you were in Ellen’s shoes, would you be angry?? UHM….YES!!!!
12. In many friendships, there is a delicate balance of power. Whom do you feel has the power in Margot & Ellen’s relationship?? Does that balance of power shift?? If so, what causes it to shift??? Margot at first, then Ellen, then I think it balances at the end.
13. At Ellen & Andy’s going away party, Margot recognizes Leo’s byline in the magazine and puts the pieces together. How do you think Margot feels being caught between her loyalty to her best friend & her brother?? Do you feel she handled her conflicting loyalties well throughout the book?? I think Margot handled this very well. Not demanding like she became in the later in the story, but inquisitive. Had Ellen simply told Andy from the beginning, Margot’s opinion obviously wouldn’t have mattered.
14. Describe the relationship between Ellen & her sister, Suzanne. Do you think Suzanne has a positive or negative influence on Ellen and her decision making?? Do you feel Suzanne is a truer friend to Ellen then Margot?? Why or why not??? I believe Suzanne is very key to this story. She is a much better friend to Ellen because she knows her background and can understand the betrayal of Margot’s actions.
15. After the Coney Island shoot, Leo & Ellen go back to Leo’s apartment and are interrupted by a phone call from Suzanne. Do you feel Ellen would have gone further with Leo had her sister not called when she did?? Do you feel Ellen had already cheated on Andy prior to this point?? I honestly don’t think Ellen would have gone any further. Ellen cheated on Andy the second she began keeping secrets from him. Cheating isn’t always about a sexual relationship, it’s about honesty!!!
16. At what point does a relationship with another man become a true infidelity?? When the relationship with the other man becomes more important than the relationship with the husband. When you share secrets with him?? No because you can be friends with a man and share secrets with him, as long as your husband also knows. When there is physical contact?? No because as long as all parties know, it’s up to the individuals. Do you believe Ellen cheated on Andy on the red-eye flight with Leo?? No. Could Ellen had set there on that flight holding Margot’s hand or Suzanne’s hand???
17. Throughout the book, did Leo give any warning signs that he wouldn’t be good for Ellen?? I think so, but I think he was genuinely in love with her. Anytime the intensity is harmful, it’s not a good relationship. Do you feel Andy gave any warning signs that he might not be good for Ellen?? I didn’t like how he didn’t look after they moved to Atlanta. She shut herself off from him, but he’s too busy back in the social scene to even care.
18. Do you feel Ellen made the right decision at the end of the book??? Were you surprised by her choice?? YES!!!!! And no I was not surprised.
19. Do you think Ellen & Andy’s relationship was changed by this experience?? Yes, but only making it stronger. Do you think Ellen ever confesses to what happened in Leo’s apartment?? Yes Would you confess?? Yes, but I would never keep a secret like that either so it’s a moot point.
20. Discuss Ellen’s revelation that love is a choice and not on surge of passion. Do you agree?? I completely agree that love is the sum of our choices, the strength of our commitments & the ties that bind us together.

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4 thoughts on “Book Club Review: Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin

  1. Hey there Jen – LOVED the book. Thanks for the recommendation. Your answers are interesting above…. Not sure if you want me to answer the questions above or just ramble on with my thoughts… Here goes some rambling…..

    It's those difficult times that really make us grow – and boy did Ellie grow in this book. I completely agree about LOVE being the sum of our choices. Having real honest relationships sometimes can't happen until we are faced with the kind of choices she is within this story.
    She didn't choose Andy till the end of the book. AND she was so richly rewarded – with him showing up the way he did. It was quite satisfying 🙂 (thats when I cried).
    Leo is very romantic but where was the staying power? He is good at “saying the right things at the right time” but living the promise? Not so much – and I think that sunk in when she asked him about his current relationship and how it ended – just like it did w/her.
    Another interesting point – I didn't see mentioned in the questions above, is how we as women – we lose our persons…who we are sometimes when trying to “please” our man. Think of how she described the loss of herself as her relationship w/Leo grew – and they subsequently grew apart. He fell in love w/her as an independent strong person…she admits in the description of their relationship period how she became needy, stopped most of her other social activities, didn't grow as a photographer when they were together. BUT, that's exactly what Leo first fell in love with. AND
    I noticed how when she moved to Atlanta she did it again and her and Andy started growing apart. She moved to Atlanta to “make him happy” but she didn't pursue a career down there – just labeled her kitchen tools and ironed his pajamas?!? That's not who he fell in love with ….
    It's finding that balance in a relationship that's so important.
    Phewwww – one final thing. I think it's so important to partner with someone who does help you be the best person you can be. Leo CERTAINLY did not do that for her. As soon as she ran into him again she started moving backwards in her life, who she wanted to be, her respect for herself. Andy may not be sparks and fire crackers – but he's a soft, mellow fire in an often time cold, and scary world.

  2. I'm so glad you liked it Cheryl!!! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and opinions…it really brings the book to life for me. I hope you will feel free to continue to read along with the Book Club and post!!!

  3. This was my least favorite of the four books. Took me weeks to finish it. Its been awhile since I finished it. So I'll do my best to recall it.

    I guess part of me wanted her to be with Leo. She seemed to be so unhappy with her life after they moved and she was forced to be part of a lifestyle she didn't like. When Leo came along it brought her back to life. When the book came towards the end and Ellie and Andy found eachother all over again I liked the book. When there was total compromise and her world was back in balance. Even though Leo looked fun and exciting it wasn't true love.

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