This is the first time Emily Giffin – a master of chick lit that is smart and entertaining in equal measure – has done me wrong.

She’s not the author of this one, but the reason I read it. Right there on the cover: “I loved this book. Clever, funny, and a worthwhile emotional investment. Wife in the Fast Lane is not to be missed!”

So there’s her review. And here’s the part where I respectfully disagree.

The book opens with Christy Hayes and her business partner rushing to a meeting with potential investors for their small athletic shoe company. (She’s so harried that I quickly cast Sarah Jessica Parker in my mind’s eye.) When her friend rear ends a Cadillac, Hayes trades pumps for sneakers and runs to her meeting. Now we learn she’s an Olympic gold-medal winner (which is too accomplished for an SJP character, historically, so I swap her out).

I’d hoped her achievement indicated that Christy Hayes would be a fiercely capable heroine, which I think Quinn was in fact going for, but her fire was inconsistent at best. For someone we’re meant to believe built her own company from the ground up (e.g. has a brain) and medaled in the Olympics (knows dedication), she sure has a difficult time thinking things through.

The single condition her husband set before getting married was that he didn’t want a child. I’m not discounting compromise and growth in relationships, but there is no deep-dive into considerations before she accepts custody of an 11-year-old girl, literally without a second thought. Then we watch her flounder through the entire second half of the book, slowly learning that it might not have been a good idea.

I prefer books where the reader can go on a journey of discovery. Instead, this is Romeo and Juliet. It’s Titanic. You know what’s going to happen and must bear witness helplessly.

But this is no literary masterpiece. It’s not historical record. It’s a silly woman and her 11-year-old daughter.

We get to know the daughter through diary entries, which would be fun if she didn’t write things like “I pray for the day we can stop living a lie so this house of cards known as our family doesn’t collapse in mortal decay.” Is that an 11-year-old thought?

The book was not awful. The writing is good. It just didn’t tell a story that I would suggest anyone devote time to. I guess that’s why Giffin’s words – “worthwhile emotional investment” – left me feeling so wronged.

As we head into summer, a book near the shallow end might not be unappealing. If so, make a splash with the wine and try an Albariño. Zesty and tasting of fresh apples and melon, 2010 Albarei Albariño tastes like it costs much more than its $15 price tag.

xx, Chardonnay