The One and Only – Questions Pt. 1

Well, now that we’re done with the first third of the book (some of you are all the way done! Overachievers!), what does everyone think? Personally, I felt like the first few chapters were a little boring but now that there’s a possible love interest it’s much more intriguing! πŸ™‚

Notable Quotes
1. “I firmly believed that it was harder to be the one left behind, especially if you thought you were on your way to happily ever after.” [Chapter One]

2. “The list of differences was endless, but, in the end, none of them mattered. What mattered was that we completely accepted each other. That I had her back, and she had mine.” [Chapter Four]

3. “It occurred to me that few things tell the story of a woman’s life like her closet…” [Chapter Five]

1. “Football was our touchstone. A constant. Something to hold on to as a bright light burned out in Walker, Texas…” [Chapter One] and “…It’s not just a game. It’s a metaphor for life. If sports don’t matter, then life doesn’t matter.” [Chapter Six] Are sports (or entertainment, pop culture, etc.) just a distraction from our measly day-to-day lives? Do we use entertainment and celebrities to distract from any unsatisfactory things that may be going on? It seems like the Walker community uses football as an excuse to distract from life events they don’t want to approach head on – like in the event of Mrs. Carr’s death. Where else do you find the characters using football as a distraction or excuse?

2. “…suddenly even the job I loved seemed small and unimportant…” and “Only now, with Mrs. Carr’s death as a wake-up call, I realized just how stuck I’d become, how much of a rut I was in.” [Chapter Three] Sometimes it takes important life events to put things into perspective. Do you think Shea will permanent life changes in her life (new job, new town) or is her newfound spirit only temporary? Why do you think that?

3. “I adored Coach Carr. I put him on a pedestal the way a lot of little girls do with their fathers…” [Chapter Three] Shea and Coach Carr have a very interesting relationship. It’s made clear that she had no real relationship with her father, so is she using him as a father figure in her life or something more? What do you think will come of their close friendship?

4. What do you think of Shea and Ryan’s new relationship? Is it for real?

5. Will Shea end up getting a job with the Post?

6. Is Coach Carr guilty of something? A NCAA violation or more?

Feel free to answer or add any questions you may have thus far! If you’ve already started reading ahead, feel free to leave comments with questions for the next post as well.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Hannah July 6, 2014

    1. I absolutely think the characters are using football as a distraction from Mrs. Carr’s death. Of course the story is from Shea’s perspective, but it’s been all about football. We’re not in anyone else’s head, but when she talks about Coach Carr, it’s about football. Occasionally she’ll make a passing remark about Lucy having a hard time with her mother’s death, but I feel like that has just been an aside in the story and even for some of the characters.

    2. I think Shea’s ready to grow up and move forward. I guess we don’t exactly now what the new job entails at the end of chapter 13–is she getting the Texas beat in Austin? Is she staying in Walker? Is she going somewhere else? With her relationship with Ryan, she could be spending a lot of time in Dallas as well. Hopefully the job prospect and/or the relationship will move her out of her comfort zone because I think she needs to realize there’s a life outside of Walker, Texas. (Can’t say that without thinking Walker, Texas Ranger!)

    3. I hope she just sees him as a father figure. A friend told me she didn’t like this book because of Shea’s crush on Coach Carr, but I don’t know how far in she was at that point. I think it’s extremely inappropriate for there to be anything more than a mentor/mentee relationship between the two of them for a number of reasons, mainly him being Lucy’s father and his wife only being six months gone.

    4. Ryan seems a little bit of a…he’s just hard to read. Is he playing Shea? If so, what’s his angle? Is he getting back together with Blakeslee? Paparazzi photos can be very deceiving in terms of body language and what’s actually happening. He does seem like he could be too good to be true, but I like them together so far.

    5. Now that Mr. Smiley has offered her a job, it’s just a question on whether or not she’ll take it and where it will take her.

    6. He seems fairly confident that the NCAA won’t find anything major, but he has also been dismissive of the situation and Shea’s questions. If something is going to come to light, it seems like it would be regarding Reggie Rhodes.

    The first few chapters of the book seemed a little overdone. I think the football-obsession is a little much. I love college football and I know a lot about it (granted, not as much as Shea), but I think she’s being written as a man in a woman’s body. She can’t talk about anything else, even if she’s asked not to talk about football. I don’t know a lot of women who are like that, I guess. At least not women with some of Shea’s other qualities. I’ve loved Emily Giffin’s previous books, but I think she thrives better when the books are based in NYC or London, somewhere she knows so much about. I feel like she’s reaching out of her comfort zone to write about this football crazed town in Texas. I know football is huge in Texas, but it just doesn’t seem to be Giffin’s area of expertise, so it’s coming off a little contrived, in my opinion. I’m also curious to see if there will be any kind of character connection with her other books like there has been in the past. Do we know Shea’s half-sister’s name? I forget. Maybe she’s a character Giffin has already written. No that I’m a little further into the book, I’m starting to enjoy it more.

    I think it’s interesting that she has created this university and its history, but it still fits into real life. All the other colleges are real. Her NFL is real. But apparently in this world, there is no Tony Romo, just a Tom Brady. The only thing that’s kind of bothering me is that she’s mentioned some of the teams on Walker’s schedule: Rice, Texas, Texas A&M, Stanford, and it seems like there’s another one I’m missing. I’m curious what real football conference the made-up Walker University plays in because all four of those schools are in different conferences and in college football, you only play three non-conference games. But I know that’s a little nit-picky.

    • Lindsay July 8, 2014

      I don’t like the idea that sports are “masculine”, but I agree that it the characters just don’t feel realistic. Coach Carr doesn’t speak or behave like someone who would call someone “girl.” Shea is inconsistently inconsistent. Lucy is the most realistically developed character in the story. I haven’t read anything else by her, but I can see how metropolitan characters and settings would suit her better.

  2. Nicole Letts July 6, 2014

    1. I think you’re right that the town uses football as a distraction, but isn’t that normal? Don’t we all try to find things to keep life going as usual when something goes wrong? While I think football is a distraction for the town, I don’t mind it. It’s almost as though they need the football therapy to move on.

    2. Eek, I don’t want to give away too much since I’ve finished the book, BUT looking back at this point in the book, I believed that her spirit was fleeting. It’s almost as if she was trying to convince herself that she was dissatisfied with her life when, in fact, she was completely satisfied with it. She had to talk herself into dating Ryan, and I think she chose to stay with Miller (and her job) for so long because it was easy. However, this is a very human thing to do, though, isn’t it?

    3. I plead the 5th. Can’t wait for everyone to get further in the book!

    4. I love Shea’s and Ryan’s relationship. I love that he likes her despite her subtle appearance flaws. I love that they’re rekindling an old flame. I love that he dotes on her. At least in this part of the novel, I think it’s a great thing for Shea especially after an idiot like Miller!

    5. Passing πŸ˜‰

    6. At some point in the novel, Ryan explains that no coach is squeaky clean. I like that Shea’s opinion of CCC is rocked just a little. I think we should bring this question up again towards the end of the novel!

  3. Mali Trueblood July 7, 2014

    I think with our next book I’ll try harder to keep pace. Since I’m finished, it’s hard to remember what happened where! I promise to be careful though. πŸ˜‰

    1. I have to agree with the previous commenters – distraction is a very natural reaction to loss, and the characters in this book are no different. Mrs. Carr was a huge loss to so many in Walker, but I think they also use football to stay connected to her. Giffin portrays Mrs. Carr as very active in her husband’s career, and it’s especially apparent in Lucy – she wants to be able to do and know what her mom did and knew concerning football, despite her previous disinterest.

    2. I think Shea’s intentions are true here. It’s not the first time people have nagged her to make some life changes (ahem, Miller) and it seems like Mrs. Carr’s death is pushing the right buttons. Since she adores Coach Carr, and he’s encouraging her to pursue the job with the Post, I expect life changes from Shea.

    3. This is my biggest UGH about this book. I personally sense lust between Shea and Coach Carr – mainly from Shea’s side. The way her interactions with him are described, there’s more than father-daughter admiration there, and that’s just not okay for so many reasons. Like Hannah said.. Um hello, he’s your best friend’s dad. And his WIFE just died?! Stop. Ugh. Plus, I ADORE Shea and Ryan.

    4. What do you think of Shea and Ryan’s new relationship? Is it for real?
    I can believe that Ryan is truly looking for a more simple gal than Blakeslee. She seems like a nightmare to me! Not going to go into too much detail here, because I’m finished with the book.

    5. Will Shea end up getting a job with the Post?
    We shall see, right? πŸ˜‰

    6. Is Coach Carr guilty of something? A NCAA violation or more?
    I think Coach Carr is probably guilty of something, even if it’s just turning a blind eye.

    • Mali Trueblood July 9, 2014

      Side note: can anyone recommend a different Emily Giffin book? I didn’t love this one and would like to give her a second chance. πŸ˜‰ Thanks!

  4. Zoe A July 8, 2014

    I think it seems pretty natural to seek comfort in an old habit at a time of loss, like the town has experienced. To me it also seemed like the town was obsessed with football before Mrs. Carr’s death because it was a unifying tread though out all the characters in the story.
    I think her new spirit will waver but in the end remain strong. I think the life change won’t be those she expected though. I think this because she has already doubted the changes but things have to change for the story to develop.
    I think she does sort of see him as a father figure but also as a trusted mentor who gets her interest more than others do. I am a little wary of the more romantic side of the friendship because it seems a little forced. Especially because I feel like most of Emily Griffin’s book involve infidelity or improper relationships. I hope this book breaks that trend and they just keep the mentor relationship.
    It seems a little to easy which makes me hesitant to believe it is real. He just seems a little to perfect. I also think she will end up with someone else by the end of the book. Her life is in a lot of transition right now so I’m interested to see how their relationship changes with her new job prospects.
    It seems likely at the very end of chapter 13 that she will.
    I’m not sure. He was definitely a little elusive when Shay brought it up to him. Its hard to tell if the changes Shay has noticed are due to the loss of his wife or something else.

    I tend to see connections between tv/movie characters and book characters and so far Shay reminds me of PJ on My Boys. Especially, as the pretty girl who is obsessed with sports and has a best girl friend who isn’t. PJ is even a sports writer. If your liking the book so far and want a good comedy to watch you should check it out. Its even on Netflix.

  5. Lindsay July 8, 2014

    1. I have to disagree with the others. Distraction is completely normal in the face of tragedy, but Shea’s obsession isn’t a reaction to anything. It was an obsession before Mrs. Carr’s death, and it’s an obsession after. Yes, our society glorifies entertainment above all else. But it’s not right. You have to participate in the real world before you can place such a significant value on an “escape” from it. Shea doesn’t do that. Football is ALL that matters. It’s her WHOLE world. There’s even a passage later where Shea compares the NCAA to the Taliban. And decides that the NCAA is worse. I mean… really? That actually made me nauseous.

    2. I think she’ll let life make permanent changes for her. She’s not very proactive and she doesn’t seem very interested in taking control of her decisions. But 3 years is a long time to stay with someone that you never even liked – and someone who is capable of that isn’t going to change overnight. If that’s where the author is going with it, I think it’s a bit unbelievable.

    3. I plead the 5th as well.

    4. I like her and Ryan’s relationship. They both have their flaws, and that will be very interesting to discuss in the future!

    5. Plead the 5th!

    6. I believe he is, in same way that everyone says. Everyone who reaches success looks the other way at some point or another. You can’t micromanage that many people. Who has the time?

  6. April July 8, 2014

    1. I definitely think football is used as a distraction, in real life and in the book. I understand it is a small football town, but there has to be something else happening! Shea, though, seems to basically ONLY care about football. It’s forced down our throats that it encompasses her life to the point where she doesn’t seem very three dimensional. Connie Carter’s death seems to jolt her out of that a little, but less than six months later she barely gives any thought to the death or how it is affecting the people around her. I believe that some of the characters- Lucy in particular- does use it more of a distraction by trying to learn how to do what her mom did so she, her father, and Walker as a whole doesn’t feel the gaping hole as much.

    2. As of now, I feel like she is starting to think of it as more permanent. She seemed to be really into it when she broke up with Miller, but months have passed and she still hasn’t moved on in the career department. Now that she has the job offer and is dating Ryan, I think she has a lot of real decisions to make about her future and where she wants to be.

    3. This is absolutely driving me crazy. From the first chapter, I’ve been saying “NONONO” in my head every time Shea has any interaction with Coach. Before Ryan came into the picture, I was convinced this was a book that was leading us to them ending up together and I really hope I am wrong! I think their relationship did start out as him being a father figure, but as she has gotten older, it has definitely turned into something more and it is creepy.

    4. I’m not sure how I feel about this yet. He seems waaayyyy too good to be true.

    5. I feel like she’ll at least try it out. She may end up not liking it/getting fired/whatever, but I think she will have to try it in order to be happy with herself.

    6. I hope not! Realistically, there is something he isn’t telling her or his family.

    I must be honest- I really am not a fan of Emily Griffin. I haven’t enjoyed any of her books so far. I was willing to give this one a try but I agree with Hannah on the fact that she doesn’t seem to know the football world and is trying to overcompensate. I’m going to finish the book because I can’t just stop reading one, but it’s not one I’d recommend to people. I do love that they talk about people from UGA (my alma mater)!

  7. April July 8, 2014

    *Carr not Carter! Sorry for the typo!

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