Emily didn't join the cast of The One for fame or for a relationship. She simply didn't have anything better to do. Newly fired from her dead-end job, it doesn't take much convincing when she's recruited as a last-minute contestant for the popular reality dating show. Emily has been performing her entire life—for her family and friends, former boyfriends, and coworkers. How different could it be playing herself in front of cameras? But the moment Emily arrives, it becomes clear she's been tapped to win it all. Emily's producer Miranda sees her as the golden ticket: generically pretty, affable, and easily molded—all the qualities of a future Wife. Emily herself is less certain.
Argy does an admirable job of describing the flimsy cheapness of everything that surrounds the contestants ... Argy has a keen and often funny eye for detail...and evokes the fetid coziness-meets-eroticism of female friendship with aplomb. Her prose is absorbing, and Emily’s story does, thankfully, turn away from the strictures of the show in which she has been cast ... However, given the familiarity of reality TV, a more delineated character is needed to elevate the book, and Emily’s haplessness comes to feel less like a choice and more like a reluctance, on the part of the novel, to commit ... The attempt to play both sides...ends up reinforcing the myths of the world that the novel attempts to subvert, even as the plot twists ... It’s a worthy topic to explore, but in resisting a full life for its heroine, The One stops short of truly doing so.
he characters are flawed and likable, utterly convinced of the rightness of their participating in the unhealthy behaviors encouraged by the producers. Ultimately, it’s up to readers to decide if they’re disturbed or charmed and amused by Argy’s knowing satire. A pop-culture send-up bound to inspire lively discussions.
Smart ... rgy takes on voyeurism, feminism, and gender norms, as Emily wonders if she really ought to put all her energy into finding love, which is what she was conditioned to do all her life. It makes for a winning portrait of a young woman trying to come into her own.