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The Other Side of the Story: A Novel Paperback – February 5, 2008
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About the Author
Marian Keyes is the author of ten bestselling novels and two essay collections. She lives in Ireland with her husband and their two imaginary dogs.
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Yes, the plot is unrealistic, and silly at times, but the beauty of this book is the author's clever way with words and ideas. For example, Anton likes to spend money recklessly, and he says, "I've never been comfortable with a credit card that isn't at it's limit. I get that nagging feeling, like someone left the gas on." Or this: "The entire room went onto shock. Even the ever-restless molecules of air seemed to pause their perpetual circling." Or this: "Stop peeing in my ear and telling me it's raining."
It's interesting that I discovered Marian Keyes around the same time I found Lawrence Grobel, who has a similar ability with wordplay. Although most of Grobel's books are based on celebrity interviews, his two novels and his Book of Shmoga employ a lot of similar fun with ideas and linguistics. I find I am now reading everything either one has to offer, and enjoying every page. For me, this is a real "Shmogasbord" of entertaining books.
In short: a good, fun, and thought-provoking read for professional women balancing all life's varied demands.
Top international reviews
First there's Gemma. She's an events planner who inadvertently writes a book after her dad suddenly leaves her mum for another woman. Gemma's mum puts her life on hold and the two of them spend an entire year simply waiting for him to get over his minor lapse in judgement and come home. Sure, Gemma's mum is more than a little upset, which serves as a handy vehicle for Gemma to meet the nice pharmacist who dispenses her mum's anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. But there is zero insight into how she actually feels about the fact that her husband of several decades just upped and left with literally no warning, not so much as a single discussion or argument. And when he waltzes back in a year later, now tired of his young girlfriend, he just slots back into his old life as if nothing ever happened. I found this completely ridiculous and more than a little infuriating.
Next there's Lily. Lily can't get over the guilt of "stealing" Gemma's boyfriend, Anton. I write "stealing" in quotes because she didn't really steal him, and this whole storyline feels a little forced and just kind of annoying.
Finally there's Jojo, the hotshot publisher having a long-standing affair with her married boss, Mark. This thread is by far the worst. It uses every cliche in the book (literally) - they didn't mean for it to happen, they tried to resist, they are really, truly in love, they don't want to hurt his wife but they just can't help themselves. And of course they both feel terribly guilty because...wait for it...they aren't really the kind of people who do this sort of thing. We are supposed to love Jojo because, aside from the fact that she is knowingly sleeping with a married man with two young children, Jojo is quite fabulous. We are supposed to understand her emotional plight and we are supposed to root for her success and cry at her despair.
And I could do all of that - I could love, or at least like, Jojo and all her fabulousness, except for one thing. Except for the fact that in a book called the other side of the story, I kept waiting to hear the real other side of the story. The story from the point of view of the cheated on wife. I wanted to hear from Mark's wife or Gemma's mum. I wanted to hear the story from THEIR point of view. Why not give them a voice? Why not share their pain and their world view? This book cried out for something to balance out Gemma's vacuousness and Lily's whining and Jojo being so utterly fabulous.
It wasn't a terrible book and if it had simply had a different title maybe I wouldn't have minded so much. But as it stands, I was left feeling as if there was something huge and important missing. I finished it, which I don't always do these days if I get bored of a book, but it left a bad taste.
I just love her
follow her on instagram or twitter if you dont already, she is utterly brilliant
thank you Marian Keyes
I feel quite sad to have got to the end, and I'm now missing the three leading ladies and the telling of the bitter sweet circumstances that connected them. I love Marian Keyes' way of bringing humour and wit in alongside the more difficult life situations and emotions, and I also enjoyed some insight into the literary world that I wouldn't otherwise have sought.
The story follows three women whose lives cross at various points; Gemma, desperately trying to fix her parents love life so that she can get back to her own, Jojo, having an affair with a married man and wondering if it'll ever work out happily, and Lily, with a man she loved but who can't control his finances.
The wit, the dialogue, the three voices and the way they come together make this a great read. If you like chick lit, you will love Marian Keyes, and particularly this book.
Hasn’t put me off this talented author.