The Other Side of the Story

Monday, 18 May 2009
  • Marian Keyes
  • Avon A
  • Paperback
  • 528 pages
  • April 2006

I read this book purely because it was passed onto me by my little bookworm sister. I am not really into chick-lit but when I found out my older sister was also hooked I thought id take the dive.

I had forgotten how nice it is to curl up with a good book and read about people who have bigger issues than my own. Even if the people are fabricated it is fun to get engulfed into their stories. Escapism is the best way to forget about your day to day troubles and what better why to do it that with your book?

Gemma Hogan is an event planner in Dublin who is trying to deal with the fact that her best friend’s sister, Lily stole her man. Her existence gets even more problematic when her father has a late midlife crisis and leaves her mother for his younger, prettier secretary. Gemma’s form of escapism is elaborately fabricating and creating different more unrealistic versions of her life. This leads to a succession of amusing emails she sends to a friend, who submits them to a book agent without Gemma’s knowledge.

Second is Lily who is now living with Gemma’s ex Anton and their new baby, Ema, a delightful creature. Lily, the opposite of the conniving woman Gemma has depicted her to be, has just written a book entitled Mimi’s Remedies and is trying to deal with her roaring success. Regrettably Anton has a negligence with money and with a failing career Lily’s money is the only green in his reach to throw around.

Finally, we meet Jojo Harvey, Lily’s (and eventually Gemma’s) literary manager. Jojo is trying to cope with a hectic career. She is also having an affair with her boss, a married man with two kids. Jojo is riding high on Mimi’s Remedies and trying to take the throne of partner at her office. A story this juicy can only end in tears.

Although these women’s tales remain mostly divided through the book, they relate in connecting ways, and it’s captivating to see the change between the way the characters communicate one another. It also helps that all three characters are charismatic, exposed and completely adorable in their own certain ways. A book like this (especially such a long one) could not survive without likeable characters, and this one has them in bounds. Not only will the reader wants to know what happens next in each woman’s life, but they will also be rooting for all of them to thrive up until the final chapter, some more than others.

PS. This book is big but trust me, its worth every 648 pages!



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