Review of THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY by Marian Keyes (see her website)
William Morrow, April 2004
Meet Gemma, an Irish event planner deeply embittered by the fact her best friend "stole" her boyfriend. (In truth, Gemma and Anton had already broken up.) Gemma's life is further disrupted when she has to take care of her suddenly single (and deeply neurotic) mother, and Gemma's hilariously acidic e-mails to her friend Susan regarding her crazed life end up on a literary agent's desk, the basis for a book.
Meet Lily, the erstwhile boyfriend snatcher, who is also launching a literary career, trying to raise a child with Anton, make ends meet, deal with sudden notoriety, and live with her guilt over stealing the man her friend Gemma still loves. Her book becomes a bestseller but the money has yet to catch up with her. Meanwhile, she is savaged by reviewers and reporters and has writer's block.
Meet Jojo, the literary agent who represents them both. She's having a secret affair with the managing partner of her agency, who also happens to be married, and is jockeying for a partner's position.
This is a story about three women whose lives are not so much intertwined as tangential. They rarely even appear in each other's portions of the book. But their lives gradually grow closer and closer, until it appears Gemma is in a grand position to seek revenge against Lily, with Jojo in the middle, ignorant of the history between her two clients. The characters are fascinating but not always likable. Gemma's bitterness was unappealing, and Jojo's rationalizing about her affair bordered on nauseating. I loved Lily, though, and I really could not stop reading because I wanted to know that she came out all right. And, in the end, the two less-than-admirable women redeem themselves adequately. A cute, fun, read.
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