I can’t begin a Marian Keyes book review without stating, for the record, how much I love her. Marian’s books take ‘chick lit’ to a whole next level of brilliance through her wry humour, candid observations and bloody excellent writing. Marian, I love you.
Ok, the book! The Other Side of the Story flits between the stories of three women and how their lives gradually cross over as the story progresses.
It’s classic Keyes – funny, gritty and thoroughly entertaining from start to finish.
I loved that this is a big book, over 500 words long. I plough through itty-bitty novels at a fine rate of knots so the chunkiness of this novel rewarded me with a full week of reading.
The length of the book also allowed us ample time to fully dive into the trio of characters, so the reader can properly get to know them and empathise with their respective issues.
We begin with Gemma’s story. Gemma is an events planner and currently having a bit of a tough time as her father leaves her mum for a younger woman. Gemma is left to pick up the pieces as her mother rapidly deteriorates.
We also discover her former bestfriend, Lily, who (somewhat harshly) stole her boyfriend a few years back, has had a book published – a long held dream of Gemma’s.
Just as we are about to feel thoroughly depressed, the story flicks across to glamorous Jojo in London, a literary agent with a few relationship problems of her own. Her boyfriend is married – and her boss – but vows he will leave his wife for her (yup, that old chestnut).
Next up, we get Lily’s voice – the boyfriend-stealer herself. She lives with Anton, Gemma’s ex, and together the couple re parents to baby Ema. When Lily’s book is published by Jojo, the story begins to get really interesting as the three women’s lives collide.
We get to enjoy three heroines in this book which is a treat. With this style of writing, I always initially find it hard to be wrenched away from one character’s point of view, into a new one until I get into the groove of the novel.
By making these three women very different from each other, Keyes ensured the character-hopping was a treat each time! The uniting force between the trio is the publishing world, a thread that I really enjoyed learning more about in this book.
It was a brave move by Keyes to present us with three heroines – the risk being that the reader might fail to be suitably invested in each of them. But of course, Keyes is a pro writer and pulls the story off beautifully with plenty of humour and witty observations.
As someone who would love to get a book published one day (or, y’know, even finish a manuscript) I really enjoyed diving into the world of publishing in this story.
It made me wonder how much of it was based on Keyes’s own experiences as a writer. As Keyes plunges us deep into the world of publishing in the book it is fun to think some of the encounters with literary agents and the media are drawn from reality.
An enjoyable and entertaining book. I particularly enjoyed Gemma’s character as she battles with a wimpy dad and depressed mum – romance blooming with the local pharmacist when she picks up her mum’s antidepressants.
Keyes manages to mesh the three character’s stories seamlessly to keep the reader engaged at all times. A good balance of humour and romance with some interesting characters.
Marian Keyes fans will not be disappointed in The Other Side of the Story – a pleasing escape into the back-stabbing world of publishing with a tight plot and some hilarious moments.
“Why can’t we love the right people? What is so wrong with us that we rush into situations to which we are manifestly unsuited, which will hurt us and others? Why are we given emotions which we cannot control and which move in exact contradiction to what we really want? We are walking conflicts, internal battles on legs.” – Marian Keyes, The Other Side of the Story
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