The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes

When picking my next novel, I wanted something a little more light-hearted to read so picking a Marian Keyes novel, I thought I couldn’t go wrong – and I did get what I wanted. A fairly light-hearted read, it flowed easily and didn’t require too much thought. However around 90 pages in to the story, it hit me – I had read this before. I felt a little cheated that I wasn’t reading a brand new book but felt it needed to be re-read and in the words of John Humphrys from Mastermind “I’ve started so I’ll finish”.

Three stories are intertwined into one – we first get introduced to Gemma, an event organiser who’s parents break up unexpectedly. A classic, they’ve been together for all their lives and the father gets a mid-life crisis and shacks up with his secretary. Her mum goes through a slight mental breakdown, and it’s quite funny to see what situations Gemma gets herself into. Secondly, we have Jojo a successful literary agent who just so happens to be having an affair with her married boss. And thirdly we meet Lily, a mother of one who has just been published (Jojo is her agent) and the ex-best friend of Gemma. Their friendship was left in tatters when Lily began dating and subsequently became pregnant with Gemma’s ex-boyfriend Anton, a betrayal Gemma took very personally. Across the book, their stories become intertwined with Gemma also becoming a published author –guess who her literary agent is? The book also is written in the point of view of the three different characters, with each having their own sections.

I must say I remembered some of what happened as soon as I realised that I had read it previously. I enjoyed Jojo’s story the most, despite the fact her character should stereotypically be the most hated – the ‘home wrecker’ as it were. However that may have something to do with the fact I am extremely interested in publishing as a career and I admired her tenacity and determination within the business. I warmed to Gemma’s story over the novel, although didn’t particularly care for her at first. Lily’s character was the hardest to care for, I think partly because I didn’t particularly like Anton. I found myself wanting her sections of the story to be over, and at times skimming the story, just so It would move.

Overall, I enjoyed the second read of this novel although to ensure that I didn’t read it again, promptly sent it to the nearest charity shop. I would certainly recommend this novel as a great holiday read.

I should never have started this thing with him, Jojo thought. I could be in love with someone else right now, someone who wasn’t married. Well, shoulda, woulda, coulda. (p145 The Other Side of the Story)

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