The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes (Penguin)
Let me tell you something right from the start: I generally don’t read ‘chick-lit’. So this book, that my sister-in-law lent me, was sitting on my shelf for ages, as I was reluctant to read it.

One weekend, when I was in need of some escapism, I started reading it. Somewhat sceptically. And I was pleasantly surprised! I loved it, and I could not put it down!

The book is about 3 women: Jojo, the literary agent, Lili, a writer whose first novel was a great success and Gemma, a girl who writes emails to her friend about her life and her parents’ break-up.

Each one of these women has a link to the other, and each has her own side of the story. Gemma is single and looking for a relationship while she recovers from heartbreak, she becomes a writer accidentally, and her father walks out on her mother for his girlfriend.

Lili stole Gemma’s boyfriend, she wrote a bestseller but has writer’s block while she has spent the advance for her second book, and she has a troubled relationship with her parents. Jojo is a career woman, who is the agent for Lili, and accidentally finds Gemma’s hilarious emails and wants to publish them, and she is having an affair with her married boss.

Each woman battles with her own issues: insecurity, relationship problems, professional success, professional failure, heartbreak, love, jealousy, parenthood and parents. And as she does, I could relate to her story.

The themes of infidelity, fear, self doubt and complicated relationships with parents run through the story of each woman, and the way they stumble through, dealing with life’s ups and downs with varying success

Marian Keyes’ writing style is easy to read, and the book had me hooked from the start. The story is amusing and fun, but it has lots of depth, and it certainly wasn’t predictable. The book was pure escapism, which was what I so desperately crave from time to time, and as such I wholeheartedly recommend it.

As a fan of whodunits, crime novels and psychological thrillers, I found this book to be lovely change of pace. I will also be keeping an eye out for more Marian Keyes books to read.

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