“ Author: Marian Keyes / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 02 August 2012 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd / Title: The Other Side of the Story / ISBN 13: 9780241958445 / ISBN 10: 0241958445 / Alternative EAN: 9780718144678 „
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Being aware of Marian Keyes' reputation as a talented author of intelligent women's fiction, I was eager to lay my hands on a copy of her latest offering. 'The Other Side of the Story' is full of amusing one-liners, a cleverly-woven web of sub-plots and a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a lazy weekend. It's not up to the high standard of 'Rachel's Holiday' however, with its sensitive portrayal of a woman broken by drug addiction. Saying that, all of Keyes' trademark story-telling techniques are present in this book: snappy dialogue, believable relationships and a warm narrative.
The book follows the happenings in the lives of three thirty-something women. The fiesty literary agent Jojo Harvey, struggling author Lily Wright and Irish woman Gemma Hogan, who is watching her father's mid-life crisis in horror. With their lives curiously interwoven by their mutual interest in all things literary, each of the three face troublesome times - often courtesy of their careers. Jojo Harvey quite the heroine in the book; giving her all to the cause she has so much faith in, and refusing to allow her gender to prevent her from gaining promotion.
One of my favourite aspects of The Other Side of the Story is the fact that none of the characters behave in a saintly, nor an evil manner. They have flaws, regrets and bad experiences just as 'real' people do. I found the way that each of the three women have a different perspective on extra-marrital affairs to be interesting, too. Different angles are explored as we see the story - as the title suggests - from many sides. In this way the reader may also understand how misunderstandings and wrong conclusions are formed.
I have no hesitation in recommending this book to others who have read and enjoyed Keyes' previous novels. I am pleased that the author has maintained her unique voice in the field of women's writing, but disappointed that the subject matter is not as engaging nor believable as her previous efforts. Relax with a cup of tea and enjoy.
*First published on Amazon.co.uk*
The Other Side Of The Story is a 2004 book by celebrated Irish author Marian Keyes. Keyes is the only writer of what I consider to be chick lit whose work I can not only stomach but actually enjoy. So far I've found her work to be amusing, witty and relevant to women today. Therefore I picked up The Other Side Of The Story hoping to be impressed with what I was about to read.
As with several of Marian Keyes' other books this novel is written from the perspective of three women whose lives are someway interlinked. Our three female protagonists are;
Gemma, the party planner currently living in Dublin with her mother whose husband has walked out on her 30 something years after they first married. However, it isn't only Gemma's mum who has had her heartbroken. Several years earlier Anton, the love of her life, left Gemma for a woman she considered a close friend.
That leads us nicely to our second female character, Lily. Despite being branded a man stealer the shy yet lovely Lily has gone on to have a child with Anton not to mention writing a bestselling "adult fairy tale."
Finally there is Jojo, the gorgeous literary agent who represents Lily among many other clients. However, Jojo's life too has another side as she embarks upon an affair with Mark, the married senior partner of her publishing house.
Many surprises and shocks are in order as Jojo struggles to keep her relationship secret, Lily continues to fear Gemma returning (furiously) to her life and Gemma wonders when she can move back into her own flat.
In terms of format the idea of three characters whose lives intertwine dramatically is by no means original and is something that Marian Keyes has used in other novels. I like the way the narrative switches between the three women and because Keyes has created very different personalities and thus manners of speaking for each woman it is easy to tell who is currently telling the story.
The characters are well developed and each one is clearly defined in a manner that makes us care about them. They show a complete demographic of women in relationships from the one in love to the woman scorned to the "other woman." I think there was a good range of characters who were made all the more realistic by their flaws.
The plot is complex enough to keep the reader's attention without becoming overbearing. It includes elements of humour, drama and romance which are blended together well to create what could be believable lives. However, I felt the final section of the novel let it down as it was at this point that things became quite unrealistic. Events happened too quickly and the way that things fit together although admittedly neat was most definitely unbelievable. For me, this spoiled the experience of the book a little.
Overall I enjoyed The Other Side Of The Story and read it fairly quickly in a matter of days. There are some real laugh out loud moments as well as a few quite sad scenes and I found the mix of emotions worked well. As I've already said the end section of the book was a little disappointing but overall this is a good novel that I would recommend to fans of chick lit. Anyone who does not normally enjoy this genre of literature will not get much from this film and might find it quite tedious. A good book but not one of Marian Keyes' best.
I first got into Marian Keyes when one of her books came free with a magazine. I went into it expecting it to be cliched chick-lit, with lots of vomit inducing mushiness, so was very impressed when it turned out to be a book about a dark topic, but with lots of humour and characters that you could at least partially relate to, unlike lots of other similar books, where all the female characters are strong, independant characters, beautiful with lots of money and glamour in their life.
The other side of the story is the most recent book by Keyes which I have read (i'm a bit behind with them if I'm honest). It took me a while to get into it as it jumps between 3 different characters and their own situations (forgive me, I can get easily confused!)
The book looks into the very different lives of three characters. Firstly there is Gemma Hogan, and events organiser who's best friend 'stole' the love of her life, Anton. And as if things couldn't get worse, her dad walks out on her mother, and Gemma is left to pick up the pieces. She keeps her sanity by writing amusing fictional stories to her friend via email-little does she know that the friend thinks the stories are fabulous, and sends them off to Jojo Harvey, which takes us onto the next character whose life we get an insight into.
Jojo is a literary agent-she's sexy but very strong, due the fact she was originally a policewoman in Manhattan. She currently has her eye on a partnership within her company, but the arrival of a rival by the name of Richie Gant, added to the fact she is having an affair with a married co-worker could put this at risk.
Lily Wright is a client of Jojo's, and also the former best friend of Gemma, before she 'stole' Anton from her. She wants to be a writer, but her first book had no interest from anyone. Then, following a mugging, she gets pretty depressed and ends up writing a bestseller. Unfortunately, when it comes to the next book, she is seriously struggling.
The book looks at the three womens lives as they unfold, for better or worse, and eventually become intertwined with each other.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as it showed both sides of the story where a heartbreak has occured-rather than thinking of Lily as a complete bitch for 'stealing' Gemmas other half, it's actually very easy to sympathise with her as the guilt she has for merely falling in love with someone, is quite painful, and you tend to feel bad for her and actually want her to succeed. This was pretty refreshing in my opinion, as usually the boyfriend-stealer type characters are usually the villain, so it was nice to see a bit of a change.
I also like how even though it seemed that Jojo has everything-looks, success etc, it shows that not everything is as clear cut as this, and even people who seem to lead perfect lives have their own problems to contend with.
I thought the writing was great as ever, and that there was plenty of humour involved to stop it getting too dark, which could have happened easily. It's easy to become very interested in the characters and I found myself desparately turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next.
Whilst sometimes it was frustrating that just when I was getting somewhere with a character, it suddenly turned to a different one, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it to be a very pleasant read, and made me see that sometimes situations aren't as cut and dry as they first appear.
I'd definitely recommend this book.
Marian Keyes is one of the better authors when it comes to chick lit and I have to say I love her books. This one is no different and i finished the book in less than a day.
~~ The Plot ~~
Gemma Hogan is living in Dublin when her boyfriend, Anton, heads off to London. Sending her best friend Lily to keep an eye on him, Gemma's heartbroken to find out that they've fallen for each other. Gemma also suffers when her dad walks out on her mum and Gemma is called to play mum to her potty mum that can't quite get her head around it. Looking for some sanity and somewhere to rant, Gemma sends funny little snippets to her friend in Seattle who finds them so funny she sends them off to a top London agent.
Lily is fighting her own battles and still feels incredibly guilting about stealing Anton from Gemma. She sold a fantastic book via a London agent and is struggling to write a second but is under pressure because of their financial situation. To make it even harder for her, Lily is struggling with motherhood and can't seem to concentrate on anything.
Jojo Harvey is the top London Agent that could break both girls hearts but doesn't really concentrate on it as she has a massive dilemma of her own. She's been seeing her boss for a while but there's a problem, he's married! She wants the lucrative partnership being offered at her work, will her affair with her married boss get in the way?
All three girls are slightly crazy and have other things on their minds. Gemma doesn't want to be where she is but she is so hung up on Anton she can't see a way out. Lily and Anton feel so guilty that their relationship is at breaking point but their quirky personalities could pull them back together. Jojo has some major decisions to make, if only she could get the girls writing top novels. Will they ever get over their problems?
~~ My Opinion ~~
Marian Keyes is your typical chick lit author but I feel her novels are far better than a lot available on the market. Her characters are always realistic but each one has his or her own flaws that might or might not be planned. A lot of chick lit authors make the mistake of using perfect women who have one little problem that they let take over their lives. However, Keyes uses your normal every day woman who has to work at her appearance, work at her job and work on their relationships to make it all work. It's almost as if Keyes knows how to make the reader feel that they have a new best friend and you have to keep reading to find out if you've helped or not. Obviously, you take no part in the book but it doesn't always feel that way.
Keyes has written a number of books and her subject matter is always different. This one focuses on the idea of stealing another ones man and the consequences all parties suffer as a result. When someone has an affair, you don't always look at it from all points of view and I don't think I realised how guilty the other party would feel. Gemma and Lily were best friends and it was never Lilys intention to fall in love with Gemmas man and to this day she has never managed to shake off the guilt. This has affected Lily more than she knew it would and she struggles with her relationship with both Anton and her baby as a result. She also struggles with her writing and therefore they have no money which puts her in an even more depressed state. Can Lily come up with the goods to make ends meet? Either way, you get to see some of her and Anton's big plans and if you thought you were awful with finances, read this and make yourself feel better! Her sense of money is non existent and they make some of the worse decisions you can ever imagine.
It sometimes feels like you need to give Gemma a good shake and tell her to get on with her life. She is very bitter about the relationship between Anton and Lily and is still determined that she'll win him back, even though the chances are pretty non existant. For a start, they don't live in the same city and even if they did, Anton is hopelessly in love with Lily. I think if Gemmas dad hadn't left her mum, the book would have been drowned with sorrow but this is where the laughter comes into it. Gemmas mum is a dotty as they come and she can't seem to understand that her husband has left her. Gemma ends up playing mum to her mum and its very interesting to see how she copes with it. She is a very warm character that adds hilarity almost every scene with her mum. Her patience is at a much higher level than mine could ever be and I'm not sure i could go through what she has and still be laughing about it.
Jojo Harvey is the key to both girls dreams and was extremely happy with the result of Lily's first book. She has great expectations for Lily's next book and is devastated when she reads it and learns it's going to flop. She is having an affair with her boss but underneath this she's very insecure. We also see the other side of an affair within this storyline as although Jojo loves Mark, she can also see how it would be on his children if anyone ever found out about the affair. She needs Mark on her side if she's going to get the elusive partnership but her head and all of her crazy friends are telling her that she has to end the relationship before everyone suffers the consequences. What will Jojo do? Her friends are a fantastic addition to the book and it really helps to bring out her softer side.
There is a crazy side to all three characters and you end up liking them all, even though you suspected you wouldn't. Lily and Jojo might have done the wrong thing but neither is without guilt. Gemma has never been on their side and she doesn't understand how anyone can steal your man and just carry on life as if it hadn't happened.
The book is split into three parts so you can read the story from each woman's perspective. This doesn't mean that one part is Lily, one part Gemma and the last part Jojo. All three women are in each part of the book and you can tell whose perspective it is from by a simple bold heading on a page. The chapters are a really nice length but they did have the tendency to tell me that one more chapter wouldn't take long so i carried on reading. (You know that whole, i can fit one more chapter in nonsense where you just carry on reading and telling yourself this at the end of every chapter).
~~ My Verdict ~~
Overall, I really enjoyed this book but i don't think it was one of Keyes' greatest books. However, it was still a fantastic read and I didn't want to put the book down until I had finished it. Keyes' use of every day characters works for her every time and you can completely sympathise with all three of them, even if you haven't been in their situations. Her use of wit with Gemma's mum was a fantastic addition to the book and without this, i think it would have been a touch depressing. I'd recommend this to anyone who fancies a bit of light reading that will have you laughing away to yourself. The endings aren't predictable though you can guess the direction a couple of them are going.
~~ Extra Bits ~~
I bought this book for around £3 but prices vary so greatly you could probably pick it up for 1p on Amazon and other book stores.
I've been told to include the number of pages into my reviews so this one is 648 pages long, but it definitely doesn't get boring.
The Other Side of the Story - Marian Keyes
Admittedly, I am not the usual reader of this kind of thing - but it came in a Penguins Classics set I got for Xmas and thought it would be an easy, (if hefty - could be used as a doorstop) read over the busy holiday period. As its not my usual cup of tea, I was expecting it to be pretty light in content, usual 'chick-lit' kind of book.
It met my expectations - no bad thing.
The story is a tale of affairs as told from three different female perspectives. There is Gemma - who is ditched by the love of her life for her best friend - Lily, the boyfriend stealer and Jojo, a high-powered literary agent who is having an affair with a married man.
The story starts off with Gemma, my least favourite of the characters in the book. Gemma is the typical chick-flick character, she has a good job, loves fashion and make-up and is obsessed over men. This section almost made me give up reading the book. However I'm glad I persisted, as Lily and Jojo are far more complex characters - perhaps neccessarily so as the author has to justify their actions - i.e. how are these 'good' people having affairs? Both of these characters are much stronger than Gemma and therefore more interesting.
There are some slight niggles with characterisation though - all the girls love clothing and make-up (it may be argued that Lily doesn't but her reaction to the spending slurge demonstrates how good it makes her feel). There are a lot of mentions of brands like Clinique, etc, which got tiring. This particularly didn't sit well with Jojo, who I didn't think would care about that kind of thing, and it was frustrating to read. It seems no female dislikes, or has no interest in, fashion/make-up!!!
There was some sloppy writing too, sentences that I can't believe got past editors, such as 'They say you should never ask a question that you don't know the answer to' (page 316 in Penguins Classic edition) Do they? I've never heard someone say that! Surely people only ask a question if they don't know the answer!! I think what Keyes meant was 'They say you should never ask a question you don't want to know the answer to.' Sorry if this seems like nit-picking but I would have though Penguin would have picked up on this - and this is not the only example of sentences in the book that just don't make actual sense!!
Overall, the plot is not life-affirming, deep or inspiring. Without going into details, as you would expect, there is a happily-ever-after ending. However in its defense, you get what you expect - a light-hearted, loved up chick-flick, perfect for a summer holiday. After the first Gemma section I was also hooked on the plot (though I wouldn't read it again), so its not all bad. All in all, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
PS If Marian, Like Lily, reads her own reviews, don't take it personally!
I loved this book! I'm a big Marian Keyes fan, and love all of her books that I have read , this was the first Keyes book which I read, and ultimately the book which got me into her writing.
This book follows the lives of three woman, Jojo, Lily and Gemma, whose lives are all connected in one way or another.
The book is divided into three sections, each section is divded up by chapters as in normal books, but each chapter is the story of one character.
It sounds a little confusing I know, but its not, and once you get past the first few sections of each person, you can easily distinguish between the three people.
Gemma and Lily are both connected as they used to be best friends, until Lily ran off with Gemmas other half, Anton and they fell out.
Gemma and Lily are connected to Jojo by their stories, they're both writing books, both of which Jojo ends up coming across, one is her client and one is about to be...she doesn't realise the connection between the two.
JoJo has her own problems, sleeping with a married man...who just so happens to be her boss....!!
The story is confusing, but as I said once you get into the story the stories of each character contrast so much that you find it very easy to distinguish!!
Even though it is a little confusing, the book is still an easy read, and is perfect for your beach bag or lying in the bath. You won't want to put it down after picking it up so I don't recommend taking it to bed as you won't egt to sleep til 5am!!!!!!!
If you like anything else b y keyes you'll LOVE this, and if your a Keyes virgin, then let this be your first!!! its amazing and I'm sure you'll love it as much as me!! :-D
First published by Michael Joseph in 2004, published by Penguin books in 2005.
The number one bestseller- Daily Mail, 2005.
The story is set around 3 main characters, all female:
*Jojo, a literary agent, having an full blown affair with her married boss, Mark!
*Lily, Jojos client, a sweet girl. living with her lover Anton.
*Gemma, Antons ex, used to Lilys best friend until she stole her boyfriend, now writing her own story which Jojo stumbles across.
So all the characters are connected in some way, mostly to do with their writing connections!
The book is divided into 3 parts for each of the main events, This does make it easier to follow but still quite confusing as you flit from one story to another!
Part one is then divided into 3 parts; Gemma, Jojo and Lily.
Part two is divided in the same way.
Part three however is divided into chapters for each of the characters in no partticular order, as folows: jojo, lily, jojo, gemma, lily, gemma, lily, jojo, gemma, jojo, gemma, lily, gemma, jojo, lily, jojo, lily, gemma, lily, gemma, jojo, lily, gemma, lily, gemma, lily, jojo, gemma, jojo, lily! phew thats the end!!
So it really is quite confusing to follow!
All these 3 womens lives are intertwined, Jojo thinks its no more complicated than one woman is her client and the other is a maybe client! But the two used to best friends until Lily ran off with Gemmas fiance Anton!! are you keeping up??
Gemma doesn't want to be an author but her friend who she has emailed with updates of her life including her parents messy marriage has sent the said emails to a publisher, cue Jojo.
Lily really wants to be a succesful author and her agent happens to be Jojo. Lilys first book is a bestseller and so Gemma hears through the grapevine that is Jojo about this great new author!
Gemma plots a plan to meet Lily and seek revenge but then reads her book and realises she's really talented!!
Meanwhile, Jojo has her far share of problems as she beds her married boss Mark! not the best career move she has ever made....
The story is very confusing as we flit from one person to the next expecially in part three of the book!
If you can concentrate enough it is a good story you get drawn into as you want to know what will happen to all the characters.
Lily doesn't make a very loveable character at first as we know she stole her best friends fiance but You do warm to her as the story goes on.
I love both Jojo and Gemma for their great attitudes!
If you have a great concentration, give this book a go, otherwise stay clear you'll not understand whats going on unless you give it your full attention!
Chick Lit is not everyone's cup of tea and within the genre itself there are some good and bad books. Marian Keyes, in my opinion, is one of the better writers in this genre - her characters are realistic, flawed, but not unlikeable. They are never the glossy haired, beautiful, intelligent, perfect specimens you might find in some more formulaic novels. They are regular women (yes, her lead characters are always female) who are not perfect looking, or amazingly intelligent, they are like real girls and almost like someone you would know. Her books are always wittily written and cover a broad spectrum of events in people's lives such as drug addiction, marriage break ups, career and family dilemmas, rather than being centered on love and romance in a straight forward boy-meets-girl-fall-in-love-fall-out-of-love-fall-back-in-love type book.
In this book Marian gives us three separate heroines, whose lives are slightly interlinked. In the beginning we get some quite healthy chunks of each character, almost a novella. Latterly, they each have their turns as more conventional sized chapters. Our heroines are thus:
Gemma lives in Ireland and is an event manager. The love of her life, Anton, left her to move to London and took up with her ex-best friend Lily. Gemma is somewhat bitter about this, but has other things on her mind when her dad leaves her mum for his secretary and her and her mum's world falls to pieces. To add insult to injury Lily then has a book published, which was always Gemma's dream. Will Gemma ever be able to leave her mum again and get her life back? Generally I liked Gemma, she was warm, funny and exceedingly patient with her mum. Although she really needed to let the Anton-Lily thing go and move on, we wouldn't have had much of a story without their connection.
JoJo is a tall, feisty American literary agent who takes on Lily. She is career driven and has found herself in a relationship with her married boss against all her moral principles and is in somewhat of a quandary. In addition, one of her weasely colleagues is giving her a run for her money in her efforts to be made partner by her firm. JoJo is another well-written character, with a wealth of amusing, crazy friends for her to bounce off of. She tries to give out a ball-breaker vibe, but we see the deeper, more sensitive JoJo concerned about what would happen to her lover's young children if they ever found out about their affair, whilst equally being jealous of his family's time with him.
Lily has had an insecure upbringing and spent time living in Ireland (where she met Gemma) before returning to London and had no intention of falling for Gemma's ex-boyfriend Anton when she met him. They have a little girl and Lily is on top of the world when her debut novel does well and everyone is raving about it and wanting to see what she can come up with next. Financially, she and Anton have struggled, their income not matching their big ideas, but we get to enjoy their slightly barking but endearing neighbours. Initially I didn't expect to like Lily as a character, as we had already heard Gemma's version of events. Ultimately you do feel sorry for Lily and the guilt she feels about how things turn out.
As well as the lead characters we also have a lively support cast of daft parents, eccentric friends and unconventional work colleagues. As you can tell, I enjoyed the book a lot, although I would say this isn't one of Keyes' best books in my opinion, it was still easy to read. Even though it has almost 650 pages I found it flowed well and I tore through it at a blistering pace whenever I was able to sit and read it. With many facets to a story it is not one where you can second guess all the endings. Saying that there were certain threads of the story that I found slightly predictable in how they turned out, which meant I was slightly disappointed with this book. However, I still maintain that if you are a Chick Lit fan then Keyes' books are well-worth a read. Even if this is not your normal cup of tea, this book and some of her other work can still make for a pleasant, easy read whenever you fancy reading something lighter, funny and entertaining.
So winter is fast approaching, the nights are drawing in and lets face it a bit of chick lit wouldn't go amiss.
If you have read Marian Keyes fiction before, then the other side of the story will not let you down. It is typically light hearted, fun and perfect for the cold winter months.
Based around three main characters JoJo, Gemma and Lily, with each having their own first hand narrative (although this can make the book seem somewhat disjointed at times). So here's a bit about the 3 main girls.
Gemma - Is a party planner in Ireland and she has a nice flat, job , car etc. etc. but all goes wrong when her Father leaves her Mother for a younger model and she has to move back home. She remains hooked on her ex boyfriend Anton who is now living with her ex best friend Lily. But Gemma has one desire and thats to become a published author and is further depressed when Lily writes a best selling book.
Lily- Best selling author and new mother Lily still can't get rid of the guilt of stealing her best friends man Anton. But with a new home, baby and a two book deal she decides to just get on with it but the problem comes when she treis to write a new book.
JoJo - Is a high powered literary agent, having an affair with a fellow (married) agent. When the chance of becoming an agent she hopes she can depend on her boyfriend to support her but perhaps he has his own agenda.
This book is clever in the way that the three women are linked together and despite them been very different to each other you can't help but hope each of them finds their own happiness. It is slightly harsh to call this chick lit because it questions much deeper issues and relationships, with particular emphasis on Gemma's relationship with her Mother.
Marian Keyes produces another winner with the other side of the story, so get snuggled up with it this winter.
I loved this book.
It was fun, light hearted and I couldn't but it down.
Anyone who is feeling down should read this book it is an instant pick-me-up.
It is brilliantly written and extremely well laid out.
I have never read any of Marian's books before but after reading this book, I definately would.
It had me in tears (both laughter and crying).
Never a dull moment, you just can't wait to find out what happens to each of the three main characters, and unlike some other books the 'supporting' characters are just as intriging and you even end up caring about what happens to them.
Loved this book - if you have not read it you definately should.
With eight other bestsellers under her belt, Marian Keyes has unsurprisingly done it again with her newest novel 'The Other Side Of The Story'. Having read only 'Angels' by Marian, I was unsure of what to expect as, although Angels was good, it wasn't outstanding and when I bought this I was looking forward to seeing if there was more to Marian than what I'd seen so far.
*** Plot ***
Gemma, JoJo and Lily are all successful women who are linked to each other in different ways.
Jojo the high flying literary agent is constantly watching out for promotion and trying to keep her complicated love life with her married boss a secret. Always on the lookout for fresh new talent, she was thrilled when she managed to get new author 'Lily Wright' to bestseller status.
Lily Wright, new bestselling author of 'Mimi's Remedies' lives with the love of her life Anton. Together they have a child named Ema, and they live in a not so glamorous flat while Lily struggles to write another bestseller. Knowing that her and her families happiness depends on how well her next book does, and the guilt of her shattered relationship with her ex best friend 'Gemma Hogan', Lily struggles to keep everything together.
Gemma Hogan is still bitter after Lily stole the love of her life and now with her dad leaving her mum for a younger model, her only place to turn to is the internet. Through various e-mails to her friend abroad, Gemma's funny stories get noticed by literary agent Jojo Harvey who decides to take Gemma on as a client.
With three sides to every story, these three women are soon to find out that what goes around comes around, and revenge is something that sometimes has it's own way of doing things.
*** My Opinion On... ***
Here you will find my thoughts on everything from the style of the book to how much I enjoyed it and how the characters developed throughout. Hopefully this will give you the best possible chance of knowing whether or not this book is for you.
1) The Story
When you first read the blurb on the back the story doesn't sound too much different from any other women's fiction ,and in a lot of ways it isn't. The story tells of three women, Jojo, Gemma and Lily. Each have been scorned in their own way though each with a completely different personality. This was refreshing to me as I've read some books that make characters only a little different from each other and that to me isn't really a good thing. I like seeing different characters developing over time, it gets a little boring if they are all the same.
Luckily though, although it isn't a very original story, it isn't predictable. There are a few shocks thrown in along the way just when you think you know what it going to happen. A lot of female fiction (just like chick flicks), can be a little bit too predictable and instead of leaving you with a happy feeling, you end up wanting a sick bucket because you've seen the same ending so many times before.
Another thing to know is that it isn't soppy. There are a few soppy moments but nothing like it could be. It's more grown up but still keeping a kind of young at heart feeling going. The romances that are in there are more complicated and messy just like in real life and not even the ending changes that.
The way it is written I think many women will be able to identify with it. The story isn't unbelievable and in fact a lot of things that happen to the three women, actually happen quite a lot in real life so I can see how a lot of women will be able to relate to it.
So if you're not wanting to read a soppy book but still want a bit of easy reading then this is definitely for you.
2) The Layout and Wording
This book is split into three parts and is quite a big book with 648 pages. For me this isn't a problem as I love big books, they are better value for money I think.
The chapters are never too long so it's easy to just finish a chapter if you need to quickly, before carrying on with something else.
I like the way the book tells the story of the three women. Some people may be guessing that because there are three parts to the book, there must be one different part for each woman. However, you would be wrong! Each different part has all three girls in but it separates them by leaving a page with just their name on in bold, and then telling their story on the next pages, for example:
page 1- * Gemma *
Pages 2 -38 - A bit of Gemma's story
Page 39 - * Lily *
Pages 40-73 - Lily's story
Not too complicated but I can see how it might confuse people. I personally liked the layout and thought it was split really well into all it's little sections.
The wording is also easy to understand. There are no long and complicated words and the paragraphs are set out well. I spotted no mistakes in the wording which was nice because for the last couple of books I've read before this one, I've noticed quite a few spelling mistakes or places where spaces were supposed to be but were missing.
All in all, I like the layout of the book and think splitting it into parts was a good idea and it worked really well.
3) It's Enjoyability
Lately it seems to be taking me around a couple of chapters to get into books but this one was an exception. It only took me a couple of pages until I was really interested in the story. It was easy to read and quite lighthearted which was exactly what I was in the mood for.
As I said, I really liked the layout and I feel that it made the book easier to read and therefore more enjoyable.
By part two I was absolutely hooked and the thing I liked about the book was it had me laughing, feeling sad, shocked and also feeling angry at some of the characters. A book that can make me have all those emotions is definitely a great one if you ask me!
So although I wouldn't say this is the best book I've ever read, it was definitely enjoyable and had me hooked by part two!
4) The Characters
I've already mentioned that the characters are easy to relate to but lets find out a bit more about what I thought about them.
First of all I fell in love with Lily (in a platonic sense of course!). She was kind, caring and a naturally good person who hated hurting others and although she did something I'm completely against (stealing somebody elses man), I could not help but like her and forget about that. She was a very down to earth character and extremely easy to relate to.
Gemma was to me, the most mixed up woman in the three stories though she was still easy to relate to in a lot of ways. She hates Lily for stealing her man, she seems the youngest at heart to me and she can be quite confusing at times.
Jojo is in a complicated situation and sadly one that a lot of women find themselves in. She has a lot of guilt about splitting up her married bosse's family but at the same time she wants to be with the man she loves. She is very ambitious and really wants to be promoted. For me she was the least I could identify with.
I don't want to go in to too much detail as to how the characters are because I feel part of the fun of reading a book is seeing how a character develops over time. You don't want to know what they are like before you've even started as it is a little boring if you do.
I really enjoyed seeing the characters develop and like I said, they made me go through all kinds of emotions which made it feel like I was going through their lives with them.
5) Comparison Between This And Marian's Other Books
Now I have only read 'Angels' by Marian and as I said earlier, I really wasn't blown away by that. However, I feel she has really made up with it in this book. Her characters developed and grew on me more than they did in 'Angels' and it was also better written. I think this book really shows off Marian's talent and her humour.
The similarities between the two are that they are both women's fiction and that is where it ends for me. I really do think this book is better and shows what she is capable of more than 'Angels did'. I think she is one of those authors that progress even more over time. She is already a bestselling author and this book is no exception. I will definitely be watching out for future books by her and I will be surprised if she can improve her writing even further than what she has now.
6) Any Downsides?
I can honestly say that for me there wasn't one bad thing about this book. It's easy to read, fun and light hearted, gets emotions going and it's unputdownable.
*** My Overall Opinion ***
As if you haven't guessed already. I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, light, enjoyable read.
In every story, there is a goody, and a baddy. Right?
Well I always thought so. When reading a book I form my alliances very quickly, a ploy that the author cleverly constructs so that the reader will sympathise with the hero, and dislike the enemy.
That is why Marian Keyes book The other side of the story is so interesting.
The book is split into three sections.
Hardworking Gemma, heartbroken by her former love leaving her for her former best friend, and devoted to her unrewarding job, is thrown into turmoil as her Father leaves her mother. Struggling to look after her mum, whilst balancing a job, a younger boyfriend, and a quiet romance with the local pharmacist, she begins to write a book, drawing on her talent for storytelling.
Almost immediately the reader feels sympathy for Gemma, disliking the former best friend Lily, who stole the love of Gemmas life.
This is all turned upside down when we read about Lilys side of the story. Quiet, sweet, paranoid, and gentle, Lily is not a character that anyone could dislike, no matter how sorry we feel for Gemma.
The third narrator in this novel is Jojo, and American femme fatale, gorgeous, successful, and completely head over heels with a married man.
It is unusual to feel sympathy for the mistress of a story, but the book is so beautifully written that the reader actually begins to dislike the wife for having the audacity to have met her husband before Jojo.
Marian Keyes has the uncanny ability to put herself completely into her characters, showing emotions so realistically that the reader can completely put themselves in the characters shoes.
When reading Keyes books, I always find myself drawn completely into the story, which is made easier by her ability to write words the same was that people speak them.
The book is drawn to a wonderful conclusion that shows that no matter how many mistakes the three characters have made, everything, as it will in story-land, has turned out ok.
Having my birthday in July is always good. It means that lots of my favourite authors bring out their new books ready for the holiday period where people can pop them in their suitcases and go off down to the beach for a long, relaxing read. Marian Keyes is one of these favourite authors and around July time, a new book seems to come out. Coming out on hard back first means; spending lots of money, waiting an age for the paperback version to come out, or keeping my fingers crossed and dropping lots of hints with the words birthday present in. This birthday, I didnt even have to hint
my beloved younger sister knew what Id be after (maybe because she was hoping to read it too) and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the book shaped pressie on the day.
This year it was The Other Side of The Story. A novel linked by the stories of a trio of unforgettable women.
Ambitious and sexy, literary agent Jojo Harvey combines voluptuous good looks with a mind of steel. As if she doesnt have a hard enough job trying to work her way up the corporate ladder, Jojo is also having an affair with her married boss.
Slim, blonde, best-selling author Lily Wright is one of Jojo's clients. She worries constantly about her relationship with Anton (the love of her life), believes strongly in fate and karma, and is having trouble writing her second novel that she has already spent the advance of on her dream house.
And third, is Events Organiser Gemma Hogan. She was once best friends with Lily but their friendship came to an end when Lily stole Anton from her. Gemmas story revolves around struggling with the demands of her job, social life and her desperately needy, newly separated mother. Gemma confesses all to one of her dearest friends in a series of emails. The tales eventually come to the attention of Jojo and Gemma also becomes her client.
Well, she's done it again! Marian never fails to please and the only thing that disappointed me about this book was that it had to end. Through an exciting, hilarious, heart-warming and sometimes heartbreaking story, Keyes proves there is always another side to the story in this case, there are 3 sides.
The book is split into sections. The first half of the book tells the story so far of each main character. The second half of the story is more about what is happening now and how their lives are linked.
The story starts with Gemma. Gemma is 32, left home and set up in a flat of her own many years ago, has a great social life and is doing well in her job. That is until she gets a call from her mother to say that her father is having an affair with his secretary and has left her. Gemma drops everything and rushes off to see her. Unfortunately, mum goes from bad to worse and Gemma is forced to stay and look after her. Trapped in her childhood home with her unwashed, depressed mother who clings to her husbands manky porridge bowl for months whilst waiting for him to return, Gemma spends any spare time emailing her friend on the other side of the world, depicting the various scenarios of her upside down life. The highlight of her time back home seem to be taking quick trips to the chemist to pick up her mothers prescription from the friendly pharmacist in the white coat.
As the story unfolds, Gemma finds that without her authorisation, her so-called friend has passed these emails onto a literary agent (Jojo) who wants to produce them into a novel format. Gemma can not bear the thought of her embarrassing stories being shared with the world but knows that this could be the only way to get back at Lily (who is also a client of Jojos), her ex-best friend, who many years ago stole her boyfriend and now lives with him and their baby girl in London.
Set in the world of publishing, The Other Side of the Story is about love, loyalty and survival and what to do when you get your chance for revenge. It may be 'chick fic', chick lit and a 'Women's Weekly Great Read' but it's also very well written, is full of believable characters, hysterical situations, great comedy sex and has the key to the escape route we all want now and again from everyday life. Marian Keyes writes about real 3 dimensional people you can relate to and settling down with her newest novel is like meeting up with your oldest school friend who you havent seen for years but just know things between you will be exactly the same as they were back then. Keyes writes about things that are close to womens hearts fear. Fear of success fear of failure fear of not finding your true love fear of finding your true love fears of major life changing incidents, right down to little everyday niggles.
So, if you want to read a hilariously funny book, that will draw you in, making you giggle and cry and cry at the same time, then try this one. Its a fantastic book even better than getting banjoed on free Pina Coladas! *
*Youll have to read it to understand that one.