Thursday, May 19, 2011

The other side of the story by Marian Keyes

The other side of the story by Marian Keyes has to be among the chunkiest books I have read in the recent past. I don’t think I quite understand the concept of a chick-lit running upto 600+ pages. But ,having finished the book,I feel that it was definitely worth it.My previous Marian Keyes outings haven’t been anything to write home about . The brightest star in the sky had quite simply ruptured few of my brain cells in boredom.Angels was marginally better,but definitely not what I had expected it to be.

Then this book happened and I have been made to eat my words and my opinion on Marian’s writing. Her writing is breezy and the flows with ease,but is not dumb either.The book opens with the story of Gemma,an Irish woman who organises events and is quite distraught about her love life.Her best friend has managed to steal the “Love of the life” and Gemma is still carrying a torch for her ex-lover. Not to mention an intense hatred towards her ex-best friend. Most of the story is narrated to us through Gemma’s mail to her friend, Susan and some mails run into 4-5 pages. A little long for an email, but who is complaining when the mails are studded with Gemma’s funny-isms.Her problems don’t stop here.Her father has ditched her mam for a woman who is four years older and her mam refuses to let Gemma out of her sight.She gets to go out only to buy her mam’s prescriptions and bumps into Johnny, the chemist repeatedly. Gemma gets smashed at a party and ends up having sex with a guy whose name I currently forget .So in effect Gemma’s life is not really all peachy. But Susan’s sent her mails to an agent who wants her to write a book about her father dumping her mam.Lets hop over to Jojo’s life in London for a bit.

Jojo is an top notch agent with a London Publisher and is awesome at her job.She is being considered for partnership ,but has a shoddy secret that could ruin everything for her- she is having an affair with the managing partner. Jojo hates herself for having an affair with a married man and really can’t picture ruining another woman’s life. Marian lets us have a glimpse at the lives of authors and agents and the behind the scene action at publishing houses. Bidding wars and petty politics stories kept me enthralled.Jojo is the agent that has received Gemma’s letters and wants to represent her.Lets now step into Lily’s life,shall we?.

Lily is the best friend that stole Gemma’s boyfriend. She lives with the boyfriend and their baby in London and has written a book that’s become a best seller.And you guessed it- Jojo is her agent.However, without much money at hand ,she has gone ahead and bought a house that they can’t really afford.Add to that the guilt of having stolen Gemma’s boyfriend, a huge writer’s block and errant builders to her list of problems and you have a huge cauldron of self-doubt.

The rest of the story chronicles how the three women’s lives get entangled and how they emerge in one piece at the end of it all!. The writing kept me in splits and I can safely declare that have fallen in love with Marian Keyes’s writing.The book wasn’t outright laugh-out-loud Sophie Kinsella type stuff,but is intensely funny at places. More than anything the women with their neuroses were very relatable and real. The length like I mentioned might faze some people,but it’s the same length that makes sure that all the characters are very well etched out.It is almost like 3 books combined into one. The end was a little predictable,but then it’s chick-lit,what else is to be expected?.

A lovely book that I’ll recommend to any lover of chick-lit.I’ll give this book 4/5.


  1. try last chance saloon, this charming man.. you will love it.. watermelon is her best.. did you borrow it someplace?? her books are costly in india

  2. Hema.. I think I've read last chance saloon and watermelon. yeah, at a local library and at British council..