Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Other Woman

The Other Woman
By Jane Green
Publisher: Penguin
Published on 2005
ISBN-13: 9780140295955
464 pages

Reading Jane Green’s The Other Woman made me think that Ellie Black needs a new brain and heart. You see, the female protagonist is a successful marketing director who found the love of her life, Dan Cooper; meets his mother and family, marries him and bears his child. Sounds good so far. But the problem is, she has a problem with her mother-in-law, Linda Cooper. She thinks Linda is the proverbial mother-in-law from hell. To a certain extent I do feel for Ellie, and Linda can be quite overbearing.

Now, even though Ellie's mother-in-law appears to be domineering and what-have-you-nots, I think her problem is not a problem at all compared to many others who ACTUALLY have mothers-in-law from hell. What Ellie is getting is a lot of unwarranted attention from ‘the other woman’ who has a deep need to meddle in her affairs but they are done with good intention. In the beginning, Ellie is getting the mother she has always wanted (hers died when she was 13) but then things got worse and starts to go downhill. Here is the stuff that Ellie has to go through: Linda takes control of the wedding plans, after the wedding and then after the birth of Ellie’s son; calls few times a day even when she is at work; and a host of other problems.

Ellie’s mother-in-law is not the only problem, but she is somehow the source of problem when her marriage starts to fall apart. She bickers to Dan about his mother’s controlling behaviour, and poor Dan has to endure that almost on a daily basis. She also blames Dan for not standing up for her when he sees what is happening. But there are also moments when Ellie swings back into ‘positive mode’ about Linda. So it is good-bad-good-bad throughout the book and I really felt like telling Ellie to shut up and grow up.

Ellie’s friends—Lisa and Trish—are a source of support for her, especially during those bad times. Lisa is a hot single mother while Trish is the mom-next-door type. Emma, Ellie’s sister-in-law gets along well with her. This goes to show that girlfriends are important and having someone to unload or share your burden with makes the world a much better place to live in.

Overall, I enjoy the book but I am not crazy about it. Ellie annoys me big time. I find her rather ungrateful and think she should appreciate her mother-in-law more, and accept her for who she is rather than focusing on what she is not doing right. In fact, her girlfriends say the same thing too. This book is an easy, mindless read but drags in certain parts. It is my first Jane Green book but I do not think I will read her other works. Well, maybe things will change with time. We shall see.

On a separate note, I think I have low tolerance for chick-lit (not all, but most) which explains why I could not stand the Shopaholic series, but I did enjoy reading Shopaholic and Baby.

NOTE: I would like to thank my colleague Alicia for lending me this book. I really appreciate it! It is an amusing read.

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