This book sucked me in–only because I wanted to see Emily finally stand up for herself.
For me, this book wasn’t just about the antagonist (Pammie) getting her comeuppance but the protagonist’s (Emily’s) transformation. If a character doesn’t change (at least temporarily), they’re static–not necessarily the best choice for a main character.
The only character trait of Emily’s I can remember (and I finished this just last night) was that she liked a little wine or champagne to unwind. I never figured out what she liked to do for fun, what her work life was like, her hopes, dreams, et cetera. She was like a piece of flypaper that crap stuck to; the book wasn’t about her but about the things that happened to her (or allowed to happen to her). Whenever she did show a little moxie, she backed out at the last minute or past it. She was as dull as dishwater.
Now I like chick lit as much as anyone, but this was like the cliched formula for a chick-lit novel, with the obligatory gay male friend who was perfect in every way (and who the protagonist would marry if he wasn’t gay) and the spunky and fiercely loyal female roommate who is alluded to as being funny, yet she doesn’t say or do anything that makes us laugh.
As for the love story, it was nonexistent. Emily is always telling us she loves Adam, but I could never figure out why. He was attractive (who cares?), had a professional job (whatever that was), and whatever charm (or personality) he was supposed to have was lost on me. Anyone who would ALWAYS take their mother’s side without question is bad news. I will never understand why women want to force someone to marry them, but if you’re already living together, and it’s working, why not get married? And if he doesn’t want to marry you when it is working, it might be a good idea to reexamine your relationship. Emily came across as desperate, holding on to Adam at all costs to her, just because his mother didn’t want her to have him. I’m not even sure why Adam chose her except that he knew she’d put up with his crap indefinitely.
Emily continuously exhibiting extremely poor judgment, which I think stemmed from her lack of experience with men, made me not only lose patience with her but get angry with her. Her convoluted way of thinking was to get married first and then fix all the problems (which made me think of Congress passing a bill to see what was in it).
The best part of this book–the only part that had any real depth–was when Emily was talking about weddings (p. 257-258): “We all rush to support this outpouring of love and commitment, yet scratch the surface and you’ll find we feel more obliged than genuinely willing. There is always something better we could be doing with ourselves on a sunny Saturday afternoon…we’ve spent money that we don’t have, on an outfit we’ll wear only once, and on the cheapest present we could find.”
(I’ve never met anyone who is excited to go to a wedding unless it’s the bride and groom and their parents. Have you?)
The twist ending was decent, but the title could have used a little more punch as “the other woman” is a cliche.
Is all this to say that I did not enjoy the book? Not at all. The Other Woman is one of those nail-biters where you just want to see what happens, and then once you read it, you’ll never pick it up again.