Got You Back by Jane Fallon

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 408 pages, 2008

Rating: 9/10

Look Inside: A peek at the first dozen chapters

Reason for Reading: Chick lit? I’m probably there. British chick lit? I’m all yours.

Synopsis: Stephanie lives a wonderful life with her husband and son in London, while Katie lives a great life in the country with her boyfriend…too bad for these pictures of domestic bliss that the two women unknowingly share the same man, James. After discovering that James spends half the week in his city vet practice with his wife and the other half out at his country practice with his girlfriend, the two women decide one thing would be much, much more fun than just dumping him: revenge. And what could be worse on the image-conscious James’ ego than constant, inexplicable public humiliation? Let the games begin.

Why you should read this book: I like the premise of this book: two women find out they’ve both had the wool pulled over their eyes, and rather than claw each other’s eyes out, they go after the real perpetrator: James. The revenge aspect is cleverly done: funny, satisfying, but never cartoon-ish in scope. The women have other things going on in their life (Katie works in the naturopathic field; Stephanie is a stylist who is deeply concerned that her son doesn’t suffer even as James gets what he deserves) and consequently they seem very real and not like ridiculous revenge-crazed psychopaths. We get to see the points of view of all three characters, allowing us to see some of the plotting the women do, but also the bewilderment of James as he slowly starts to lose it as everything around him collapses. The women also discover they have an important question to ask themselves: when is enough revenge enough, and moving on with life more important? Thoughtful and sharp-witted, Got Him Back will delight fans of the genre.

Why you should avoid this book: From time to time I found myself thinking that I didn’t need to know about everything the characters were doing, especially once their personality traits were well-established. What can I say, I’m impatient for the action! It was minimal, though.

Opening paragraph:

Stephanie closed her eyes and held out her hands, her son’s almost uncontrollable excitement rubbing off on her and making her feel like a child again herself. It was hard to believe it had been nine years. Nine years ago today she had been shivering because of the cold, and crying because it was raining and her hair was going to get ruined, and James had burst into the hotel room where she was getting ready, ignoring all the voices telling him it was bad luck for him to see his bride before the ceremony, because he had known she would be nervous and that she would care about seeing him more than she would worry about breaking with tradition.

Fabulous quotes:

‘I didn’t ask,’ Stephanie said, ‘but what do you look like? You know, so I recognize you.’ She was feeling a bit sick. The reality of what was happening to her was just beginning to sink in. What if the woman her husband had been having an affair with was stunning? She wasn’t sure if she could cope with that.
‘Well, I’m wearing a turquoise skirt, sort of a long skirt, and a white vest with a light blue cardigan. And I’m about five foot two,’ Katie said, which wasn’t the answer Stephanie had been looking for. Was she thin? Fat? Plain? Gorgeous? Twenty-five? Fifty?

Too late. He raised his eyebrows at her as if she might somehow understand telepathically what he was asking her to do. This was it. This was the moment when both Katie and his parents would find out about his double life.
‘Hello,’ he said, in a voice so falsely jovial he sounded a little insane. ‘What are you doing here?’
His parents had stopped and were smiling at this woman, who was obviously a friend of their son’s.

Also recommended: Goodbye, Jimmy Choo by Annie Sanders; Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas; The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes.

Also by this author: Getting Rid of Matthew.

Fun tidbit: Click here to listen to Fallon’s partner of 25 years, Ricky Gervais, talk about what a help she’s been to him navigating the world of television (the BBC also being a large part of her past work).

Would I read more by this author? I want to get my hands on Getting Rid of Matthew, and will also read any books Fallon writes in the future.

&#169 Lisa Yanaky 2003-2009

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