“The Other Side of the Story” by Marian Keyes takes awhile to get off the ground. And if you’re like me, you may have given up on it.
I did for a few weeks, but as it sat on the bookshelf begging for a second chance, I couldn’t resist – and I’m so glad I didn’t. This book, like other Keyes novels, is great.

The first part of the book seems over-the-top, depressing, and just plain not fun to read. Gemma, a party planner, is surprised to find her father left her mother suddenly for a younger woman. Her mother can’t cope and a painful few chapters about moving in with her mother/while trying to keep her life on track ensue.

Plus we find out that her former best friend (who stole her boyfriend years ago) just got a novel published, something Gemma has wanted her whole life. Don’t worry, I’m not giving anything away, you really learn all of this quite fast.

Just when you feel like you can’t read any more about this poor woman’s life, the point of view changes and we’re whisked away to the point of view of Jojo: a book publisher whose boyfriend is married. That was my ah-ha moment. First we’re strung along worried about Gemma’s mom whose husband has left her, only to learn more about the other side of the story and see what it’s like to be the so-called “other woman.” No, Jojo isn’t the one Gemma’s dad is with, so we don’t truly see both sides, but Keyes does show the reader we can sympathize with anyone’s situation.

The book also goes on to switch points of view to Lily, Gemma’s former best friend. But I don’t want to give away any more – once the book switches to Jojo and Lily’s point of view it really gets good. And, even when the point of view swings back to Gemma, her life is moving forward again and gets interesting.

So, what wine goes with a book that’s hard to start but great to finish? I’m going with 270 West Pinot Noir ’08. Listen to this description:

“270 West Pinot Noir shows very good varietal character; easy and layered on the palate; has an easy-going finish.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Grab a glass, grab a pillow, and get ready for good variety and an easy finish.