Title: Those Other Women
Author: Nicola Moriarty
Publication Date: 3rd May 2018
This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review
About the book:
From the author of The Fifth Letter comes a controversial and darkly comic story about the frustrations of being a childless woman in the modern baby-obsessed world . . .
Poppy’s world has been tipped sideways: the husband who never wanted children has betrayed her with her broody best friend.
At least Annalise is on her side. Her new friend is determined to celebrate their freedom from kids, so together they create a Facebook group to meet up with like-minded women, and perhaps vent just a little about smug mummies’ privileges at work.
Meanwhile their colleague Frankie would love a night out, away from her darlings – she’s not had one this decade and she’s heartily sick of being judged by women at the office as well as stay-at-home mums.
Then Poppy and Annalise’s group takes on a life of its own and frustrated members start confronting mums like Frankie in the real world. Cafés become battlegrounds, playgrounds become warzones and offices have never been so divided.
A rivalry that was once harmless fun is spiralling out of control.
Because one of their members is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And she has an agenda of her own . . .
What I Thought:
Hands up to be totally honest I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this book – I’m not a mother, and my experience of mum’s groups is pretty limited to the times a Mumsnet post proves controversial and ends up going viral far and wide across the lands of social media. At the same time I’m not a person who is completely against the idea of children, I’m just not ready yet, but this did leave me questioning if I’d be able to really relate to any of the central characters.
I decided to go into the book with an open mind, and that I’d be able to relate to them in some way, even if it wasn’t about parenting. I figured everyone has some experience of rivalries, whether it’s related to the football team you support or a childhood rivalry between two local schools. I also decided that everyone has something that they feel is a little unjust in the world, particularly in a work environment. Feel free to guess what irritates me in the comments below!
I’ll be honest Those Other Women had be gripped from the first page quite honestly starting off with a couple of pages from the imposter was a genius move! It meant right from the beginning that idea was in my head and I was constantly looking for little clues and trying to work out who it was.
After the brief section from the imposter’s point of view Those Other Women kicks off properly with a section from Poppy’s perspective. At the end of a normal day she returns home from work to what must be the ultimate betrayal – she discovers her husband has been having an affair with her best friend and is leaving her.
During this reveal Karleen, the former best friend, tells her it’s because Garret does actually want children. This, along with her mother’s insistence Poppy is only going through a phase, and the perception that the mothers at her workplace are getting preferential treatment is enough for Poppy to decide she wants to create a new Facebook group – an alternative to all the mums groups out there – a place where women who simply didn’t want children could connect. Together with Annalise, a colleague from work who has taken her under her wing since her divorce Poppy creates NOP.
To begin with all goes well with NOP, until one fateful evening having received some unwelcome news Poppy gets drunken, and in her drunken state posts a rant about the (perceived) injustices and how they shouldn’t let mothers get away with it anymore. Things are soon getting out of hand with private conversations being screenshot and sent to people outside the group that were never meant to see their sister/in law/best friend letting off steam; and confrontations happening in real life. Many twists and turns later it all comes to a head when Poppy and Annalise come face to face with moderators of the local mums group, MOP, while on a charity cruise.
From beginning to end Those Other Women is definitely a page turner, I couldn’t wait to see what was coming next, there were plenty of little hints that kept me second guessing characters and their motives, leaving me wondering if they really could be trusted or not. Little hints at the past, or an action in the present to nudge you into a slightly different way of looking at the character, are the ones you think you like as good as you think, and those you have a more negative view of actually that bad… I think this is really where the books multiple points of view comes into its own – we see characters through one point of view, with that character’s bias, and then we see them from a different point of view and have the opportunity to question the reliability of the original perspective.
Speaking of characters the book is told from three main perspectives Poppy, Annalise and Frankie – with additional input from The Imposter.
Poppy is the central character within the book – I actually really liked her, I think the reveal at the beginning made her easy to empathise with, I imagine discovering your husband is having an affair is devastating enough, but to discover it’s with your best friend, the one you would most want to turn to for support must be completely heartbreaking. You also get the impression that Poppy starts NOP with the right intentions, and genuinely feels bad when things get out of control following her drunken rant. I think Pop goes on a bit of a journey throughout the book, and she was a really nice character to centre the story on.
Annalise is the second character whose perspective we encounter during the story. Annalise was one of those characters I wasn’t quite sure about, to begin with she seems like just the friend Poppy needs to bring her out of her shell and moving on, but then the odd sentence here and there had me questioning her motives and wondering if she really had Poppy’s best interests at heart. I think Annalise had a really interesting backstory hinted at through the novel and I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
Frankie is the final character whose perspective we are introduced to and I have to admit my thoughts on her were altered once I saw her through a different point of view. My original perception was definitely coloured by Poppy and Annalise’s bias views on her.
Would I Recommend?
Those Other Women is definitely a fun read. Even if you don’t fit into one or other of the differing tribes the book is still relatable. I particularly like the inclusion of the Facebook post and comments sections – I have no idea if some of the stories are based on actual anecdotes or if they are all invented but some of them were hilarious. I think viewing the story from different perspectives was a great device that definitely added to the way I thought about the different characters. Overall I think Those Other Women ended with a really positive message and I would definitely recommend it to everyone.
Want to buy it?
As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?