April 2, 2012

Getting Rid of Matthew

Title: Getting Rid of Matthew
Author:       Jane Fallon
Publisher:   Voice, Reprint edition, August 12, 2008
Medium:      Paperback (Ebay purchase)

Goodreads Synopsis:     A fabulous debut about a long-suffering nearly 40-something woman, Helen, and her affair with a family man named Matthew, who is not so surprisingly her boss. Just at the moment she decides it's time to dump him and get on with her life, she opens the front door to find Matthew on her doorstep. "I've done it" he announces triumphantly. "I've left her. I'm yours" he tells her, and proceeds to move in. She is not brave enough to throw him out. She then discovers how much she can't bear him. Wherein ensues a zany plot that involves figuring out that the best way to get rid of Matthew is to befriend his wife and convince her to take him back. The only problem is that Helen discovers she really likes Sophie, Matthew's wife, a lot more than she likes Matthew. And on top of that, she has a rather dishy stepson. Light as a feather but about real issues, GETTING RID OF MATTHEW is a deliciously funny novel that proves the peril of getting what you ask for.

This was a book club choice by a gentleman who belongs to the group.  I can't tell you much about him as it was my first time attending the Books & Beer group.  He gave a lively description of the book to the group and promised that we would laugh out loud and love the book.  In keeping true to my "get a book anywhere philosophy", I picked up this gently worn out paperback off E Bay.

The premise of Getting Rid of Matthew is pretty simple.  Married mad gets bored and finds a pushing middle-aged lass to entertain him a few nights a week (for 4 years!!!!).  Pushing middle-aged lass impels man to leave wife.  Man leaves wife and moves in with lass.  Pushing middle-aged lass has almost instant buyer's remorse and the tale moves to her trying to Get Rid of Matthew.  And the story unfolds from there.

The yarn that is weaved by the author has some really promising bits, and a few hold your breath moments, but for the most part, the only voice I could hear was the pushing middle-aged lass's incessant whining, at least it seemed she was constantly droning on.  I wasn't sure if I was supposed to love her or want to drown her.  I read a few other reviews of this book, and a couple of the complaints were that it's set in London and the "language" and "setting" were difficult to grasp.  It's England, not Djibouti.  Spend an afternoon watching BBC or PBS, and you'll be brought up to speed fairly quickly and hanker for a chippy all at the same time.

Have you ever been to Great Britain?  If you go, the first thing you might notice is that it's bleak, drizzly and damp.  Not every day, but  many, and that was the feeling I had while reading this book - bleak, drizzly, damp.  Even in some of the brighter spots of the book where one should feel happiness, I couldn't feel any warmth for any character, except for the Rabbits upstairs.

Do my feelings make Getting Rid of Matthew a horrible book?  Absolutely not.  It just wasn't the book for me.  I actually have a friend who I invited to join the book club before this book was chosen who has lived the exact life of one of the main characters.  We just had a quick phone discussion and she said that her Matthew was exactly like the character Matthew!  She said she felt so many of the same feelings and emotions as the characters did and she laughed out loud so many times.

Me, I didn't laugh out loud, in-fact, I never really felt much emotion for any of the characters.  Yes, yes, yes, there are deep, important emotions and relationships at play in this book, and the ending is a good one.  I think I did a half of a Julia Roberts/Arsenio Hall "whoo" when I finished.

Sometimes it's the story line in a book that keeps a person from really loving a book, so I'm going to give Ms. Fallon another go, and in the near future check one of her books out of my local library.  I will come back and review it, of course!

Jane Fallon

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