Star Book Review: Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon (Audio); Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
Jane Fallon’s debut novel, Getting Rid of Matthew came out in 2007, joining the ranks of many other successful chick lit books on the subject of extramarital affairs, friendship and how one defines one’s self in the midst of such relationship chaos. takes a unique stance on the topic. Reminiscent of books like 1996’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan and 2004’s Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin and Marian Keyes’ Angels of the same year, Getting Rid of Matthew tackles a tough topic but adds its own unique perspective to the subject matter. When Stella catches her man cheating in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, she takes her pride back by throwing him and all his clothes out on the street, burns all his clothes, including his most prized possession: a hip, roadster sports car, to bits, symbolizing the love and relationship that he threw away like yesterday’s trash. In an alternate viewpoint, we get a glimpse at the lives of those doing the cheating in Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed, which chronicles the saga of an affair from its inception when Rachel sleeps with her best friend’s fiancé the night of her 30th birthday. Later we find out, that it’s not just one fiancé having an affair. Darcy also commits the ultimate, adulterous pre-wedding crime and sleeps with her fiancé’s best man. Finally, in Marian Keyes’ Angels Maggie Walsh finds solace across the Atlantic as she makes a daring move from Ireland to the U.S. to start her life anew without her no-good cheating husband and finds happiness and herself in the City of Angels in Los Angeles, CA.
Unlike its predecessors, Ms. Fallon’s story does not end with a cheating husband caught in bed with his mistress and thrown out on his rear. It does not indulge in the nuances of an illicit love affair and it does not take an entire ocean to separate the cheater from the cheatee to move on with their lives. Instead, Getting Rid of Matthew focuses on the women in Matthew’s life, and we get to see an affair from the vantage point of both the mistress and the wife of Matthew. In fact, at one point in the story, the two women form unsuspecting bond (although one of the women is entirely unaware of the other’s true identity). Nevertheless, I was surprised when this tale began when cheating husband, Matthew, showed up on the doorstep of his mistress, Helen, with all his possessions in tow. Ironically, in the tradition of the infamous saying “we all want what we can’t have”, Helen almost simultaneously decides she is “over” Matthew and no longer wants to be with him. However, feeling guilty, thanks to the constant reminder from Matthew about how he has just uprooted his entire family - wife, Sophie and two daughters - for her, Helen feels obligated to let him stay at her apartment. Nonetheless, as the label, an affair, often implies, Helen quickly realized nothing was about to be settled easily or amicably and as it became clearer to Helen that their living situation was anything less than temporary, she proceeded to orchestrate various “plans” to be rid of Matthew once and for all. Shortly into her master plan, Helen found herself in the midst of a predicament on the brink of disaster. Listen to the entire unabridged audio version to hear the hilarious recount of all the antics Helen pulls off in her attempt to break free form her married lover. This was a unique, fun, and unusual tale from British chick lit author Jane Fallon, made even more fun by seasoned narrator Rosalyn Landor. Ms. Landor excels at making emotion an audible expression such that listeners feel like they are part of all the narrative action.