Review: Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon

I don’t read a lot of chick lit, and even less Brit chick lit, and maybe there’s a good reason for that.  

Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon is about Helen, an almost 40 year old secretary in a London PR firm who for 4 years has been having an affair with her boss, Matthew- 20 years her senior.  She sees him 3 nights a week in her cramped apartment.  

The book opens in bed with the alarm going off and Matthew getting up and getting ready to leave the house.  But this is not 8am, it’s 8pm, and he is not simply leaving for work, he is going home to his beautiful house, his lovely wife Sophie, and his two beloved daughters.  Helen’s life is small and pitiful- her career has been downsized because of her affair- she transferred to a different department, thus being labeled as difficult.  She has one friend and virtually no social life.  She’s self absorbed, shallow and petty, and she’s constantly begging Matthew to leave his wife. 

Matthew has agreed to see her over a long holiday weekend, but completely forgets about it during the festivities at his house.  He steals away to call her behind closed doors and she realizes he’s forgotten.  They have a fight and she refuses to see or talk to him for a couple weeks, during which time she makes up her mind to end the relationship.  But before she can end it, Matthew tells his wife everything and shows up on Helen’s doorstep with his bags in hand.  Rather than being honest (no one in this book is honest), she decides to give it a go, because she’s flattered that he left his family for her.  He regularly reminds her of his great sacrifice. 

From there things go downhill.  As Helen and Matthew’s relationship goes public, the office is abuzz, and it isn’t pretty.  Helen is disturbed that people see Matthew as an old man, not the ‘catch’ she always thought him to be, and she is embarrassed by that (although she doesn’t seem embarrassed by the fact that she’s been doing the boss for years- only that people see him as old). 

Helen decides the only way to get rid of the old man is to somehow get him back together with his wife.  Soon she is stalking Sophie and through a series of unlikely events, befriends her under the fake name of Eleanor.  Eleanor/Helen and Sophie strike up a friendship and it isn’t long before that friendship becomes more important to Helen than the relationship with Matthew.  Sophie wants Matthew back, so Helen uses that to her advantage and plots to get the two back together.  Through Sophie she also meets Leo, an attractive man her own age, who she finds herself wanting to get to know.  Turns out he’s Matthew’s son from his first marriage.  Helen finds herself in quite a pickle and I kept reading at this point just waiting for the inevitable train wreck. 

This book is chock full of negative clichés, horrible people, and foul language.  Helen is the homewrecker, Matthew is the textbook cheating husband, Sophie is the wronged woman who wants the bastard back despite everything, the bitches in the office are full of gossip and backstabbing.  Everyone is drinking way too much, all the time.  The versatile F word is on nearly every page in various forms- as a verb, noun, adjective, adverb-  and in one particularly creative sentence was used 4 times.  Apparently it’s the new “bloody”.  There are a lot of British references and colloquialisms that I didn’t get or didn’t find funny.  In fact, I didn’t find anything funny in this book- it’s completely unfunny and unlikeable.  But I must say something nice- so I’ll say that I do like the cover and the title, and the quality of the writing.  But that’s about all I can say.  If I were the type to give out stars, Getting Rid of Matthew would get only one.

If Only They Would Send Books AND Chocolate..

My day wasn’t going so well earlier.  It started off with a stupid fight with my stupid dear husband and went downhill from there.  It’s pretty sad when you find yourself snapping at the dog for not getting out of your way fast enough (and the poor dog has stitches on her head!) and then telling your 9 year old that her head would be shaved if she didn’t brush her hair RIGHT NOW.  And then the damn zipper broke on my favorite shorts- the ones that actually fit.  And for chrissake, is that a zit on my chin??  (Pass the Midol- and the chocolate- and the tissues!)  Grrrrrr grrrrrr grumble grumble leave me alone.  

Ok, so not the best day ever for moi.  But it did get better.  I had some really positive emails this morning on my new venture.  Yeah, me!  And then my dear husband apologized, because (obviously) everything was his fault.  And remember how I wanted to be WOWed by a book?  Let me just tell you, I have been WOWed, big time!!  I spent an hour and a half (while my kids were at their tutoring) reading, and I may not sleep tonight trying to finish this fabulous book.  

And then, the icing on the cake- when we got home, I had a package of two beautiful new books from Hyperion waiting in my mailbox.  They are Schooled by Anisha Lakhani (YA fiction that just came out yesterday) and Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon (chick lit, coming out Aug. 12).  They both look great.

Free books in the mailbox.. almost as good as chocolate!  Now, if only I could get them to send both!  

Thanks, Hyperion, for making my day!