A high-powered literary agent with a Jessica Rabbit body, Jojo Harvey's brilliant mind should be focused on her million-dollar book deals and her climb up the corporate ladder -- and not on her love affair with her married boss. Jojo's client, bestselling author Lily Wright, can't seem to deliver her long-awaited second novel -- bad karma, perhaps, for stealing the beloved of her ex-best friend, event planner extraordinaire Gemma Hogan. While Gemma has her own problems, specifically a flatlining social life and a newly separated (and desperately needy) mom -- a situation she's lately been chronicling in a series of hilarious e-mails that has come to the attention of Jojo Harvey ... who thinks there just might be a potential bestseller in all this.
There are three sides to every story, and when what goes around starts to come around in the lives of these three suddenly intertwined women, they'll see that revenge sometimes has plans of its own.
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April 11, 2006
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Excerpt from The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes
Subject: Runaway dad
Susan, you wanted news. Well, I've got news. Although you might be sorry you asked for it. It looks like my dad has left my mam. I'm not sure how serious it is. More news as and when.
When I first got the call, I thought he'd died. Two reasons. One: I've been to a worrying number of funerals over the past while -- friends of my parents and, worse again, parents of my friends. Two: Mam had called me on my mobile; the first time she'd ever done that because she'd always persisted in the belief that you can only call a mobile from a mobile, like they're CB radios or something. So when I put my phone to my ear and heard her choke out "He's gone," who could blame me for thinking that Dad had kicked the bucket and that now it was only her and me.
"He just packed a bag and left."
"He packed a . . . ?" It was then that I realized that Dad mightn't actually be dead.
"Come home," she said.
"Right . . ." But I was at work. And not just in the office, but in a hotel ballroom overseeing the finishing touches to a medical conference. (Seeing the Back of Backache.) It was an enormous deal that had taken weeks to pull together; I'd been there until twelve-thirty the previous night tending to the arrival of hundreds of delegates and sorting out their problems. (Relocating those in nonsmoking rooms who had slipped and gone back on the fags in between booking their room and showing up for the conference, that sort of thing.) Today was finally Day Zero and in less than an hour's time two hundred chiropractors would be flooding in, each expecting
a. a name badge and chair
b. coffee and two biscuits (one plain, one fancy) at 11 a.m.
c. lunch, three courses (including vegetarian option) at 12:45 p.m.
d. coffee and two biscuits (both plain) at 3:30 p.m.
e. evening cocktails followed by a gala dinner, with party favors, dancing, and snogging (optional)
In fact when I'd answered the mobile I'd thought it was the screen hire guy, reassuring me he was on his way. With -- this is the important bit -- the screens.
"Tell me what happened," I asked Mam, torn as I was between conflicting duties. I can't leave here . . .
"I'll tell you when you get home. Hurry. I'm in an awful state, God only knows what I'll do."
That did it. I snapped my phone closed and looked at Andrea, who'd obviously figured out something was up.
"Everything okay?" she murmured.
"It's my dad."
I could see on her face that she too thought that my father had bucked the kickit (as he himself used to say). (There I am talking as if he actually is dead.)
"Oh, my God . . . is it . . . is he . . . ?"
"Oh no," I corrected, "he's still alive."
"Go, go, get going!" She pushed me toward the exit, clearly visualizing a deathbed farewell.
"I can't. What about all of this?" I indicated the ballroom.
"Me and Moses'll do it and I'll call the office and get Ruth over to help. Look, you've done so much work on this, what can go wrong?"
The correct answer is of course: just about anything. I've been organizing events for seven years and in that time I've seen everything from over-refreshed speakers toppling off the stage to professors fighting over the fancy biscuits.
"Yes, but . . ." I'd threatened Andrea and Moses that even if they were dead they were to show up this morning. And here I was proposing to abandon the scene -- for what exactly . . . ?
What a day. It had barely started and so many things had already gone wrong. Beginning with my hair. I hadn't had time to get it cut in ages, and in a mad fit I'd cut the front of it myself. I'd only meant to trim it, but once I started I couldn't stop and ended up with a ridiculously short fringe.