Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty
Publishing Date: 3rd May 2018
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 448
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
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 . . .
“Those Other Women” by Nicola Moriarty introduces us to two different groups of women – one of them is a mother’s online group, so – called MOP, and the other one is NOP, the non – mothers’ one. The second group has been established by one of our main characters, Poppy, who’s tired with – as she thinks – mothers being favoured everywhere and, basically, having it all easier – like getting holidays, finishing their work earlier and so on. Also, Poppy’s husband has betrayed her with her best friend and they’re now expecting a baby – A BABY! It’s like double back – stabbing, as they’ve decided they never want babies, right? Poppy befriends a work colleague Annalise and they both set up this other online group, NOP – this group embraces those women who doesn’t want children. Not those, who can’t have children because… but those who just don’t want to have them.
The groups end up working against each other, with disastrous and dangerous results, which Poppy and Annalise haven’t seen coming – they wanted a positive place where you can meet same minded women from the neighbourhood, and not this… war?
The characters were very realistic. They weren’t perfect, they were full of flaws but it made them much more multi dimensional. Poppy was much more likeable character than Annalise in my opinion. While we get Poppy’s story immediately, it takes time to learn more about Annalise and her background but I think it’s not the reason that it took me so long to warm to her, and actually I’ve never warmed to her completely. It was not the fact she was keeping secrets, it was not the fact she was so abrupt, she was just like hedgehog, keeping everyone at bay. Sure, she had her reasons, I really did get them, and I felt sorry for her in the end but I just had a feeling that she’s pushing everyone off, me included.
I’m only happy that I’m not a member of such group – though, of course, you can’t avoid being a member in any group those times. Reading the posts, I really often wonder if those grown people don’t have other problems, or maybe that they’re just too bored, and I’m happy that I have my own real life, with real problems and the times when I was worrying what people there think about me are long, long gone.
It is a multi – layered story, told from different points of view, and I really liked this way of narration, as we got an insight into the groups and the way the characters were ticking and what was happening in their lives. It sometimes read like three different stories, but in the end they all came smoothly together. It also showed me that life isn’t as easy as we’d like it to be, that nothing is white or black, that there are the shades of grey and there are always two sides of the story. It’s easy to take sides but the truth is always somewhere in between. I’m not sure what to think about the end and about the “mole”, to be honest. Yes, I was wondering who it might be, I was suspecting almost all of the characters and I didn’t guess it, however the moment of reveal didn’t knock the life out of me and was not as much a wow – moment as oh, ok – moment.
Personally I think that “Those Other Women” was a better story than Nicola Moriarty’s debut novel. It is thought – provoking and it made me think really hard. It also touches upon this still controversial topic of women who are not mothers, for whatever reason. My opinion is: live and let live. I hate judging women on the fact of them having children or not. There are thousand reasons why they’re childless and all other people should respect it, period. It’s actually unbelievable that so many still think that being a mother defines a woman, it’s so wrong on so many levels and it is cruel and unfair to label and stereotype.
It is a bold and brave book about friendship and motherhood, all sides of motherhood, but also giving insight into what life is being childless and I liked the fact that the author didn’t judge her characters – well, the readers can do that on their own, and I think it’s a fact that not matter what and who you are, you’re going to be judged.
It examines and asks if women really need to be mothers to be considered “complete” women, it asks question why the women do not support each other, no matter what their family status is, and why it is actually expected from women to be mothers, no matter what. It was complex, sometimes funny, sometimes sad read, also about consequences of social – media interactions, about empathy and coming together. Recommended!
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