Title: The Other Girl
Author: Alexandra Ares
Publisher: Smart Media New York
Publish Date: May 2, 2011
Source: Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You like slice of life type books.
- You like well written conversation.
From Goodreads.com: "'The Other Girl' is a bare, slim, literary novel written in a minimalistic style and telling the story of a conversation. Life does this switching trick, giving you hope from one place, and satisfaction from another. Maxim Smirnov, a young Russian immigrant in New York dreams of becoming the next software billionaire like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and of moving in with his gorgeous girlfriend. In the meantime he has no home of his own and sleeps like a gypsy on chairs and in his office. When his lover is reluctant to take him in, he ends up moving in with an older Italian girl Giordana Gatti, a reclusive film animator with a powerful personality and feminist ideas that clash with his macho upbringing. She is "the other girl" in more ways than one, and guards an old, secret, unrequited love story. How will her fierce spirit and masochistic passion reflect on his own future choices?"
My Two Cents:
At its core, this book is really a slice of life about Maxim, who dreams of making in big in America but he doesn't really seem to know how to get it. He leaves his girlfriend and moves in with Giordana who seems hyper aware of who she is and what she wants out of life. She's also willing to go wherever the wind takes her but she has her own set of secrets and maybe even some insecurities that she isn't wanting to let go of yet. She isn't afraid to challenge Maxim's beliefs and his ideas.
Most of the book takes place in the form of a conversation, an element that can go sour if not done well. In the case of The Other Girl, it works really, really well. Maxim and Giordana are roommates. Any of us that have lived with roommates know how many deep conversations usually go on in the confines of a shared apartment or house. They're the conversations that you have late at night when you're feeling the most vulnerable, the most honest, the most forthcoming. Through the conversations, we learn who both of the main characters are. We learn where they've been and what they want out of life. The ending does leave you wanting more. I don't do well with things not being concrete in the ending. In a way, this book sort of reminded me of a art house movie where you're given a little time to see the characters for a little while before stepping back into your own life.
Bottom line: This is a great study on how conversations in books should be written.