The Other Girlfriend by Alex Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Knowledgeably and powerfully written, The Other Girlfriend delivers on every level, oozing intrigue in the first chapter and evoking all the emotions. I am in awe of how the author presented us with a main character whose every vulnerability you can identify with – her guilt and how she deals with it is totally believable. I have to say there was one point where I was so angry with one of the characters (I’m deliberately not giving spoilers here) I felt my jaw tense. The story looks at the much misunderstood subject of agoraphobia and all its manifestations. It’s about losing sight of yourself. Guilt. Self-loathing for those weaknesses you perceive in yourself and believe others will see. It looks at how you are diminished when, through coercion and manipulation, someone takes away the part of yourself that is fundamentally you. I really did experience all the emotions while reading The Other Girlfriend. Very close to the end, I had to stop – quite literally. In fact, I was so affected by the narration, I walked my dogs while I gathered myself. The protagonist’s growth throughout the story is inspiring, truly. Realising that all the coping mechanisms she employed weren’t her failures, but her strengths sent out a strong message. I’m quoting a line here that will stay with me: ‘I was my past. My choices. My Guilt. My fears. But I was also more than that. Or at least I could be.’ Utterly compelling reading, The Other Girlfriend is inspiring and I wouldn’t hesitate to highly recommend it. The ending was perfect and hugely satisfying. Well done, Alex Stone.