Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Getting Rid of Matthew"

Jane Fallon is an award-winning television producer in England. Several of her hit shows, including This Life and Teachers, air in this country on BBC America.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Getting Rid of Matthew, her debut novel, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Getting Rid of Matthew falls at quite a pivotal point in the book – Helen’s married lover Matthew – who is also her boss - has just left his wife Sophie and turned up on Helen’s doorstep announcing that he’s moving in. Helen’s reaction has been one of shock and, more alarmingly, horror. She’s realised that she doesn’t want him any more but she doesn’t quite know how to handle the situation for the best. On page 69 Helen and Matthew have gone back to work for the first time since he moved in, and they’re keeping their affair to themselves. Helen goes to meet her friend Rachel for lunch and, for the first time, she admits to feeling guilty about his wife and two children (something which she has happily suppressed for the past four years). It’s this guilt which will propel her through the rest of the book, pushing her to try and repair Matthew and Sophie’s broken marriage and leading to her and Sophie becoming friends – although Sophie will have no idea that Helen is the woman who stole her husband. Without these guilt feelings creeping in Helen would be a black-and-white bitch, a woman who would steal a man away from his wife and two children. Her guilt makes her human and sets her on a path to redeem herself. By the end of the book I hope the reader actually likes her.

We also meet Sophie and her two pre teen children briefly on page 69. Sophie is the book’s other major character. At its heart it’s a story about Helen and Sophie, not Helen and Matthew. A story about a friendship between two women.

What I think you don’t get a sense of from page 69 is that the book’s funny – at least I hope it is, it’s trying to be. There’s not a single joke on page 69 but the rest of the book is full of them. Honest.
Read an excerpt from Getting Rid of Matthew and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue