Cleveland Plain Dealer
Fallon delivers the goods in a believable and scathingly funny voice. She gives Helen and Sophie the human bumps and curves that make them so alive, you'll find yourself wishing you could ring them for lunch.
San Francisco Chronicle
Fallon's conversational and deeply descriptive writing style -- and witty dialogue -- make the novel thoroughly readable. . . . For those longing for another lighthearted beach read as summer draws to a close, Getting Rid of Matthew is a solid option.
Brit TV producer Fallon takes "careful what you wish for" to hilarious heights in her debut novel, a comedy of errors triggered by a mistress who discovers thrice-weekly hookups with her married lover are better than a 24/7 relationship with him. Helen, office staffer at a public relations firm catering to desperate D-list celebrities, is fast approaching her 40th birthday with little chance of swimming out of the secretary pool or snagging a full-time commitment from Matthew, her middle-aged lover and "relay relationshipper." When Matthew abruptly leaves wife Sophie and preteen daughters Suzanne and Claudia to move in with Helen, she's not sure it's the happy ending she prefers. Thus begins a head-spinning ruse to convince Matthew to go back home and to persuade Sophie and her scene-stealing pair of potty-mouthed children to take him back: Helen invents a new persona, hard-charging PR whiz "Eleanor," who befriends Sophie and gives her advice to repair her shattered marriage. The scheme gets more elaborate when Helen/Eleanor falls for Matthew's estranged eldest son. This delightfully fizzy chick lit caper goes disappointingly flat before the finish, but the surprising and rewarding treat is a bright, grown-up story of two women who discover friendship and trust in one another. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The other woman attempts to make amends in this debut novel from Fallon, a U.K. television producer and partner of comedian Ricky Gervais. For four years, "nearly forty" Helen has been treading water watching those around her achieve, thrive and take risks. Helen prefers to be an observer and let things happen. Aimlessly she attaches herself to jobs and people that don't suit her in an effort to approximate a grown-up life. Helen's achievements are few: She holds a dead-end job as a personal assistant at a middling British PR firm, maintains one friendship, lives in a shabby apartment and has a very married boyfriend named Matthew. The novel centers around this illicit relationship. Matthew was Helen's boss when he seduced her. He correctly identified her vulnerability and quickly insinuated himself into the role of lover. Matthew is a cad who relishes his roles as PR chieftain, smug married father of two and seducer of younger women (it becomes clear that Helen is but one of Matthew's conquests). Nothing new up to this point, but thankfully the novel gets moving when Helen decides to dump Matthew. Here's the twist: Rather than gaining her freedom, Helen gets a hirsute roommate. When Helen gives Matthew the brush off, he falls apart and comes back groveling. It seems Matthew would rather heave over his family and start life anew with his young mistress than face life as a dumped lover stuck in suburban hell. To get rid of her new and unwelcome flatmate, Helen devises a plan to befriend his estranged wife, Sophie, and get the couple back together. While madly scheming to return Matthew to his family nest, Helen befriends Sophie and starts to take responsibility for her misdeeds.Refreshingly, this heroine doesn't waste time justifying her actions. Helen sees the error of her ways and sets about doing the right thing. Inevitably, she makes some comical missteps, but her heart remains in the right place. Fallon's debut has bright spots: The leading lady is memorable (one of the few singletons not obsessed with her baby-making status) and the dialogue pops. Pacing seems to be the main flaw, as the action sags in the middle and never regains momentum. Fallon's debut is sharp enough, but a languishing plot dulls the author's wit.