Switcheroo

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Sylvie Schiffer at 40 has a life most women dream about: a gorgeous home in the exclusive suburb of Shaker Heights, two perfect teenage children, a successful husband with a lucrative luxury car dealership. Sylvie has everything, it seems, but what she wants most: passion and romance — moonlit cruises, holding hands, gazing at the stars. "When you're married," Sylvie sighs, "you don't even get kissed on the mouth."

With building the business, raising the babies and creating ...

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Overview

Sylvie Schiffer at 40 has a life most women dream about: a gorgeous home in the exclusive suburb of Shaker Heights, two perfect teenage children, a successful husband with a lucrative luxury car dealership. Sylvie has everything, it seems, but what she wants most: passion and romance — moonlit cruises, holding hands, gazing at the stars. "When you're married," Sylvie sighs, "you don't even get kissed on the mouth."

With building the business, raising the babies and creating their home, she and Bob hadn't found much time to focus on love. But now that the twins are off to college and the business is blooming, Sylvie is sure they will make their marriage bloom. So she believes until one day she does the laundry and notices those incriminating credit card receipts. Her husband has found romance, but it isn't with her.

Bob is having an affair.

Shocked and enraged, Sylvie fantasizes about a bullet to the leg (just to make Bob lame) — followed by a hefty settlement. Her mother begs her to calm down: Her marriage is worth saving. Sylvie's having none of that. Out for blood, she sets off to confront Marla, the other woman. What she finds, however, is not what she expects. Looking at Marla is like gazing back in time: Except for 10 years and 15 pounds, Marla could be her twin. Marla has the best of Bob's love — flowers, hot sex, breathy phone calls, candlelit dinner — yet she admits to Sylvie that she lacks the thing she wants most: a husband and home of her own. "When you're single," Marla sighs, "you have to smell good 24 hours a day."

Going beyond revenge, Sylvie hatches a brilliant scheme to make them both winners and bring Bob to his knees. But will they end up with what they want or walk away empty-handed and broken-hearted?

No one defines modern love, work and sexual warfare better than New York Times  bestselling author Olivia Goldsmith. In her most surprisingly ingenious novel yet, she once again speaks as the voice for her gender when she points out a truth not universally acknowledged until now: All wives yearn for the romance of being a mistress and all mistresses yearn for the security of being a wife.

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Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
Though dazzlingly implausible in a 'Freaky Friday'-meets-Ivana Trump kind of way... one can already imagine Goldie Hawn capering about in the movie.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Delightful...frothy...slapstick comedy at its best.
Naples Daily News
Simply hilarious. Guaranteed entertainment.
Herald
An oasis in the emotionaldesert of popular fiction.
Kirkus Reviews
More monumental high-concept from Goldsmith (Marrying Mom, 1996, etc.), this time in a wonderfully funny fable about a wife and mistress who reverse rolesþand a husband who apparently can't tell the difference. Sylvie Schiffer lives in happy domestic comfort with perfect husband Bob in a well-ordered colonial home in the plush Ohio suburb of Shaker Heights. There, Sylvie is surrounded by her perfect family (including her outspoken mother Mildred, who owns a ceramic store called Potz Bayou); she brews perfect cups of aromatic tea; she plays a perfect Steinway piano with an ebony lacquer finish; and in winter a fireplace fills her music room with the comforting scent of applewood. But not all is well in Sylvie's middle-class paradise. She's turning 40, her children are in college, and she wouldn't mind some marital passion to take up residence in her empty nest. But Bob, whose greatest passion seems to be his BMW "Beautiful Baby," hasn't made love to her in months; instead, he's found a delicious little number by the name of Marla (does Donald Trump live in vain?), who works as a reflexologist (with a little toe-sucking on the side) and who incidentally looks a lot like a younger version of Sylvie. When Sylvie discovers the resemblance, she hatches a plot to "switcheroo" with Marlaþshe'll find out what it's like to be loved by her husband again, and Marla can experience the joys of having a man of her very own and a kitchen with an island in the middle. In another of Goldsmith's trademark transformations, Sylvie gets a face-life and tones up, while Marla eats banana-cream pies to fill out. It all culminates with a hilarious Thanksgiving when Marla, the non-wife, attempts toroast 28 frozen squabs. Contrived, yes, but hysterically funnyþand after reflecting on the invisibility of women, the reader may find it no more contrived than, say, a Shakespearean comedy. (Film rights to New Line Cinema; $200,000 ad/promo; author tour; TV satellite tour)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060175689
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/2/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Olivia Goldsmith is the bestselling author of The First Wives Club, Flavor of the Month, Fashionably Late, The Bestsller, Marrying Mom,and Switcheroo. She lives in south Florida and is no longer young or a wife.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Sylvie stood for a moment in the cool, dark hallway. It was the only dim place in the house and, though Sylvie loved the light--in fact, had fallen in love with the house for its light--she always found the comparative darkness of the hall a welcome contrast. She told herself that she really had too much to do to stand still here, one hand on the simple carved mahogany of the banister. She put her thumb on the comforting place where the curve of the wood had been worn flat by years of other thumbs. You don't have time to linger here, she told herself sternly. But despite her admonishment, just for a moment, she would enjoy this quiet. She listened to the tiny creaks the old house made and the comforting tick of the wall clock, then forced herself to pick up the cup of tea she'd left on the sideboard. The jasmine smell filled her head.
Sylvie began to walk down the hall but, as always, glanced first into the dining room, then the living room opposite before moving down the hall toward the music room. Oh, she loved her house. It wasn't large by Shaker Heights standards--just a center-hall colonial with only three bedrooms. But visitors, once in it, were always surprised by the grand dimensions and dignity of the house. Each of the downstairs four rooms was exactly the same size: all of them were large, light, airy rooms with ten-foot ceilings and long, high windows. Bob, at one time, had suggested they sell the house and buy a bigger one, but Sylvie had been aghast and had steadfastly refused. She didn't need a guest room--guests stayed next door at her mother's or camped out on the music room sofa. She didn't need a family room: all the roomsdownstairs were for the family.
Sylvie knew how lucky she was, and she didn't take her good fortune for granted. Bob sometimes laughed at her for her little habit of checking each room. "Do you think they're going away?" he'd ask. Or "Are you looking for something?" he'd inquire. "Not for, at," she'd tell him. She was looking at her home, a place she had created slowly, over time, with Bob and the children. And she never wanted to be complacent about it.
Now Sylvie knew more surely than ever that she'd been right to not even consider selling the house. Perhaps in the old days they'd been the smallest bit cramped, but what would they do now with a larger place? Without the twins at home, the two bedrooms upstairs did stand empty, yet the rest of the house seemed to enfold and protect her. It was not a house too big for a couple, and perhaps someday when Sylvie was used to the idea that the children were gone she could turn one of their rooms upstairs into a proper guest room. Maybe she'd make a den for Bob out of the other. Then he wouldn't have to leave his paperwork all over the desk in the corner of the dining room, though lately he hadn't used it much, or at least kept it much neater than usual.
Sylvie moved down the hall to the music room, carrying her cup of tea before her as if the luminous white china could light her way like a lamp. She had only a few minutes before her first lesson and turned into the music room to see the usual organized clutter of sheet music, Schirmer's Piano for New Students piled beside A Hundred Simple Piano Tunes and Chopin's Sonatas. Her gray sweater lay across the bench of the Steinway, but nothing--ever--sat on its beautiful ebony lacquered top. Sylvie felt a little shiver of pleasure as she walked into the room. There was a touch of fall in the air and she closed one of the long windows. It was too early for a fire but, with the approach of autumn, she knew that soon the time she liked best in this room, the time when she gave lessons and played while apple wood burned in the grate behind her, was just ahead. Though she certainly missed the twins, this season was always a good time for her; September, when the children had begun school and she'd gone back to her full routine of piano lessons. It felt as if the year were beginning. Students returned from their summer holidays. Sylvie remembered that Jewish people actually celebrated their New Year about now. It made sense to her.
No reason to be sad, she told herself. No empty nest syndrome here, just because the children were no longer at Shaker Heights Elementary or Grover Cleveland High. Her daughter, Irene--Reenie to the family--would settle in at Bennington, and her twin brother, Kenny, already seemed perfectly happy at Northwestern. So, Sylvie told herself, she should settle in and be happy too. She was about to celebrate her fortieth birthday and was planning a treat. Bob had asked what she wanted and she'd finally decided. After all, she wanted romance. She had everything else.
Sylvie stopped for a moment, sipped her tea, and reflected on how many marriages in their neighborhood had failed. She and Bob were one of the lucky couples. They were happy. They loved each other. But she had to admit that sometimes she felt . . . well, Bob was always so busy. She'd expected he'd have more time once the kids were gone, but it was only she who had more time. He had filled up his agenda with campaigning, men's club meetings, and business. But now Sylvie would help him take the time so they could discover themselves as a couple once again. She herself could focus a little more on Bob. Men liked that, even men as evolved as Bob. She'd already ordered some nice nightgowns from Victoria's Secret. She'd make romantic dinners. She'd bought three bottles of champagne and had them hidden in the old refrigerator in the garage, waiting for a spontaneous moment to reveal one with a flourish and let Bob pop the cork.
Sylvie smiled to herself. She wanted to lie in bed with Bob in the morning and talk and giggle instead of letting him jump up, shower, and shave by half past seven. She wanted to sit out in the backyard in the coolness of the October evenings, wrapped in a blanket with him beside her, gazing up at the stars. She wanted to spend a Sunday morning poking around a flea market, sipping coffee from a Styrofoam cup held in one hand with Bob holding the other. She looked around at her lovely room and smiled with anticipation. Switcheroo. Copyright © by Olivia Goldsmith. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Interviews & Essays

Before the live bn.com chat, Olivia Goldsmith agreed to answer some of our questions:

Q: Do you like to cook? What was the last meal you made for a loved one?

A: I hate cooking, although I'm not actually bad at it. When I do cook, I never use a recipe book, and although I have several cookbooks that I've received as gifts (can that be a hint?), I never open them. The last meal I cooked for a loved one was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I made for Nora Robinson, my secretary.

Q: Do you have a worst-date story -- or, if you prefer, a best-date tale?

A: My worst date happened fairly recently: A girlfriend suggested I go out with this man. We talked on the phone several times, and he seemed funny. But when I met him at a restaurant he picked, I noticed that it was a menu with almost nothing but meat on it, and that before we started dinner he had three big glasses of scotch (I rarely drink, except for some wine). When the waiter came to take our order, I got only a salad and a chowder. The date looked at me and said, "I hope you're not going to tell me you're some kind of vegetarian and Greenpeace member." He laughed. "I'm a hunter. I hunt in Africa every year with a gun, not a camera."

Since I am a vegetarian and a Greenpeace member and I think anyone who shoots anything that doesn't have its own gun is a chicken, we never bothered to have dinner.

Q: What is your description of the perfect man?

A: I've described several of them in my books, though men usually focus on the terrible guys that I have described. Fredrick Ashton in The Bestseller is pretty close to perfect, although he is going blind. Monty in Marrying Mom was quite a perfect man, and he's amusing and loving and loyal. The other good news is that he's very rich. The bad news is he's 74, a bit old for me. And in First Wives Club there were Larry Cochman and Miguel De Los Santos, who were both pretty hot.


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Customer Reviews

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( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining

    Sylvie's husband is having an affair and when she confronts the mistress she is her twin only younger. Slyvie has plastic surgery and a crash diet and Marla (mistress) starts eating to put on pounds. The end result, Slyvie's mother can't tell them apart. Therefore they trade places because each women wants the life that the other one has. Though far fetched, it produces some funny moments.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2004

    Great!

    The only reason why I picked up this book, was because I read 'Bad Boy' by Olivia, and loved it. This book is so shocking! It really pulled me into the story, and I felt every emotion that Sylvie felt. A very interesting story indeed, and I would certainly recommend it to all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2003

    all in all, guaranteed entertainment

    Goldsmith's sense of mirth and joviality reaches out to us and in her own lighthearted way she has unfolded the two women's predicaments, allowing us to understand and sympathise with each one. Goldsmith has a way of making us be on both sides of the railway tracks simultaneously. Although the writing style is rather comedic , it also deals with the realism of woman's issues, especially the ones facing the impending doom of middle age. A cutesy novel but would never ever happen in real life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2000

    This Book Will Keep You Laughing!

    I bought Switcheroo on impulse at a discount book store this past summer and am I glad I did! Olivia Goldsmith takes a serious matter (adultery) and turns it into comedy! Don't get me wrong, cheating on a spouse is a terrible thing, but in this book, it's too funny to be true. The characters in this book(esp. Mildred) will keep you laughing the whole way thru! My only regret in purchasing this book is that I didn't start reading it as soon as I got home from the bookstore! If you've never read Goldsmith's books before (and I hadn't), this is a great one to start with, especially if you want a change from 'serious' books on serious matters (Grisham, R. North Patterson, etc.) I can't wait to buy and read every single one of her books!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2000

    This book is Hilarious!!

    This is such a wonderful book! I couldn't keep my hands off of it. I loved the charactor Marla. The things that she said and the times that said them were great! I read it in less than two days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2000

    Waste of time

    Goldsmith portrays women as creatures that will do almost anything to keep a man regardless of how horribly and disrespectfully they are treated. This is not entertainment, this is insulting. I did not see humor here and regret wasting my time reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 1999

    Sad Story

    What trys to be a comical plot really is a sad story. A 40 year old women finds that her husband is cheating on her with a much younger women who could be her twin. The women devise a plan to switch places with one another in Bob's life. Bob is arrogant and unlikable and would not be worth the time and effort. The characters are not likeable but there are a few moments that are comical. Definely a far fetched novel and does not come anyway close to the First Wife's Club.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 1999

    Hilarity at it's best!

    Although coming into reading this book, I thought, 'Well, sounds good, if not a little far fetched and dry.' How wrong I was! This book was so funny that I actually laughed out loud through much of it. Yes, it WAS a little far fetched. I mean is there any husband THAT blind and stupid? (Wait, maybe I should rethink that statement...) The things that the girlfriend Marla says, were so flaky but right on the money, that she just had me rolling. Ms. Goldsmith also has a wonderful grasp on the plight of the jilted wife. A lot of the feelings that she conveyed I , sadly, felt myself. The driving of the car into the pool was an added feel-good element. Unexpected, but highly gratifying. I would advise any other reader that this was an excellent, impossible to put down book. I finished it in one day, which is a feat that I usually reserve for something as good as say, a Bertrice Small book. I would tell any other jilted wife to pick this up. Reading it will make her feel immensely better. After all, who among us hasn't just once wondered what it is like to be the 'other woman' just for a little while, with all that it entails?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2010

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    Posted May 11, 2011

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