Wednesday, June 20, 2007

[Book Review] HIS INSIGNIFICANT OTHER by Karen V. Siplin


Darletha Matthews reviews HIS INSIGNIFICANT OTHER by Karen V Siplin (Free Press, 2002)

If you were 29-years-old and unhappy with your life, would you have the courage to change? This is the dilemma that Brooklyn-native Casey Beck must face.

Casey Beck has been celibate since she found out that her boyfriend, John Paul, slept with his ex-girlfriend, Mali, at the beginning of their relationship. Mali is a former ballerina who always seemed to outshine Casey in looks and personality. When Mali returns to New York, Casey realizes her life is not as satisfying as she hoped it would be. She doesn’t trust John Paul around his ex because of the unspoken power Mali has over him. Casey also hates her job as an adjunct film professor and feels like she’s becoming an outsider in the circle of mutual friends she shares with John Paul. Casey’s story is filled with unexpected complications as she strives for happiness before she turns thirty.

I found this to be a thought-provoking read that isn’t your typical relationship novel. Siplin writes exclusively from Casey’s point of view with other multicultural characters playing limited roles. Casey narration is cynical yet humorous as she deals with rivalries between women, the temptation of a student-teacher relationship, and other issues faced by women in their 20s. The contemporary setting and strong female voice makes this a good choice for chick lit fans.

Darletha Matthews, South Branch Library

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