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Beside Herself by Elizabeth LaBan
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Beside Herself (edition 2019)

by Elizabeth LaBan (Author)

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Member:teachlz
Title:Beside Herself
Authors:Elizabeth LaBan (Author)
Info:Lake Union Publishing (2019), 267 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Beside Herself by Elizabeth LaBan

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Hannah is a happily married mother of two. Until she discovers her husband cheated on her. He assures her it's over and literally becomes ill every time it comes up, but Hannah is still angry. After witnessing her best friend's slow decline after her divorce, Hannah is caught between wanting a divorce and wanting to stay, but how can she even the score? By having her own affair, of course. Simple in theory, she quickly learns diving back into the dating pool is far from easy, and begins to learn what's really important to her.

To say I was a bit disappointed by this book would be an understatement. From the book description, I was under the impression it would be Hannah's journey of self-discovery after discovering her husband's betrayal, as well as a humorous jaunt through the dating world. I expected something a little funny, a little sassy, and a bit more than eye opening. Unfortunately, it was none of that. Instead, I was stuck wondering why I, a happily married mother of two, would want to read a book about a woman who angrily decides to even the score by having an affair.

Okay, of course I knew she was going to go try to have an affair. But I thought it would be a bit funny and that she would realize divorce is just the easy answer. I thought it would be a journey of self-discovery as her mishaps in the dating world would somehow reveal hidden aspects of herself and her marriage. It was more of a woman walking around angry for most of the book. She felt self-absorbed in her own problems, ignored her kids on more than one occasion despite stating how devoted she was to her family, and, frankly, felt a little self-righteous. Oh, I get it. Her husband cheated on her. Of course she must be allowed months to process and ignore the world and her life's demands! To make matters worse, her husband felt like a child. He would literally get sick every time his affair came up. He lacked any kind of backbone and became little more than a doormat in trying to win Hannah back. By the end, I honestly couldn't figure out why he would want to be married to her, and that perhaps he had a reason for cheating: Hannah was too busy with her own life to even sit down and care about her husband.

I could go on and on about why I didn't like Hannah. But, as a mom myself, I think I'll just stick with the fact that she kept saying she was a devoted mom, and then kept brushing her kids aside until it suited her to deal with them. She spent more time going on bad dates, many of which the reader isn't even privy to, than spending time with her family and trying to heal with her husband. She was so focused on evening the score that her character just completely lost me.

Needless to say, I had high expectations for this story. I'm disappointed it fell flat, but, even so, I think it wasn't a bad story. I wonder how many couples who have dealt with infidelity have wondered what if they had tried to even the score? Would it bring them closer together, or push them into divorce? This book brings up an interesting question, one that I don't think it could answer as every couple and every affair is different. But, for the purposes of this story and this couple, I think it was a good answer. Hannah's husband was willing to do anything necessary to keep her, and she just had a lot of anger to process. I'm disappointed it took most of the book before her anger began to abate, but I'm so glad she had a key moment that brought understanding and a definite direction to her. As unhappy as I was with most of this book, that one scene really brought satisfaction to me, and hope that Hannah's marriage going forward would be a better one. And, finally, the book actually made sense.

Overall, I thought this was a mildly interesting story. The characters were okay and the plot acceptable and mostly believable. I was disappointed by the setting (Philadelphia with a few named areas and streets, but no real sense of place) and felt it could really have been any suburb in the United States. It was nice to be able to think, "Oh, I know that area," but it was hard to feel like I was there. This isn't a bad book. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I thought it would be one way, and it turned out to be another way. Simple as that.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own. ( )
  The_Lily_Cafe | Jun 28, 2020 |
Elizabeth LaBan Author of "Beside Herself" has written a thought-provoking, emotional domestic drama. The Genres for this novel are Domestic Fiction, Fiction, Women's Fiction. The time-line for the story is in the present and goes to the past when it pertains to the events or characters. The author describes her dramatic cast of characters as complex, complicated, and each having their own problems to work out. I appreciate the way that Elizabeth LaBan vividly describes her characters and their thoughts and actions.

What would you do if you find out that your loyal loving husband that you have two amazing children with has evidence of an affair on his phone? What if your husband promises you that he has loved only you, and will love only you forever? How would you react?

Hannah Bent has indeed discovered that her husband Joel has had an affair. Hannah is 'beside herself". Should she divorce her husband? How will she ever forgive him? Hannah wonders if she has an affair will that even the score? How does one start dating, especially with two young children?

Hannah is the only one that can make this decision. The author discusses the importance of family, friends, emotional support, love and hope. I would highly recommend this heartfelt and thought-provoking story. ( )
  teachlz | Nov 3, 2019 |
I received an ARC of this book to read in exchange for a fair review. Beside Herself by Elizabeth LaBan is a woman’s fiction novel about the affect of an affair on a marriage. Hannah Bent has a birthday coming up and she’s hoping that her husband Joel is planning a surprise party for her but she feels she needs to know if he is so she sneaks his phone and searches it looking for clues. What she finds are texts between Joel and another woman and upon reading them and then watching his reaction when he sees her with his phone realizes that he had had an affair. Hannah’s anger is all encompassing and surprisingly Joel to me is the more sympathetic character even though the story is told from Hannah’s point of view. I found this book to be realistic in it’s depictions of marriage, family, friendship with strong supporting characters and enjoyed reading it. Publishing Date October 22, 2019. #NetGalley #BesideHerself #ElizabethLaBan #LakeUnionPublishing #Bookstagram #WomensFiction ( )
  nmgski | Oct 14, 2019 |
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