Author: M. Jane Colette
Publisher: Mischief (Harper Collins)
Review by: Onnica
Basic story: Jane is a thirty-something wife and mother, holding down a job and apparently doing a damn good job at all of those things. When she receives a text from Matt, a past lover, in town, wanting to meet up, she figures ok. They both have significant others – it can’t hurt can it? The pair exchange one text, which turns into two, which turns into nightly sessions in front of their laptops discussing everything they’d like to do to each other. Jane is happy in her marriage, but only Matt knows her quirks and her kinks – what makes her tick.
During the run up to Christmas they reignite their relationship, while all around Jane, relationships and family obligations become fraught and buckle under the pressure of the season. Her friends are also unhappy in their marriages and are looking for excitement elsewhere. Her parents who always seemed so steady are also headed for trouble. Jane finds solace and excitement through Matt’s emails and phone calls and realises that she has always been, from the very start, his.
Will the yuletide season bring peace or hell on earth to Jane’s door?
Why you should read it: Wow, there is a whole lot to this book. Where to start? Nobody’s happy, nobody is terribly likeable, as each and every one of them is completely self-obsessed! So why read it? Well, because it’s clever. I find that I don’t really need to like characters in order to find them interesting – this is true of this story. Jane and Matt’s obsession with each other is very selfish but all-consuming too. I enjoyed the way they interacted with each other, the way she kept her family side separate was appalling yet compelling. We think of men as cheaters – able to compartmentalise their lives, but clearly women do it too. Their motivations interested me more than anything in this story.
What you might hate: We have characters in their late thirties and forties acting like 13 year olds. Does he like me? Why hasn’t he called? It reminded me that high school is never over – which is a depressing thought. Jane grows tired of her friends’ whining as much as I did and for that I felt like I understood her, at least in part. I doubt you’ll really ‘like’ Jane as she’s also at times incredibly selfish and hypocrital – but I truly believe there’s enough there to make her believable and real. She’s flawed, as are we all. What about Matt – the object of her obsession? I didn’t feel like we got to know him as a real character, he was more of a device. Maybe that was intentional – this is after all about Jane’s world. The book also felt a wee bit long – I could have done with fewer messages between Matt and Jane towards the end of the book. After a while it didn’t move the story on and I wanted desperately to get ‘somewhere’. All in all a very torrid, interesting read about some messed up people in Canada. You wouldn’t want to know any of them!
Rating: The story was a jolt to the system and I had to adjust my world view while reading it. 3/5 for a non- judgey, titillating read about flawed people doing crazy things.
Tell Me is out now.