Book review: Faking Friends by Jane Fallon

3/5 stars.

Audible version, narrated by Sally Scott and Kristin Atherton.

To be fair to the author, this book is not really my style. If you enjoy chick-lit and revenge stories you’ll probably enjoy it more than I did. It’s not badly written, I just personally didn’t connect with the material. I picked this up on a whim at some point when I had quite a few audible credits racked up and went on a bit of a spree. Given that I had such good luck with The Break, I thought I’d give chick-lit another chance. But this time it didn’t really do it for me.

So, the story centres mostly around Amy, who comes home to the UK for a surprise visit, only to find some other woman’s things in the flat she shares with her fiancé. She decides to text her fiancé to tell him she’s coming for a surprise visit for her best friend Mel’s birthday, so she can spy on the flat and try to figure out who the mystery woman is and then pretend to arrive later that same evening instead.

There is something familiar about the items she saw in the flat though.. And later at Mel’s party, she realises the stuff belongs to her – to her best friend. Amy is understandably devastated. And here begins a long con.

With the help of some other friends Amy pretends to still be living in the States while she’s actually moved back to England and is plotting her revenge on the two people who betrayed her. Amy pulls a number of stunts that affect Jack (the fiancé) and Mel to various degrees, while at the same time trying to set up a new life for herself.

Through the story it becomes clear that in fact Mel was always kind of horrible, but Amy put up with it for various reasons. At some point the POV shifts to Mel (I guess this is where the second narrator comes in, but I honestly couldn’t really tell a difference in their voices..), which is interesting but doesn’t redeem her in the slightest.

It was kind of fascinating to read these stories of people basically being mean to each other and trying to ruin each other’s lives, but it also sort of bummed me out. And perhaps I’m naive but I just don’t think people are this horrible. I’m willing to believe one of the characters is actually just a narcissistic asshole, but pretty much everyone in this story sucks and does horrible things. Kat and Greg and Amy’s uni friends not so much (though I found it very hard to believe that all these friends Amy had and that she considered family turned their backs on her for something she didn’t do…), but everyone else is basically a shit. Including Amy.

So for me this sort of suffered from the Wuthering Heights conundrum. The characters were all kind of awful and brought whatever happened to them on themselves to some extent, so I found it hard to care. Amy definitely has some redeeming qualities, and she does see the error of her ways at some point (though after she’s already gone way too far IMO). And I’m glad things ended OK for her, but I wouldn’t have been horribly upset if they didn’t.

I liked the bits about Amy’s acting career and about setting up her new flat, as well as some of the past bits from when she was in uni, but overall this fell a little flat for me.

 

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