She's been called the harpy, the Jezebel, the Lorelei, the bitch...and other choice names. In truth, she is someone's daughter, mother, friend, confidante. She seduces husbands, breaks up marriages, and occasionally becomes a stepmother. Sometimes, she is even a victim. So who is this creature who arrives like a wrecking ball to destroy lives and families? She is the Other Woman--but she's only half the story.
For every Other Woman, there is a wife or girlfriend whose relationship has been devastated--or surprisingly--blissfully liberated. Some women find themselves playing both roles during the course of a lifetime. With 21 insightful essays (20 written specifically for this anthology) from the list of America's most respected and award-winning female authors, this collection explores the highly personal, sometimes anguished, sometimes hilarious, but always compelling experiences of women on both sides of these highly charged and emotional situations.
The Other Woman may be a topic of eternally prurient interest, but the main attraction of this strong collection of 21 personal essays is the top-drawer writers such as Diana Abu-Jaber, Laurie Stone and Susan Cheever. Narrated from the point of view of the marriage wrecker or that of the wife who suffers the anguish of triangulation in a trusting relationship, these tales drip with the bitterness of experience. In "Palm Springs," Mary Jo Eustace records the shattering moment when she was stranded on vacation with her small children, and her husband revealed he had fallen in love with his movie co-star. Jane Smiley's terrifically funny "Iowa Was Never Like This" describes the incorrigible but enchanting litany of love's fickle nature. Dani Shapiro's "The Mistress" recreates her several years' affair with the much older stepfather of her college friend and the lies she finally uncovered by hiring a detective. And in her plainspoken "The Uterine Blues," Connie May Fowler wonders when women are going to smarten up and stop sabotaging one another by sleeping with each other's husbands. The anthology features tales from women of all ages, lesbians and women who have been abused physically: it is a candid and truly fascinating look at how men and women love and hurt.