Title: Another Piece of My Heart
Author: Jane Green
Release Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Big Honcho Media/SheKnows Book Club
Rating: 4 out of 5
At thirty-seven, Andi was starting to lose faith that she’d ever find the perfect man, that is, until she met Ethan. But Ethan’s situation was more complicated than she expected – he was divorced, with an alcoholic ex-wife, and two daughters. Now, as a stepmother, Andi tries to be the best mom she can to these two girls. The younger, Sophia, is full of love and Andi adores her, but she has trouble with Emily. Emily seems to insist on competing with Andi for her father’s love, and as a teenager, she makes life very difficult. Andi must decide whether she can handle Emily’s antics, or whether she’d be better off alone.
Okay, I’ll admit it. When I first heard about the premise of Another Piece of My Heart, I was skeptical. I figured it would be another “saintly stepmother who is a doormat lets evil teenage girl walk all over her” plotline and I wasn’t thrilled about the idea. But because it’s Jane Green, and I love and admire her work, I knew I had to read it. And I should have had more faith – Jane Green is an exceptional author, and she took this seemingly conventional storyline and upended it completely.
Andi is really an amazing character in Another Piece of My Heart. The thing I appreciated about her most? She stood up for herself. While she did try to understand where Emily was coming from, she understood that Emily was selfish and manipulative and did her best to correct that behavior. Unfortunately, Ethan wasn’t as receptive as one might hope, but I loved that she took a stand. It’s easy to understand why Andi is at the end of her rope; Emily’s behavior is simply atrocious, and Andi wonders whether she can cope. Andi’s a sympathetic character, the type you’d want as a friend, but she’s human. She lashes out and makes mistakes; I loved how layered Green made Andi.
But the author didn’t stop with Andi. Emily, evil, manipulative Emily, has a voice in this novel too, and that saved her from being a complete caricature of a teenage girl. After witnessing her awful behavior and really feeling for Andi, the reader gets inside Emily’s head. They begin to understand her motives and desires, to see how deep her insecurities run. It’s clear she’s very immature and has a lot to learn, but in some ways, she’s just a scared girl. The reader can’t hate her after seeing that.
It would be so easy to paint each of the characters in Another Piece of My Heart into a box, yet Jane Green doesn’t allow the character to do that. The novel has a few predictable twists, but it’s still a quick, snappy read that readers will devour. This is a book I read in one sitting because I had to know what happened; fans of Greens won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for a breezy book club pick that still deals with serious issues, look no further than Another Piece of My Heart.
Other books by Jane Green: