Today I Read…Switcheroo

Today I read Switcheroo by Olivia Goldsmith.

Sylvie thought her life was perfect. She had a beautiful home living right in between her parents and her former sister-in-law, a job that let her express her passion for music, a wonderful, successful husband that she adored, and two healthy, happy children. And best of all, the twins have just left for university, giving Sylvie and Bob the perfect opportunity to spend more time together and to rediscover the fire in their marriage. Except Bob seems awfully busy. He doesn’t really pay any attention to her. And people keep saying they saw her out with Bob when they weren’t together. Soon Sylvie finds out what Bob’s been doing–Marla, a woman who could be Sylvie’s twin! (Except ten years younger.) When she goes to confront her husband’s mistress, Sylvie discovers that while Marla has all of the hot sex and expensive presents and romance that Sylvie wants, Sylvie has the security and family and home that Marla wants. Sylvie comes up with the idea to switch places and see if anyone notices, especially Bob. Now Bob is sneaking away from his mistress to spend time with his wife, while his mistress tries to put on Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family, plus guests, plus Kenny’s soccer team, plus Reenie’s boyfriend…

Much like The Overnight Socialite, I didn’t find the love story to be all that convincing because I don’t understand what the female protagonist sees in her designated romantic partner. Bob is selfish, self-absorbed and foolish–he literally cannot recognize the difference between his wife of twenty years and his mistress of several months, because he pays absolutely no attention to either of them. He doesn’t even notice how much they look alike until it is pointed out to him. Sylvie’s love for him seems to be based solely on their history together. Marla’s interest in Bob makes more sense, because she just wants to be married–she doesn’t really care to whom. Sylvie ends up dumping Marla on Bob’s best friend John, who’s always loved Sylvie and easily transfers that love to Marla, Sylvie’s look-alike. None of the characters ever really step outside of their stereotype–the desperate housewife, the man with the mid-life crisis, the dimwitted bombshell with the heart of gold, the self-absorbed college kids.

Olivia Goldsmith is the author of The First Wives Club, which I enjoy very much as both a novel and as a movie. I’ve been trying to find another book by her that I like as much–the closest I’ve come is Flavor of the Month, which again is about women aging and being betrayed by men, and the women trying to turn the tables. Switcheroo is another attempt on The Prince and the Pauper, and while it is an interesting twist to make the twins the wife and the mistress, the deception depends on the husband being a jackass, which doesn’t make him much of a prize to be fought over.

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