Home-Wreckers and Harlots

The Other Woman gives voice to wives, mistresses, and those caught in between.

In all the hubbub and joy surrounding Barack and Michelle Obama as they became the new president and first lady, we noticed a void. Actually, two: John and Elizabeth Edwards. At one point, that couple was expected to be onstage that magical night, with John accepting the job of vice president. But then came revelations of a somewhat dowdy mistress and a towheaded baby with a questionable birth certificate, and sure as sunshine, Edwards’s political aspirations died in a hotel closet when National Enquirer reporters caught him red-handed at a hotel way past bedtime. Infidelity rarely has a pretty ending, and dark tales of betrayal and heartbreak are endlessly fascinating. This explains why Cheaters, the darkest reality show ever green-lighted, is a late-night guilty pleasure for so many. Now there’s a high-end literary version: The Other Woman: Twenty-one Wives, Lovers, and Others Talk Openly About Sex, Deception, Love, and Betrayal. Two of the 21 renowned authors — Victoria Zackheim and Diana Abu-Jaber — will share their personal stories Friday night at Books & Books.

“I was very hesitant to contribute,” says Abu-Jaber. “I had some soul searching to do. If you’ve ever been through being cheated on, you’ll get something out of this book. It’s got a very ... progressive approach to the subject. Some of the stories ask interesting, difficult, provocative questions. The book is juicy and kick-ass.” In addition to that, The Other Woman takes into consideration cultural differences and the enormous double standards women and men face in the shadow of a marital rift. Abu-Jaber even offers advice to Elizabeth Edwards: “You have to spend a lot of time examining your own feelings of comfort and ask yourself what you want and deserve in a relationship. Do I deserve or need a partner who is just for me? Is it worth it?” Find out and express your own opinions at 8 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 21, 8 p.m., 2008
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