Highly recommended! The characters in “Beside Herself,” by Elizabeth LaBan, are so relatable that you feel like you are chatting with your girlfriends when reading this book
The main character is Hannah Bent and her story of infidelity begins when she discovers, via text, that her husband Joel has had an affair. She is blindsided by this knowledge, but Hannah manages to be strong and hold it together for her family.
Joel is surprisingly likable considering he is the one who “did the bad thing.” His love for Hannah really does shine through. This novel is remarkable because you want these two characters to find their way through this transgression, however, you also want to see that Hannah is able to mend her heart. The question is, what will that take? Will it be an affair of her own? What would it be for any of us suddenly thrust into this predicament?
Joel is endearing as he tracks down multiple therapists to save his relationship, and one can’t help but notice his effort and sincerity. There is a prevailing sense of hope right from the beginning with Joel and Hannah, and the reader can’t help but want them to work things out.
Joel gives Hannah time to process her feelings of rage, which is exactly what she needs. We relive Hannah’s relationship with her husband, we experience her friend Kim’s sad divorce, and we see Hannah struggle through some bad dates and discover exactly what she is looking for.
This book was a wonderful read about real life, a reminder that anyone can find themselves facing a situation they never thought possible, but that situation doesn’t have to define us. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, if we want there to be light.
I think the novel ended on a wonderful note and even though the subject matter was heavy, the novel certainly felt light and open to the promise of possibility.