"...I slept with my best friend's husband. There is no explanation. Not a real one, anyway [...] but I want to tell my side, just hear me out."
Right from the start, Donna Hill's An Ordninary Woman begins with a shocking paragraph that has the reader's eyes widen in shock, dismay, perplexity, and finally curiosity. Right then, a part of us is apprehensive about the plot already, but another huge part wants to find out more about the revelation: Why? How? Who? What happens next? And thus begins a most powerful reading journey that our minds have yet to explore.
Asha and Lisa have been best friends since grade school, and although both girls are as different as day and night, they've always shared everything, and their friendship continues all through their teenage years and into adulthood. Both beautiful in their own ways, Asha is the more exciting and spontaneous when it comes to men and relationships, while Lisa is more 'put-together' and prefers to think things through before making decisions. Asha becomes a world photographer, traveling the world, taking gorgeous pictures, and meeting men from all continents. Lisa becomes an English Professor, stable and grounded. When Lisa decides to get married, both girls fear this would mar their friendship, but they continue to hold on, although Asha begins to go through some emotional struggles, which included a hugely upsetting confrontation with her mother.
Ross, Lisa's husband, does not want to admit that he isn't happy in his new marriage; he feels overwhelmed and out of control. He’s never met a woman like Lisa who liked to take care of things and made sure everything was good and dandy. Having recently lost his job, it frustrated him that he couldn't take care of his wife the way he felt a man was supposed to.
Thus begins the betrayal that no one really saw coming. It just happened, that one single moment that shattered the lives of everyone around, and now Asha, Lisa and Ross each want to speak about what, how, why it happened, and the roles they each played...
Hill weaves the storyline so perfectly, the characters, the events, the setting...it is no ordinary story of betrayal and heartbreak. It is a masterminded concoction that gives us some insight on why we do the things we do, how things such as our childhood environment, that 'the-way-we-grew-up' mentality (that never really leaves us no matter how much we want it to), our beliefs...how all these can play a huge role in the things we say or do (even without our knowledge).
In this novel, we are put very much in all the characters' place, feel their pain and hurt, see everything they see from their eyes; it's almost like we're physically manifesting in their bodies, feeling every inch of what they feel and understanding why they did some things they did, however horrendous and unforgiving the actions were.
Usually, Hill's works are listed under the Romance genre, which is usually focused on the typical boy-girl relationships. However, there are a few that take on that different literary stand with the powerful plots they weave, so much that one can't help but praise her for being not only versatile, but also outstandingly genius in the way she shows us things about life and about ourselves. An Ordinary Woman is one of those works.
This book is a must-read, grab it from your nearest library or bookstore, I'm positive that you will not be disappointed!