Worst Idea Ever by Jane Fallon

Worst Idea Ever is a story about female friendship – how fragile it is – and how little it takes to blow it all apart. The title is very clever as it works on more than one level. Georgia and Lydia have been friends since college, both of them set on a career in book illustration, and are now in their mid-forties. Georgia is the author of a successful series of children’s books, but Lydia is still trying to find a publisher for her work, and this causes tension in their relationship.

Despite her apparent success, Georgia is still troubled by impostor syndrome believing she is not fulfilling her true potential as an artist. Lydia hides her resentment well but it festers. What starts out as an act of kindness, spirals very quickly into a nightmarish scenario that wreaks havoc on so many lives. The corrosive effects of jealousy and rivalry are amplified through the filter of social media.   

The story is told mainly from Georgia’s point of view with some insights into Lydia’s increasingly irrational behaviour. The first half of the book is quite slow as the scene is set and we get to know the characters, who are all well drawn and relatable. Just when I thought I knew where the story was heading, Jane Fallon pulled the rug out from under me and went off in a completely different direction. It is testament to her skill as a writer that by the end of Worst Idea Ever, even after everything that has happened, we still feel a little bit sorry for Lydia.

I read and enjoyed Jane Fallon’s debut novel Getting Rid of Matthew in 2007, but had not read anything since; it seems I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. Thanks to Penguin and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.