Book Review: Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes

About the Book:

Nisha Cantor and Sam Kemp are two very different women.

Nisha, 45, lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband inexplicably cuts her off entirely. She doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.

That’s because Sam – 47, middle-aged, struggling to keep herself and her family afloat – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag.

Now Nisha’s got nothing. And Sam’s walking tall with shoes that catch eyes – and give her career an unexpected boost.

Except Nisha wants her life back – and she’ll start with her shoes.

Published by Penguin Random House Australia – Michael Joseph

Released February 2023

My Thoughts:

I haven’t yet read a Jojo Moyes I haven’t loved. She has a knack for writing stories that have All. The. Feels. Her latest novel, Someone Else’s Shoes, certainly has all the feels, but I really loved the whole premise of the story: an accidental bag swap at the gym that leads to two very different women taking a walk in the other one’s – very different – shoes. And it just got better from there.

‘She recalls a philosophy teacher asking her class, “How many of the decisions you make each day are because you actually want to do something, and how many are to avoid the consequences of not doing it?” Nearly everything she does these days is to stop something else happening. If she doesn’t keep her steps up she will get fat. If she doesn’t walk the dog he will wee in the hall. Sometimes Sam feels she has been so conditioned to be useful every minute of every day that there is almost nothing she does in which she is not simultaneously keeping a subconscious tally.’

At its heart, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story of female friendship, the kind that bridges differences and surpasses all else. It’s also a story of female agency, how as we age, we disappear, we feel dispensable, invisible, needed by everyone but wanted by no one. This story, particularly with regards to Sam, was very much about this. I really felt for Sam too, with a total arse of a boss, I couldn’t believe that guy, and the challenges of running the whole show at home along with being the breadwinner while her husband suffered from a depression he was unwilling to acknowledge, much less seek treatment for. And Sam’s parents! They were so self-absorbed and entitled, as though just because Sam was their daughter, that immediately made her their slave. They made me really angry. Thank goodness for Andrea, a ray of light in Sam’s life and probably the saviour of her own sanity.

Nisha was an interesting character. Immediately dislikeable yet layered enough for you to know that there was more there, that your first impressions weren’t likely to be your last. The way she was treated by her (ex) husband Carl was appalling and also quite frightening because I can imagine many women going from riches to rags in a similar fashion. Her grit and determination were to be admired and she really grew on me over the course of the novel.

‘Strength – real strength – is not doing what someone asks you, necessarily. Strength is turning up every day to a situation that is intolerable, unbearable even, just to support the people you love.’

Some aspects of the plot were a little farfetched, but it all worked within the context of the story and made for an enjoyable read. I particularly liked the character growth over the course of this novel, and I think that had a lot to do with the ages of the women being comparable to my own. It all felt rather relatable and relevant.

Jojo Moyes is a star. Highly recommended!

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes

  1. I’m so intrigued by this premise. I’ve only read one of Moyes’ before, but I’m super interested in the sound of this one. Where you write ‘how we feel … needed by everyone but wanted by no one’ really struck me. I’ll keep an eye out. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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