Book Review: Let’s Meet on Platform 8

Let’s Meet on Platform 8 by Carole Matthews
Publisher: Headline Review (May 14, 2009)
ISBN # 0755346602
298 pages
Author Website

My Grade: D

Plot / Premise

I’ve decided to copy and paste the plot summary from the below source. I always feel like I don’t do plot summaries justice and I’m only regurgitating what other people have said and … okay, fine. I’m lazy. I’d rather concentrate on character development and writing style.

From author’s website:

Teri Carter thinks she’s found the one, but is it possible that someone else has found him first?

After knowing her down while rushing to catch the 6.07 from London, Jamie Duncan bandages Teri Carter’s knee, buys her new stockings, seats her on the train with her foot in his lap and taxis her home from the station. Who says chivalry is dead?

Not only is Jamie a romantic hero – tall, dark, with greeny-gold eyes and a Scottish burr – he’s witty, charming and eager to share their daily commute. Suddenly Teri’s life is Brief Encounter meets Wuthering Heights. But then she discovers Mr Right is also Mr Married. Jamie’s not the type to cheat, and Teri doesn’t want him to… or does she? After dating Mr Lazy, Mr Greedy, Mr Completely Selfish and Mr Downright Pervert, can she renounce Mr Perfect?

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT

First, let me say, I like Matthews’ books. I’ve enjoyed them all up to this point and though I didn’t hate this book, I just couldn’t bring myself to really like it, either.

I’m an old married woman. I’ve been happily married for 22 years now and though I won’t say my marriage is perfect, it’s pretty darn close. We are best friends and we enjoy being together. We finish each other’s sentences and there’s honestly not another human being out there I’d rather be with. He’s a male version of me. We like the same things, we feel the same way about many, many issues and I don’t think anyone else could stand me, quite frankly. So I’m coming from a pretty happy relationship background. I realize not everyone is as fortunate as I am in the love department. I get that. But I simply can not stomach that this book tries to justify marital infidelity, however clumsily.

Granted. I see where Ms. Matthews is coming from. She’s trying to write a more down-to-earth piece of chick lit and honestly? She nearly pulls it off. I get that old married couples, such as myself, get into ruts and yes, there are times I’m bored with my marriage – I’m sure Kevin would agree as well. And I understand there is temptation out there – we’re human after all. And I know that people get themselves into sticky situations and that’s reality, so I can appreciate Ms. Matthews trying to keep the story realistic.

However. I think she drops the ball on this story because she spends more time inside the slutty home-wrecker’s head than she does the poor wife’s head. I’m not saying that the wife is blameless, oh contrare, she certainly doesn’t help matters by forcing her husband to stay in a job he loathes to pay on a mortgage for a house he can’t stand and then to further humiliate him by only communicating with him by serving him nasty meals with snotty one liners in Alpha letters.

But the bottom line is: they’re married. They’re committed to one another and though I understand the temptation to stray from the marital vows, the fact that not only does Jamie stray, he doesn’t seem too overly sorry about it really chaps my ass. Sure. He struggles, but he spends way too much time trying to please his mistress’s feelings rather than putting that energy into trying to make his marriage work.

It’s hard to sympathize with two people who are pretty set on tearing a family apart.

Pamela, the wife, is way too understanding and calm throughout this ordeal. She finds out and yes, she’s upset, but she doesn’t have the passionate reaction I was looking for. She claims to love her man, but she’s perfectly okay with him going over to her house to break it off and have one last romp in the sack???? That seemed way too civilized, and weird, for my taste. I wanted to see some serious butt kicking going on, quite frankly. The tart who was determined to steal him away from his wife and children didn’t deserve the respect that was afforded her.

This is the first time, in a long time, I’ve actually hated the main character.

Even though I thought being inside the heads of Teri (mistress), Jamie (husband), and Pamela (wife) gave the story more depth, I think it would have been more satisfying if the reader spent more time inside Pamela’s head than Teri’s – especially given Jamie finally comes to his senses and dumps Teri to be with his family.

The minor character stories were necessary, though a bit drawn out, in order to show the reader how messing with someone’s relationship takes a huge, and sometimes dangerous, toll on the people involved. These stories were necessary to show Jamie just HOW much he was risking by humping the whore. (I’m sorry, but I’m not sympathetic to home wreckers. Especially to people who KNOW what’s going on and CHOOSE to pursue it anyway – to hell with the other partner as long as that one person finds his/her happiness. Talk about a self-centered, selfish attitude!!)

The writing itself was engaging, if not a bit stilted. I got the impression that Ms. Matthews was feeling a bit hesitant when she wrote this story. She took a chance, and I know she knew she was taking a chance, and it was as if she got halfway through the story and then realized how her reader would likely react and she faltered. Her writing was hesitant and a bit lukewarm – as if she was proceeding with caution because she wanted to push the envelope, but she didn’t want to totally lose her reader in the process of writing something a bit out-of-the box.

I admire her tenacity, but I think she fell short because I just wanted to throttle the b*tch by the end of the story.

And speaking of ending … WTH?!? Yet another reason not to succumb to extramarital affairs because just when you think it’s over – IT’S SO NOT OVER.

Responding to Negative Reviews

This could have been a riveting tale…the problem is the story has no depth whatsoever. I would even say it is badly written. We dont get any insight as to what Jamie found lacking in his marraige. We read about Jamie’s dreams’ being shattered ….but what wexactly were those dreams? to be a race car driver? And how did having a family stifle him? these issues are never explored.

And when he decides to go back to his family, what made him do that. A pep talk from his friend? Guilt? I wish the story had delved more into what happens to the husband and wife when they get back together and how they decide to rebuild their shattered lives. The story was very sketchy and it simply didnt delve into different emotions. There was more time spent on commuting details than the actual affair. And after all that, it seemed like Jamie went back to his wife more out a sense of duty than because he loved her.

The final straw is that the lead characters are totally unlikeable. Jamie acts like a total jerk and seemed to be more considerate towards his mistresses’ feelings than his wife’s. And Teri seems to relish the affair with no thought to the consequences of what they were doing including throwing her best friend out.

I hope Matthews doesnt write a sequel to this story…the heroine is totally unsympathetic and I doubt if many readers will identify with her.

I couldn’t agree more with this one-star review.

Let’s Meet on Platform 8 features a cast of some of the most hateful, loathsome characters I’ve encountered. The plot centers around a woman, Teri, who meets the man of her dreams: Jamie, a liar and a cheat, with a tired wife and little children at home. He lies to Teri and starts a flirtation with her, because for reasons that are not explained, his marriage to Pamela is getting… stale? I have no idea.

O, the turmoil! As Jamie grapples to fight his physical attraction to Teri while his wife tries to raise her children as best she can with an unattentive husband. Teri, who dives eagerly right in, without a thought for the wife, the children, the family structure she is destroying.

I hated the characters so much! Jamie, a spoiled and ungrateful liar. Teri, who decides selfishly to pursue this married man. Pamela, who decides to make Jamie think she’s also having an affair, and then actually does: stupid and irritating.

Two points of major contention: Teri throwing her cheated-on best friend out of her apartment, because her friend is making her feel badly for the affair. And Jamie, in the hospital to visit his friend who has attempted suicide, still nattering about his pathetic guilt over his complicated love life.

These characters were selfish beyond belief. I kept hoping that maybe they would slip and fall onto the tracks on Platform 8, and be run over by one of the oft-and-unnecessarily described trains. Were we supposed to LIKE and ROOT FOR Teri and Jamie? Impossible. There was nothing sweet, romantic or beautiful in this book at all.

Again. Good points and I agree.

This story would be better left ON the platform. Don’t waste your time. (Unless you want to buy it from me. *grin*)


By the way, I have this book for sale in my book store if you would like to purchase it. It’s only been read once and is in very good condition.

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Karen

Hi! My day job is a CMA in neurosurgery.. I'm a mom to two twenty-something sons. I've been married to the same man for 26 years. I have a lot to say about nothing. Lucky you.