Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Other Side by Tyler Terry

The Other Side

The Other Side by Tyler Terry

Kindle Edition, 310 pages
Published May 16th 2012 by CranuimXPublishing

Goodread Summary 

Decision time. Left or right? Mr X, or Mr Z? 

Imagine being able to find out what would happen if you chose the other path...

Would you make the same decision?

...and, if you could, would you go back and change all the mistakes you've ever made in the name of love?

"The Other Side" tells of four lives, all so different. 

Glamorous Katya is certain she can ‘have it all’, but forgets that some people have long memories...
Cathy is trapped in a tedious marriage with the in-laws from hell – but why did the rock-chick marry Mr Pipe and Slippers? 
Alexa fears that a ‘friend’ is trying to steal away her perfect life – everyone dismisses her fears as paranoia...
...while Sandie struggles with a drink problem, a life spiraling downwards – which came first, the drink or the problems?

Four very different stories – but they are all connected.

"The Other Side" travels backwards through time to unravel the decisions of the past and their influence on the present lives of everyone concerned - for better or for worse.

My Review

This review is going to be short, more summary than real review, because I don’t want to give too much away.  At one point or another in our lives we sometimes wonder how our lives would’ve turned out if we hadn’t made a particular decision. What if I didn’t go to college? What if I chose a different one? What if I chose this job instead of that? What if I haven’t met Mr. X? Things like that. This story goes into the lives of four women, going backwards into time to explore the decisions that lead them to where they are today. 

Katya Fox has very high hopes and standards. She is determined to have it all: a successful career as a writer or a journalist, a successful academic or artist husband, an apartment in London, and a summer cottage. While in college she and her friend Maggie devised “the plan” for their perfect lives. Katya’s high goals has left her in her 40s and alone, while Maggie, who dismissed “the plan,” has a husband, kids, a nice home, and a series of novels under her belt. Yet, Katya swears that she ended up better than Maggie. Just look what settling for Clive and abandoning “the plan” has done to her. She got married and had children before the age of thirty (at the prime of her youth), bought an antique shop instead of pursuing a serious career, and published a series of “chick lit” novels instead something of literary substance. Sure they had a house on the seaside, but what good is it if you have to rent it out in order to pay for it? Maggie had let her looks go as well; now she had big hips and behind and could stand for a good facial and a professional coloring. At least Katya had a successful job as manager of the Flowers Gallery and she looked pretty good for a woman in her forties. Nope, she didn’t envy Maggie’s life one bit, except that Maggie had a husband and friends, while Katya spent most of her time alone; and at least Maggie was published, while Katya hadn’t been able to write anything in years nor land a column in a reputable paper or magazine. But if Katya kept her standards high and stuck to “the plan”, she’ll eventually have all…right?

Cathy is married with two sons. Yet she is nowhere near happy. Her husband is incredibly predictable and is too attached to his family and his routine. She is smothered by her mother- and sister-in-law and yearns for spontaneity with her husband and family. After one act of rebellion against her husband and his family, she starts to wonder how she got to where she is and what could’ve been if she were with the man she previously let slip through her fingers. 

Alexa has a great life as co-owner of a café in Scotland with her loving husband Charlie and her young daughter Freya. That is until Janey came along. From the time Alexa meets Janey, she is convinced that Janey is out to steal her husband, her best friend, her life. Janey swept into town with her jerk boyfriend to run a deli, charming everyone in town, particularly her husband and best friend Leona. When her boyfriend leaves her high and dry with an unsuccessful deli, she turns to Charlie for advice. Charlie suggests that she work at the café so Alexa could spend more time with Freya. Charlie feels that it is the best solution for everyone, but Alexa knows Janey’s game. The more Janey gets settled in with the café, Leona and Charlie, the more obvious her true motives become to Alexa. 

And finally there is Sandie, who lives in communal house owned by a hippy and inhabited by a bunch of lazy hipsters and musicians. However, when she was there with Toby she was happier. Now that he has left her, she has turned to the bottle for comfort, getting extremely drunk every night and having no memory of what transpired in the morning. 

I got into this book because I could relate to these four women in various ways. Everyone knows someone who is similar to at least one these women. At the end of Part One of the novel, you are left on the edge of your seat both wondering how they got where they are and what will become of them. At first I had issue with the factor that the author dove right into the stories of these four women without a real introduction as to their connection to each other or why we’re looking into them in the first place. By the time you reach the epilogue, however, you see just how the lives of these women are connected and you come away with a very important message. The connection between the stories of these women is the major plot twist in the story and before there is true clarity, you’re left scratching your head. Having the book separated into six year intervals and the variety of different characters does cause you to have to go back a few chapters remember who everyone is and how they’re related. But the stories are compelling and witty and it is very easy to get hooked into them.

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