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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Review: The Other Side

Received it on 11.14.11.Finished reading it on 11.16.11.
Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in the Goodreads' first read program, in exchange I will write an honest review.

A book of short stories, the book is slim and easy reading.  The stories range from an extramarital affair to a woman developing telekinesis.  I found some of the stories really good, such as "Lucy di Sartoria" and "Motley Black", but others I found not so good.

Spoiler Alert:

"Lucy di Sartoria" is about a dancer who is married to an artist.  Lucy is having an extramarital relationship.  Normally; I don't like reading about such things, as I do not approve of affairs, but this story, to my thinking, is describing the depression that can creep up on a person.  Lucy is dissatisfied with her life and thinks that the affair can help her.  The affair seems to be helping, at first that is, but she becomes dissatisfied with her lover and life again.  She becomes more and more depressed.  In the end, I appreciated that she decided to end the affair and work on her marriage.  Marriage is not easy, neither is love.  They both have to be worked at and Lucy seems to be trying in the end.  This is what made me like this particular short story.

"Motley Black" is about a young man on a bus going to Florida.  He wants to just be left alone to read a book, but the other riders don't seem to want to let him.  One rider gets him out of his shell and the young man gradually comes to like conversing with the other rider.  I was able to really get into this story and even to laugh at the end.

"Dunes like White Elephants" is about a couple strolling along a beach and discussing a child and how it would effect their lives.  I could not tell wether she was pregnant or if they were thinking of trying to have a child.  I didn't know if the couple were married or not.  I don't think they were because they were discussing wether their parents would like the other person or not.  I did not really get into this story.  Even though discussing children is an excellent idea, I just could not feel for them.  How the author wrote the discussion was enjoyable though.

"Billy Stevens in 28" is about Billy Stevens looking back on his life and what it all meant, after being dumped by his girlfriend.  I was unable to get into this story either.  While introspection is good, I just don't feel that you should dwell on it.  I keep wanting to shout to Billy; "Stop feeling sorry for yourself, and work to make your life mean something".  Billy learns at a high school reunion that it is too late to get together with his old crush and it just ends.  I was kind of disappointed then, but can see that short stories are sometimes like that.

"The Tie That Binds" is a story about a Church that is changing.  It is being made over into a Museum.  The story follows the church members as they clean the church and remove/replace/repair items in the church.  I liked reading about the organist who wouldn't let arthritis in her hands stop her from playing.  This seemed the best character in the story to me.  Everything changes was the theme and that change can be either good or bad.

"An Aria of Windrows" is about a missed call.  Turns out that it was a wrong number, but the man who received the call obsesses about it and what may have been.  I couldn't see any use in this story.  If he had been there, the woman who called would have realized it and nothing would have come of it.  His obsessing had me thinking that someone had died and he was upset that he hadn't been there to talk to her.  Turns out this is wrong, and then I just didn't like the story.  To my thinking he just turned into a stalker.  Not good!

"The Other Side" is pretty good.  The woman starts developing Migrane Headaches and then discovers a special talent.  I really liked this story, not for the special talent but, for the discriptions of what the headaches are like.  My mother gets Migranes, and this seems to be an exact discription of how they affect her.  The special talent was a nice addition as a consequence of the headaches.  Hey if you have to suffer, you should get some good, right?  :D

Over all a nice slim book to read as a break from larger books

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