Australian writers, Book review, Contemporary

Book review: The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock

Review in 10-ish words: This book made me miss home. It was a giant, reassuring hug. 5 stars.

Synopsis:

Mercy Blain has not left her house in two years.
She spends her days with her sausage dog, Wasabi, trawling the Facebook advice groups she is a part of.

She is propelled out of her house and into a Daihatsu Hijet which forces her to reacquaint herself with the world she has spent all her energy hiding from.

With Wasabi on the passenger seat and a box of suspicious cremated remains in the back, she sets out to make her way from Adelaide, South Australia to Darwin, Northern Territory.

Mercy may be out of her house, but she is not done hiding from everything.

Eugene, her ex husband won’t stop calling her, and why was she hiding in her house to begin with??

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this read!
As an Aussie living overseas this was the slice of home I needed. I loved all the nuanced references to Australia. Stopping in at Coles, the caravan convoys and bumper stickers, friendly strangers. It was all perfect.

The author spoke about reaching out to different people in her acknowledgements to fact check parts of this book and I really appreciated the effort they went to make this as authentic as possible.

I think Mercy is a very relatable character. She is not shiny, unpolished. She is very real. I found myself right there with her in the back of the Hijet. It’s a great story that gives us all a reminder of the importance of being present and embracing life- even the hard parts. Over the last week I have somewhat subconsciously adopted Mercy’s mantra of ‘be here, now.’ I also appreciate seeing an ‘older’ MC (I am aware Mercy is only in her thirties but this is relatively older compared to most contemporary books I have been reading lately).

Her descriptions of Mercy’s experience of anxiety and panic attacks were well described. And although this is a heavy topic area I think the overall ‘feel’ of the book is one of hopefulness and resilience. Did I mention it had me laughing as well?

I have half a mind to go on the same trip when I visit home again.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this read in exchange for an honest review.

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