I decided to read The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry because it seems like her name has been popping up everywhere lately. Some of my favorite blogs have read, reviewed and enjoyed her books. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me so much…
You guys. This is going to be a tough review to write, because to be honest? I didn’t enjoy much of anything about The Other Side of Us. The characterization, plot and writing all had glaring flaws that I couldn’t get past.
Let’s start with characterization. Oliver and Mackenzie meet while both of them are trying to overcome unfortunate pasts. They both have divorce issues – Oliver more recently. Also, Mackenzie was in a horrible car accident that she is still trying to come back from physically. As I got to know them, I never felt like they were real people.
When things about them were revealed – used to be a musician, loves dogs, TV producer, etc…it all just felt like a “Personality Trait Checklist” that was being listed, not like actual facets of someone’s personality coming out. I mean, my lack of feeling for these characters got to the point that I couldn’t even read the sexytime scenes. I skipped them because I felt almost voyeuristic or something, watching something happening between two people I cared absolutely nothing about.
A couple of other things about the writing in The Other Side of Us bugged me as well. For one thing, EVERY SINGLE TIME THEY INTERACTED, one or both – usually both – of them waxed poetic about the other character’s ass. I’m not kidding. Like every few pages: there it was. “That tight packed butt” or “well formed rear end” or something like it.
Next was the way the scenes were written. Oliver and Mackenzie would interact, then once they went their separate ways we’d see each of them dissect the minutia of what just happened. Usually in the form of self-torture. “Could I be more of an ass-hat?” and “God, he must think I’m a harpy!” and so on and so forth. Not attractive at all. Also EXTREMELY repetitive to see basically the exact same things happening three times over.
As for the plot…um, what plot? The Other Side of Us basically involves us getting to know the crap cards both Oliver and Mackenzie have been dealt in the past and then watch their fumbling attempts at socially interacting with each other. Then they fall into bed and bing bang boom. Things wrap up with minor “I don’t know if I can do this!” drama that left me feeling distinctly unsatisfied.
Basically, The Other Side of Us didn’t work for me at all. I’m left wondering if maybe Sarah Mayberry’s shorter novels are more successful? If I’m not mistaken, this is one of the first (if not the first) full-length story she has written. (Am I wrong? Feel free to let me know.) I’m not ruling out trying some of her shorter stories in the future, but I think I’ll be letting the disappointment of this one fade for awhile first.
To Sum it Up:
- Cardboard characterization, the odd and repetitive writing style and the lack of central plot all left me extremely disappointed with this read.
- I’ve heard so many positive things about Sarah Mayberry in the past, so I AM curious to see if this is a one-off or a real representation of her other writings.
- I don’t think I’ve ever actually felt so uncomfortable and weird about characters to the point that I had to skip the sexytime scenes – until now.