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The Other Side of You

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  908 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
For psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. David McBride, death exerts an unusual draw. Despite his profession, he has never come to terms with the violent accident that took his brother's life, a trauma that has shaped his personality and subsequent choice of career. But when a failed suicide, Elizabeth Cruikshank, comes into his care, he finds the deepest reaches of his supp ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 3rd 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,497)
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Oct 21, 2009 Kp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a good book! It was one you could really "sink your teeth into".... with references to poetry, art, biblical stories, and psychology to think about and learn about. I really enjoyed it. The author is SO insightful. I loved the words that Elizabeth wrote to Thomas at the end,"Were not our hearts burning inside us?" What a great use of the words from the end of the Emmaus biblical story! That made me sob. Just like the disciples, a story that began in gloom and despair ends in new life and ho ...more
Nov 21, 2008 Alan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tortuous, which is a shame because the relationship between psychiatrist and patient had the capacity to explore their respective losses. Unfortunately the author failed to grasp the opportunity presented and set off on a meandering story that left this reader caring little for the outcome or the principle characers. A missed opportunity.
Nov 14, 2015 Calypso rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, romance
Infelizmente não consegui gostar deste livro, nada me cativou... nem a história, nem as personagens, na verdade achei a estrutura do livro desmotivante para a leitura.
Mar 20, 2010 Audra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vickers' style and empathy engage me, please me, to the point that I want to set other things aside and just keep reading. (Even more than usual with me). As in another novel by her that I've read, Miss Garnet's Angel, she brings me deep into the world of people who are lonely, apart, in some way and who search for, sometimes achieving, some community and love. Her details are telling, and real. (Goodreads' summary description is so good I don't need to give more info re content, I think. Do yo ...more
Somehow I didn't quite connect with this one. In part the tone of the narrator, in part the emphasis on Caravaggio. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either and was quite relieved to reach the end.
Aug 02, 2014 Jodie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really am getting through a lot of these books that have been abandoned for a while. This is yet another book, I think I’ve had it since sixth form, so about 5 years now. I always was interested in the premise. I don’t know why I never picked it up until now. To be honest, it is probably because I hadn’t heard any buzz about the novel and I can sort of see why. I don’t know why this book was written.

The story is told from the perspective of a therapist and it is about a particular patient who
Rose jackson
May be unfortunate that I came to this novel just after reading John Banville's 'Ancient Light'. I fully agreed with the few reviews that did not rave e.g. "It is not easy to empathise with Elizabeth. Having loved and lost Thomas Carrington, and having saddled herself with an empty marriage, ungrateful children and a mother-in-law from hell, she is given a second chance. Does she abandon dreary domesticity for a life of fun, frolic and Caravaggio with Thomas? Wishy-washy woman that she is she d ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Jan 23, 2012 Kathleen Dixon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
David is a psychiatrist working in two psychiatric hospitals and with a small private practice. In the course of his work he meets Elizabeth Cruikshank, a failed suicide, whose silence he eventually breaks through unconventional means. Standard practice is to keep one's self out of the therapy, but when David had to miss an appointment with her and he attempted to draw her out by apologising for letting her down, he had a moment of clarity and his subsequent words to her hit the mark. She finall ...more
I read this book with pleasure. It's neatly plotted and written with skill and a certain buttoned-up elegance. But I was left with doubts about its final success. First, did anyone else find the narrator unconvincing? I would have found the book more believable if the narrative voice had been female, because David never fully persuaded me that he was male. I didn't expect Rambo, but there was something oddly neutered about the character that goes beyond the psychological damage he'd no doubt suf ...more
Ruth Brumby
Generally I've enjoyed reading books by Salley Vickers, but this one left me with many questions and lack of empathy with what i think was her message. I was puzzled by the narrator; what is the aim of apparently seeking for us to identify with or accept the wisdom of someone who is so unpleasantly sexist? I kept expecting part of the story to be written in another voice to point up the characteristics of this narrators not those of the author. I was unsure about the extent of the evangelism. I ...more
Aug 08, 2016 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I embarked upon this summer's project to find and read books about therapy and therapists, this well-written, well-constructed novel is exactly what I was hoping to discover. The characters are literate, articulate and smart, and the psychiatrist main character is likeable and has complex and nuanced views on therapy and psychological processes. Nothing is ultimately tied up in sugary little bows, and all predictable cliches are avoided, yet the ending points to integration, hope, and maybe ...more
Aug 28, 2011 Martha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviews, 2011
I'm not sure what I feel about this book. Sometimes it's romantic, sometimes it's glib, sometimes it's unbelievable in the neat way the characters' needs and insights fit together. There are a lot of elements swirling together. Sometimes it's profound, sometimes platitudinous. Nothing would ever happen this way. But nothing in fiction ever would. But are the characters round? Is this a world? Perhaps it's too didactic. Too much a clinical psychiatrist trying to abstract the things learned from a ...more
Well, Salley Vickers is a good writer but I don't really enjoy her style of writing. this book is really different from the books that i usually read such as chick-lit, teens, relationships, family, friends and so forth. Sally Vickers writing is somewhat between the classical writing and the modern writing. the reason i bought this book is because i read many praises for the book in the beginning of the book thus i thought it was really good, so i was a bit disappointed when i find this book kin ...more
Sharon Hollis
Members of my book group loved this book. What I loved about it was the power the author gives to the role of a person's story being heard to contribute to healing, and the value of listening. I also enjoyed the way art played an important role in the healing of Elizabeth. David the psychiatrist learns to listen to his own story and review his own life. This is at times a painful process but one the ultimately makes him a more whole human being. The writing in this novel is spare and beautiful a ...more
Yvonne (Fiction Books)
May 18, 2014 Yvonne (Fiction Books) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yvonne (Fiction Books) by: Charity Shop Purchase
"Engaging and Poignant"

Without giving away too many spoilers, as this book has quite a narrow narrative and storyline, so it would be easy to do so, I would just say that if you like a book where the characters truly engage with one another, then this is a must read for you.

The patient and her psychologist, through their sharing of experiences, create a powerful and frighteningly honest reality about life, that left me questioning my own thoughts and actions. Much as it did David McBride, the p
Triecia Gibney
Jan 26, 2015 Triecia Gibney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David McBride is a psychiatrist/ psychoanalyst whose personal life is beginning to unravel as he treats his failed suicide patient Elizabeth Cruikshank. He consults with his guru Gus but clearly as he begins to transgress boundaries he really needed to be in regular supervision and his own therapy. The late-nighter complete with sandwiches ordered in AND whiskey will likely play into every patient/analysand's fantasy about being the most interesting/favoured client of their therapist. Yes it is ...more
Jul 08, 2015 Adrian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had misgivings over this book when I started, and I was right! Why are all the characters so smug? They all seem to spend their time dispensing pithy sound bites to each other all day long. I hated them all.
This could have been a very indulgent piece of psychoanalysis but cleverly saves itself from that fate by managing to be simply touching. Good commentary on the nature of love mixed with a parallel storyline about Caravaggio. Intellectually satisfying.
Diane Warrington
Feb 04, 2015 Diane Warrington rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is intelligent, insightful and beautifully written. At it's heart is the story of coping in a life, the perennial, " to be or not to be". As well there is a lovely discussion through the story about the therapeutic, uplifting and empowering effect of painting. The descriptions of the Carravaggio paintings in the National Gallery in London are perfect. I too, have sat in front of them and marvelled at the power and depth of understanding about the human condition that is shown in the works.
Jan 26, 2008 Mac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes we have to break the rules of polite society and risk losing everything for Big Love. This is a book for those that have loved boldly, those that have loved timidly and especially those that have loved and lost.
Sep 01, 2008 Joan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's very different from "Housekeeping," but resonates with Marilynne
Robinson's novel in the way it explores the life of loss and how it impacts
the lived experience of those who have undergone it.
Mar 19, 2015 Neena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is one of those books which despite being brilliant overall, have this lost storyline. This is not book for everyone. If you love words; beautiful words and do not care much for strong plot or solid theme, this is a book for you. This is a book about love yet love is not sentimental or cynical kind of love in this book.

I did not like Elizabeth Cruickshank but I did love Thomas dearly and liked David very much. For Elizabeth, her marriage and her children matter less than the brief, life-alt
Kate Sidley
Aug 10, 2011 Kate Sidley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author is a pyschoanalyst, and this book is very interesting about that field. Quite profound insights into love, the human psyche and art.
May 22, 2012 Berni rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author could have done so much more with this. I really wanted to love this. The themes and idea was great but i was disappointed.
Sep 12, 2008 Diana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging but annoying, and somehow phoney, pandering to sad middle aged women, sorry.
Feb 01, 2016 Fernanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Todos vivimos con la sombra de alguien más a nuestro lado.

Todos tenemos otro lado, un algo/alguien cuya sombra, presencia/ausencia la llamaría yo, nos acompaña siempre en nuestra vida y le da cierto sentido a lo que hacemos y el camino que tomamos, aunque no siempre sea el correcto. En esta novela, Vickers entrelaza la vida actual de David, con todas sus dificultades, y la narración de Elizabeth de su historia "fallida; desde ahí una dicotomía, el terapeuta y la suicida, el que ayuda y la necesi
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Yvann S
Aug 04, 2012 Yvann S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“After so devastating a disappointment it would make sense to turn to a Neil”

I read one of Vickers’ previous novels in my pre-blogging days, Miss Garnet’s Angel, and remember that it was mostly about a painting of Tobit or Tobias or Toblerone or some such personage. I did remember enjoying it though. And thus I seemed to be stepping into very familiar territory with The Other Side of You, which has a simple enough narrative structure – a few days in the life of psychologist and analyst Davey McB
Nov 10, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a gentle story about a psychiatrist, David, who is trying to help a suicidal patient, Elizabeth, cope with her life after the death of her lover, to whom she had never fully committed herself, to her regret. At the same time David has spent his life trying to cope with the accidental death of his brother, who died being hit by a truck that otherwise would have hit David. The focus of the story goes back and forth, told by David, but it is unclear whether his intention is to tell you his ...more
Nov 22, 2007 Kari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: love, fiction
This book left me yearning for a deep, spiritual kind of love. The book tackles the theme of suicide, and I think does a very poignant job of demonstrating how intensity of feelings can make life at times unbearable. In the movie American Beauty, the male character Ricky (Wes Bentley) cries over a film he made of a plastic bag dancing in the wind: "It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing and there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like ...more
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Why the rave reviews? 1 10 Oct 14, 2012 02:25PM  
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Salley Vickers was born in Liverpool, the home of her mother, and grew up as the child of parents in the British Communist Party. She won a state scholarship to St Paul’s Girl’s School and went on to read English at Newnham College Cambridge.

She has worked, variously, as a cleaner, a dancer, an artist’s model, a teacher of children with special needs, a university teacher of literature, and a psy
More about Salley Vickers...

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