Laura's Reviews > The Other Side of the Island

The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman
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's review
Apr 07, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: scifi-fantasy, ya, dystopian, read-in-2009
Read in April, 2009

** spoiler alert ** I'm harsher on this than other books, simply because these types of novels are my favorite, dystopian world building, coming of age, growing to realize that what you've been told your entire life is wrong...

This fell flat for me. I almost felt like I didn't know what story the author was telling. Is this the parent's story, or the child's story? I never felt invested in either. I kept feeling angry at the parents, recklessly putting their children's lives in danger, in most circumstances I admire the character who plays within the rules, and takes those rules and slightly bends them to his or her own benefit. Not the couple who ignore the rules and then get plucked out of their children's lives leaving them to fend for themselves.

I saw very little character growth in Honor, her as a ten year old and her as a fourteen year old were the same. Too much of the book felt like "here is an example of why the society is bad" "hey look an incidence of control", the society was never shown as evil, and instead of realistic subtlety, it just felt not fully fleshed out. I had a hard time believing that these "orderlies" were fully brainwashed into doing complex tasks with no rebellion, but Pamela could send a code in base two to her daughter. The ending wrapped up very quickly and easily, with no sense to me of immediate danger.

I guess I am enumerating the flaws because they so easily don't have to be there. It felt more like a draft to me than a finished book. Some more focus, attention to audience and which story exactly should be told. I think I should try the author's adult books, I think I might find ther focus matching the writing there.
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Reading Progress

04/06 page 75
26.79% "Not hooked yet. This world isn't too interesting to me."
03/01 marked as: read

Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-5 of 5) </span> <span class="smallText">(5 new)</span>

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message 1: by Melissa (new) - added it

Melissa I started this one, but didn't get far. I usually like the dystopian future books too, but there was something about this one that I didn't like. Her world didn't pull me in I guess, so I gave up.

Laura It definitely doesn't hook. I think maybe teens would be turned off by the fact that Honor is ten in the beginning of the book, too.

message 3: by Melissa (new) - added it

Melissa I can see that. I think it is even in our Jr. High collection here--hoping to get those in between readers.

Emily Rose I personally loved this book, but I agree with what you're saying about the parents. I was also angry with them for getting themselves taken away and leaving their children alone.

Laura Thanks for commenting, Emily, I love hearing from people with a different opinion! It's so fun how the same things can work for other people and not me (and vice versa)

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