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The Other Half of Me

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  582 ratings  ·  96 reviews
For fans of Atonement and Brideshead Revisited, a gorgeously written, darkly wise coming-of-age novel about the pull of the past and the destructive power of the stories we tell ourselves.

“What good can the past do the living? What harm?” Growing up in their family’s ancestral home in Wales, Jonathan Anthony and his little sister, Theo, are inseparable. Together they explo
Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Free Press (first published 2012)
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3.17  · 
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 ·  582 ratings  ·  96 reviews

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Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I read The Other Half of Me, Morgan McCarthy’s first novel, I heard echoes of many other stories. Stories of lives lived in grand country houses. Stories of troubled families harbouring dark secrets. Stories of privileged, but troubled, lives … and yet, through all of that, I heard a new and distinctive story.

Jonathan and his younger sister, Theo, grew up in a mansion in the Welsh countryside. They were terribly isolated. Their father was absent. Their mother, Alicia, was remote. And their n
I loved the sound of this book, but by the end of it I found myself rather disappointed and slightly bored.

The book had a good start, and I really did feel that the author was setting the scene for a really emotive journey. However as the book went on, and years and years were passing I started to wonder exactly where the plot was heading and why it was taking so long to get there.

I ended the book feeling very frustrated, as there did not seem to be any definite plot to the book and I did not se
Lolly K Dandeneau
Oct 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked it but... the writing was wonderful but I found myself losing interest in the middle and the ending was like tepid, weak tea. I didn't dislike it, in fact I enjoyed the characters but it started to feel like I was swimming in the ocean with jeans on. That sounds mad, I know. I would like to read more by McCarthy because I think she writes exceptionally well. Sometimes there are stories that light us on fire, others promise to burn with a spark and then slowly seem to smother themselves o ...more
Sam Woodfield
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have recently reviewed this novel for a major UK bookseller.
Reading this novel, you would never realise that it was written by a debut author as it is so accomplished- you would think McCarthy had been writting novels for years.
'The Other Half Of Me' follows Jonathan as he journeys through his life in an affluent well-known family. His sister, Theo, journeys with him as they interact with those who enter their lives - their unloving mother Alicia, their hugely successful Grandmother Eve, and c
Marija *There's No Poetry In My Soul, Just A List Of Lies I've Told*
So, I've been neglecting writing reviews for a long time now. In my defense, I don't have a computer in the apartment I'm staying at while attending uni and the only time I have for writing reviews is when I'm home, because I don't like writing them on my phone. But I wasn't writing even when I was home... No excuse for me.

Anyway, I don't remember much about this book. I recall it was about two siblings who were raised by servants at their home because their mother was emotionally unstable. Ther
Wendy Hines
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
The debut of The Other Half of Me captivated me with it's beautiful prose and dark secrets. Jonathan and Theo are youngsters who live with there mother and nanny. Their mother's best friend is a bottle of gin and she can't be bothered with the children. The nanny who takes care of them really doesn't want to be bothered either. But Jonathan and Theo have one another.

When their mother collapses, their grandmother Eve retrieves them and raises them. Although the children have been told their fathe
Apr 14, 2013 rated it liked it
So I chose this book at the airport, thinking that he blurb sounded promising (and I was taken in by the cover - I am a sucker for a pretty cover!) It was an interesting read, but not something I'd read a second time. The story was fairly engaging, but I was turned off a bit by the elitism shown by the main character and his university friends - not sure if this was intentional or not, but it didn't contribute towards making him very likeable.

My main criticism is that the writing - whilst makin
Sep 18, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. As advertised, this does have some of the feel of Atonement. It would also work well for fans of Kate Morton. The writing was very good, and I would have rated it higher if the denouement hadn't dragged on so long.
Evie Pey
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read although easy to guess the ending. The characters were one sided and hard to like. The book is well written which makes it easy to read.
Aug 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
First Thoughts: Family dynamics are always interesting fodder for a story...

(Originally posted on the blog)

There are times when I crave something different from what I normally read - and that's where novels like this one come in. While it did take longer to find myself invested in finishing this one, it was just the kind of book I wanted at the time. This story is drawn out and told with carefully chosen turns of phrase, telling the story of this family and their history with well-crafted pros
Maya Panika
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It’s been a long time since I finished a book in 3 days, certainly not a book as literary as this, with the thinnest of plots, but I found The Other Half of Me absolutely enthralling: at times, almost impossible to put down. Not a great deal happens in The Other Half of Me, the plot is slight, but beautifully detailed and wonderfully told.
Brother and sister, Jonathan and Theo, grow up at Evendon, a lovely house by the sea, where money is abundant but love is absent. Their father is missing and
Apr 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rural Wales is the setting for this beautifully written book - it is where Jonathan and Theo (Theodora), the two small Anthony children live with their mother, the beautiful widowed Alicia and an assortment of household staff. Alicia spends most of her time suffering from alcohol induced "headaches" and either shuts herself up in her room, or floats about the house in a daze. She makes it quite clear that she has no desire for the company of her own children......they are simply a nuisance to he ...more
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific novel, atmospheric, claustrophobic and so beautifully poignant. Morgan McCarthy has chosen to narrate the novel with a male voice which she pulls off with a delicate finesse.

Jonathan’s journey to adulthood is surrounded by women. His distant, alcoholic mother Alicia, his imposing grandmother, the internationally loved businesswoman and politician Eve Anthony, and a whole host of lithe, beautiful young things who leave his bed warm but his heart cold. However, most important of
Jul 31, 2014 rated it liked it
I feel like I've read almost this exact story several times before. Poor little rich kids, preferably British, raising themselves the best way they can without help from their dead/missing/indifferent parents. And I enjoy reading about that, and I enjoyed reading this book. But what blew me away about this book was the opening paragraph: "It doesn't take long to divide an old life from a new life - a few minutes, not even that. One quick, unfair blow, and you find yourself looking back across th ...more
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

The publisher is promoting this book set in Wales and England as "Atonement-esque" (Ian McEwan) and I have to agree, although I liked this much better. The plot is intriguing and it has a well-drawn cast of interesting--if somewhat unlikeable—characters. In addition the writing is lush and gorgeous, and those of you who know me are aware I tend to read more for plot and characterization than language, but I was surprised to find myself re-reading passages because they were so beautifull
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book begins beautifully! The beginning prose is a delight to read.

"It doesn't take long to divide an old life from a new life -- a few minutes, not even that. One quick, unfair blow, and you find yourself looking back across the uncrossable, to a place that can't ever reached again despite the fact that you were there -- brushing your teeth or reading a paper or wondering where you left your umbrella -- just a moment ago." Whew! I was hooked after the first paragraph.

But then, this novel, w
Morgan McCarthy shows glimpses of talent and the promise of being a good writer, unfortunately the whole wasn't as good as these parts. The characters lacked depth and, though starting well once the prologue had passed, the plot was wispy thin.

Having said that, this is only a first novel in what I'm sure will be a successful career for Ms McCarthy. I'm looking forward to watching her develop as time and books go on.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Definitely a 3.5, maybe edging into a 4, if I'm objective. But it didn't *feel* like a 4 for me. Here's a complete review: http://effusionsofwitandhumour.wordpr...
Sep 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: british, read-in-2012
I don't know why I didn't love this more. It's very well written and I loved the setting, but it just seemed like something was missing. Maybe it was me.
Laura Aldridge
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the start of this book. But the longer it went on the more I just wanted it to be over.

The jumping back and forth in time while I understand the reasoning was kind of annoying.

Overall I liked the premise of the book and what it was trying to say on a variety of topics. But somehow it just seemed too long getting there with a little bit too much focus on other things.
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“The Other Half of Me” is the debut novel of Morgan McCarthy. Too often debut novels are hyped beyond their worth; then the lured reader finds serious flaws and regrets having wasted time with the book. THIS IS NOT THE CASE with Other Half. McCarthy’s writing is lyrical, packed with more imaginative and apt tropes per page than most modern poems. Other Half is a masterfully told story of a dysfunctional family, of evil and innocence, lies and truth. Usually I shrink from novels about dysfunction ...more
Article first published as Book Review: The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy on Blogcritics.

This review is also available on my blog: Book Addict 24-7

I received this ebook for reviewing purposes from the publisher.

Morgan McCarthy’s debut, The Other Half of Me, follows two siblings over the span of twenty years as their lives morph from childhood innocence to adulthood in a nurture-less environment. Written in hauntingly beautiful prose, McCarthy has created a unique, albeit slow-paced, novel
Rachael McDiarmid
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
According to the cover of the book, The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy is about a bond - "a bond sealed in childhood, a secret terrible enough to break it". The publisher says the book is "darkly enchanting and exquisitely pitched...[it] is the story about the burden of legacy, the corrosiveness of secrets and the volatile power of love." When you think of it, those words don't actually give much away. Bonds, secrets, I'm intrigued. But I think the greater theme is that of Discovery - of yo ...more
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
Growing up in an ancesteral home in Wales, Jonathan,Anthony, Nick and Theo are inseparable. The three share many common traits together and they have each other back, regardless of how obsene the consequences may be. In particular, Jonathan loves his overly complicated sister Theo. Although he wishes that she learns from her mistakes, the love he has for her is unfathomable. Theo to him is more than a sibling but she is a confident that he tells all his secret desires too. Their mother is distan ...more
Kayleigh-Ånn Evans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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Review: The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy
OCTOBER 8, 2012 Leave a Comment (Edit)

I spent a lot of hours on some airplanes a couple of weeks ago and attempted to catch up on my reading. I added several books on my Nook, but brought some print books too. In the end, I only finished one book, but I chose well with The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy.

The Other Half of Me is about a Jonathan Anthony and his
Gill (The Bookish Reader)
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully told story of Jonathan and his sister Theo who grew up in a country mansion, they roam the gardens in endless summers, devoted to each other. Their mother is conspicuous by her absence, preferring her children to be watched over by a useless nanny, so they pretty much look after themselves. This all changes when their dynamic, beautiful Grandmother, Eve, comes home. Suddenly they have an adult to look up to. The novel follows them into adulthood where we see the results of their ch ...more
Valerie Tomaro
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the first novel for this author. I can't quite decide whether it was brilliant or just so-so. She writes with beautiful lyricism. Sometimes I reread sentences several times to really try to understand what all of the metaphors were saying. It had beautiful imagery. The setting was rich and beautiful. I read that it reminded some people of Atonement or The Great Gatsby, the setting certainly did remind me of the mansion and lifestyles of these stories. The story was mysterious and gothic ...more
Casee Marie
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My full review on Literary Inklings

Melding enigmatic characters with intelligent prose, The Other Half of Me is an enchanting, lyrical debut from an exciting new literary talent. The raw nature of the Welsh countryside and the formidable structure of the Evendon estate offer a unique backdrop for the setting, full of moody intrigue and languid drama. McCarthy’s detailed writing talent creates the perfect foundation for Jonathan’s narrative, which is a reflective journey to understanding oneself.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
If the psycho-drama of aristocratic Brits and Transatlantic relationships are your cup of tea The Other Half of Me is your Earl Grey.
The first half of the book was over written, with many mixed metaphors. I was not entirely convinced with the young Jonathon Anthony’s narrative point of view – it did improve as an adult. The main characters were rather two-dimensional and I thought the supporting characters better drawn.
Evendon – the family estate in Wales – features in the tale of sibling love y
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Morgan McCarthy was born in Berkshire, UK, where she still lives, in 1982. She has worked in a supermarket, a small independent bookstore, and, most recently, as a media analyst.