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The Other Half of Me: A Novel

3.18  ·  Rating Details ·  494 Ratings  ·  91 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
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Free Press (first published 2012)
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Jane
Nov 13, 2012 Jane 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 ne
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Kirsty
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
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Lolly K Dandeneau
Oct 11, 2012 Lolly K Dandeneau 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 Sam Woodfield 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
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Laura
Apr 14, 2013 Laura 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
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Beth
Sep 21, 2012 Beth 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.
Anne
Aug 01, 2014 Anne 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
Joodith
Sep 19, 2014 Joodith 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
Wendy Hines
Jul 08, 2013 Wendy Hines 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
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Alexa
Nov 13, 2014 Alexa 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
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Maya Panika
Apr 25, 2013 Maya Panika 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
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BestChickLit.com
Feb 12, 2013 BestChickLit.com 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
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Robin
Aug 26, 2012 Robin 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
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Coenraad
Sep 14, 2012 Coenraad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Het verhaal van 2 kinderen(Jonathan en Theo ) die opgroeien op Evendon.Ze krijgen weinig liefde van hun moeder ( Alicia ). Tot op een dag hun grootmoeder ( Eve )op Evendon komt wonen en zich met de opvoeding gaat bemoeien. Eve is een succesvolzakenvrouw en die ook haar sporen in de politiek heeft verdiend. De familie draagt een aantal familiegeheimen met zich mee. Tijdens hun jeugd krijgen ze te maken met een aantal feiten en gebeurtenissen die ze op dat moment nog niet kunnen plaatsen. Namate z ...more
Lynn
Oct 05, 2012 Lynn 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
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The Bookish Reader
May 07, 2015 The Bookish Reader 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
Anette
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.
Hannah
Jul 05, 2014 Hannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the story of Jonathan and Theo Anthony who grew up in a mansion in Wales with no father present, a mother who, it became apparent, suffered from a mental illness and a variety of house staff - the housekeeper, the cook and the gardener. One day the grandmother of Jonathan and Theo, Eve Anthony returns to Wales where she takes control of the family and home and also shares with the grandchildren a number of stories about the past. It would be fair to say that during the early stag ...more
Jennifer
Sep 18, 2012 Jennifer 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...
Sarah
Oct 30, 2012 Sarah 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.
Edward Janes
Oct 19, 2014 Edward Janes rated it liked it
New Years Resolution Book #29

Morgan McCarthy's first novel deals with a wealthy family with secrets in rural Wales. Johnathon and Theo's mother has withdrawn from the world leading them largely to care for themselves, while secrets surround their father, grandfather and wider families. Then following an accident their high powered, famous grandmother returns to live with then.

The novel explores the different impacts that these secrets, uncertainty and upbringing have on the two siblings, and the
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Kristine
Sep 09, 2014 Kristine rated it it was amazing
This was a well written novel by a British author I had never heard of before. The setting of most of the story is the family estate in Wales, with depressed mother Alicia, son Jonathan and daughter Theo trying to live together as normally as possible even though the family dynamics are nothing like normal. The grandmother soon returns after Alicia tries to end her own life, and things change even more. Theo grows up but doesn't conform to her family's or society's ideas of what she should be, a ...more
Janny
Onder het Water is de debuutroman van McCarthy. Jonathan Anthony vertelt het verhaal over hemzelf en zijn zus, Theo. Hij vertelt daarbij afwisselend over heden en verleden. Zij groeien op op het landgoed Evendon, samen met hun moeder, Alicia. Hun moeder toont maar weinig interesse in de kinderen, ze drinkt en is op afstand. Ze laat de zorgen voor de kinderen over aan de nanny en de bedienden. Theo en Jonathan zijn op elkaar aangewezen. Jonathan de zakelijke, nuchtere jongen beschermt de gevoelig ...more
Debbie van der Zande
Een boek lezen om te recenseren kan soms wat gemene lastigheidjes hebben. Bij een geweldig boek vliegen de uitingen van respect mij in gedachten al om de oren. Bij een leuk, luchtig of juist erg spannend boek vergeet ik dat er gerecenseerd moet worden, waardoor ik helemaal opga in de beleving van het verhaal en nog flink moet werken aan een recensie om dat gevoel ook over te dragen aan de lezer. En met sommige boeken schiet je per pagina in een andere hoedanigheid. Je begint nieuwsgierig, opgewe ...more
Rachael McDiarmid
Jun 12, 2012 Rachael McDiarmid 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
Michael
Apr 14, 2013 Michael 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
Ineke
Sep 17, 2012 Ineke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Onder het water gaat over de familie Anthony, zij bezitten het prachtige landgoed Evendon in Llandsteffan. Eve Anthony is de tegenwoordige eigenaresse. Eve, is een gewezen politica en een zakenvrouw. Het wordt bewoond door Alice Anthony een labiele vrouw, die vlucht in drank en pillen, zij is de moeder van Jonathan en zijn zus Theo. Een vader is niet in beeld. De kinderen hebben elkaar, Jonathan is heel beschermend voor zijn zus Theo. Zij is een heel gevoelig meisje en raakt gauw in paniek. Ze z ...more
Valerie Tomaro
Mar 10, 2013 Valerie Tomaro 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
Kayleigh-Ånn Evans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Klara
In Onder het water wordt het levensverhaal verteld van Jonathan Antony. In zijn jonge leven, eind jaren ’80, opgroeiend met een dominante oma, een aan alcohol verslaafde moeder en een vader die gestorven is, zijn Jonathan en Theo – zijn zusje – aangewezen op elkaar. In een setting a la Brideshead Revisited volgen we Jonathan en Theo van hun kindertijd naar studententijd en later Jonathans volwassen leven.

Wat vooral uit het boek naar voren komt zijn de karakteristieke beschrijvingen van de perso
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Morgan McCarthy was born in Berkshire, UK, where she still lives. She has worked in a supermarket, a small independent bookstore, and, most recently, as a media analyst.
More about Morgan McCarthy...

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