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The Opposite of Fate

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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Who gets to choose? When a young woman emerges from a lengthy coma-like state she must face the decisions that were made about her bodywithout her consentin this powerful novel of reclamation and hope.

Twenty-one-year-old Mallie Williamsscrappy, headstrong, and wise beyond her yearshas just landed on her feet following a tumultuous youth when the unthinkable happens: she
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 18th 2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Mary There is some detail around the circumstances of the assault, but there were no graphic details. I thought the author handled the topic with gentle…moreThere is some detail around the circumstances of the assault, but there were no graphic details. I thought the author handled the topic with gentle grace.(less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
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Suzanne thebookblondie
The Opposite of Fate by Alison McGhee (#16 in 2020)

Mallie Williams, 21 years young, wakes from a coma to uncover painful realization of what put her there-- a violent battery and rape. Mallie's family dynamic has changed considerably since her accident, and both the media and her community have become invested in the story around her recovery. Most of the media frenzy is a result of the sexual assault that left her pregnant, unable to communicate her desires for how to handle the unwanted
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Kathleen
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
My review for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

http://www.startribune.com/review-the...

Even if they havent read it, most people are familiar with the premise of Washington Irvings 1819 short story Rip Van Winkle. In it, the title character mysteriously falls asleep for 20 years, waking to find that hes missed, among other events, the American Revolution.

Alison McGhees third novel, The Opposite of Fate, is sort of a Rip Van Winkle for the 21st century. What her central character 23-year-old massage
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ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ
I found this book worth reading, because of the subject matter, but I was somewhat disappointed. I found the characters to be just a bare step above cliché and the main problem with the book is that the author is jumping all over the place trying to give everybody a voice.

I found myself easily distracted from the story when usually I get totally lost in a book. I was confused at times about which character I was reading about, it's a great idea for a story; I just didn't like the execution. The
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Tory
Jul 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
An INCREDIBLY disturbing subject -- girl is raped and assaulted and is in a coma and gets pregnant and carries the baby to term and delivers ALL WHILE IN A COMA. Like, SO hard to watch. And this was executed well: the pull between pro-choicers and pro-lifers; her trauma when she wakes up; what happens to the baby..............but I just don't know. It is SO MUCH to unpack in a book that's only 260 pages. I could have easily seen this lasting 500 pages and while it didn't FEEL underdeveloped, ...more
Laura
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have just finished The Opposite of Fate. I am in awe. The quality of the writing. The tangle of emotions. The metaphor of the birds. The darkness. The love. The questions. So many questions. Does one have to answer them to move forward or is moving forward the answer?
Megan Easley
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Trigger warning: sexual assault, rape, unplanned pregnancies, family deaths, and abortion.

You know how you arent supposed to judge a book by its cover? Unfortunately, I do. And this cover was STUNNING. So when I began seeing this book pop up all over #bookstagram, I knew I needed to see what it was about.

This book, The Opposite of Fate by Alison McGhee, reminded me so much of Know My Name by Chanel Miller. I know it isnt fair to compare a heartbreaking memoir to the storyline in a fiction book,
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Gail Brett
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How can we make sense of the trauma and challenges this world throws at us? It is through the stories we tell ourselves. Throughout her novel Alison McGhee reveals how these broken characters are able to move forward with their lives. We are taken on this journey which eventually moves upward and outward, leading us to realize the place our experiences, our relationships and ultimately our decision to move forward hold in determining our future.
Jane Meldrum
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a very well written book about an exceptionally delicate subject matter. The characters are all unique and you really get to know them as you read.
Amy Piaschyk
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was a page turner start to finish! Through my tears, I was left pondering some of life's hardest questions. It is a book meant to be talked about and never to be forgotten. It is not often that a book will reach into the depths of one's soul but this book will not only reach it but stay there forever!
Bonnie Grogan
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Alison McGhee's characters lives filled me with emotions from admiration and respect to despair and disgust. She takes a tragic issue and candidly presents different sides to personal choice.
Emmy
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much. My only complaint is I wish I had been longer. I wish I had more of the story, learned more about the future. Like at least 100 more pages. It was moving & well written. It went by too quickly!
Marion Dane Bauer
What a pleasure to inhabit these complex, caring people, to live in a world of such precise and nuanced language.  This is a story not to change minds but to enlarge hearts.
Amanda Arkans -
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are a lot of trigger warnings and heavy material in The Opposite of Fate. I think what I appreciated the most is experiencing Mallie's thought process as she figures out her life after she wakes up. There are no easy answers in anyone's life, but Mallie's is especially complicated. Being in her head as she processed her world was fascinating. She has so many complex issues to work through and so do the people around her. There was so much to think about in this book. It really was great!
❤️
Mar 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I haven't disliked a book this much in a long time.

The premise sounded really interesting according to the blurb. A young woman is brutally assaulted and left in a coma, and when it's discovered that the attack has left her pregnant, those around her find themselves in a legal battle of what choice should be made for her: to let the pregnancy go to term or terminate it.

I don't know about you, but to me, that sounded like something that could be really, really compelling. And when I started
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Cari
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My review will appear in Booklist! This is a good readalike for Jodi Picoult - less of a thriller, more of a contemplative book, but a lot to think about here.
Elaine
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: deep-thoughts
The Opposite of Fate is the very difficult story of a young woman, Mallie, who suffered a terrible assault that left her in a coma. And pregnant.

** Minor spoilers ahead **

When the story begins, Mallie has just woken up, and will soon discover her child is alive, and the fate of this child was debated hotly amongst pro-lifers and religious groups.

The author writes sensitively about such a painful and timely subject, but turns it into a story about a young woman coming to terms with this new
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Olivia Neas
Feb 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
There was definitely a lot of heavy material in the Opposite of Fate, but it was written really well. I think what I appreciated the most was experiencing Mallies thought process as she was experiencing it herself. She had so many complex issues and questions to work out, as did the people around her.

One of my favorite quotes from the book: You have to figure out a way not to get stuck in others pain, and there was no one way to do it. As a massage therapist for the womens shelter, these are
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Jojo
Mar 24, 2020 rated it liked it
A young woman, Mallie, is raped and hit in the head and ends up in a coma for over a year And is not expected to recover. She is also pregnant by the rapist and becomes the subject of a national media storm (think Terry Schiavo) because of the Right to Lifers and Pro-Choice folks. Mallies mother belongs to a cult-like church who fights for the life of the baby to be born no matter what will happen to the mother.

I liked this book, but at times it got tedious and somewhat repeated itself,
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Yaaresse
I don't know whether to list this as read or DNF. I got to 40%, starting skimming, and then read the end....at which point I wish I hadn't bothered. Screw it, I invested that much time in it, I'm calling it read. And I read more than 15%, so I'm rating it.

I won't say why so as not to spoil it for someone who might like it better, but I haven't hated an ending to a book this much in a long, long time. I mean, what the actually hell kind of resolution was that?

Here's how utterly preposterous and
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Beeg Panda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I postponed reading this book because I thought it would be melodramatic and the reviews said the characters were one dimensional. For me, neither turned out to be true. This was well-narrated so the story seemed quiet and sad which rang true to me, but not melodramatic and over the top. I liked each of the characters and didn't really think they were one dimensional. The whole story is centered around one event so you only see the characters through that lens for the most part, but I still ...more
Stephanie
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
After eighteen months of being in a coma, Mallie wakes up to find that the world she knew has completely changed. She doesnt know that she was at the center of a media storm, that her body was fought over in court, or even how she ended up in the coma in the first place. And now that shes awake, she has no choice but to learn the horrors she has been through.

I received a free advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. To read my full review, go here:
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Susan
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mallie Williams was at the wrong place at the wrong time. She was mugged, raped and assaulted with a flower pot to the head. The result was more than a year in a come. Bad as that was, she was pregnant and unable to make any decisions regarding her situation. Instead, she became a pawn between competing parties as to the future of her fetus. This book examines how all of the above affected Mallie and everyone around her that loved her. There are some wonderful moments as well as a lot for the ...more
Nancy Mijangos
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mallie was attacked and left for dead. Her family struggles with making decisions for her during a period of a year and a half in which she languished in a coma. When she awakens, Mallie had to come to terms with both what happened to her and the results of the decisions of her loved ones.

The plot is gripping. I love the book.
Stacy
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, 2020-reads
This book is not necessarily what the flyleaf purports it to be. This is not the battleground where decisions about a young girl's life are being fought. This is after all the decisions have been made and the girl now wakes up. All those that love her are now having to try to explain the what and the why. They are also still trying to come to grips within their own hearts with the choices that each made. It's a bittersweet story of tragedy and what hope can come out of darkness.
Jodi
Mar 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting views of everyone weighing in on someone's personal decision. When a young lady is violently rapped and is in a coma it is discovered she is pregnant. As everyone fights for the decision that they think she would make, it is decided. When she wakes up she has to rediscover who she is as well as the what the decision that was made for her was and how to deal with that decision. As everyone weighs in only one will have to deal with the long term impact of that decision, Mallie.
Amanda Arkans -
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of trigger warnings and heavy material in The Opposite of Fate. I think what I appreciated the most is experiencing Mallie's thought process as she figures out her life after she wakes up. There are no easy answers in anyone's life, but Mallie's is especially complicated. Being in her head as she processed her world was fascinating. She has so many complex issues to work through and so do the people around her. There was so much to think about in this book. It really was great!
Mary
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The provocative topic that the plot raises was handled deftly, as the author was fair and even-handed to both sides of the debate (and portrayed how difficult such decisions can be.) The characters were well developed and the shared narrative voices worked well. The imagery was absolutely beautiful.
Linda
Feb 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-books-read
This is a family story, but a disturbing one.
Father is already dead, Mother has found religion, and the older sister and younger brother are living on their own. The the unthinkable happens and lives change overnight. Compelling read, although I wish I understood the ending better. Maybe the author wants each reader to decide, as the opposite of fate is freedom to choose!
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Judy
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Gorgeous, thought provoking, uplifting

Alison McGhee paints beautiful, interesting, complex characters and weaves them into a gripping story that seems ripped from the headlines. What Ive kept thinking about since I finished this wonderful novel was what you owe the people you love ... and yourself. Its unexpectedly uplifting and hopeful. Highly recommend, especially to book clubs.
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Alison McGhee writes novels, picture books, poems, and essays for all ages, including the just-published THE OPPOSITE OF FATE, a novel, and the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestseller SOMEDAY, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Her work has been translated into more than 20 languages. She lives in Minneapolis and California.

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