Rachael McDiarmid's Reviews > The Other Half of Me

The Other Half of Me by Morgan McCarthy
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's review
Mar 12, 2012

really liked it
Read in May, 2012

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 yourself, your surroundings, of friendship and family, through adolescence to adulthood, and then what loss, grief and truth all look like and what they mean in your world.

The book is about Jonathan and his little sister Theo, their gin-soaked mother Alicia (who doesn't like them very much) and their grandmother, the famous and wealthy Eve Anthony, a formidable woman who takes the children under her wing, providing them with a different upringing and telling them her version of their childhood. But as Jonathan and Theo grow up, their perceptions adjust, their memories change, and the truth is sought. Something just isn't right. Not with the history they've been presented or with Theo herself. What is fact and what is fiction? What lies in their path and what will that do to the bond between them?

If I didn't know this was a debut, I would not have picked it. I particularly enjoyed the elegant writing style and admired the author's ability to choose perfectly formed sentences, just the right adjectives, the phrases, the moods, and use them in a really interesting, mature and beautiful way. I thought her character development was good. I liked the character of Jonathan and I was empathetic towards Theo. I would have welcomed more time spent on her and what made her different from her brother. I wanted to get to know Jonathan more and explore the themes of loss and sorrow and the impact of truth.

What I would have liked more of is plot - more development and a bit more depth to the story. Nevertheless I was able to read this book quickly - it was an easy read that took me into another world, the world of affluence, imposing family estates and family secrets. Overall this was a pleasant reading experience and I'd recommend the book to others.

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