HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
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The Other Side of Beautiful Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Kim Lock is an internationally published author of four novels. Her writing has also appeared in Kill Your Darlings, The Guardian, Daily Life and The Sydney Morning Herald online, among others. She lives in regional South Australia with her family.
Photo: Fiona Melder--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B08RXHMDCB
- Publisher : HQ Fiction (1 July 2021)
- Language : English
- File size : 3501 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 232 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 990 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Quirky and at times laugh out loud funny, this book, like its protagonist, is a whole lot more complex than first appearances might suggest, it might bring the reader to ponder on the notion of chance, and its random, lasting effects on our lives.
Mercy Blain is an intelligent, professional 36 year old woman living in Adelaide, Australia, who’s life has taken more than its share of sudden serious blows.
In fact, two years ago she had come to such a critical point in her life where she’d had one blow too many in such quick succession that it forced her to retreat into her shell, so much so, that she hadn’t left her house in those two years…until now.
Mercy had inadvertently become a recluse, doing all of her shopping and essential business online and with only a minimum of contact with her…“almost-ex-husband.” She managed her days in the company of her sole companion…her beloved little Dachshund sausage dog, Wasabi.
When her house suddenly catches fire one night and is burnt to the ground, fate literally forces Mercy back out into the world…clutching her little dog to her chest…the prospects are immediately terrifying and Mercy is paralyzed with fear.
With only her beloved Wasabi and the clothes she is standing in, Mercy is left floundering like a fish out of water in the dark street amongst inquisitive neighbors, fire, and ambulance people.
On the verge of disintegrating into a full blown panic attack she has no choice but to accept the help of her “almost-ex-husband” who offers short term accommodation.
Almost immediately Mercy finds her new situation unbearable…not least because of the new living arrangements which her “almost-ex-husband” now enjoys with his new young partner…but her very nature and lifestyle are dictated by her anxiety and cannot be controlled in such circumstances as these.
Every minute here seems charged with anguish about what she is going to do now, without a home to go back to and no other options, her problems seem insurmountable.
In a moment of suffocating panic, Mercy finds herself out in the street again, this time in the broad early morning daylight.
Spinning around in full flight mode, she suddenly finds herself momentarily distracted by a for sale sign on the windscreen of a classic old campervan across the street.
She is inexplicably drawn to it and finds herself looking closely at it when a voice startles her from behind.
The owner is an old man who chattily tries to convince Mercy of the virtues of this quaint old vehicle, and how she appears to be the perfect candidate for its purchase… beneath a row of tiny painted flowers on the side of the van were the words…“Home is wherever you ARE.”
Before she’d made a conscious decision either way Mercy suddenly found herself driving onto the highway out of Adelaide in a vintage campervan of questionable roadworthiness, her only tangible baggage being the borrowed clothes she was wearing, her phone, and her beloved Wasabi…and with the words “Home is wherever you ARE” looping a rhythm in her head.
Nobody, least of all Mercy herself, knew where she was headed…or even that she’d gone.
Here begins an eventful journey like no other.
This is a gem of a story which gives some truly insightful glimpses into the debilitating torment and anguish that are a way of life for sufferers of anxiety and panic attacks.
Hopefully readers will find a new measure of understanding and compassion for such people.
I’d love to know more about the origins of this story, it is just so credibly incredible.
I loved it so much and look forward to reading more from this author, Kim Lock.
So, how does a woman afflicted by agoraphobia, and subjected to crippling anxiety and panic attacks handle a road trip from Adelaide to Darwin? Slowly, and one step at a time. Slow is easy in the elderly Daihatsu Hijet Mercy bought on impulse. But it is the journey here that is important, rather than the destination. Mercy learns how to re-engage with the world by disengaging from the past and future, and by living in the present. And we learn why Mercy has been in hiding.
I must admit, it takes more courage than I have to set off on such an adventure. Ms Lock drew me in from the beginning and held my attention to the end. I worried about Mercy, sometimes shaking my head but mostly just cheering her on. I found the descriptions of life on the road fascinating, especially Mercy’s encounters with the grey nomads and others in the caravan parks where she stayed.
This really is a lovely story, which Ms Lock writes was inspired by her own experience with anxiety and panic attacks. There are a couple of twists which make Mercy’s achievement even more enjoyable.
‘All she had to do was be.’
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.
Mercy has been in hibernation for 2 years, she was a successful professional but a work related incident has rendered her with PTSD. Now after her house, her refuge, has caught fire and burnt to the ground she has nowhere to go, she certainly doesn’t want to stay with her ex husband and his young, male lover. On a spur of the moment she purchasers a cult classic campervan, with assurances from the elderly owner that it runs like clockwork. Somehow she finds herself driving north towards Darwin with her sausage dog Wasabi.
I loved Mercy, gently we are given details of her back story and I really felt for her. I could relate to all her travels and the people she meets and maybe that is because we own a small campervan and see these people on our trips. I enjoyed watching Mercy grow and shake off her anxiety and finally finding herself again. With themes of PTSD, cyber bullying, anxiety and of course Australian travel, it had all the feels that left me in a good place once I finished. Highly recommended for escapism.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy to read.