The Other Side

by Mary Gordon | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0140144080 Global Overview for this book
Registered by BookCrosser of Culemborg, Gelderland Netherlands on 3/25/2004
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5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by BookCrosser from Culemborg, Gelderland Netherlands on Thursday, March 25, 2004
The story of an American Irish family, dominated by Ellen MacNamara, lying on her deathbed, but too angry to die. The fighting spirit that has inspired her life is inherited by one member of the next generation.

Journal Entry 2 by BookCrosser from Culemborg, Gelderland Netherlands on Thursday, April 08, 2004
I will give the book to Marlene-TC at the meeting in Amsterdam.

Journal Entry 3 by CrazyDutchwoman from Heemstede, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Saturday, April 10, 2004
Thank you so much BookCrosser.I have enjoyed my first meeting today.
And now it is just as nice journalling all the books and taking a closer look at them.

It will probably take some time, but I will update you on my thoughts of this book.
Looks like a great read.
Nice meeting you

Journal Entry 4 by CrazyDutchwoman at Post Office in postal release, Bookbox -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Released 14 yrs ago (8/31/2004 UTC) at Post Office in postal release, Bookbox -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

Sorry bookcrosser. Another book which was catching dust up here.
But I am sure it will be appreciated and read by others.mailed to jgralike

Journal Entry 5 by jgralike from Almelo, Overijssel Netherlands on Wednesday, September 01, 2004
I received this book as a surprise: it was in the box marlene-tc sent me. She filled it with some books she promised and some more to fill the box. I think I will love this book: the first few lines are promising!

Journal Entry 6 by jgralike from Almelo, Overijssel Netherlands on Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Speaking about gathering dust... After over four years on my shelf I finally opened this book, in an effort to read away at least the foothills of MTBR. Does reading 'diagonally' count? I did this after having read two thirds of the book and having lost patience even sooner. In an endless parade of memories and reminiscences, sometimes there is a spark of light about somebody's past or character, but most of the time reading this is like trying to run over wet bogland (haha). Gloom and unhappiness around someone who is dying. I did not find the 'ironic observation', nor the 'mesmerizing storytelling' or 'poetic analysis' that were mentioned by the comments on the back of the book.

BTW: it turned out the next president of the USA is of Irish descendence as well: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7794385.stm ;-)

Journal Entry 7 by jgralike at Voormalige OBCZ 't Blauw Boerke in Best, Noord-Brabant Netherlands on Saturday, January 10, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (1/11/2009 UTC) at Voormalige OBCZ 't Blauw Boerke in Best, Noord-Brabant Netherlands

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Journal Entry 8 by bookguide from Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Sunday, January 11, 2009
I took this from the New Year's meeting in 't Blauw Boerke in Best. I will add this to the BCZ ForeignExchange bookboxes without reading it so that other people have a chance to read it.

Journal Entry 9 by bookguide from Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Monday, March 09, 2009

Journal Entry 10 by bookguide from Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I am in two minds about this book. On the one hand, it was well-written, and I enjoyed reading at least half of the book, hoping that by the end, either some mystery or secret from the past would be revealed, or something would actually happen in the present. Unfortunately, it just dragged on with more of the same psyco-analysis of the family members. The worst thing about it was that almost everybody was miserable, and those who weren't so by nature were dragged down by the rest. Those who might have escaped to happiness (Cam and Ira) were held back from actually telling each other how they felt, as they both thought that the other liked the way it was, and Cam was also held back by the expectations of the family. In fact, if only the whole family had spent more time actually communicating with each other instead of second-guessing, they all would have been happier. Another thing that struck me was that each generation thinks that it is easier for both the previous and the following generations; the great-parents think that life is so much easier for the youngsters because they have more freedom of choice, the youngest generation thinks it must have been easier when you did what you had to do, with no decisions to be made. And the middle generations are stuck in the middle, worrying about upsetting their parents and disappointing their children. In the meantime, everybody is so busy trying (and often failing) to please everyone else, that nobody is actually happy.

Some of the writing was beautiful, and a few passages resonated with me, so I'm going to write them here so I can look back at them sometime.
p.180 - hate: "What is between them - hate - flourishes at the sound of Theresa's first word. It unfolds, like a paper flower in water. It exfoliates, intricately, as if touched by some seasonal impulse. It unrolls and throws itself out like a bolt of cloth. It grows in its extent: familiar, useful, interesting. This hate began for Cam in childhood. Theresa attached her hate to a still-growing child. Ancestral, it would go on, and it would be passed down. There would be no end to it."
p.198 - dusting: "If you had an idea in your head, or an interest worth a shilling in the world, you wouldn't have the time to be behind me with a dustcloth." That's a motto I should have hung on my fridge!

And finally, here's a bookish quote on p. 14:
"Vincent and Ellen read hungrily, desperately, stealing time from something, needing to know something: the nature of the world. Only Cam and Dan read for pleasure. Reading was a smooth ribbon of road stretching before them. They could follow it at their leisure, or race down it, dizzily and rushed... When they were reading they didn't want to be doing anything else. The knew this was unlike other children. It was the secret mark that first bound them; it had to be kept secret - from other children, from most adults - particularly in summer, when they were expectd to want to do something else: climb trees, run play ball, look in puddles for the signs of life."

Journal Entry 11 by bookguide at By mail, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, April 23, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (4/24/2009 UTC) at By mail, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

This book has been released as part of the following BookCrossing challenges:

- The Ultimate Challenge - read and release books, with extra points for a monthly theme (March - Gardens and Plants)
- Pages Read Challenge - read a self-set target number of pages in 2009. My goal is 25000. This book: 335pp.

Journal Entry 12 by loveamystery from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Friday, May 08, 2009
It has arrived! Thank you so much for the post card as well. I shall put it on my TBR pile. It looks interesting.

Journal Entry 13 by loveamystery from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Saturday, January 16, 2010
Well, I did like many parts of this book, but I must admit, it did drag at times. It did touch me though and I found myself pondering my own childhood, something I rarely do.

There was a great deal of emphasis on being Irish and what it meant in terms of one's outlook on life. Most of it was very negative. Any time a person or family moves from one country to another, there is always an adjustment that may take a lifetime and may effect the next generations as well. This is certainly evident in this family.

The resentment and hatred that Ellen had for her father never left her and prevented her from giving love to her husband and children. There was so much disfunction in this family, with everyone feeling their own pain. Any kind of good feeling for one another was suspect.

It does give a picture of what it was like for immigrant Irish families in New York. Religion and politics are touched on as well and the part they played in their lives.

If you like to reflect on family dynamics and the role immigrating plays, this is the book for you.

This is going back into my Two Worlds VBB for round #2

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