Reviews

Other Side by: Ray Hollar-Gregory

I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I was intrigued by the description provided, so I entered, and won!

Other Side is a riveting psychological tale set in the New York City metropolitan area. The themes are viewed through the experiences of Jordan Baros a young middle class African American attorney. The title Other Side is an attempt to explore the duality of personality, character and actions of people. Jordan faces his conflicts and value propositions through four relationships that are juxtaposed and contradictory.

This is honestly a better description that I could probably give it myself. This story was mind-blowing, even in just over 200 pages.

The main character, Jordan, is dealing with a failing marriage but as we soon find out, it’s at least partially at fault because it turns out he is living a double life. Jordan is in a relationship with a woman named Maria and he is experimenting with drugs. He is insisting he wants to fix his marriage and family, but things continue to spiral out of control.

As the only African-American lawyer at his work, he feels extra pressure to prove himself. When he is put in charge of a complicated project, he is determined to do well. This pulls his away from his wife and Maria, and strains these relationships. On the day of the presentation he finds that he has been hung out to dry, and this sends shockwaves through his life. Maria ends things with him at the same time – so he turns to a sex worker and drugs for comfort.

This is where the downward spiral really gets out of control, and he eventually hits rock bottom.

While I was reading, I wasn’t sure how to feel about this book. The things that Jordan did were quite the roller-coaster, and this was the most mature book I’ve ever read. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such an explicit sex scene. It wasn’t my particular taste, but I understand it served it’s purpose.

The story doesn’t necessarily follow a plot, it’s more of an exploration of Jordan’s descent into this dark and scary part of himself. It’s equal parts terrifying and fascinating. As he progresses towards ‘rock bottom’ it’s tough to understand where his motivations lie. Especially as he does one thing after saying something completely contradictory.

Because it is from the perspective of Jordan, none of the other characters are explored. There are a few mentions of there being a mysterious side to Maria, but this is never really divulged, even when she leaves Jordan hanging. I thought it was redeemable that Maria made decisions for herself, rather than waiting around for Jordan. I definitely felt for Trina, his wife, but I have read the scorned wife perspective before so I enjoyed that this really focused on the dark side of Jordan overtaking him. It was an entirely different perspective than I would have normal experienced.

Another thing about this story is that it didn’t end with him going to treatment. Instead, it shows him hitting rock bottom and how rough that experience was on him. So much so that he reaches out to his wife and finally admits that he’s having a problem. I thought that was an interesting way to end the story, and remaining true to the purpose. This story was meant to show the descent, and so it wasn’t necessary to expand on the trials ahead of him with treatment.

Overall, I enjoyed this. It was so starkly different from other things I’ve read, but that was a good thing. I can say now I have a little more understanding of addiction and how people can hide such a dominant part of themselves. I will be keeping this book because (lucky me!) It’s signed by the author. What a nice treat from the giveaway. I think upon a second or third reading I could get even more meaning out of this as well.

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5 thoughts on “Other Side by: Ray Hollar-Gregory

  1. Thanks for the review. Sounds pretty interesting; I like that you appreciate the variation on the typical “downward spiral to redemption” take on the story line.

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  2. Hope: This is definitely an adult read as I intended. Good that you moved outside your comfort zone. Other Side is the the darker part of life–the reality of human complexity. I was inspired when I read about celebrities like Bill Cosby, Tiger Woods, John Edwards and others that present such wholesome lives to find out the “Other Side” is contrary, hypocritical and paradoxical. Why a 3 star?

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    1. Thanks for reading Ray! Now that you’ve mentioned your inspiration, I can definitely see that, and it’s certainly some interesting material to dive into!

      The rating was just my opinion, I’m by no means a professional – I’m just doing this for fun and maybe help some under appreciated books find new fans! Your book was a 3.5 for me, but Goodreads stinks in not allowing half stars, which would help more accurately portray how a book scores. Oh well..

      I think perhaps showing a little more of how Jordan was a good guy on some occasions would have been useful. The focus on his ‘other side’ was great, but I couldn’t quite gauge if he was just a bad person or not.

      Either way, I certainly did enjoy it! Thanks for sharing your story.

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  3. Thanks Hope, if you don’t mind, at some point can you post your review on Amazon. Writing is easy compared to the marketing. Appreciative and the Best to You.

    Liked by 1 person

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