The Other Side

IMG_1153One of my writing workshops had an excerpt of this memoir as part of our required reading. It was so good that I had to write down a reminder to read it.

Lacy M. Johnson’s The Other Side is a complex memoir about trauma and survival. The narrative begins with her running out of a house where she had been kidnapped and raped. As she flees, the narrative regresses to the start of it all, to the perpetrator, a man Johnson knew and had been in a relationship with for many years.

I enjoyed the structure of this memoir in how it starts near the end and then returns to the beginning of Johnson’s relationship with her professor. This felt like a mechanism a person would use when he/she has suffered severe trauma and cannot mentally return to the exact point of pain. She reflects on everything, how she started to date this older man, a man who took her to other countries, and shared exhilarating experiences with her along with bringing her to great lows in her life. There are so many scenes where I wanted her to end the relationship with the professor, but I remembered how I was with my own abusive relationships and how making that cut felt impossible. In the end, it was still a shock that the professor would go as far as he did with harming Johnson.

Johnson is a brilliant writer with great lines of introspection throughout traumatic experiences.