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  • The Other Side of Beautiful

  • By: Kim Lock
  • Narrated by: Raechyl French
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (3,106 ratings)

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The Other Side of Beautiful

By: Kim Lock
Narrated by: Raechyl French
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Publisher's Summary

Lost & Found meets The Rosie Project in a stunning break-out novel where a vulnerable misfit is forced to re-engage with the world, despite her best efforts.

Meet Mercy Blain, whose house has just burnt down. Unfortunately for Mercy, this goes beyond the disaster it would be for most people: she hasn't been outside that house for two years now.

Flung out into the world she's been studiously ignoring, Mercy goes to the only place she can. Her not-quite-ex-husband Eugene's house. But it turns out she can't stay there, either.

And so begins Mercy's unwilling journey. After the chance purchase of a cult classic campervan (read tiny, old and smelly), with the company of her sausage dog, Wasabi, and a mysterious box of cremated remains, Mercy heads north from Adelaide to Darwin.

On the road, through badly timed breakdowns, gregarious troupes of grey nomads, and run-ins with a rogue adversary, Mercy's carefully constructed walls start crumbling. But what was Mercy hiding from in her house? And why is Eugene desperate to have her back in the city? They say you can't run forever...

Exquisite, tender and wry, this is a break-out novel about facing anxiety and embracing life from an extraordinary new talent.

PRAISE:

"Tender, funny and quietly profound, The Other Side of Beautiful is a breath of fresh air." (The Sunday Times)

"A colourful, engaging story of escape and road-trip adventure...also compellingly cinematic and features an endearing narrator-heroine with plenty of meaty real-world troubles." (Sydney Morning Herald)

"An engaging story about second chances and a life changing road trip...a heart-warming story." (Canberra Weekly magazine)

"Mercy Blain is a character you find yourself cheering on. Kim Lock mixes the transformative journey of Alice Hart with the quirkiness of Eleanor Oliphant in this story about embracing life, even when it threatens to overwhelm you." (Tricia Stringer, best-selling author of The Family Inheritance)

"Mercy Blain is an unforgettable character who will capture your heart from the first pages and hold it through until the end. Her madcap journey towards forgiveness - of herself and others - is moving and funny and all other good things that will make you want to keep reading and make you sad when your time with Mercy comes to an end." (Sophie Green, best-selling author of The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle)

©2021 Kim Lock (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Other Side of Beautiful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Charming

This is not an original idea, a woman hitting the road after a crises but it has some really interesting themes; like anxiety and loss and reinvention. Mercy is a likable protagonist and whilst she is dealing with some major issues, I appreciated that she wasn't all "zany" and over the top. She was relatable and sympathetic and I enjoyed travelling along with her.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Journey to Self-Acceptance

The Other Side of Beautiful was a moving story of a womans journey to self-acceptance, self-understanding and coping with side effects of grief and trauma.

Mercy Blain has shut herself away from the world for the past two years as a culmination of anxiety, ptsd, grief and trauma. She had so many life altering events happen in the span of a week that she just can't deal any more. Fast forward to two years and her house burnt down leaving Mercy and her sausage dog Wasabi homeless. Mercy now has no other way but forward and trying to figure out where she fits within the world now and how she fits within herself.

As someone who has Generalised Anxiety Disorder and deals with panic attacks, I found this book at times quite confronting with how on point the depictions of anxiety and panic are. I felt myself reliving my own experiences whilst we walk Mercy's path with her and her 'assistance dog' Wasabi. As a carer for someone with severe mental health issues I also felt the same frustrations that some people in Mercy's life felt with her, combined with the understanding that mental health is a complex beast and so empathy must be at the core.

Mercy decides that the best path to undertake after her house burns down is to go on a road trip from Adelaide to Darwin in a campervan she bought from someone who promised her it was roadworthy. Throughout these 3,000kms we are introduced to loveable side characters, beautiful towns and heart-warming locals. It was wonderful seeing the Australian outback depicted in such a gorgeous way and it makes me want to see more of my own country.

This book made me laugh, it made me cringe, it made me annoyed and it also made me cry. I felt a wide gamut of emotions throughout this book and I can't wait to pass it along to my nana for her to read.

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11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Escapism?

Enjoyed how the journey unfolded! Could taste the red dirt! Now to find my own van….

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7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant!

Anyone who has made the trek up the track through Central Australia will find themselves nodding along in agreement with the amazingly accurate description. Beautifully written, this is a highly humorous, yet poignant story that we can all learn something from.

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6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable yet predictable

I really enjoyed this audiobook, the story is somewhat predictable but it still takes you on an adventure and you get to know a variety of different characters and places around Australia. It was just the kind of escapism I needed and I enjoyed the descriptive language. The narrator did a fantastic job, interested to find what else she has narrated.

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6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SR
  • 04-05-2022

Loved the story and the narration.

Narration: excellent. Grey nomads: rang true. Space & feelings rang true. Read/listen to it.

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyable

I originally thought it was a bit slow-paced but after adjusting the speed, really enjoyed listening to the story.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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great read

loved every minute! This book is a beautiful escape. It really captured the beauty of van life.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Makes me want to drive up the red centre.

I loved the journey, the writer teases out Mercys past slowly and reveals how she ended up in an ancient van slowly exploring the outback and learning to cope with her tragic past. A great listen.

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3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome story

Wonderful book living in the Nt it was very relative to me. A must read

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.