Thursday, July 08, 2010

Book Review: "The Opposite of Me" by Sarah Pekkanen

Twenty-nine-year-old Lindsey Rose has, for as long as she can remember, lived in the shadow of her ravishingly beautiful fraternal twin sister, Alex. Determined to get noticed, Lindsey is finally on the cusp of being named VP creative director of an elite New York advertising agency, after years of eighty-plus-hour weeks, migraines, and profound loneliness. But during the course of one devastating night, Lindsey's carefully constructed life implodes. Humiliated, she flees the glitter of Manhattan and retreats to the time warp of her parents' Maryland home. As her sister plans her lavish wedding to her Prince Charming, Lindsey struggles to maintain her identity as the smart, responsible twin while she furtively tries to piece her career back together. But things get more complicated when a long-held family secret is unleashed that forces both sisters to reconsider who they are and who they are meant to be.

While I was about halfway through this book, a book from my childhood came to mind, Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. In that book, twin sisters are born, one being favored throughout their life over the other causing the older sister to feel neglected and therefore having a low self esteem of herself as she grew older. This book reminded me of that story because I had always sympathized with Louise, just as I sympathized with Lindsey in this story. In fact, if both books were to come to life, I bet Louise and Lindsey would have ended up being able to bond together very well.

Throughout the book I really felt for Lindsey. I don't know if it's because I could relate to how she felt or simply because it was told from her perspective but I really ached for her while reading. As the story progresses, I started to feel more for Alex, but I'm not going to lie that throughout most of the book, I didn't like her at all. I felt like she really was the favored one by everyone and Lindsey was being treated unfairly. I'm not sure if it was just rotten luck or bad timing, but throughout most of the book I felt that Lindsey could just never catch a break. I will admit that while it hurt to see Lindsey getting rejected during a certain, I could understand the circumstances. Time had past since the last event and feelings had changed. However, I do not like it when someone is supposed to get married, has made a pledge and then changes their mind at the last minute. Seriously, don't say yes unless you really mean it and if you're doing it because everyone else is telling you to, then grow a backbone.

By the end of the book, both characters have grown up and have matured. This is mainly due to a serious crisis that comes on suddenly where everyone is forced to change how they act. This situation could have come straight out of a soap opera, but Pekkanen manages to not make it too over dramatic or weepy. The end of the book wasn't what I was expecting but it was still satisfying. I really enjoyed reading the book mainly because I really got into the characters. It's just so easy to feel for Lindsey while reading, even when she's wrong you still feel for her. I would classify this book as serious chick lit. There's still lots of light moments and a character that fits the genre, yet the storyline is a bit more grown up and takes a more sober tone. This is the author's first book and I am eagerly awaiting her next release. I really enjoyed reading this book and was sad when it ended.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet the author in May at the Book Blogger Convention during BEA. I was thrilled to meet her as I was about halfway through the book and really enjoying it. It was one of those geek moments of the night :)

The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen is published by Washington Square Press (2010)

This review copy was provided by the Amazon Vine Program

2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this book too and agree with you that Alex became more sympathetic as the book progressed.

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  2. I remember Jacob Have I Loved!! It definitely is an apt comparison, at least as far as the sisters' relationship compares. I'll admit that I felt Lindsey hid behind her sister too much and was more self-absorbed than she realized. I couldn't quite sympathize with her as much as others might have. I felt that Sarah did an amazing job of attaining just the right balance of drama and reality to make it chick lit with a bit more substance behind it.

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