Don't let this book's heavy subject frighten you out of reading it. The language and insight Johnson uses to talk about what her ex-boyfriend put her through make this a deeply moving read. I read it feverishly, finishing it in a couple of sittings, but Johnson's brilliant humanity has stuck with me. Recommended By Jess K., Powells.com
In this exceptional literary memoir, Johnson paints a candid self-portrait of a life bearing the weight of a horrendous event — getting kidnapped, bound, and raped by an ex-boyfriend. This is a story that insists on being told, and it is conveyed with incredible grace. Recommended By Renee P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Lacy Johnson was held prisoner in a soundproofed room in a basement apartment that her ex-boyfriend rented and outfitted for the sole purpose of raping and killing her. She escaped, but not unscathed. The Other Side
is the haunting account of a first passionate and then abusive relationship, the events leading to Johnson's kidnapping and imprisonment, her dramatic escape, and her hard-fought struggle to recover. At once thrilling, terrifying, harrowing, and hopeful, The Other Side
offers more than just a true crime record. In language both stark and poetic, Johnson weaves together a richly personal narrative with police reports, psychological evaluations, and neurobiological investigations, provoking both troubling and timely questions about gender roles and the epidemic of violence against women.
"This riveting narrative of a young woman's kidnapping and rape at the hands of a former boyfriend moves fluently between dissociation and healing. Johnson, an attractive young woman from a rural Midwestern family, worked briefly as a model in New York before attending college. While in school, she became infatuated with her Spanish teacher, a Venezuelan-American twice her age, who was worldly and traveled but also had some serious emotional damage from his first marriage. She grew to both love and fear the man; he exhibited a startlingly cruel and violent streak, striking her and even killing their sick cat. With her fragile sense of self, she craved validation, despite his ill treatment. 'I want him to love me,' she declares, and 'I'll do anything to stay with him.' The two eventually broke up, and on the night of July 5, 2000, he stalked her and tricked her into coming to his apartment, where he raped her. Johnson's narrative is her attempt to claim the memory. She returns to the police record, and distances herself from her own body by having successive relationships and getting tattoos. Her evocation of emotional mayhem underscores the violent power play that can be present in unequal pairings. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"In this brilliant memoir, Lacy Johnson offers us a guide to the impossible how to reconstruct a past when the past itself is shattered, each memory broken into pieces, left rattling around inside us. Sometimes flashes of poetry are all that we can find in the wreckage, sometimes these flashes are all that can possibly save us, brought together for brief, burning instances, and then let go. The Other Side bristles with life and energy and to read it is to be transformed." Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
"Wow. Just...Wow. The Other Side is the sonic boom of a powerful story meeting an even more powerful storyteller. It's hard to say anything about a book that leaves you this breathless. Lacy Johnson is my new literary hero." Mat Johnson, author of PYM
"Lacy M. Johnson's powerfully moving and brilliantly structured memoir, The Other Side, asks, "How is it possible to reclaim the body after devastating violence?” Her intense desire and demand for a life lived in the body is triumphant. Johnson's strength to free not only her physical self, but also to move through years of incapacitating fear by writing this book, is breathtaking: 'I lift the chain from my neck, over my head, let it rattle to the floor'." Kelle Groom, author of I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl
About the Author
Lacy M. Johnson is the author of Trespasses: A Memoir. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Racial Imaginary, Literature: The Human Experience, Creative Nonfiction, Sentence, TriQuarterly Online, Memoir Journal, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. She is currently Director of Academic Initiatives at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at University of Houston, where she teaches interdisciplinary art. She lives in Houston, TX.