Today I am marking off my twenty second #22nd checkpoint category for the POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 with:
A scathingly brilliant new novel from TV scriptwriter J.D. Barrett, author of THE SECRET RECIPE FOR SECOND CHANCES, that explores sex, love and all the stuff in-between.
What happens when one of the country’s most popular identities goes from reading the news to being the news?
Olivia Law had always been the good girl. Great grades, perfect career, husband, house and hairdo. She’d learnt image was everything so she refused to look below the surface of her life. When not at work, her minutes were filled with causes, chairing boards and dining at fabulous restaurants with her equally fabulous husband, David. She kept up the Botox, blow-dries and worked hard. It wasn’t enough, but whenever doubt crept in she’d head to a pilates class or plan a renovation on her trophy house.
Then she turned 45.
Olivia wasn’t prepared for David to leave. The fact that they hadn’t had sex for two years should have triggered warning bells … it didn’t.
In an attempt to fix her broken marriage Olivia exposes herself like never before. But when her confession goes viral, the husband, house and job disappear. The woman who once offered glamorous reassurance and a steady gaze is labelled a princess of perversion. Humiliated, defeated, facing fifty shades of failure, she’s left wondering who the hell she really is? Stripped bare, she abandons perfection … and something remarkable happens.
Olivia Law just might get her sass back (and this time, it’s the real thing).
The brilliant new novel from J.D. Barrett about break ups, breakdowns and break throughs. Batteries not included.
‘I HAD THE PERFECT LIFE. PERFECT BLOW-DRIES, WELL-CONDITIONED hair, wrinkle-free face, gorgeous, devoted husband, designer everything. But the truth is, nothing is as it seems.’
The Upside of Over is a story of unexpected situations, changed life plans, sexuality, desire and empowerment. Told in a light, witty and realistic manner, J.D. Barrett’s third novel is an entertaining set piece.
The Upside of Over is the story of Olivia Law, a celebrity newsreader and personality, who finds her life irrevocably changed when the divorce bombshell her husband issues her with spurns a dramatic act of revenge. In dealing with her marriage break up, Olivia films a shocking and revealing video message to her husband. However, the video causes a great deal of trouble for Olivia. She finds her image instantly damaged by the broadcast of the video to the public and as a result she loses her job. Olivia’s fall from grace serves a significant wake up call. Olivia must decide what she wants in life. This form of emancipation is liberating and the new Olivia Law emerges from the ashes of her former self.
The Upside of Over is the third novel written by J.D .Barrett, an Australian television writer, who has written a number of scripts for some prominent Australian screen productions. The Upside of Over is my first taste of Barrett’s writing, which I found to be escapist and unpretentious.
The Upside of Over is a character driven novel that focuses directly on the life of lead Olivia Law. I enjoyed the insight into Olivia’s place of employment and her work in the media. It is quite a cutthroat industry, defined by issues of sexism, favouritism and ageism. Barrett does a very good job of highlighting these hard issues, within the context of Olivia’s life story.
Supporting Olivia are a cast of colourful characters. The newsroom and media industry protagonists felt very authentic, which I think could be a direct result of the author’s background in the media industry. There is plenty of insight and realism that goes with these characters and their related experiences. I’m sure readers will appreciate the storyline and related issues.
Barrett’s approach to this novel was quite interesting, but I’m not entirely sure if this book worked for me. Whilst I appreciated the focus on the pressing issues Olivia is forced to confront in the wake of her divorce, big mistake and job loss, some areas of the novel were perhaps exaggerated too much. While one of the key themes of The Upside of Over is embracing female sexuality and desire, these segments of the text were a little too saucy for my liking. However, I did value the overall message that in light of a serious life overhaul, there is an upside. I appreciated the positive sentiment.
A modern comedy and life affirming tale of love, sex, relationships, careers and self-care defines The Upside of Over by J.D. Barrett. This novel will be of interest to readers who enjoy contemporary fiction novels.
*** 3 stars
The Upside of Over by J.D. Barrett was published on 29th May 2018 by Hachette Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Upside of Over, J.D. Barrett, visit here.
The Upside of Over is book #69 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge