12 July 2010

Review: The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen

Lindsey Rose is destined for fame. She's developed some of the most well known ad campaigns for some of the biggest companies in the world. Life in New York is exciting . . . but Lindsey doesn't exactly know because she lives her job. In fact, the only real friend she has is Matt, and she is able to maintain that relationship because they work together.

At twenty-nine years old, Lindsey is just about to become the youngest vice president her firm has ever had. And then she isn't. And then she does the first reckless thing she's ever done in her life. And then she finds herself without a job and living with her parents in Maryland.

Sarah Pekkanen's debut novel, The Opposite of Me, does indeed explore opposites, especially the differences between Lindsey and her twin sister, Alex, and between Lindsey's old high-powered career and her new easygoing job.

But the novel goes deeper, taking as its central theme the idea that from a young age we fall into the roles and self-image we are rewarded for. Unfortunately, those roles don't always reflect who we truly are. Further, once our eyes are opened, there is no map showing us the way to escape our own and others' expectations.

Although The Opposite of Me has many elements of contemporary women's literature, Pekkanen rises above standard chick lit to focus on issues other than happily ever after. It is easy to care about Lindsey and her family, and we root for her ultimate success on her journey to self-discovery. Despite being a bit predictable, the book is an enjoyable read.

I would recommend the novel for book clubs because it offers a variety of discussion topics. Additional themes are child-parent relationships, sisters, twins, careers, boyfriends, and relationships with business colleagues.

A reading group guide is available for The Opposite of Me. To learn more about the book and Sarah Pekkanen visit the Debutante Ball blog and Pekkanen's personal website.

The Opposite of Me at Powell's
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Published by Washington Square Press, 2010
ISBN-13: 9781439121986
Challenges: Current Debs, 100+
YTD: 63
Source: Review copy (see review policy)
Rating: B-
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


Sandy Nawrot 7/12/10, 7:01 AM  

I've seen this one around, and it falls into a category of "don't feel a burning need to chase it down" but would read it and love it if it landed in my lap. I'm probably missing out by thinking that, but lately I've been wanting something different!

Sheila (Bookjourney) 7/12/10, 8:28 AM  

I really enjoyed this book, reviewed it last month. I am excited to see what Sarah Pekkennen has next! :)

Julie P. 7/12/10, 8:41 AM  

I had similar feelings as you did towards this book. It was a fun read with some substance too!

Jennifer-Girls Gone Reading 7/12/10, 8:42 AM  

This novel sounds good. I love that she discussed how scary and unknown it is what you discover that life is not mapped out for you. Usually books in this genre hint at this, or don't discuss it at all. I am going to look for it!

Anonymous,  7/12/10, 9:14 AM  

I bought this a few months ago. One daughter came home, saw it and took it home with her. Read it, loved it, gave it to her younger sister. She read it, loved it and gave it back to me. I need to work it into the rotation :)

Margot 7/12/10, 11:17 AM  

I'm looking forward to reading this book. I've been following her road to publishing on her monthly newsletter and it's been an eye-opener. Great review.

Unknown 7/12/10, 1:47 PM  

Great review! It sounds like something I would like too...off to add it to my wish list.

bermudaonion 7/12/10, 2:38 PM  

I really enjoyed this book too and rooted for Lindsey the whole way. Great review!

Miri 7/13/10, 4:54 AM  

Great review! Thoughtful chick lit sounds like a perfect book for summer.

wisteria 7/13/10, 8:26 AM  

It always amazes me how sisters can be so very different. Sounds like this one would have a lot of reflection for me.
Thanks for the review.

Jenners 7/14/10, 8:14 PM  

Don't you feel like every time you write a review about a "women's book" you have to somehow defend it or say "but it is better than chick lit." I hate the term chick lit and always feel compelled to to defend a book from having that label.

Jennifer 7/21/10, 5:25 PM  

I've seen a lot of reviews on this one and each review convinces me more and more that when I get a chance to read this one, I will probably like it a lot. Even though my sister and I are not twins, I feel like I'll be able to draw a lot of parallels with the book.

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