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The Other Side of Me    by Sidney Sheldon order for
Other Side of Me
by Sidney Sheldon
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

You can't walk into a bookstore these days without seeing a Sidney Sheldon novel in an eye-catching location close to the door. He's one of today's most prolific and admired authors, with novels in millions of households. But did you know you've been watching his movies and TV shows as well? Not just remakes of his novels, but original creations. I didn't realize that Sheldon is the creator of I Dream of Jeannie. Nor was I aware that he won an Oscar for best original screenplay, or that he created the Patty Duke Show.

In The Other Side of Me, Sidney Sheldon reveals his life story in picturesque snippets that come alive with dialogue, colorful description and enough emotion to keep you reading, blurry-eyed, late into the night. If I didn't know this was a memoir, I'd have thought I was reading another of the captivating novels that made him so well-known. Sheldon expertly thrusts his readers onto a non-stop roller-coaster ride from the first sentence, when he reveals his intent to take his own life during the Depression. As he continues to recount a variety of interesting, thought-provoking situations, his life story reads like a who's who of old Hollywood. From dinners with Groucho Marx to working with Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine, each chapter takes us deeper into what it must have been like to live in an era where celebrities weren't plastered all over the tabloids, and class, elegance and sophistication were the norm.

I don't want to mistakenly give the idea that the memoir is all about show business. Sprinkled throughout are genuine moments of tender emotion, especially as Sheldon speaks about his parents or the death of his daughter Alexandra, and the loss of his adopted child. This memoir is written with so much frankness and honesty that it's easy to see how Sheldon can bring that same level of emotional attachment to his fictional work. If you know anyone who's ever read a Sidney Sheldon novel, give him or her The Other Side of Me as a holiday gift. It's the perfect addition to any bookshelf.

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