Official Review: The other side of town by William R Pope

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.
Forum rules
You must limit each topic thread in this section to only one book or only one series. Make the title of the topic the name of the book, and if possible also include the author's name. If you want to allow spoilers, you must include the word spoilers in the title of the topic, otherwise spoilers are prohibited.
Post Reply
User avatar
Ashley Simon
Posts: 267
Joined: 08 Sep 2017, 18:44
2017 Reading Goal: 20
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 65
Currently Reading: Zero K
Bookshelf Size: 141
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ashley-simon.html
Latest Review: "Bible Answers" by Roseline Gaston Rabouin

Official Review: The other side of town by William R Pope

Post by Ashley Simon » 20 Dec 2017, 16:25

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The other side of town" by William R Pope.]
Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


In his memoir, The Other Side of Town, author William Pope tells the story of his life. Not one to cut corners, he starts at the very beginning. “I was born really late. How late? About a month. And ever since, I’ve been struggling to play catchup” (3). He goes on to talk about his first experience at sleepaway camp and his wild friend Kenny. He tells us about his athletic mishaps and the scrapes he got into with his friends in middle school. He tells us about his high school struggles to fit in, make friends, and get good grades. He tells us about his first real job at McDonalds, and his first adult job as a janitor.

Pope’s strength is his ability to describe characters. Whether it is the manager, Lewis, at his first job at McDonalds (“a tall, sinewy character with a short Afro”), or his childhood dog, Maggie ("the product of too much inbreeding"), Pope has the ability to paint a picture with his words.

The trouble with The Other Side of Town is that it lacks direction. There is no cohesive theme tying it all together. While Pope’s life experiences have the potential to be relatable, the chapters read like a succession of journal entries. I had trouble staying focused, and at times it was difficult to keep all the names straight. Although the chapters are ordered chronologically, Pope takes creative liberties by skipping around. He’ll introduce a character and then tell us where that person is now. For example, in the first chapter he tells us about a ski trip that he took with his friend Nathan, then tells us that Nathan went on to commit suicide. The effect is, again, like a journal entry. Instead of being able to step into Pope’s life and experience the story along with him, I feel like I am an outsider listening to him chatter about various incidents.

Because the book was organized like a diary, there were some awkward moments when I, as a reader, felt uncomfortable. Pope talks frankly about his feelings toward girls in high school and toward specific girls that he’s interested in. Later in the book he takes us through a graphically detailed description of how he lost his virginity. Because these moments aren’t attached to an overarching theme, and don’t seem particularly relevant to the story, I found myself wanting to skim through these sections, like I would if I had accidentally opened the diary of a high school boy.

At the beginning of the book, Pope claims that the story of his life is humorous. I didn’t find much humor in the stories that he told. Instead, Pope’s narrative style tends toward the quirky. For example, this is how he introduces readers to his parents’ divorce:
“And now, I blame [my sister] for mom and dad splitting up. Just kidding. It was my brother’s fault. Again, I joke; it was nobody’s fault, really. Hell, I’ll take the blame if it makes everyone feel better. Or we could just blame my parents. Hey, no one forced them to sign those documents.” (71)
Due to these factors, I am rating this book 2 out of 4 stars. There were frequent spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and sentence fragments. Still, I applaud the breadth of Pope's work, and the detail in which he has assembled his life story. The book may appeal to people who enjoy lighthearted journal-style memoirs. At the end of The Other Side of Town, Pope reflects on all the stories he has gathered into this book. Writing this book helped him to take all the confetti-like bits and pieces of his memories and organize them into what feels to him like a really long movie. But underneath the storyline, he feels like he has hit upon another story, a philosophical story. “What does it all mean, right? I gave a glimpse of it here,” he says. “But it still requires another look, a more penetrating look” (175). I would agree with Pope's self analysis. The Other Side of Town is a comprehensive collection of moments in a man’s life. However, I would prefer to wait on reading this book until Pope has a chance to take another look at the narrative and bind it together into a meaningful story.

******
The other side of town
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like Ashley Simon's review? Post a comment saying so!

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 4827
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 42
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: End of the Last Great Kingdom
Bookshelf Size: 177
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: Fountain Found by Allen Broderick

Post by kandscreeley » 21 Dec 2017, 08:50

It's too bad about the errors. That can really kill a book. It does sound interesting. I can't believe he was almost a month late! Thanks for the review.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

User avatar
Mercy Bolo
Posts: 939
Joined: 31 May 2017, 03:44
2018 Reading Goal: 48
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 54
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... 10262">The Wisdom and Peace of the Teachings of the Tao Te Ching</a>
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 149
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mercy-bolo.html
Latest Review: The Lion Roared FREEDOM by Andr&ecirc; Black

Post by Mercy Bolo » 21 Dec 2017, 11:57

From the cover, I imagined this would be a totally different book. Too bad the story is lacking in direction.
"The minimum requirement for a dream is a safe place to lay your head."
~OluTimehin Adegbeye

User avatar
Sahani Nimandra
Trial Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 752
Joined: 27 Nov 2017, 22:49
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 5
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 85
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 180
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... >Emotional Intelligence</a>
Currently Reading: The Problems of Life and Ethical Dilemmas
Bookshelf Size: 309
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sahani-nimandra.html
Latest Review: The 11.05 Murders by Brian O'Hare
Location: Sri Lanka

Post by Sahani Nimandra » 21 Dec 2017, 22:53

It sounds to me, the author has rather talked about his life rather than writting it, any way I wonder is the explicit details to much since it is your personal life? The book sounds ok! Except for the errors.
Good job!
Happiness is a cup of coffee and a good book!

BookHausJ
Posts: 266
Joined: 01 Nov 2017, 09:14
2017 Reading Goal: 2
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 10
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 100
Currently Reading: Health Tips Myth and Tricks
Bookshelf Size: 680
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bookhausj.html
Latest Review: "Who Told You That You Were Naked?" by William Combs

Post by BookHausJ » 24 Dec 2017, 00:43

I like personal story. If that would inspire the reader. With your review, I made a second thought lining up this book as my interest. But still I want to read it to see the point. Thanks!

User avatar
pinklover
Posts: 359
Joined: 29 Nov 2017, 20:30
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 9
Currently Reading: The Everett Exorcism
Bookshelf Size: 32
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-pinklover.html
Latest Review: God Versus The Idea of God by Thomas Richard Harry
Location: Philippines

Post by pinklover » 26 Dec 2017, 01:43

memoirs always include tough words as you have noticed it since it is written like a journal. I learn something. Thanks
When everything seems too late, but it's not. God is there! Just keep on believing Jesus.

User avatar
ParadoxicalWoman
Posts: 185
Joined: 25 Oct 2017, 06:42
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 7
Currently Reading: The Handmaid's Tale
Bookshelf Size: 72
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-paradoxicalwoman.html
Latest Review: "And Then I Met Margaret" by Rob White

Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 27 Dec 2017, 08:57

I have no problem in reading something like a journal. Instead, I would feel like the author is being honest with his feelings. Thank you for your review.
"Read in order to live." ~Gustave Flaubert
"Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Post Reply

Return to “Non-Fiction Books”