The Other Side Of Beautiful - Kim Lock - Keeping Up With The Penguins
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Sometimes, you pick up a book and its premise resonates in a way neither you nor the author anticipated. That’s what happened for me with The Other Side Of Beautiful (kindly sent to me for review by my friends at Harper Collins).

I doubt that Kim Lock foresaw that I’d be reading her book about Mercy Blain, a woman terrified to leave her house, while I was locked down and not allowed to leave the house… but here we are.

Luckily, Mercy Blain’s story is warm and heart-felt, one of overcoming fear and finding home wherever you are.

It opens with a really tight first chapter, one that will grab you and not let go: Mercy watches her house burn down, forcing her out into the world that she’s been avoiding for years.

She finds herself in a camper van, with her ever-faithful sausage dog Wasabi (my absolute hands-down favourite character) by her side, driving the length of Australia, from Adelaide to Darwin.

Lock’s alarmingly accurate depictions of Mercy’s physical experience of anxiety were a little triggering, to be honest, but the wonderful rhythm of her writing carried me through the discomfort.

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year.