REVIEW: 'The Other Side,' by Lacy M. Johnson

  • Updated: August 9, 2014 - 3:31 PM

Some years ago, a man with whom Lacy M. Johnson was ending a relationship kidnapped her and brought her to a basement apartment that he had spent weeks outfitting with soundproofing, chains, a dog collar and a mattress. And yes, it is for the reasons that you think, and yes, it was harrowing, as harrowing as you think.

Though it had been his plan to kill her after raping her, instead he left after raping her, intending to come back and rape her again, and during that time she was able to free herself and get away.

“The Other Side” is Johnson’s memoir of all of that — the relationship, the kidnapping, the aftermath. She has written the book in short chunks of powerful prose, not always chronological (though perfectly clear to follow), circling closer and closer to that day, finally zooming in on what exactly happened in that basement.

It is a devastating book, an exercise in courage and survival, but also an account of the ongoing aftermath of trauma. And it is Johnson’s careful prose — spare, clear, all emotion stripped away — that makes her words bearable to read.

LAURIE HERTZEL

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  • THE OTHER SIDE

    By: Lacy M. Johnson.

    Publisher: Tin House Books, 219 pages, $15.95.

    Review: A spare, elegant and devastating memoir of an almost unthinkable act.

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