Book Review | This Side of Crazy
Title: This Side of Crazy
Author: Kimmie Thomas
I know that a lot of effort and time go into writing a novel, so it is never easy for me to give a book a negative review. I also know that authors who publish with lesser known publishers have to then spend even more of their time marketing their own book, and that potential readers heavily rely on blog reviews to help them determine if the book is worth their time.
I want to start off by saying that I admire author Kimmie Thomas’s efforts with her novel, This Side of Crazy. The plot itself is promising, but I felt as if I were reading a first draft of an unpublished manuscript rather than the finished product. When I first read the description of This Side of Crazy, I readily agreed to review it because it sounded like it would be a nice Chick Lit novel about the main character, Maxine Payne, rising from her status as an unappreciated wife and stepmother to a strong, capable woman with the help of her best friends, Cyan and Cally.
The publisher’s description of the book does not even begin to describe what the reader is actually getting him- or herself into once the book starts. This Side of Crazy is about the friendship between these three childhood friends, but it is also about their relationships with husbands and lovers, described in naked detail. The first scene of the novel introduces an unnamed dominatrix, the Mistress, and explicitly goes over what she asks of her “slave”. This opening will be enough to turn off some readers, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to stop reading right then and there. For the sake of this review, I made my way through the rest of the book, finishing it in one sitting.
Max Payne will be easy for many women to relate to: she is uncomfortable with her weight, she is concerned about her marriage, and bad things just keep on happening to her. I liked her right from the start and hoped her lot in life would improve. Her friends, Cyan and Cally, are not very likable and by the end of the novel neither one had changed all that much. They didn’t deserve to call Max their friend.
Kimmie Thomas’s writing style is simple to follow, but it definitely needed some more polishing, especially in terms of characterization and dialogue. The female characters were mostly fine, though Cally often said and did things that seemed out of character for herself. It was the men that mostly concerned me. Max is introduced to Gordon Wisdom, and though he is supposed to be confident and flirtatious, he comes off a bit too strong, almost like a stalker. His attraction to Max is instantaneous, and I would have liked to see Thomas tease the reader a bit more with that. Another example is Blu, Cally’s lover. In one scene, he gets very rough with her and she is afraid of him. The next time she sees him, she decides she iis turned on by his aggression. Much of the dialogue felt really forced and unnatural to me, and I think Thomas could benefit from studying how to write believable and flowing dialogue.
My biggest disappointment is in terms of editing. This finished version was never run through a spell checker, or I wouldn’t have found half of the mistakes that I did. The layout of a few pages also had some spacing issues. A few places plural versions of pronouns were used when they should have been singular, and my list could go on and on in regards to that. Additionally, there was a lot of unnecessary back story that Thomas could have removed altogether to still have a complete novel. If she felt the information was important to the story, she could have shown it through dialogue or some other writing techniques, but it was all included in the general narration.
As I said before, this book is not one for everyone. If you like steamy sex scenes, juicy life-altering secrets, and don’t mind a bit of S and M, this book might be for you. I’d encourage anyone interested in reading it to read through a sample of it before purchasing.
*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*