The Other Side of Me
  • The Other Side of Me
  • The Other Side of Me

The Other Side of Me

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by Sidney Sheldon

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Author of over a dozen bestsellers, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, and creator of some of television's greatest hits, Sheldon has seen and done it all, and now in this candid memoir, he shares his story for the first time.See more details below


Author of over a dozen bestsellers, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, and creator of some of television's greatest hits, Sheldon has seen and done it all, and now in this candid memoir, he shares his story for the first time.

Editorial Reviews

Jane and Michael Stern
Not even a fiction writer as gifted as Sidney Sheldon would have the chutzpah to concoct the story of Sidney Sheldon's life. His autobiography, "The Other Side of Me," blasts off from the first sentence with narrative drive that is all surprise, reverberating with plot twists of ecstasy and despair.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Bestselling novelist Sheldon's memoir is reminiscent of his colorful novels, a rags-to-riches yarn replete with struggle, an indomitable hero and eventual glamour. It opens with a 17-year-old Sheldon preparing to commit suicide in Chicago in 1934. "[L]onely and trapped," he wanted to attend college but couldn't afford it. Thankfully, his father intervened, and the young man got a new lease on life. He went from being an RKO theater usher to a struggling songwriter, then a top-flight Hollywood screenwriter in a few short years. For the next 30-odd years, Sheldon wrote and directed films, meeting studio honchos and stars like Kirk Douglas, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe. The author's impressive achievements include a WWII flying stint, a screenwriting Oscar for 1947's The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, a Tony for writing the 1959 Broadway hit Redhead, the creation of four classic TV series (including I Dream of Jeannie) and several bestsellers (Bloodline; The Sands of Time; etc.). Yet these accomplishments came with bouts of depression and the death of a child. While the book is long on Sheldon's Hollywood and television days, it skimps on his domestic and publishing lives. Still, that shouldn't stop Sheldon's legions of fans from lapping this up. Agent, Mort Janklow. (Nov. 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Sheldon (The Sky Is Falling), best-selling novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and sometime film producer/director, has written a truly engaging memoir of his life. With his self-deprecating humor, he takes us from his Depression-era youth, rife with poverty and uncertainty, to his heady days as an Oscar-winning screenwriter and celebrated novelist, ultimately providing a frank assessment of the roller-coaster ride of success and failure that distinguishes a career in Hollywood and Broadway. Included are insights into the different Hollywood studios for which Sheldon worked, but especially interesting are the behind-the-scenes details of his encounters, working relationships, and friendships with celebrities who include Cary Grant, Buster Keaton, Groucho Marx, George Balanchine, and Elizabeth Taylor. Although Sheldon is fairly reticent regarding his family life, he is open about his lifelong personal battles with depression. His skilled storytelling quickly moves beyond touching and entertaining anecdotes to a compelling narrative that charts his creativity, drive, and struggles. This book would be a valuable and popular addition to public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/05.]-Rebecca Bollen Manalac, Sydney, Australia Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
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4.12(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.25(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Other Side of Me

By Sidney Sheldon


Copyright © 2005 Sidney Sheldon Family Limited Partnership
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-61750-4

Chapter One

At the age of seventeen, working as a delivery boy at Afremow's drugstore in Chicago was the perfect job, because it made it possible for me to steal enough sleeping pills to commit suicide. I was not certain exactly how many pills I would need, so I arbitrarily decided on twenty, and I was careful to pocket only a few at a time so as not to arouse the suspicion of our pharmacist. I had read that whiskey and sleeping pills were a deadly combination, and I intended to mix them, to make sure I would die.

It was Saturday-the Saturday I had been waiting for. My parents would be away for the weekend and my brother, Richard, was staying at a friend's. Our apartment would be deserted, so there would be no one there to interfere with my plan.

At six o'clock, the pharmacist called out, "Closing time."

He had no idea how right he was. It was time to close out all the things that were wrong with my life. I knew it wasn't just me. It was the whole country.

The year was 1934, and America was going through a devastating crisis. The stock market had crashed five years before and thousands of banks had failed. Businesses were folding everywhere. More than thirteen million people had lost their jobs and were desperate. Wages had plunged to as low as a nickel anhour. A million vagabonds, including two hundred thousand children, were roaming the country. We were in the grip of a disastrous depression. Former millionaires were committing suicide, and executives were selling apples in the streets.

The most popular song was "Gloomy Sunday." I had memorized some of the lyrics:

Gloomy is Sunday

With shadows I spend it all

My heart and I

Have decided to end it all

The world was bleak, and it fit my mood perfectly. I had reached the depths of despair. I could see no rhyme or reason for my existence. I felt dislocated and lost. I was miserable and desperately longing for something that I couldn't define or name.

We lived near Lake Michigan, only a few blocks from the shore, and one night I walked down there to try to calm myself. It was a windy night, and the sky was filled with clouds.

I looked up and said, "If there is a God, show yourself to me."

And as I stood there staring at the sky, the clouds merged together, forming a huge face. There was a sudden flash of lightning that gave the face blazing eyes. I ran all the way home in a panic.

I lived with my family in a small, third-floor apartment in Rogers Park. The great showman Mike Todd said that he was often broke but he never felt poor. I, however, felt poor all the time because we were living in the demeaning kind of grinding poverty where, in a freezing winter, you had to keep the radiator off to save money and you learned to turn the lights out when not in use. You squeezed the last drops out of the ketchup bottle and the last dab of toothpaste out of the tube. But I was about to escape all that.

When I arrived at our dreary apartment, it was deserted. My parents had already left for the weekend and my brother had gone. There was no one to stop me from what I intended to do.

I walked into the little bedroom that Richard and I shared and I carefully removed the bag of sleeping pills I had hidden under the dresser. Next, I went into the kitchen, took a bottle of bourbon from the shelf where my father kept it, and carried it back to the bedroom. I looked at the pills and the bourbon and I wondered how long it would take for them to work. I poured some whiskey into a glass and raised it to my lips. I would not let myself think about what I was doing. I took a swallow of the whiskey, and the acrid taste of it made me choke. I picked up a handful of sleeping pills and started to raise them to my mouth, when a voice said, "What are you doing?"

I spun around, spilling some of the whiskey and dropping some of the pills.

My father was standing in the bedroom doorway. He moved closer. "I didn't know you drank."

I looked at him, stunned. "I-I thought you were gone."

"I forgot something. I'll ask you again: What are you doing?" He took the glass of whiskey from my hand.

My mind was racing. "Nothing-nothing."

He was frowning. "This isn't like you, Sidney. What's wrong?" He saw the pile of sleeping pills. "My God! What's going on here? What are these?"

No plausible lie came to my mind. I said defiantly, "They're sleeping pills."


"I'm going to-to commit suicide."

There was a silence. Then my father said, "I had no idea you were so unhappy."

"You can't stop me, because if you stop me now I'll do it tomorrow."

He stood there, studying me. "It's your life. You can do anything you want with it." He hesitated. "If you're not in too big a hurry, why don't we go for a little walk?"

I knew exactly what he was thinking. My father was a salesman. He was going to try to talk me out of my plan, but he didn't have a chance. I knew what I was going to do. I said, "All right."

"Put on a coat. You don't want to catch cold."

The irony of that made me smile.

Five minutes later, my father and I were headed down windswept streets that were empty of pedestrians because of the freezing temperature.

After a long silence, my father said, "Tell me about it, son. Why do you want to commit suicide?"

Where could I begin? How could I explain to him how lonely and trapped I felt? I desperately wanted a better life-but there was no better life for me. I wanted a wonderful future and there was no wonderful future. I had glowing daydreams, but at the end of the day, I was a delivery boy working in a drugstore.

My fantasy was to go to college, but there was no money for that. My dream had been to become a writer. I had written dozens of short stories and sent them to Story magazine, Collier's, and The Saturday Evening Post, and I had gotten back printed rejections. I had finally decided I couldn't spend the rest of my life in this suffocating misery.

My father was talking to me. "... and there are so many beautiful places in the world you haven't seen ..."

I tuned him out. If he leaves tonight, I can go on with my plan.

"... you'd love Rome ..."

If he tries to stop me now, I'll do it when he leaves. I was busy with my thoughts, barely listening to what he was saying.

"Sidney, you told me that you wanted to be a writer more than anything in the world."

He suddenly had my attention. "That was yesterday."

"What about tomorrow?"

I looked at him, puzzled. "What?"

"You don't know what can happen tomorrow. Life is like a novel, isn't it? It's filled with suspense. You have no idea what's going to happen until you turn the page."

"I know what's going to happen. Nothing."

"You don't really know that, do you? Every day is a different page, Sidney, and they can be full of surprises. You'll never know what's next until you turn the page."

I thought about that. He did have a point. Every tomorrow was like the next page of a novel.

We turned the corner and walked down a deserted street. "If you really want to commit suicide, Sidney, I understand. But I'd hate to see you close the book too soon and miss all the excitement that could happen to you on the next page-the page you're going to write."

Don't close the book too soon . . . Was I closing it too soon? Something wonderful could happen tomorrow.

Either my father was a superb salesman or I wasn't fully committed to ending my life, because by the end of the next block, I had decided to postpone my plan.

But I intended to keep my options open.


Excerpted from The Other Side of Me by Sidney Sheldon Copyright © 2005 by Sidney Sheldon Family Limited Partnership. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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