The Other Side of Meby Sidney Sheldon
Sidney Sheldon has lived a life filled with fortitude and self-doubt, reversal and triumph--from scathing Broadway reviews to three shows at once and a Tony Award®, from luckless knocks on movie studio doors to screenwriting successes for Easter Parade and Annie Get Your Gun--from anxiously watching his first novel hit bookstores to being hailed as the world's most translated author by The Guinness Book of Records.
In THE OTHER SIDE OF ME, Sheldon pulls no punches. He talks candidly about growing up in Depression-era Chicago, his family's poverty, and the onset of mood swings, later diagnosed as manic depression, that would haunt him throughout his life. He recalls how he boldly maneuvered his way into show business as a self-proclaimed songwriter...how, as a first-time nominee, he accepted the Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay for The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer without having prepared a speech...how he directed Cary Grant and comforted Judy Garland in Hollywoodhow he worked with TV icons Barbara Eden, Patty Duke, and Larry Hagman. And, in frank and moving chapters, Sheldon reveals, for the first time, his private self: his profound personal losses and his search for happiness.
Every reader knows that a Sidney Sheldon novel is a guaranteed page-turner. His real-life story is just as compelling. Packed with choice anecdotes about everyone from Frank Sinatra to Irving Berlin to Marilyn Monroe, as well as hilarious asides from pal Groucho Marx, THE OTHER SIDE OF ME is filled with highs and lows, twists and turns, and is every bit as riveting as any blockbuster Sheldon has ever written.
Finally, the world's master storyteller shares his greatest tale---his own!
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The Other Side of Me
By Sidney Sheldon
WARNER BOOKSCopyright © 2005 Sidney Sheldon Family Limited Partnership
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAt 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.
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Meet the Author
The late novelist and screenwriter Sidney Sheldon remains one of the world's top bestselling authors, having sold more than 300 million copies of his books. He is also the only writer to have won an Oscar, a Tony, and an Edgar. The Guinness Book of World Records heralds him as the most translated author in the world.
- Los Angeles, California
- Date of Birth:
- February 11, 1917
- Date of Death:
- January 30, 2007
- Place of Birth:
- Chicago, Illinois
- Northwestern University, 1935-36
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Sidney Sheldon's classic novel is about two women who are bound to the same man. Set with a WWII backdrop, this is a story of love, revenge, hate, infidelity, and sacrifice.
I READ THIS BOOK IN TWO DAYS BECAUSE I WAS SO INVOLVED IN THE EACH CHARACTER I COULD NOT WAIT TO FIND OUT WHAT THEY DO NEXT. GOING BACK AND FORTH FROM NOELLE TO KATHERINE I COULDN'T DECIDE WHICH CHARACTER I LOOKED FORWARD TO MOST. AND THE END WAS A SHOCKER!
I finished reading this book in one day.I was in air plane coming from ETHIOPIA(AFRICA)I was reading The whole trip I couldn't sleep and eat with out knowing what will happen to them.sidney is a very great writer I read almost all his books.May God Bless That hand!!!
This book kept me enthralled and entertained the entire time. A dark, romantic book. Would recommend this for sure.
I was so book bored. A friend recommended this book and i could not put it down. Highly recommend it. I am starting the sequel and can't wait!! Stay tuned....
I read this book when it first came out and has remained my all time favorite. I read it in 2 days, as I couldn't put it down. I have picked up several copies over the years as I came across them at garage sales and second hand book stores to share with friends. And I'm excited it is available on the Nook Color. I can't wait to read it again.
This is my favorite novel. I would like to congratulate Mr. Sheldon for having combined so many genres into an interesting yet tragic novel. The two main characters, Noelle Page and Catherine Alexander are so interesting to read about. Sheldon is the puppetmaster of their lives and controls very skillfully the facets and details of their lives until they come crashing together in a cataclysmic finale. READ THIS BOOK.
This was my first reading book. It was not a good time to learn to read a chapter book. I was on high school finals. After more than 30 years, I read it again and bring back good memories. I still recomend this book and the others books of Sidney Sheldon, is a very good writer. I felt being part of the story.
I have read a lot of Sidney Sheldon's books and none of them failed to captivate me. I can normally spend my whole night reading his novels alone. Well, sheldon made me a nocturnal being for that fact! anyway, I am a Sheldon die-hard fan. He has his own style that will never be imitated like anybody else. If all novels are like Sydney's, then maybe there'll be no more novels left in bookstores!
This was the first book I read by Sidney Sheldon and I've been hooked on Sheldon ever since. I've since then read all but 2 of his books, but this one is my favorite and then 'Master of the Game'. Intrigue at its best. This novel is about love, betrayal, and revenge... written like no other can. Trust me, you can't get bored with this one. You GO Sidney!
OMG I COULDNT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN I READ IT IN 2 DAYS IT HAS TO BE THE BEST LOVE STORY EVER FULL OF REVENGE AND A GREAT ENDING!!!!
Wow. You're a really good writer!
Hard to put down, characters are the ones you love to hate
great book did not want to stop rreading all his books are good
Read this book. You won't be sorry. Sheldon at his finest.