BOOK CLUB: The Upside of Over

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Author: J.D. Barrett
ISBN: 978-0-7336-3797-1
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Hachette
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Upside of Over is the third novel by J.D. Barrett, a successful Australian television writer and script editor. I haven’t read her books, though her debut came across my desk and looked like it could be quite an entertaining read, after just reading the first couple of pages of this I think it could be a real winner too.

Olivia Law is a newsreader in her mid-40s who has always done things the right way. She was the quintessential good girl and always has been. Good grades, great career, husband, hairdo and house. She has always filled her time with great causes and kept up appearances.

It all falls apart when her fabulous husband leaves her and her drunken love letter confession goes viral. She is left with no house, husband or job.

Looking down the barrel of middle age with a reputation that’s just been totally turned upside down Olivia is left humiliated and defeated, wondering who she really is. She is faced with a  crossroad that allows her to abandon perfection and chase a new destiny.

Olivia might just get her sass back, and this time it will be of the authentic variety.

A novel about love, sex, breaking up and breaking through.

A scathingly brilliant new novel that explores sex, love and all the stuff in-between.

If the first 2 chapters are anything to go by this book is going to offer an insightful social commentary on the face of news media, an acerbic wit and more than a touch of heat.

J.D. Barrett can be found on Facebook.

The Upside of Over is published by Hachette and is available now from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Hachette 30 of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Upside of Over and I look forward to hearing their thoughts. Please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

27 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Upside of Over

  1. Thanks to Hachette Australia and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read ‘The Upside of Over’ by JD Barrett.

    Olivia Law is a news presenter and in her mid forties. She seems to have it all but her marriage is crumbling. Drunkenly makes a raunchy video for her husband describing a sexual fantasy of them…. but somehow it winds up on YouTube and goes viral. Suddenly she is out of a job her marriage is over and her employer is aiming to sue her for breach of contract. She stands to lose everything.

    And then the fun begins!

    The Upside of Over addresses the discrimination and double standards that women face – particularly in the media where some recent scandals come to mind. It also talks a lot about sex and women’s sexual fantasies and how they should be able to be discussed. I also particularly love that the main characters are all over 40….

    The Upside over Over is empowering and funny it is a great read for a cold Winters day or a day on the beach. I highly recommend it!

  2. Thank you to Hachette Australia and B&L for this fabulous book called “The Upside Of Over” by J.D Barrett.
    I really couldnt put this book down. From the very start the reader is thrown into poor Olivia Laws massive and embarrassing life.
    Olivia is a 45 year old newsreader on a morning show, with a huge reputation and a very false sense of reality. Her husband leaves her, and she makes a last ditch effort to get him back by sending him what she thought to be a private love letter video. It was a shame that she was drunk and it somehow ended up on Youtube.
    Her whole life falls apart in that instant. She is sacked from her job and has all privileges taken away. I am not going to spoil it further, but if you really want to sink your teeth into a great read, get your hands on this book. Find out if Olivia pulls through, if she makes a real life for herself.
    I highly recommend this book.

  3. “The Upside of Over” is a light-hearted novel, a funny novel about relationships, sex, and knowing yourself. I enjoyed reading it; it was thoroughly entertaining and diverting.

    Olivia Law is one of Australia’s best known newsreaders, with a perfect, immaculate life. And then one day she comes home to find that her husband is gone. He’s left her, apparently. She drunkenly films a sexual love “letter”, hoping he’ll return – but instead it goes viral, and suddenly she’s not just out a husband – but also a job, a career, a reputation, her savings, her house, and most of her friends as well. How will she go about picking up the pieces?

    Barrett keeps a light tone, and never goes too deep – I for one never felt that Olivia was as despairing or as sad as I might have been in her situation. The question of how her video goes viral could have been mined for something darker or heavier; and the relationships Barrett focuses on are almost all positive.

    But while that may all be a bit unrealistic, it’s part of the charm of this novel. Barrett doesn’t want to bring her reader down, and individual relationships or incidents aren’t unbelievable – it’s more that for all the plot sounds a bit dark, the novel overall is very sunny. There’s a lot of laughs here, and I found most of the relationships pretty realistic. In particular, I enjoyed Olivia’s relationship with her step-son and his mother; both relationships were funny, lively and believable.

    Basically, this novel is just good fun. Barrett has a serious underlying message – in fact, the last chapter was a little too heavy on the Very Important Life Messages for my taste – but mostly I found the novel light and amusing.

  4. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Hachette for allowing me to review ‘The Upside of Over’ by J.D. Barrett.

    The story of Olivia Law, a successful news reader who has everything she could dream and wish for, the perfect life, house, job, husband. Olivia wants for nothing….or does she?

    Olivia is a well known and respected news reader until one drunken night when her husband leaves her, without her knowing why, she decides to record a raunchy video for him to try and win him back. She emails it through to him only for it to somehow end up being downloaded to You Tube and going viral. Olivia loses everything she thought was important to her, the job, the husband, the house and the lavish lifestyle.

    In the midst of a lawsuit from her now previous employer and in losing everything she thought was important, she begins to discover herself and find out who she really is. She realises who her real friends are and begins to learn what she can do with her life from hereon in. That mistaken video could just well turn her life around and be just what she needed.

    She begins to realise how lucky she is when her nearest and dearest rally around and support her and she also makes some great new friendships in this new life of hers. A huge following of woman being to email Olivia with their own fantasies and this is where Olivia Law reinvents herself and decides to turn her once spiralling life around, not only for her but woman in general. In the end her life turns out better than ever before.

    “When all is lost, you are still here and the world still turns, you can start again on a blank canvas, it’s what the Upside of Over is all about”.

    It is a great light hearted, funny, easy read which I really enjoyed and would defiantly recommend.

  5. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review The Upside of Over. by JD Barrett. The story revolves around 45 year old newsreader Olivia Law, who is one of the best known newsreades in the country.

    Olivia thinks she has a great life and everything is going well, so she is shocked to come home one day and see that her husband has left.

    Olivia thinks she can get him back, so she films a racy video for him while drunk. The video is emailed to him but unfortunately somehow ends up on YouTube for everyone to see.

    Olivia’s life is turned upside down, now that the public can see it. Unfortunately more bad news comes when a lawsuit comes from her ex employer as well. As it often happens when you are suffering a tragedy you find out who your real friends are. She also receives a lot of support from strangers and the supportive friends.

    I really enjoyed this and the message I got was even though you may have bad times you will come through it stronger. I would highly recommend this book to everyone.

  6. The upside of Over by J.D.Barrett, is an exceptional novel written about a woman’s disasterous marriage, love, loss and relationship disappointment.
    At times I read this and thought , oh no you poor desperate woman wanting to cling onto a relationship going nowhere.
    How much bad luck can someone have. This book was not what I expected and did not appeal to me, but I can see why so many of readers liked it.

  7. I found the Upside of Over by JD Barrett an amusing tale of how a woman can easily lose everything in her life and as a result find herself again. When it all hit the fan Olivia was vilified and found out who her friends really were. This is a good story of how you can lose yourself along the way in life meeting expectations. Then, you reach your expiry date and it all falls apart. Standing on the brink Olivia finds herself again, sees her friends and family in a new light and fnds love and happiness where she would never before have thought to look. When its all over… there’s an Upside. !
    (I will never look at an ant trail the same again !)

  8. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Hachette for allowing me to review ‘The Upside of Over’ by J.D. Barrett.

    It’s the story of Olivia Law, a television identity in her 40’s who has always tried to do the right thing. When her husband leaves her she drunkenly films a sexy message for him that accidentally gets on YouTube and goes viral.

    She loses her job, her marriage, her lifestyle and looks to be getting sued.

    Olivia turns to a friend across the country and what follows is a stripping back so she can find out who she really is. Some situations are a little convenient, but told in such a way they are believable and flow smoothly. Things may not always go the way we expect, but can turn out better if we’re honest with ourselves.

    The other theme is women, sex and how it is all perceived. I thought it was a bit out there at the start (I had been planning to share the book with my Grandma), but it wasn’t all of what the book is.

    I do recommend this book as a fun read with a positive message.

  9. The plot to JD Barrett’s latest novel has a few things in common with Dawn O’Porter’s “The Cows.” There is a woman who goes viral after being publically shamed in the worst possible way. The book then follows how she rebuilds her life in the aftermath of the backlash. In O’Porter’s case there were two other major plots that she also examined while Barrett’s focus is left squarely with Olivia Law (the woman shamed) for the most part.

    “The Upside Of Over” is ultimately an intriguing look at a contemporary and relevant issue in today’s modern society.

  10. I’ve just finished reading The Upside of Over by J.D. Barrett and I’m feeling a little confused.

    On one hand I love what it standed for and I think it offered great ideas for thought on a lot of relevant issues. On the other hand while I found it easy reading it almost felt like it didn’t quite finish. The ending felt rushed and almost like a summary you’d hear at the end of a lecture.

    While I probably won’t put it high on my list of books I want to read again I’m happy I’ve read it.

  11. The Upside of Over, by J.D. Barret, is the light hearted story of a forty-five year old woman who believes she has the perfect life until she loses everything.

    The beginning sparked immediate interest and I just had to find out what was going to happen! The lively characters allowed the reader to develop a positive rapport with them, as well as let the imaginings of the reader picture them in minds eye. Their contribution to the story assisted Olivia in her life changing voyage of self-discovery and self-worth.

    The storyline was funny, sexy, provocative and intriguing. It left me torn between being unable to put the book down and savouring every page for those quiet moments to myself.

    The Upside of Over shows us just how easy it is to lose everything you hold dear in your life only to be shown that it wasn’t as important as you thought it was!

    Highly recommended!

  12. The Upside of Over was an amusing read and an interesting look at our social framework via the media. It was lightly enjoyable but it is where I would leave it. So if you are after a quick light hearted read to pass some time without too much nitty gritty, I’d recommend it.
    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Hachette Australia for the opportunity for reading The Upside of Over, though it didn’t become a favourite I was happy to have read it.

  13. Thankyou Beauty and Lace for continuing to be my enabler and encouraging my addiction of reading!
    The main theme I found present in The upside of over, was women in media, which I feel is a very current topic at the moment. The book also has your typical love life dramas of divorce, growing apart and finding new love.
    At times I felt there was not enough detail in each scene and when it finished I felt like there needed to be more to satisfy my needs. Im unsure if it was because it was rushed or if I needed more of a follow up on the characters to fulfil my ‘happy ever after’.
    Overall I found it a light hearted, easy read that touched on many current topics.

  14. A sassy, smart and fun read by J.D. Barrett “The Upside of Over” is a piece of escapism from our busy days.

    It is about working through and seeing the upside of over (when your life is falling apart) of changing and reinventing yourself. Olivia is a 45 year old woman who appears to have it all, she is a popular television identity, married to David with a step son Finn but when her husband up and leaves she leave a video, a love letter to her husband which somehow is leaked and goes viral. Olivia goes from reading the news to being the news. She loses everything and to her it is all over.

    Strangely I had not read J.D.Barrett before but when I saw the television shows she has written for as a television writer and script editor, I knew I would likely enjoy it as I loved watching “Love my Way, Bed of Roses, Wonderland, Love Child and The Secret Daughter on the tv.

    Set in Sydney and Byron Bay it tackles current issues like gender pay issues, sexual harassment, women empowerment and being comfortable in our own skin.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Hachette Publishing for the chance to read and then review this sassy tale.

  15. This was a book filled with lots of laughs. So what’s happen when something really private is put out for the whole world to see. Olivia seems to have everything but that is quickly taken from her and she needs to work out what matters and how to move forward.

    I loved some of the minor characters but I would of loved some of the smaller story lines to be developed further including one with her stepson.

    Occasionally the book had me blushing 🙂 But overall I found it a light read.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Hachette Publishing for the chance to read and review this book.

  16. Fabulously funny and clever!

    Olivia Law is a successful newsreader but unfortunately, her marriage is falling apart. When she tries to send her husband a raunchy video to spice up their sex lives, her private life is all of a sudden, no longer private.

    The Upside of Over offers an amusing look at what happens when things quickly spiral downhill out of control. What happens when you hit rock bottom? The only way is up. The author, J.D. Barrett, has written a very entertaining book on women’s sexual fantasies and also touches on the subject of discrimination in the workplace. The characters are mature and intelligent adults and very relatable. However, I feel I would not have been as composed as Olivia if I were in her situation!

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Hachette Australia for the opportunity to review this wonderful book. Congratulations J.D. Barrett for your clever writing. Even with a serious topic behind the story, the positive notes of humour made this book very charming and one I would thoroughly recommend.

  17. Thank you to Hachette Australia and B&L for fantastic book called “The Upside Of Over” by J.D Barrett. The minute I picked it up, I struggled to put it down.
    Olivia is a 45 year old woman who is a popular newsreader, married to David with a step son Finn. Her husband leaves her with out any indication that things are wrong.In a drunken state she films a video, a love letter to her husband, which is leaked and goes vira on you tube.. Olivia goes from reading the news to being the news.
    A story that reminds me to enjoy every part of life and not take things too seriously all the time. We all make mistakes and thats how we learn

  18. The upside of over by J D Barrett is the story of Olivia Law a TV news reader
    who lives in Sydney with her husband David. They have not been intimate for
    two years and in an attempt to win him back makes a video in a drunken state exposing their sex life and her sexual fantasies.

    The video goes viral, publicly exposing herself which leads to her losing her job and now her husband wants a divorce.

    Olivia escapes to Byron Bay to her best friend Darcy and their meets some interesting characters.

    I have very mixed feelings about this book. While this novel did address some serious, valid issues about the way women can be treated in their job and may be discriminated as they age, I felt that the story did not have much depth to it and was a little mindless.

    There were many aspects that I enjoyed such as the many likeable characters in this novel but It is not the most enjoyable book I have read.

    Many thanks to Hachette and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this book.

  19. the upside of being over was a very witty, fun, behind closed doors kind of book.
    Olivia as the main character was relatable, fun,genuine and charming. As a reader, I engaged with her dilemmas, ideas and rebellion of social norms.
    Through her hardship she rises like a Phoenix to accomplish things that pushed her out of her comfort, away from her failing marriage to David, away from her beliefs about sexuality. femininity, friends and work.
    I related to so much of this book and the way Barrett juxtaposes Byron Bay and Sydney in a way that provided stability, clarity, drama, relief and empowerment.
    The way the characters draw on each others strengths and differences allows for a deeper sense of commection and journey as you read effortlessly through he heartfelt novel.

    thank you for the wonderful read, it come while I have been cronically sick and provided much needed fodder for escape and enjoyment.

  20. The Upside of Over wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, and yet at the same time it was exactly that! A thoroughly enjoyable, amusing and heart warming tale about what happens when your life goes completely off the rails. It is a fantastic example of reinventing oneself. When Olivia’s life as it was is suddenly history, she really finds out what and who is important to her. A poignant reminder to all of us.

    Thanks for a terrific read Beauty and Lace and Hachette.

  21. The upside of over was a great read.
    Olivia is a very successful media identity who when her marriage turns sour she tries to get revenge on her husband. Oops, that backfired and now it leaves her without her life successes and subject to discrimination.
    Just when she thinks she has lost everything, she turns to her best friend and starts to find herself again.
    This book takes you on her journey of which many women I am sure can relate.
    The title of The Upside of Over rings true. When one door closes, another one opens and in this case it was a blessing. Recommended and will re-read!

  22. Absolutely loved this book, I finished it in one day.

    It was clever and funny read. I enjoyed all the characters, they were all interesting and unique in their own way.

    I loved that it tackled current issues and empowered women.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read this fantastic book.

    I would highly recommend it for a great piece of escapism!

  23. Well this book wasn’t at all what I expected!!!
    Olivia made a very raunchy video for her husband as she desperately attempts to win him back. This all backfires as it goes viral! She looses her job, her security and is slandered everywhere she goes. Olivia has hit rock bottom. She escapes to her best friend in Byron and her life changes for the better when she receives provocative emails from women supporters.
    This story is very easy to read and is quite entertaining! A lot of likable characters.

  24. “The Upside of Over” is awesome! I devoured this book in just two sittings.. resulting in a major reading over this morning.. but it was absolutely worth it.

    The book is easy to read, hilarious and cringe worthy in all the right ways.

    We follow the life of Olivia as she goes through a major low.. think internet humilation x 100. She escapes to her friends farm in Byron to hide and heal.. Honestly I would love to escape to Byron some days.. now if only I could find myself a rich friend lol. She deals with her issues and comes out enlightened and a much better person.

    A really fun read that offers some brilliant escapism, I would highly recommend.

  25. This book has been my favourite read so far this year. I read majority of it in one sitting and found it was just one of those stories that you’re intrigued by from page one. I loved the quirky thinkings of the main character, Olivia. This book was like a combinations of Bridget Jones’ Diary and Sex and the City. I enjoyed the supporting cast even if they were somewhat predictable and cliche. I do agree with one of the earlier reviewers about the ending feeling a little rushed. I feel like another couple of chapters would have left the book feeling more ready to be wrapped up, but overall I loved this book. The plot was otherwise well paced, interesting and topical.

    Thanks so much to Hachette and the Beauty and Lace Bookclub for the opportunity to participate.

  26. The Upside Of Over was a nice easy read, funny, witty and definitely one I would recommend. A bit rude, but not in a crude way, and reminds us that everyone has fantasies and there is nothing sting with that!
    Olivia is a lovely woman who takes a wrong turn and finds her career and life in turmoil, but her friends and new friends help her to turn her life around in a way she would never imagine!
    It was an empowering book, but I think it empowered women in a way that didn’t belittle men which is good as many books about empowerment often degrade the other side entirely.
    Really enjoyed this read!

  27. This novel gets off to quite a raunchy start and I was a bit concerned about where the story was going, but Olivia Law, a top newsreader, good wife, and some involved in community causes is someone I think most people could relate to.

    Olivia’s husband leaves her and her drunken video love letter to him goes viral, resulting in her losing her job, losing some of her social standing and her life falling apart. But, there is only way to go when you hit rock bottom, and that’s up.

    She finds solace with her best friend in Byron Bay and learns plenty about who she really is and what she wants from life. Once she meets the owner of a successful ‘marital aids’ company, her life takes a turn for the better as she learns about love… from a four-legged friend.

    The relationships in this novel and the issues that are explored are where the strengths in this story lie. A few of the storylines are a little far-fetched, but it all adds to the overall feeling of the novel.

    This may not be the book you recommend to your mum for some light bedtime reading, but then again… you just might. It’s a fun book that ties up all loose ends in a fairly convenient way – far too convenient for real life. If it’s a lighthearted book you’re after that’s going to be an easy read, this is it.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Hachette for the opportunity to read and review this novel.

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