BOOK: The Other Side Of Me

Author: Sidney Sheldon








Narrated in first person, we are introduced to a teenage boy, Sidney Schechtel, son of Otto Schechtel an American from Chicago, and Natalie Marcus, a Russian. Among other things, Sidney works as a delivery boy at a Chicago drug store. Sidney seemed to be suicidal and once stole sleeping pills for the purpose of taking his own life. Before taking the pills though, a voice spoke to him, it’s his dad, Otto, astonished that his son was a drinker; Sidney had had a glass of Whiskey with him. stunned,  Sidney looked at his father. Otto having noticed the sleeping pills, Sidney had to tell him he was about to commit suicide. A tensed conversation ensued later and in a witty way, Otto talked Sidney out of taking his life. Sidney had a little brother, Richard, whom he cared for.

Otto often traveled and thus had to do it with the family. This was a bit inconvenient for Sidney who often changed schools and had a problem making friends. Through out the book, Sidney referred to his parents by their names, Otto and Natalie, as they (the parents) had preferred it that way.


Born Sidney Schechtel, he later changed his second name to Sheldon at an amateur contest, where he would work as an announcer. He felt Schechtel was not a good name for Showbiz. “People were always mis spelling and mis-pronouncing it. I needed a name they would remember” He writes in chapter five about his name.

Sidney was a dreamer, he had a vision, he wanted to go to go to college, but due to the financial status in their home, he could not. He had dreamed of being a writer. Growing up, he had written a lot of stories that had been rejected by newspapers and magazines. This was devastating for him. Misery at home and frustrations due to the rejection of his stories made him have suicidal thoughts.

Being a memoir, Sidney takes us through his life. His childhood wasn’t the best as his parents were constantly engaging in domestic quarrels, often fighting, even in the presence of of Sidney. This bothered him, and he wished there could be a way of making them stop. He recounts his days working at Afremow’s drug store in Chicago, check room jobs every night, and interviewing minor celebrities who came to Chicago for the North Western University Newspaper, where he was a student. He had gotten a scholarship at the university. He unfortunately had to quit college after a while as the financial situation at home worsened, and he didn’t want his mother to look for a night job as he felt she was working too hard already.

Sidney exhibits the character of a hardworking, focused, resilient, young man who will stop at nothing till he gets what he wants. Immediately after he quit Northwestern university, he began looking for any job in advertising, agencies, newspapers and radio stations. Though he experienced a lot of challenges when he began his career, Sidney ended up being on of the best screenwriter, novelist and Playwright known. The book is too captivating for an auto-biography, and a must read for everyone who enjoys memoirs.