“Alison McGhee’s The Opposite of Fate plunges fearlessly into the core of the pro-choice vs. pro-life debate…staggering…[McGhee] maneuvers the weight of this tight-rope topic with grace and unwavering symmetry…[The Opposite of Fate] teaches us that at the end of the day the story of our lives comes down to our choices. Even when we are dealt a bad hand, a hand beyond our control, the decision of how we carry on is still up to us. We always have the option to keep moving forward as best we can.”
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The Opposite of Fate Paperback – February 18, 2020
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"The Opposite of Fate dives deep into one of the more terrifying—and yet hopeful—questions of life. How do we choose when we don't know the right answer? Alison McGhee is a fearless writer, full of love for humanity and a tender touch with words. You'll love this book."
—Rene Denfeld, bestselling author of The Child Finder
"The Opposite of Fate is a timely and piercing read, pushing us to think about choice, both in the abstract sense and in our everyday lives."
"Laudable...heartfelt...give[s] nuance to sweeping political questions...The Opposite of Fate rejects the idea of 'the flat rightness and wrongness of things' in favor of a fraught and human complexity."
"The Opposite of Fate is an uplifting novel about the life-changing decisions we make and the way they shape our lives."
—She Reads, "7 Books About Strong Women"
“Heartfelt…McGhee is interested in these characters regaining themselves, not the violence but the consequences. And she does it with her usual graceful writing and empathy for her character that makes the reader ache for all of them.”
"McGhee uses thoughtful language and rich, meditative imagery to paint a picture of one young woman facing a difficult new path ahead."
“This is, at its heart, a novel about family—including chosen family—autonomy, and identity…Thoughtful and moving.”
"McGhee raises an issue pertinent to women’s lives in general: Who has control of our bodies?"
—Crime Reads, "9 Novels to Read in February"
"Humanizes the abortion issue in a way that is unexpected and heartening...The Opposite of Fate is a timely work."
"Alison McGhee’s The Opposite of Fate is, like everything she writes, as close to poetry as prose gets, full of metaphor and imagery and lyrical repetition. I was driven to turn page after page to find out what would happen—Would Mallie reassemble her life? What would “the whole truth” look like when it was pieced back together?—but I also wanted to slow down and savor each beautiful sentence, each image. The Opposite of Fate is a story about stories: the ones we tell ourselves in order to bear the unbearable, solve the unsolvable, and live."
—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones
"Mallie Williams wakes from a year-long nightmarish sleep like a princess in a fairy-tale; but in Alison McGhee's novel, the princess takes control of her narrative and her future. The Opposite of Fate shows the ways in which imagination can sometimes save us. This is a powerful and beautiful book."
—Julie Schumacher, author of The Shakespeare Requirement
“The Opposite of Fate is a story for our times, for many of us who are concerned about the future of our bodies, afraid for a return to a place and time when women had no say over our reproductive rights, our ability to make decisions for ourselves and our livelihoods. This is a powerful book about family, love, faith and the will to survive.”
—Kao Kalia Yang, author of The Song Poet
"After a sexual assault left her comatose and pregnant, 21-year-old Mallie Williams lies in the hospital, unable to make a life-changing decision about her own body. With her loved ones in charge of making determining the baby’s fate, Mallie awakes to a new world and the chance to build a new life."
—Parade, "Set Your Reading Lists! These Are the 20 Most Anticipated Books of Early 2020"
"The book is just so human...A beautiful and well-written novel."
—Steph's Story Space
About the Author
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You know how you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover? Unfortunately, I do. And this cover was STUNNING. So when I began seeing this book pop up all over #bookstagram, I knew I needed to see what it was about.
This book, “The Opposite of Fate” by Alison McGhee, reminded me so much of “Know My Name” by Chanel Miller. I know it isn’t fair to compare a heartbreaking memoir to the storyline in a fiction book, but the entire time I read about Mallie’s struggles in this book, I was thinking about Chanel in her book.
Needless to say, I LOVED everything about this book. I’m not even going to try and write a review because I won’t do it justice. But I will share some of my favorite quotes, because the author’s writing was beautiful.
1. “Mallie never had to make up a place where she felt safe, because everyone she had Zach. Zach Miller has been the place where nothing bad could happen to her”.
2. “Once upon a time there was a sister, whose brother wished he could turn back time”.
3. “The truth was that no one could be who they used to be. Minute by minute, everyone was becoming the person they would be. Minute by minute, all the possible fates were being decided”.
This will definitely be one of my top ten books of 2020, so y’all should go pick it up and read it too!
The characters are beautifully rendered, and Mallie is unforgettable. After nearly a year and a half of being in a comma, she wakes up to find that everything has changed around her. Loved ones are either absent or living elsewhere, and relationships have shifted in strange and unexpected ways. Her job will be to discover why that is, and what happened to her. These discoveries take place in small dosages, as Mallie is seeing the world anew, and trying hard to remember and to make sense of everything, but she is extremely intuitive, and the truth comes easily to her. Eventually though, the most painful aspect of her journey will be to confront a much larger truth. I highly recommend this book, and look forward to reading more by Alison McGhee.
McGhee is a subtle, beautiful writer, and this is a profound and moving story. Yes, it's about the complexity of abortion, but more so it's about how people find love.