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Happy Accident: J.D. Barrett on writing about female sexuality in The Upside of Over

June 20, 2018

J.D. Barrett writes about capturing the zeitgeist…

I had no idea when I wrote The Upside of Over just how timely it would be when it reached publication! Upside tells the story of Olivia Law, a 45 year-old news presenter who has steadily lost who she is in the business of appearing as who she thinks she should be, until one day circumstances lead to her authentic self rearing up in a loud and proud manner which turns her perfect life on it’s perfectly foiled head. I know in my own life I’ve been guilty of sacrificing authenticity in the pursuit of perfection, and I don’t think I’m alone… I don’t think being authentic means you have to lower your standards either, but I do believe it’s about reaching standards that nourish and nurture your soul and yourself rather than ticking boxes to receive approval or adulation. And that in reality is no mean feat. I believe this relates to the #Metoo movement too, for many women it has been a watershed moment in their personal history and a departure from being ‘the good girl’ to step up and say, ‘Me too.’

The Upside of Over also deals with ageing in the media and the level of sexual harassment women, until recently, have felt they had no choice but to grin and bear. I am thrilled that Upside is reaching readers at a time the #Metoo movement is hitting its stride.

Upside celebrates female sexuality; the embracing and supporting of each other in things that make us go hmmm. I find this is also timely because I feel that by standing up to what we don’t want – workplace harassment, any harassment, ageism and bullying – we’re creating more space to dive into and celebrate what we do want as women. And a strong part of empowering our identity involves feeling safe enough and powerful enough to explore who we are sexually. I was concerned when I wrote The Upside of Over that it might come across as weird or grotty and I’ve been so delighted by readers responses to it so far. Like Olivia, I’m learning there’s such power in telling your truth and the sexiest thing you can be is yourself. Most of us long, really long to have our true self seen and accepted – doing that for yourself is one of the most powerful things you can do. I don’t want to sound like a schmaltzy Hallmark card, but it all comes back to that really. And we’re living in a time where the world is reflecting us right back at us and smiling and saying ‘thumbs up to your empowerment.’ And I find that thrilling!

About the author

J.D. Barrett is an Australian television writer and script editor. She has worked on the writing teams for Love My WayEast of EverythingBed of RosesWonderlandLove Child and The Secret DaughterThe Secret Recipe for Second Chances was her bestselling debut novel. The Song of Us was her second book and The Upside of Over is her third work of fiction. J.D. lives between Sydney, Byron Bay and Los Angeles.


Purchase a copy here // Read a review here


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