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Review: A History of Loneliness

A History of Loneliness A History of Loneliness by John Boyne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This had to be one of the more infuriating books I have ever read. Is it possible such a clueless person could ever have existed? Odran is written so well by John Boyne that I ended up hating the book . Some other reviewers have speculated that Boyne's creation of the willfully ignorant Odran was due to his underestimating the intelligence of his reader. But I don't think that's true. I think he did it on purpose and it's illustrated by Odran's father that last day at the breakfast table. If Odran really were as stupid as he made himself out to be as an adult, then he never would have grown to an adult in the first place. He would have gone with his father to the beach and died with him there. But he didn't. He sensed the danger. He saw it just as clearly as I did. His father intended to murder him. It was obvious in every word, every action, even to a child. Perhaps it was survivor's guilt that caused Odran to then suppress every subsequent warning instict. Oh, your nephew hates you and started acting out whenever you brought up Tom Cardle... hmmmm. Weird, right? Are you kidding me? It says something for Boyne's talent that he was able to whip me up into such a rage. But then it likely also speaks to the still-stinging betrayal I felt when I realized that priests were just men, no different than the ones who didn't wear collars. And Bishops were just lying politicians, no different than the assholes in Washington—just with less oversight. Like the movie The Magdalene Sisters, I found myself angry to the point of distraction, and I think I may have to avoid fictional works that involve the Irish Catholic church. It clouds rather than clears my mind.

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