Skip to main content

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.

View all my reviews

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

On Faith - Part One of my Daredevil Review

"I would rather die as Daredevil than live as Matt Murdock."

As I mentioned in my review of Daredevil Season 2,  I love this show, so I didn't want to simply write another review. Instead, I chose to write three articles on what I saw as the three main strengths of this season: its honest depiction or faith and the struggles of mere mortals to live it; the effects of psychopathy and the morality of treating people who have it; and the ability of friendships to fill the hole left by a missing family. In my Season 2 review, I mentioned how the show's writers have stayed true to the spirit of the comic in their characters, in the actors they cast, and the direction of the plot. Season 3 begins with another strong and unapologetic nod to the original comic: its focus on Matt's faith, or in this case, his loss of it.

In the last episode of The Defenders, a building fell directly on top of Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, as well as Elektra, the love of his life whose sou…

Moral Quagmires when on the Job

Ask a Manager is one of the very few blogs I follow. I check it every single day, delighting in the professional debacles the letter writers find themselves in. Unfailingly, Allison provides spot-on advice, emphasizing professional norms, office culture, and employment law in her responses. To be honest, her site is the reason I made Tess, the protagonist of my upcoming novella, an HR rep. I've never worked in HR, so reading Allison's site and seeing the absolutely unthinkable behavior of some employers made me grateful for literally every job I've ever had. Even the awful ones, because they were still better than some of these poor people's jobs. Don't believe me? A boss directed an employee, on pain of being fired, to leave a note at a grave for a worker who was on bereavement leave. Yeah, someone actually did that.

On the July 10 post, something unusual happened: I disagreed with Allison's advice. You can see the hyperlink, so please read it for yourself, b…

Going Analogue: Why I'm slowly ridding myself of Apps

If you've spent any time on the internet, you've probably seen the meme below or something similar.

Most of us chuckle at it because we've all been there. Someone asks you a question you have no way of knowing off the top of your head, even though they have the same phone you do, probably right there in their hand. I suppose this meme is great for coworkers or other people you wouldn't speak to if you had a choice.

But a few weeks ago, I said that to my spouse. He asked me a question, one no doubt designed to start a conversation (we were getting ready for dinner, after all), and my reaction was one of irritation. What was I doing that I was so annoyed at being interrupted? I was looking at Pinterest. Yes, I'm serious.

That episode was a wakeup call, one bolstered by my iPhone letting me know that on any given day, I have six to seven hours of screen time. Let that sink in. I'm awake for about ten hours. And for eight of them, I'm glued to that stupid, time…