BY PAUL ADAM LEVY
Reviewed on behalf of The Review Board by Harmony Kent.
I received a free MOBI copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Alexander is a dysfunctional young man, disillusioned with his life. After ten years working in the warehouse of a supermarket, he is offered an automatic promotion, at which he completely freaks out. This sets off a chain of events which sees him homeless and staggering from one event to another with no rhyme or reason.
I found this character so unmemorable, I had to go back and look up his name to write this review. I failed to connect with him on any level, and had no sympathy whatsoever for his plight. Remarkable, considering the whole book revolves around this character—his thoughts, his emotions, and his reactions. He is so dysfunctional, in fact, that no logic can be found within his responses or thoughts—I would say ‘reasoning’ but there really wasn’t any.
That’s not to say that I didn’t relate to his awful personal situation: I did. His dead-end job, lonely, single home life, rundown studio flat, and no hope … but none of this explains his (dare I say) borderline mental health issues. He’s not the only guy to have been in this position, but it would be a dire world indeed if they all spiralled so out of control like he did just because they got offered a promotion they didn’t particularly want.
As you will have guessed, this all made it an arduous enough read for me, but then we get into the technical hiccups that added to the burden. The writing style is passive in the extreme. I lost count of the number of sentences with words missing. Spelling mistakes abound, and comma usage is erratic at best. Incorrect words are used, such as ‘moral’ instead of ‘morale’, ‘discrete’ instead of ‘discreet’, and ‘carefree’ being treated as two separate words. I could go on. Exclamation marks are chronically overused, as is delaying the action unnecessarily by using ‘began to’ and ‘started to’. Split infinitives pepper the prose, as does telling instead of showing.
While the plot does include unexpected events, the main character’s reactions to them are all too predictable. At one point, pages have been given over to showing how hungry he is, and then with the first pound he receives, he blows it in an internet café—so, obviously not quite that deleriously hungry after all. Believe me, if he was all that starved, he would have bought something edible with even that small amount of money, such as a bag or crisps or a chocolate bar—anything that contained calories.
I give this book 5 out of 10 TRB stars, which equates to 2.5 out of 5 stars on other rating scales.