Reading this book in January, as I did, made me think one significant thought..."God I'm depressed". And although at first I wouldn't advise other potential readers to indulge themselves in this "meek" treat during what scientists say is the most depressing month of the year; synonymous as they are, January provides a successful backdrop for a review of a book of this nature.
Like January, the book pull's out it's hardest punches right at the beginning. The proverbial left hook is the most stinging of blows - just like the first arduous run on the treadmill after Christmas and similarily the abuse suffered by the lead character (Quoyle) by his father and family.
Staggering slightly, you steady yourself and the haze clears just in time for a right hook to thunder down on you right between the eyes. A metaphorical simulation of a feeling similar to that of the 10th of January - a date when all your friends have given up on their detox plans and are out drinking, while you sit quietly on your own neatly sipping fresh cranberry juice through a plastic straw. Not helped by reading that Quoyle's one true friend in his life is just about to leave him...desperate and alone.
Curled up in a ball as you are, rolling along the floor, you fail to notice the final bitter blow: Quoyle's found love, but it is a love that is not returned and ultimately one that ends in tragedy....a crashing foot colliding into your ribs if ever there was one.
So there it is, this is how the book grabs you. Chapter 3 or 4 into the book and you're thinking "this surely couldn't get any worse".
And like the first time you dont end up vomitting after your january work out, or dont crave chips with your freshly cut salad, you appear to be right. It doesn't get any worse, in fact it gets better....well slightly.
That is the premis of this book, it is based on a life of depression, anguish and hurt of it's main character, and from that the rather medial plot that follows appears positive. Can I tell you it made me smile? Well I'll put it this way:- Does drinking cranberry juice and eating measly salads make you smile? But does it make you feel better from the initial impact the month/book had on you? Yes it does. Does much happen throughout the book? No, not that I noticed. Yet still I enjoyed it. I got something from it, I felt like I had succeeded having read it.
So my summary of this book is as follows:
Like January, it happens. Indulge it; get what you want from it; get over it.