It’s difficult to really describe just how much I absolutely HATED reading this book. It sounded intriguing. Edward, a 39 year old man with OCD and Aspergers lives alone in his regimented world, until the arrival of a new neighbour and her nine year old son intrudes upon his existence in unexpected ways. Sounds like it could be interesting. That is until, on the first page, it’s apparent the book is narrated in the first person by Edward, and that’s where it all fell apart.
If you love the minutiae of someone’s life, what time they wake up in the morning, what they eat, where they go and how they get there, what TV they watch, then this is the book for you. There is probably about 10 pages in this book that actually move the story forward. The rest is all a seemingly endless retread of TV shows he is watching, food he is buying and eating, as well as a garage he keeps painting. It is mind numbing to the point of being absolutely unbearable. I found myself skim reading whole sections, because I just didn’t care to read the plot of a Dragnet episode or the life lesson it teaches Edward.
This kind of monotonous and relentless narrative voice would be fine, if it had anything original to say. It doesn’t. Mark Haddon struck gold with his Aspergers narrator, but Lancaster fails dismally. *Spoiler alert* Edward has a tortured relationship with his father, who dies suddenly about two thirds of the way through. I lost my dad last year, and any father/son stuff has me boo-hooing in seconds (I even blubbed at a Man of Steel trailer the other day). The only tears Lancaster pulled out of me were ones of boredom. Epic and unmitigated fail.
It only took me three and a half hours of my life to read about 600 of Edward’s. It’s 210 minutes I’m never getting back. There’s a sequel. Given the non-ending of this book, I am not what you’d call inspired to check it out.