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4 out of 4 stars
Review by CataclysmicKnight
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The main character frequently points out thoughts that many of us have had from time to time, and some perhaps even more extreme. These are merely thoughts and the character is quick to point out he would never do such a thing, but it's very honest and open. It presses how much free will people truly have, and it's interesting that one of his main tenets for life is that everyone have their own freedom. This is why rape is so bad in his mind, for example, because while having that kind of power over someone is exciting to him it's also removing their free will.
As the main character talks a few main themes arise. Interestingly, along with freedom another of the points he repeats is that life is a curse. Not only is it a curse, he points out, it's a curse that is forced upon us, one we aren't free to accept or decline. What I really liked about all of this was how these opinions and beliefs were woven throughout his stories, used to explain how and why he did certain things. When he callously asked a religious woman about her beliefs until she ends up crying, for example, he truly believed he was doing a good thing. As the daughter of a preacher he felt those beliefs were forced on her early in life, and by questioning her and "breaking her down" she could rebuild herself with her own thoughts and opinions into something new. The fallacy of altruism is probably my favorite section, however, as it's both poignant and funny. He lists the best and worst methods for allowing others to see what a giving, great person you are, and he tackles the question of whether altruism is even possible very well.
The setup of this one is very interesting as well. The concept of reader as participant in the book, actively listening, offered food and drink and asked to judge the main character is done rather well. As the story goes on, this becomes the best part of the book, but I would be spoiling things if I shared how.
When I first dove into A Confession I was a little disappointed because it didn't feel like the book I was promised. As I continued on, however, it turned into an exceptional read. The main character is neither hero nor villain, he's relatable but also makes choices I'd never be able to and seems to contradict himself at times but is able to explain himself nearly every time. The other characters in the book are just as strong, and his ability to utilize them for debate is fantastic. Part of the book's twist was predictable but it was done so well I didn't care, and there were even more twists than I could have expected. As such, I'm happy to rate A Confession 4 out of 4 stars. Because of some of the subject matter I can't recommend it to anyone under 18, but I don't think teenagers and kids would be interested anyway. For anyone who loves philosophy and thinking, however, this is definitely one to pick up.
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