Review by Dentarthurdent -- Cooperative Lives

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Dentarthurdent
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Review by Dentarthurdent -- Cooperative Lives

Post by Dentarthurdent » 10 Oct 2019, 04:33

[Following is a volunteer review of "Cooperative Lives" by Patrick Finegan.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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As a wheelchair-ridden, retired athlete in an unhappy marriage, it is easy to imagine Susan Roberts doing something doubtlessly ill-advised and self-destructive. In a brief (albeit thorough) lapse of judgement, she attempts to use her wheelchair to run a green-light, as it were, across a busy highway. The flat, unforgiving face of an oncoming bus would have been her final sight had Mr. Vogel, her neighbor (yet ironically, a stranger) not heroically intervened, earning himself an injury he hides very well. Subsequently, he lands himself in a hospital a few days later, and a coma-induced delusion causes him to implicate Susan’s husband, Jack, in a mix-up to end all mix-ups, involving the theft of nearly two million dollars from a mutual neighbour, Allison Pfouts.
 
Wally, another neighbour, is a man who fate habitually strives to spit on, who loses the things that matter to him with the gradual inevitability of a child losing his milk-teeth. Naturally, his poor fortune lands him neck-deep in the Pfouts mess. The main plot of Cooperative Lives follows this dramatic episode as well as its aftermath. In addition, the narration is populated with character-driven subplots which are based on the lives and previous experiences of the affluent residents of a building facing Central Park, New York.
 
Patrick Finegan’s drama boasts a large, varied and nuanced cast. The experiences, thoughts and actions of characters are presented to the reader by a judgement-free, third-person voice. However, this omniscient narrator does not make excuses for them, which allows the reader to decide what he or she thinks of them.
 
Additionally, the writing elegantly interlaces views on racism, politics, abuse, freedom of the press, and the inadvertent hypocrisy of society, subtly using the views of individual characters in a manner that is not overbearing. Finegan displays great skill in the utilisation of situational and dramatic irony, which keep the story engaging, yet he still manages to surprise the reader with plot-twists towards the end of the tale.
 
Furthermore, all the subplots complement each other without contradiction, succeeding in providing insight into the perceptions of all involved personas. At the same time, the subplots cover most of the first two-thirds of the novel without appearing to be feeding an overarching plot, which is introduced rather late into the book, and consequently, I felt as though the story was going nowhere. I might have abandoned my reading efforts, had I not been required to write a review. The subplots, while beautifully interwoven, failed to stand on their own, lacking a backbone as they did.
 
What I found most irksome about Cooperative Lives was the author’s tendency to expound excessively on a myriad of topics, including New York traffic control systems, hospital policies, actuarial concepts, information technology, cancer, culture, aeronautical engineering, and many more. While his mastery of the subjects is impressive, most of the information presented is superfluous or dull.
 
Patrick Finegan seems to expound on Dickens’ assertion in A Tale of Two Cities, recognising that “...every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!” This is the best way to describe Cooperative Lives, and is what I found most intriguing about it. I rate this contemporary, multi-themed drama 3 out of 4 stars; with a bit of work on the plot and pacing, plus a little less digressing by the author, the book could be quite near perfect.

If social commentaries or multi-faceted tales pique your interest, then Finegan is a man after your own heart, while if you like fast-paced books, or are under sixteen years old, skip this one. I would not recommend this tale to children because of the strong language as well as sexual content. Additionally, the technical manner of the writing and the vocabulary used may bore non-adult audiences.

******
Cooperative Lives
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Bambiears
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Post by Bambiears » 23 Oct 2019, 13:53

Thank you so much for your reveiw.

I had seen this one as an option the last time I was picking a book to read, and wondered if I should look into it. so glad I was able to run across your reveiw before picking this book, as it would definatly be a bad fit for me.

It is so nice to belong to a comunity of individuals that can provide each other insight on various books.

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Post by Dentarthurdent » 23 Oct 2019, 16:24

Bambiears wrote: ↑
23 Oct 2019, 13:53
Thank you so much for your reveiw.

I had seen this one as an option the last time I was picking a book to read, and wondered if I should look into it. so glad I was able to run across your reveiw before picking this book, as it would definatly be a bad fit for me.

It is so nice to belong to a comunity of individuals that can provide each other insight on various books.
I'm really glad I could be of assistance! It would be such an inconvenience to end up having to read a book that doesn't appeal to you.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
"I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More I cannot say"
--Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

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Post by MsH2k » 24 Oct 2019, 00:09

This is a great review! It was a challenging book. Kudos for staying the course to finish your review.

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Dentarthurdent
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Post by Dentarthurdent » 24 Oct 2019, 05:52

MsH2k wrote: ↑
24 Oct 2019, 00:09
This is a great review! It was a challenging book. Kudos for staying the course to finish your review.
Thanks so much for reading the review! Have a great day.
"I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More I cannot say"
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Post by Bianka Walter » 24 Oct 2019, 08:50

This is an awesome review! From the sounds of your summary, this is a book that seems to have MANY nooks and crannies :)
I really enjoyed this, thanks!
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Post by djr6090 » 24 Oct 2019, 09:00

This was a difficult book to to review, there was just so much in it. You did a nice job. I particularly liked your Dickens quote, even if it is from one of his books I disliked. Thanks for the headwork.

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Post by Dentarthurdent » 24 Oct 2019, 11:24

Bianka Walter wrote: ↑
24 Oct 2019, 08:50
This is an awesome review! From the sounds of your summary, this is a book that seems to have MANY nooks and crannies :)
I really enjoyed this, thanks!
Thanks so much for the kind words, Bianka!
It's been a while.
The book does have its share of nooks and crannies, and then some.
I'm really glad you enjoyed the review.
"I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More I cannot say"
--Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

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Post by Dentarthurdent » 24 Oct 2019, 11:28

djr6090 wrote: ↑
24 Oct 2019, 09:00
This was a difficult book to to review, there was just so much in it. You did a nice job. I particularly liked your Dickens quote, even if it is from one of his books I disliked. Thanks for the headwork.
Thanks so much for your thoughts! It was a rather difficult book to do; it took me a while to figure out quite how to phrase the review, and I'm happy you liked it. Have a great day :)
"I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More I cannot say"
--Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

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Post by Charlyt » 25 Oct 2019, 02:17

Seems like a complicated book with a lot to say, but having relevant topics nonetheless. Great review!
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Post by Prisallen » 25 Oct 2019, 08:36

I have read other stories where I feel the social commentaries take away from the story. Between that and all the subplots, I think I will skip this story for now. Thanks for a great review, as always!

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Post by Dentarthurdent » 26 Oct 2019, 05:34

Charlyt wrote: ↑
25 Oct 2019, 02:17
Seems like a complicated book with a lot to say, but having relevant topics nonetheless. Great review!
Thanks so much for your comment!
I agree; the book does tackle quite a number of relevant topics.
"I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More I cannot say"
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Post by gen_g » 26 Oct 2019, 05:36

I love the quote you inserted from Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities! It certainly reminds me of readings of Joyce's Ulysses, where he depicts the city itself as a living space. Thanks for the insightful review!
Last edited by gen_g on 26 Oct 2019, 05:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Dentarthurdent
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Post by Dentarthurdent » 26 Oct 2019, 05:36

Prisallen wrote: ↑
25 Oct 2019, 08:36
I have read other stories where I feel the social commentaries take away from the story. Between that and all the subplots, I think I will skip this story for now. Thanks for a great review, as always!
I get what you mean; sometimes the commentaries overpower or excessively drive the plot, to the detriment of the tale. I'm glad this wasn't one of those cases. Thanks a lot for stopping by, and for the kind words. Have a great day!
"I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More I cannot say"
--Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

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Dentarthurdent
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Post by Dentarthurdent » 26 Oct 2019, 05:43

gen_g wrote: ↑
26 Oct 2019, 05:36
I love the quote you inserted from Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities! It certainly reminds me of readings of Joyce's Ulysses, where he depicts the city itself as a living space. Thanks for the insightful review!
Thank you for commenting. I love it when a situation reminds me of something I once read in a book. It's more common to draw from your own life to understand a book, but drawing from a book to understand life, when it happens, really makes me happy. I'm glad you enjoyed the review!
"I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More I cannot say"
--Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

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