4 out of 4 stars
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The novel Cooperative Lives by Patrick Finegan is a fictional genre that highlights the life of New York residents that reside in a land-marked building opposite the Central Park. The residents goes to the central park to have a good rest, breathe fresh air, engage in outdoor games with their kids or watch their kids play together. However, most of their private lives is largely unknown to each other. They are so many and barely noticed one another. The author asserts that it is as if they had been stationed to avoid eye contacts with each other unless absolutely necessary. Many of the families residing in the flat are struggling to remain united in the midst of the difficulties that they face on a daily basis. It is until an M7 bus knocks one of the tenant shareholders that information about their anonymous lives is revealed to the public by the press.
I loved the manner in which this book creates awareness on the social problems that urban dwellers go through everyday including robbery, traffic congestion, and poor living conditions. It shows that urban dwellers too have their problems and all is not always rosy. The residents of the Land-marked building opposite the central park in are forced to contend with the hardship of city life. Their flats are not in proper conditions, they must face a heavy traffic as they seek to cross the road and thievery in the city. Accidents are a common scene around their building. Drivers and cyclists blatantly ignores the traffic rules and the police have other priorities. The result is unending suffering by the residents. The author by discussing the lives of Newyork resident thus creates awareness on their plight of urban dwellers.
I also loved the discussion of family bonds and their resilience in this novel. Families like Jack’s family are largely affected by the happenings in the city. However, they remain united despite their difficulties.. Jack is retired and the pension he gets is insufficient to carter for all his family needs. His wife Susan and daughter Melissa family is understanding about his situation and remain together. Even Melissa their little girl understands the situation and does not want Jack and Susan to bur her gifts anymore. Moreover, Susan too is disabled and Jack helps her in doing the house chores and assisting Melissa with her school work. He remains a modest father and husband despite their troubles. Their resilience in the midst of such difficulties is commendable . They are a source of inspiration for families going through difficult moments.
Another aspect I loved in the novel is the vivid way in which the author introduces new characters. The author while introducing new characters vividly describes them and creates a connection between them and other characters. The vivid description of the new characters and their interconnection with other characters made it easier to understand the role that each character plays in the novel. It was thus easier to understand the book’s flow.
There is nothing I disliked in this novel. I rate it at 4 out of 4 stars. It has a compelling and engaging content that creates awareness on the plight of urban residences. Moreover, the resilience of families during the down moments is admirable. I enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to all persons interested in novels that highlights societal issues. Many societal issues are addressed in the lives of the residents of the land-marked building overlooking central park. However, persons who have no interest in societal issues may abstain from reading this novel. This book is exceptionally well edited.
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