Official Review: The life of an idiot by Marc Olsen

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any fiction books or series that do not fit into one of the other categories. If the fiction book fits into one the other categories, please use that category instead.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
Post Reply
User avatar
Tomah
Posts: 1112
Joined: 05 Feb 2018, 02:21
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 116
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-tomah.html
Latest Review: Boot: A Sorta Novel of Vietnam by Charles L. Templeton

Official Review: The life of an idiot by Marc Olsen

Post by Tomah »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The life of an idiot" by Marc Olsen.]
Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


George has been in prison for five years. Returning to society, he struggles with his drug addiction, personal and family problems, and a myriad of existential questions. Having educated himself while incarcerated, George seems to find more doubts than answers from his knowledge of philosophy and theology. Can he find a path to happiness?

Marc Olsen’s The life of an idiot is an intense exercise of psychological exploration. There’s barely any plot to speak of; we simply follow George as he tries to navigate the world and cope with his melancholy and stress. Along the way, we’re thrown into wild psychedelic trips where the line between reality and fiction is blurred.

George is a fascinating character with a thoughtful but pessimistic outlook on life. He’s well versed in several fields of knowledge, so his inner monologue fluidly transitions from the Bible to Greek mythology to Ralph Waldo Emerson to Kierkegaard to even things like the Illuminati. Though he yearns for transcendence, his confusion and drug addiction keep him on a tight leash. The whole novel is about the battle between George’s several fragmented selves, with different sides gaining dominance at different points in time.

While I appreciate the raw mental journey in the form of an unfiltered stream of consciousness (the book doesn’t even have chapters; it’s just one continuous narrative), it can be overwhelming at times. The book presents George’s ideas rather matter-of-factly as if they were clear on their own. For example, some characters talk about the “supernal” things without bothering to explain what they mean. I believe they’re analogous to the Forms in Platonism, but most readers would likely have a hard time grasping this concept.

Some psychedelic trips go on for too long without adding much to the narrative and only frustrate the reader instead. In a single rant, the book goes from talking about the truth behind Cain and Abel to denying evolution to claiming that Jesus contacted extraterrestrial beings to much more. While these interludes help you understand the main character’s mind to some extent, they become alienating if done in excess.

I’ve found seven errors in the book, mostly related to punctuation marks, so there should be another round of editing. Given the lackluster editing and the overwhelming storytelling, I rate The life of an idiot 2 out of 4 stars. It’s a fascinating story that could please readers interested in character-driven narratives with a psychological focus. That said, the novel still needs more polish before I can recommend it to most people.

There are quite a few profanities, instances of drug consumption, and minor sex scenes, so the book isn’t suitable for young audiences. Christian readers should bear in mind that George has many unorthodox views and openly questions Church dogma; it’s better to avoid the novel if you have a problem with that.

******
The life of an idiot
View: on Bookshelves

User avatar
Kanda_theGreat
Posts: 1602
Joined: 09 May 2019, 06:04
2019 Reading Goal: 10
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 80
Currently Reading: The Fox
Bookshelf Size: 167
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kanda-thegreat.html
Latest Review: Born To Survive by Kylie-Anne Evans

Post by Kanda_theGreat »

I also get frustrated when I read a book then get to a point where there's plenty of unnecessary details; that's an absolute turn-off.
Thank you for the honest review.
Bet on Me! :idea:

User avatar
Tomah
Posts: 1112
Joined: 05 Feb 2018, 02:21
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 116
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-tomah.html
Latest Review: Boot: A Sorta Novel of Vietnam by Charles L. Templeton

Post by Tomah »

Kanda_theGreat wrote:
08 Jan 2020, 08:30
I also get frustrated when I read a book then get to a point where there's plenty of unnecessary details; that's an absolute turn-off.
Thank you for the honest review.
True, that's something authors need to watch out for. Thanks for the comment!

User avatar
mmm17
Posts: 746
Joined: 23 Dec 2018, 09:24
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 196
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-mmm17.html
Latest Review: The Roving Mind: A Modern Approach to Cognitive Enhancement by Anthony Simola

Post by mmm17 »

I agree that a stream of consciousness can be overwhelming. I had a similar experience recently. Thanks for a great review!

User avatar
MsH2k
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1602
Joined: 31 Jul 2019, 11:11
Favorite Book: Crushing
Currently Reading: The Twelve Months of the Year in 850 Languages and Dialects
Bookshelf Size: 158
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-msh2k.html
Latest Review: Nettie boo by Judy Brown

Post by MsH2k »

I don’t think I’ll go along for this ride. It sounds like it would be interesting but too intense. Thank you for your review.
"Choose your heroes wisely."
#358
Last Words From Above (Jeremy Brown)

kdstrack
Posts: 5571
Joined: 10 May 2017, 19:49
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 125
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 106
Currently Reading: Call of the Couch
Bookshelf Size: 450
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kdstrack.html
Latest Review: Victoria's War by Catherine A. Hamilton

Post by kdstrack »

I appreciated your insights about the author's writing style and the different topics he delves into in his book. This looks too confusing for me! Thanks for your honest review.

Miller56
Posts: 437
Joined: 22 Jul 2019, 19:30
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 50
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-miller56.html
Latest Review: Ruby by Cathy Coburn

Post by Miller56 »

Thanks for the review. I am sure there are many interesting things about the book. I can understand how understanding Biblical teaching and fighting drug addiction would be a constant internal war. I am sure that in the mind these two things either complete each other or are difficult to put together. I think I will pass on this one.
Latest Review: Ruby by Cathy Coburn

User avatar
Tomah
Posts: 1112
Joined: 05 Feb 2018, 02:21
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 116
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-tomah.html
Latest Review: Boot: A Sorta Novel of Vietnam by Charles L. Templeton

Post by Tomah »

MsH2k wrote:
08 Jan 2020, 14:28
I don’t think I’ll go along for this ride. It sounds like it would be interesting but too intense. Thank you for your review.
kdstrack wrote:
08 Jan 2020, 20:10
I appreciated your insights about the author's writing style and the different topics he delves into in his book. This looks too confusing for me! Thanks for your honest review.
Miller56 wrote:
08 Jan 2020, 20:21
Thanks for the review. I am sure there are many interesting things about the book. I can understand how understanding Biblical teaching and fighting drug addiction would be a constant internal war. I am sure that in the mind these two things either complete each other or are difficult to put together. I think I will pass on this one.
mmm17 wrote:
08 Jan 2020, 12:48
I agree that a stream of consciousness can be overwhelming. I had a similar experience recently. Thanks for a great review!
Thanks for the comments! It's a fairly interesting book, that's for sure. I would love to see a more polished version of this.

User avatar
Prisallen
Posts: 3820
Joined: 27 Feb 2019, 18:57
2019 Reading Goal: 104
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 69
Favorite Book:
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 143
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-prisallen.html
Latest Review: The Killing of Faith by William Holms

Post by Prisallen »

This does not sound like the kind of book I would enjoy. I think I would get too frustrated with it. Thanks for the wonderful review, though!

User avatar
unamilagra
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1411
Joined: 07 Feb 2019, 22:57
2019 Reading Goal: 20
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 245
Currently Reading: The Explosive Child
Bookshelf Size: 90
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-unamilagra.html
Latest Review: Nobody's Perfect by Marlene Resnick Simons
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by unamilagra »

Wow, this does not sound like a book I could handle reading. It sounds like this goes beyond stream of consciousness and right into rambling. Thank you for your honest review!

User avatar
Tomah
Posts: 1112
Joined: 05 Feb 2018, 02:21
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 116
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-tomah.html
Latest Review: Boot: A Sorta Novel of Vietnam by Charles L. Templeton

Post by Tomah »

Prisallen wrote:
09 Jan 2020, 12:20
This does not sound like the kind of book I would enjoy. I think I would get too frustrated with it. Thanks for the wonderful review, though!
Prisallen wrote:
09 Jan 2020, 12:20
This does not sound like the kind of book I would enjoy. I think I would get too frustrated with it. Thanks for the wonderful review, though!
It does feel rather rambling and frustrating at times, so it's not for everyone. Still, I do think it has potential. Thanks for the comments!

Post Reply

Return to “Other Fiction Forum”