Official Review: The life of an idiot by Marc Olsen

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Tomah
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Official Review: The life of an idiot by Marc Olsen

Post by Tomah » 07 Jan 2020, 14:32

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

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The life of an idiot
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Kanda_theGreat
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Post by Kanda_theGreat » 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.
Bet on me!✊

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Tomah
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Post by Tomah » 08 Jan 2020, 11:59

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!

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Post by mmm17 » 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!

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Post by MsH2k » 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.

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Post by kdstrack » 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.

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Post by Miller56 » 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.
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Post by Tomah » 09 Jan 2020, 11:51

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.

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Post by Prisallen » 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!

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Post by unamilagra » 09 Jan 2020, 23:31

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!

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Tomah
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Post by Tomah » 10 Jan 2020, 12:39

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!

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