Official Review: The O'Leary Enigma by Bob Purssell

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Official Review: The O'Leary Enigma by Bob Purssell

Post by micoleon13 » 03 Mar 2018, 09:07

[Following is an official review of "The O'Leary Enigma" by Bob Purssell.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Having already read the second book in this series, I jumped at the chance to review book one, The O’Leary Enigma by Bob Purssell.

As an adopted child, Barbara O’Leary comes from a loving and supportive home, but she has always felt different from other children her age. A brilliant ice hockey player and go-kart driver, she also has a never-abating thirst for knowledge. This, however, along with her tall lanky frame puts her on the outside with her peers.

In trying to find out more about her biological mother, Barbara discovers a mystery. Determined to not turn out the same way as her mother did, this knowledge affects her life significantly in how she interacts with people.

Drawn to a career in the Navy, Barbara finds herself in the middle of dangerous and life-threatening situations. Will she be able to use her training to her advantage to save her life, and will she ever be able to solve the mystery surrounding her mother?

Written, for the majority of the book, in first person, this story is set up as a fictional memoir, written by a friend of Barbara’s using her notes, diaries, and interviews with her colleagues. I found this a very different, yet interesting style of writing.

As the main character, Barbara is brilliantly written. She is a very literal thinker and while incredibly determined, intelligent and outgoing, she lacks self-assurance regarding her figure and her sexuality. While she is indeed a strong female character, she has many little flaws and quirks which make her realistic.

The other characters are all three-dimensional and believable as the reader sees them through Barbara’s eyes. The overwhelming love for her father and her slightly strained yet loving relationship with her mother provide a believable portrayal of typical parents wanting the best for their daughter while trying to prevent her from making the same mistakes that they did.

Set in the near future, the story travels from the American Plains where Barbara grew up, all the way to Africa following her career in the Navy. I liked the variety of settings as it allowed Barbara to be portrayed in a new light.

An aspect which I appreciated in this book were the footnotes. Each term which may not have been common knowledge, whether it was about ice hockey, go-karting or the Navy, had a numbered link to a list of explanations at the end of the book. I found this very helpful, not knowing much about either of these three topics.

I found very little to criticise here, and after reading the second book, The O’Leary Entanglement, I appreciated the insight into Barbara’s younger character. This was a highly enjoyable read and I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this to a wide variety of readers especially those who enjoy good character development, adventure and action. I hope to read more about Barbara O’Leary in the future.

The O'Leary Enigma
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Post by prettysmart » 05 Mar 2018, 13:29

I would love to discover how Barbara dealt with feeling indifferent and how her persona grew.,.Admirable review!

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Post by Jonida » 05 Mar 2018, 15:37

Strong and independent character, want to learn from her...

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Post by Jkhorner » 05 Mar 2018, 16:01

This book sounds right up my alley! I love that it focuses on one person and actually develops her character, rather than letting things just happen to her. Thank you for the honest review without giving too much of the story away!

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Post by Kat Berg » 05 Mar 2018, 17:10

I am trying to figure out if I would like footnotes in a novel or not. It is a unique way to deal with unknown words in a book. Typically books like this would have a glossary at the end or the beginning, but that is much less useful in an ebook than in a hard copy, particularly because a reader often doesn't even know it is there until they have struggled through the entire book, and suddenly discover at the end of all things.

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Post by micoleon13 » 05 Mar 2018, 17:22

I am usually against footnotes as I feel like it distracts from the story. However, as they were direct links to just that footnote and then you could click back to return to exactly where you were reading, I actually found them much more useful than I thought I would.

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Post by cristinaro » 06 Mar 2018, 06:14

You seem to have enjoyed both books in the series. This is an encouraging sign for all those interested in reading memoirs. I am in favour of the use of explanatory footnotes whenever necessary. You were right to welcome them in this case because not many people, myself included, know so much about ice-hockey or go-karting. Thank you for your review!
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Post by kandscreeley » 06 Mar 2018, 08:12

I love that the author uses footnotes to help explain terms. Sounds like a great way to do this as this has a military bent to it. I'm not sure it's a book I would enjoy, but I'm glad that you liked it! Thanks for the review.
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Post by KFree_Reads » 06 Mar 2018, 09:52

Great review! I think I might try this book. It sounds like something I would enjoy!

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Post by KitabuKitamu » 06 Mar 2018, 21:08

Sounds like an intriguing style of writing from the author.

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Post by CommMayo » 07 Mar 2018, 16:09

Interesting choice to use footnotes in a novel. I'm glad it worked out well and that you enjoyed this book so much.

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Post by NL Hartje » 07 Mar 2018, 21:36

Thanks for a great review! Reading it, I intended to ask you if there was an overabundance of Naval terms that hindered your reading but eureka! the author included footnotes! This seems like an interesting read!
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
-Dr. Seuss

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