Review of Cooperative Living

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Ngozi Onyibor
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Review of Cooperative Living

Post by Ngozi Onyibor »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Cooperative Living" by Jeff Namian.]
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4 out of 5 stars
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Cooperative Living by Jeff Namian is a short, fun read about life in New York City. Peppered with humor and drama, the story recounts the life of the protagonist and his neighbors in a co-op building in New York.

The book was easy to follow and fun to read. I enjoyed the tales of the co-op residents, but what really pulled me into the narration was how poetically the author described Alzheimer's disease. The protagonist details his memories of his parents. He admits they are no contenders for the best parents' award. Still, they did the best they knew how to. He is forgiving of their shortcomings and writes about them respectfully. His beautiful narration of his father's mental decline due to Alzheimer's disease resonated deeply with me, as my grandma had dementia before she passed.

When people hear that someone has Alzheimer's disease, their first response is to feel sorry for them and try to hang on to the version of the person they used to know. The protagonist, however, likes to think of it as an altered state, a state of ensconced peace and safety for the sufferer. He encourages embracing the person's new state and riding the unsteady waves with them. Holding on to the old version of them and trying to pull them out of their new state often leads to needless frustration and angst for everyone involved.

Short stories are one of my favorite reading materials. So when I read that Cooperative Living is Jeff Namian's first short stories collection, I was eager to dig into the stories. Though the stories were fun, they centered around one main character. So the book reads more like a slice-of-life account of different stages and areas of the protagonist's life than a collection of stories. In addition, the frequent American pop culture references often prevented me from being immersed in the story, as I am unfamiliar with them.

That said, if you enjoy a healthy dose of laughter served with trimmings of depth, you will find Cooperative Living worthwhile.

I consider the book a good read for the laughs and insights I got from it. However, the ending didn't give me a sense of completion. Hence, I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

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Cooperative Living
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King Nyebuchi
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Post by King Nyebuchi »

It's great that it is a short story, Iay try it out eventually. Thanks for the review.
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Amy Luman
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Post by Amy Luman »

I don’t really like short stories, but when I read about dealing with Alzheimer’s I became intrigued. I found that it was easiest to be with my grandma when I joined her in the world where she found herself.
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Mary Lou Mills
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Post by Mary Lou Mills »

If you can laugh in spite of Alzheimer's, it sounds like an intriguing book to read.
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Post by Odichimma Okoye »

I wish the review's summary of the plot was more detailed, that way I'd know whether or not this book suits me. However, I like the fact that the author spoke of his parents respectfully. Truly, no parent is a contender for the 'Best Parent' award, and a child's ability to understand that parents do as much as they can for their kids would go a long way. The way the author also made us view Alzheimer's pleases me.
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