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Customer Review

39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book that made me floss religiously, May 16, 2014
This review is from: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour: A Novel (Kindle Edition)
I won and received an ARC through First Reads book giveaway on Goodreads.

Paul O’Rourke, who grew up poor as an only child of a widow after his father died when he was nine years old, is a successful dentist on Park Avenue in NYC. He is a luddite, an atheist, a cynic, and an antisocial misanthrope… or so it seems to others as well as to himself.

He hates all things technological and he'd rather opt out of internet, but he is always glued to his smart phone. He’s not a mere fan of Red Sox but a true devotee, who records every single Red Sox game and goes through superstitious rituals for the team’s win, but who also bemoans the fact that Red Sox had become World Champions but had been contenders ever since. He believes God doesn’t exists and everything Godly bores him stiff, yet he is attracted to, or rather infatuated and obsessed with religious people. He hates Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday because he just goes through the same rituals at home (if it’s a game day) all by himself. When he feels down, he goes to a mall, a sea of humanity, to make himself feel better while at the same time depressed at the unwholesomeness of all those people. Most of all, he finds it all meaningless and life pointless.

When somebody fakes his identity online, starting with creating his website, posting comments under his name, branching out to facebook and twitter, ever increasing his fake online presence, impersonating him perfectly but with some religious stuff mixed in that nobody has heard of, Paul is irresistibly drawn to this fake Paul O’Rourke who seems to know him better than himself. And he begins his journey, kicking and screaming, to find himself.

Well… at least that’s my take on it. At the very first, I had a hard time getting into it, not getting what the book was about, but slowly I got sucked in and couldn’t put it down. If the psychiatric studies were to be believed, ever increasing number of people in modern society worldwide, some 60 to 80% I think, live in existential vacuum, and this book captures it brilliantly and with humor. Which means the book will resonate with most people as exaggerated as Paul O’Rourke’s “condition” might be. I admit I sort of get him, Paul O’Rourke, who is essentially a humanist, a lover of people, who just doesn’t get people because he has strived to do things and be somebody, so he has never known how to just be.

I thoroughly enjoyed it although I felt the ending was a tad anticlimactic. I do not think this book is for people who are looking for a funny yarn in a neat little package. It leaves rooms for reader’s interpretation. Although I found it funny, it wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny as the blurb claims. A very good real life benefit I got is that now I have been and will be flossing every night religiously without fail.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 5, 2014 9:14:39 AM PST
Glad you liked it, too. I predicted most people wouldn't, but I'm always looking for something a little
different. This book is a lot different. I'm also a baseball fan and an agnostic, so I could relate to Paul.
I was also a history teacher, so I'm tempted to look up the Ulms to see if they're real. I was expecting the author to mention that in his notes, but there weren't any. Try Ferris's THEN WE CAME TO THE END. I liked that one a lot, too. If I remember correctly, it's quite funny. Ferris was nominated for the National Book Award for that one.
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