Loner by Teddy Wayne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was unsettling and yet masterful. The entire tale is triggering as a woman who has endured the self entitled "I'm a nice guy, I'm your friend, I'm not an asshole like that guy" culture where you've been followed home by someone, stalked in the grocery store aisles, and know instinctively that you have been watched. I didn't walk into this thinking that it would be any other way. I read the reviews, the NPR articles and heard about the story first. I was prepared, and yet, I was not prepared for the masterful prose of Teddy Wayne that should be required reading for examples of character study.
I had such a hard time with this book because of the subject matter. It's really hard to push yourself out of a situation, especially if you are unprepared for what is to come. We read books where the adoration of the male/female protagonist is called out as love rather than obsession. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE PEOPLE!!! There is a difference between love, attraction and obsession. What David Federman feels for Veronica is an obsession, it is not determination or love, it is obsessions to the point where he believes he sees a connection with her when she has made it clear that she is not interested in a romantic relationship. The depths and levels that he falls to, the flat emotional connections and the loner personality that is presented to us where he is the outsider and doesn't seem to connect or feel anything like most other people do is used to show us that this depth of feeling is
; this depth of feeling is out of character for David, and the whole tale is not just the horrific stalking and attack of a woman, it is also the study of the depths of mental illness.
The ick factor, the skin crawling icky gross feeling that you have when you read about his trip in to New York... standing on the street and watching her home. That depravity where he doesn't see anything wrong with what he was doing, but he knows that others would. He knows that society would deem him wrong and his behaviour wrong but he does it anyway because to him it is not is not the daring proof of love many people misconstrue it to be.
This happens every day. This happens to millions of women EVERY DAY and unlike many other reviewers I have seen here, I do not see Teddy Wayne doing anything but marking the disgusting truth of the world around him. I think my question for him would be, who was it in your world who was so brutally attacked? Who do you know who was hurt, who was wronged and their attacker received suck slack consequences?
If that isn't the case, it is a man trying to show the world the disgust at these injustices. He's trying to open your eyes, open the eyes of society, that there is no real justice for these kinds of betrayals. I think that is why (view spoiler)[David's sexual assault of Veronica (hide spoiler)] rocks the reader to the core. The violation that you feel, that you almost feel betrayed that the author allowed his creation to do this, to get this far... And then that this is what happens every day. This is what happens in the world and the hypocrisy of "justice" that is metered out is heart breaking and against what you feel should happen. (view spoiler)[That the study Veronica was conducting (while morally gray) was used to turn it around on her, turn the attack around and make it seem justified... This is society's treatment of victims of sexual assault every day. (hide spoiler)]
This was a masterful character study. It was an in depth perspective that makes you question your own thoughts and beliefs. It reminds you of what you should do... What we should
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