Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Review: The Life O'Reilly

Title: The Life O'Reilly
Author: Brian Cohen
Genre: Fiction
Pub Date: October 2009, iUniverse
Paperback, 266 pages
Book Source: Received a copy for review from the author, many thanks!


On the outside, Nick O'Reilly has it all: a high-flying legal career, as a partner of an elite Wall Street law firm, and financial security, with an apartment overlooking Central Park. Having grown up in a working-class family, as far back as Nick can remember this was his dream. But at the age of thirty-six, after several years of sacrificing his personal life for professional gain, Nick has started to ponder his future and consider the mark he wants to leave on society both professionally and personally--his legacy. 

After being chastised in the press for turning a cold shoulder to the community, the firm calls upon Nick to help rehabilitate its image by handling its first pro bono case. Nick is asked to represent Dawn Nelson, a domestic violence victim who is fighting for custody of her young son, Jordan. A far cry from Nick's specialty of defending the misdeeds of Corporate America, it is up to Nick to set Dawn and Jordan on a path to a better life. But Nick gets much more than he signed on for, as Dawn forces him to reassess his life choices and, ultimately, be true to himself. Only when Nick finally realizes what is truly important in life does he face his toughest--and possibly final--challenge: a battle for his own survival.

My Thoughts

I have to start this review by saying that this is probably the most difficult review I have had to write to date. I have actually been sitting on this book for several days now, pondering the words I am getting ready to write. That might sound like it doesn't bode well, but I am rating the book highly--though, if this makes ANY sense, not because it was a book I enjoyed by the time I put it down. Doesn't that sound horrible? I don't mean for it to, but I am trying to be 100% honest in expressing my thoughts about The Life O'Reilly.

I probably should have realized this book would not be one I would typically choose to read--in the end, I felt as if it were a Nicholas Sparks novel, but only for the emotionally charged aspects of the storyline. (And in all honesty, I have only read one book by Nicholas Sparks and that was enough for me!) I simply do not knowingly choose stories to read that tend to be sad or potentially emotionally draining. Those aren't my kind of books. But what I can say about this book is that it is very well written with brilliantly portrayed characters, and that is why--even though I didn't enjoy the overall direction the story ended up taking--I had to give it a higher rating. Cohen deserves recognition for being able to cause readers to feel strong emotions--even in earlier scenes at the law office, I was getting very irate with the way that Nick and other lawyers were treated. To me, if a story or its characters can cause such strong emotional reactions in the reader, then the writer has most likely done his or her job.

There were certainly highs and lows, and while the end does throw one for a bit of a loop, I was left with just one impression by the last page. And honestly, it was the perfect way to end that book. So for those of you who enjoy emotionally wrenching stories, this book is definitely for you. For anyone who might be offended by language and mild sexual content, be warned you'll find it. If my review has intrigued you enough, pick up a copy and give it a try! Thank you again to Brian Cohen for sending a copy to me!

My Rating: 4 stars

Other reviews of The Life O'Reilly:

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  1. Brian emailed me a few days to review his book, too. I accepted and he's sending a copy over! I'm kind of excited now that I've read your review. I agree that a book needs to have good writing and characters that evoke some emotional reaction-- we have to sympathise and feel for the characters. Or they need to be funny. :P

  2. Judging by the review, this absolutely a book that I will pick. I think I'm going to love it. Thanks so much for the review. I am very intrigued to read the book =)

  3. I'm glad you liked this book. I'm not one for romance or Nicholas Sparks either, but I just loved this novel. My heart just went out to these characters and your review makes me want to read it again!

  4. Love the honest review. Personally, I can't stand Nicholas Sparks books. But, you've made a good case for this one, even with the similarities!

  5. I appreciate your honesty in this review. I can't syand reading reviews when the reviewer sugar-coats it and make the book sounds better than it is.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net


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