Loner by Teddy Wayne

takumo_n's review against another edition

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Very well written and disturbing. You think the tension is going to be released and get so dark into touching the farcical, like a Hollywood movie. But what makes it so jarring is how realistic it ends up being. That adult worldview, while reading about well developed characters in their teen years, makes it very dismal and hard-headed, which punches harder than you espect.

cdubbe's review against another edition

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Wow, this was pretty terrifying being in the head of the main character. Certainly eye opening being in the mind of a stalker, and seeing how every scary, inappropriate thing they do seems to be justifiable and reasonable in their own mind. All in all a really interesting book that I really couldn't put down.

winterafternoons's review against another edition

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Okay honestly that was a lot. Really good social commentary but it fucked me up a little. The prose was very purple and the characters were not especially memorable, but the depiction of obsession was compelling. And I especially like that this was written by a man - that feels really helpful for the point he was trying to get across.

ljutavidra's review against another edition

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Kakva boleština, ljudi moji.
Nešto između [b:The Secret History|29044|The Secret History|Donna Tartt||221359] i [b:What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal |13258|What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal |Zoë Heller||18650]; fensi fakultet setting iz TSH i opsesija koja prelazi u sasvim dobar razlog da se neko strpa iza rešetaka.

Dejvid Federman je niko i ništa. Uspeo je da se upiše na Harvard i verovao je da će mu se život tamo promeniti. I ne da mu se promenio nego...

Ne želim više ništa reći o ovoj knjizi, jer je mnogo bolje da se čita sa minimalno predznanja. Odavno me nije nešto ovako uznemirilo i oduševilo u isto vreme. Kakva studija ličnosti - [b:Apartment|44453038|Apartment|Teddy Wayne||65195309] je bio na tragu ovako nečega, ali nije prekoračio prag onoga što se smatra društveno prihvatljivim.

cheekylaydee's review against another edition

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I had to go away and think about what to write about this book because it's certainly one that gave me food for thought.
David is a loner. Academically gifted yet socially awkward, when he enters Harvard he believes that he might finally fit in. Written from his point of view, you see him struggling socially and those that do offer the hand of friendship is usually rejected for those that he aspires to. In particular one Veronica Morgan Wells. In her he sees the perfect woman for him. Smart, though not as smart as him, beautiful and witty.
At any other time, he would never have had a chance of getting near someone like her. But this is Harvard, the start of a new life, and he believes that people will finally start to appreciate his intelligence, his wit and his uncanny ability to pronounce words backwards.
So starts an unrelenting campaign to win Veronica's heart. Those visions of marriage and children are so vivid they can't be wrong. He goes so far as to commit academic fraud whilst trying to get into her good books and what's so clever about the way this book is written is that the reader can see that this guy doesn't have a chance.
He's delusional in short. He is so focussed on winning her he doesn't seem to care that other people may get hurt in the process, that there are other people that genuinely care for him and that he could be happy with if given a chance, and what is most glaringly obvious to the reader is that this girl really does not care about him at all.
The reader sees her reactions and behaviour towards him and anybody that isn't David can see the signals loud and clear yet in his mind he will excuse her, validate her and forgive her anything to stop this vision he has of her from being destroyed. He believes that have an unbreakable bond, a secret relationship that only he acknowledges because she can't just yet.
When you're reading his version of events you have a mixture of feelings towards this guy. You feel kind of sorry for him because you know he's aspiring to something that will never happen. You get frustrated with him because he doesn't want to see things from any other viewpoint but his own, and you eventually get angry with him and in my case I just wanted to shake the guy to make him wake up.
This is certainly a book that makes you think, it lets you get into somebody else's head and the ending is one that certainly makes you question your own morality, your own sense of right and wrong, and what justice is.
A book that works on many levels and is worth a read but a word of warning, be prepared to feel emotionally exhausted!

cola410's review

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challenging dark reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


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megs813's review against another edition

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I don't know how to rate something that made me so uncomfortable.

fiestada's review against another edition

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judithdcollins's review against another edition

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A special thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

From the author of The Love Story of Jonny Valentine- a novelist, a columnist for the New York Times, and a regular to The New Yorker, Teddy Wayne delivers a captivating novel of a Harvard freshman who becomes obsessed with a classmate.

LONER is witty, creepy, and layered with absorbing insights – a portrayal of the dangers of monsters which live among us, and the hyper-connected contemporary digital age of today. From privilege, entitlement, greed, a psychopath, to dark and dangerous obsession.

A terrifying cautionary stalker tale. A young man which does not have what he feels he's entitled to. Antisocial personality disorder characterized by a lack of regard for the moral or legal standards in local culture. A marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules.

A smart, deeply insecure, and socially unacceptable Harvard freshman makes his way through life, relationships, and an attempt at love—from academics to social challenges.

David Alan Federman, a new Harvard student. His roommate Steven Zenger, the extroverted physicist in training. His New Jersey lawyer father and mother; they seem excited. The first day with their false words of wisdom. His dad said he had to find his "tribe". He had hoped his roommate would help upgrade him, to a higher social stratum. A new start from high school.

When the college acceptance list was posted, his classmates were shocked that he was their class’s lone Harvard-bound senior (David Federman’s yearbook prediction—fill in later). David is a loner. And he is troubled. His parents have always acted slightly unnatural around him. He hopes his luck will change when he gets to Harvard. He wants to become “someone”.

"It’s convenient, in hindsight, to blame Harvard." But it wasn’t the guilty party.

Immediately, David (which likes to spell things backwards) is captivated by Veronica Morgan Wells. He is infatuated with Veronica, a glamorous, sophisticated Manhattanite, in his dorm. The New Yorker. Park Avenue. Her world was not limited to high schools, but encompassed small-world networks of the well-heeled: second homes, clubs, family connections.

She is clearly “out of his league”. However, he is driven, misguided, and tenacious. He has an evil clever plan. He has a goal. Getting to her through her roommate, Sara, from Ohio. A two-person suite.

What begins as an infatuation, spirals out of control: a dark, disturbing portrait of obsession and an examination of class and gender politics.

"There’s just one Everest, and only the most heroic can reach the summit."

When things get intense, Veronica may have her own agenda. Who is using whom? The tables may turn. David thought, Veronica could be impressed with his idiosyncratic yet weird talent. David has hope--beneath her sophisticated outward appearance, she may be something of a loner which could be his soul mate, or so he wishes.

Though all his sacrifices with Sara, will Veronica overhear him? (the author really has some witty lines) Will his wacky plan work? He had the power to wound another person. He wanted to be the kind of person people gossiped about. He may just get his wish.

“She could coast at Harvard on sheer native aptitude. Just like me.”

My Favorite Part: Freshman Lower-Value Male “Beta!” Reality check. To what lengths would Beta extend himself for a presumptive possibility of sex? Power dynamics.

“Each time my eyes passed over the word 'Beta', it was as if an organ were surgically extracted from me without anesthesia and deposited on the operating table so I could witness my own vivisection.” That’s all I was to you? 'Beta'. “That’s all I was.”

A creative in-depth look at the disturbing psychotic mind of a young man, longing to be socially accepted. His whole world revolves around his obsession. From social media to stalking, he never lets up with the games. Quite entertaining.

In our world today of violence and hatred, a realistic portrayal of the minds of those, who resort to the horrific acts, we see plastered in the news today. From sexual assault, racial and sexual discrimination, predators, and blowing up night clubs, colleges, and schools. It starts somewhere and ignites.

Dark, twisted, and psychotic suspense. Yes, even literary, with the author’s well-crafted prose. A brilliant tale of obsessive's GONE GIRL meets a version of YOU, and the guy everyone loves to hate “Joe.” However, David is not a likable soul, so he will not have the same love/hate affair relationship with the reader.

Fans of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman will enjoy!

Some great posts and interviews with the author:

"Loner Author Teddy Wayne on Tackling the Campus Novel and Male Privilege" The author discusses the dark social forces that influenced his latest book. Vanity Fair

"A startlingly sharp study of not just collegiate culture, but of social forces at large; a novel as absorbing as it is devastating. " Chicago Tribune

"Teddy Wayne's Loner Sheds Light on the Plight of All the Sad, Insecure Young Men" Esquire


joannaautumn's review against another edition

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More like the origin story of a psychopath.

"I was into success, just like everyone else who’d gotten in here, but admitting that was taboo. Though I’d excelled in all subjects, I didn’t have the untrammeled intellectual curiosity of the true polymath. I was more like a mechanically efficient Eastern European decathlete grimly breaking the finish-line tape. Yet almost anyone could thrive in a field that consumed them. To lack ardor and still reach the zenith—that was a rare combination."

Loner is written by an unreliable narrator with a pretentious vocabulary, David Federman. An average young man who isn't outstanding or noticeable.

"You might recognize what we had in common if I took the risk and told the truth about my experience, that I felt out of place even at Harvard, human interactions put an immense strain on me, I was also somewhat of a loner at heart."

It does delve into the mind of one sick individual, but also into the nature of social interactions.
The plot twist at the end made me gasp, Veronica just did that.

Saying anything else will probably spoil the novel for anybody interested, and also, for the future me who plans to reread this, so go grab this book if you are into unreliable narrators and a college setting with a lot of creepy/stalker scenes.
That ending