Reviews tagging 'Sexual assault'

Loner: A Novel by Teddy Wayne

7 reviews

full_of_flowers's review against another edition

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dark tense fast-paced

4.75

If I hadn't experienced a relationship with a person with a similar personality to David, the book's protagonist and narrator, I'm sure I still would have appreciated the subtle and chilling ways in which Wayne writes his self-denied malice. However, seeing David's behavior in the light of day helped me work through some trauma. As disturbing as this book is, I found some unexpected peace in seeing the characteristics that David shares with my ex as they are: damaging, abusive, and even horrifying.

**The following are broad strokes comparing my own experiences with the events of the book, and may be considered spoilers.
David uses others as pawns and objects, lies for sexual gain, and is sexually abusive and coercive. Focused on his straight, privileged male pain, he inflicts pain upon multiple women and shows general disdain for marginalized communities. He sees even his object of desire (a fitting phrase that David himself uses) as charmingly beneath him intellectually. He cannot see himself as a perpetrator or anything less than a misunderstood genius; he's "not the type." While in a relationship he only feigns genuine investment in, he does find satisfaction and excitement in causing his partner emotional pain. Seeing these qualities from a more objective position while not being actively manipulated by such a person, I found some clarity and relief in seeing how wrong and heartless this behavior really is, and allowing myself to grieve a relationship that made me feel like less of a person. It certainly caused me some distress to revisit this trauma, but I did some unexpected healing too.

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justnei's review against another edition

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challenging dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

This book is from the perspective of the titular loner, David, as he begins life at Harvard, determined to shed his former awkward outcast identity and start anew amongst likeminded peers. At Harvard, he meets Veronica who he is immediately attracted to and this is where our story begins, his quest to become the New David (or the wen divad). 

There’s nothing new about this book imo but the characterization and writing for David is just so good. It had me hooked and I couldn’t stop reading this book. 

the author was so good at making David oblivious to his own social foibles. The reader is cringing knowing exactly what is happening while our narrator hasn’t a clue. The author doesn’t make it feel hamfisted and David’s storyline happens so smoothly for such a short novel.

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caramel_peaches's review against another edition

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

4.5


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kurdt's review against another edition

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challenging dark tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

American Psycho: The College Years

Deeply unsettling but brilliantly written account of a Harvard freshman, an unpopular loser in high school, who becomes infatuated with a fellow freshman named Veronica. What initially seems harmless quickly becomes a chilling look at toxic masculinity, male entitlement, obsession, narcissism, and manipulation.

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aditianam's review against another edition

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

3.5

This is an unsettling, but sadly very believable, first-person narrative following the (very unreliable) narrator, David, through his first semester at Harvard as he obsessively tries to win the attention of a female student, Veronica. David is basically Joe from Netflix's "You" if he was a less murderous college student. Although, I would argue Joe somehow comes across more likeable than David ever did during the course of this novel despite all of that murder. Teddy Wayne did a great job of capturing David's inner voice and worldview, it was off-kilter and lacked the perfect amount of self awareness; it was a very interesting read for sure. I liked the twist with Veronica at the end, I thought that was a fun way to finally learn a bit more about her outside of how David falsely understood her. I have seen criticism about her character in other reviews with people saying that she knowingly welcomed his concerning behavior in the beginning, but I just see her as a privileged 18 year old who did not know any better and I am sure David would have found a way to progress his agenda no matter what she did. The sad truth is that it is not easy to avoid guys like David or even to see the true threat they carry until it is too late.

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moneyispizza's review against another edition

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

3.0


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leahopkins's review against another edition

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

5.0

Loner tells the dark, gruesome story of an unpopular, but academically gifted and socially ambitious teenage boy who becomes obsessed with a fellow student at Harvard University. It is unsettling, disturbing and twisted, but so captivating. I normally find myself not being drawn to novels with unlikable main characters, but still I couldn't put down this one. In the beginning, there were some instances where you could relate to David, like him planning ahead in every conversation and trying so hard to be accepted by the more popular students; but throughout the story, his sociopathic, obsessive tendencies come to light more and more. Having him as a narrator is very intriguing, because he is so unreliable: as a reader, you are struck by the way he so obviously misinterprets and overanalyses Veronica's every move, but David is so self-absorbed and supercilious that he just cannot understand.
When I was starting to read the book, I was scared that the protagonist would be glorified too much (how it is sometimes done with the "sociopathic dark character"), but that's definitely not the case here. You don't root for David, and sometimes I wanted to get into the book, slap him in the face and tell him to TAKE THE GODDAMN HINT.
Overall, Loner was a very good read, even though I didn't love it in the same way I loved some other novels. That's also why I hesitated to give 5 stars, but the writing in the book is just too good and captivating and the whole story definitely left a long-lasting impression on me. 

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