Boring Book Recommendation: Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel

15784300“… loneliness is changing our DNA. Wrecking our hormones and making us ill … how many of you feel disassociated from the people you love and who love you the most?”

What is this book about?

Woke Up Lonely is about the Helix, a support-group turned cult, with the intention of fixing the loneliness of the 21st century. Dan Thurlow is the founder of Helix and a national phenomenon, trying to bring people back together with mixers, speed dating and inspirational speeches. Meanwhile he’s dabbling in North-Korean politics and the US government regards him as a potential threat. Waiting for Thurlow to trip up and haul his ass to jail, they send his ex-wife Esme after him. Although not technically a member of the government, she spies on the Helix members to feed her bosses with information, all the while still protecting her ex-husband from his own downfall.

Why is it boring?

The biggest flaw of this book is that I didn’t get to feel for any of the characters. It’s an interesting plot, full of exciting events, secret underground tunnels and wacky hostage situations, but none of it gave me any feels. All the characters are deeply flawed and emotional and throughout the story they are broken down completely by what happens to them, but Maazel fails to me make me care about any of it.

Who would you recommend it to?

Conspiracy theorists and literary elitists and people called Esme(e).
Maazel creates an entire city of debauchery underneath Cincinnati which sounds amazing and terrifying at the same time. The government is a handful in Woke Up Lonely, trying to set up cult-leaders who are really only looking for love and inserting unknowing civilians into dangerous situations. Reading this made me feel oblivious to the outside world and happier for it.
Maazel’s writing has often been compared to that of David Foster Wallace and she does know her way around words. Her sentences are often beautiful and the story is very intricate. Every character is filled with details that make them feel completely real and very, very depressing.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

I was excited to read about a namesake -it’s like reading a book about myself!- but my enthusiasm died a slow and painful death. The book is well-written and I still feel haunted by some of the story lines. Especially the insane world of the underground tunnels was very vivid and frightening. I really liked the characters and how deeply damaged they were, but I had assumed that this story would be more of an emotional punch in the face. Instead it just darted around, simply stating the awfulness of life, without actually making me feel any of it. For a book that is about the feeling of being utterly alone in a world filled with people, all the story made me feel was frustrated I had to keep on reading. I forced myself through the book, which is only 300 pages, and was only too happy when I got to trade it in for something less shallow.

Rating 2/5

This Boring Book Recommendation is unofficially brought to you by The Morning News Tournament of Books in which Woke Up Lonely is one of the contenders. If you wanna see how to book fared in the Tournament against Life after Life, just read Judge Geraldine Brooke’s ruling.

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