Books

The Lesser Bohemians Review

Set in the 1990s, The Lesser Bohemians is about an 18-year-old girl from Ireland who moves to London and starts her drama studies but starts a toxic love affair with an older man.

Author: Eimear McBride
Published: September 1, 2016
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 320

Set in the 1990s, The Lesser Bohemians is about an 18-year-old girl from Ireland who moves to London and starts her drama studies. She meets a man twenty years older than her who is an established actor and that is where the story slowly begins. The relationship is destructive as are the characters. The book is filled with sex, emotional trauma, and behaviors that are best left in the dark. But it ends with understanding, love and, dare I say, redemption.

The Lesser Bohemians was a hard one to keep reading. The style of writing was not my cup of tea, but it was an interesting literary style to use. Since this was my first Eimear McBride book, I am not sure if this is the way she writes or if she wrote it specifically for this book. The language that the main character uses is theatrical, but in the modern-Shakespearean sort of way. It was very hard to read, because you couldn’t really see what was happening. Didn’t know where things began or where they ended. You had a gist, but it was painfully frustrating. It had such a choppy flow. The only time you ever get a break is when someone else besides the main character is talking. There is a moment where the man was opening himself up to her, telling her his life story, his demons. That was the only time I was ever fully drawn in and the only time my brain and eyes had gotten a break.

Also, not knowing anyone’s names for majority of the book was hard as well. You had “my Him” and “Flatmate”. The main character even talks about herself in third person without even using her own name. You know names of characters that you don’t see or meet once. Or you find them out in stories told by the characters. But you don’t find out the two lovers’ names until you are almost at the final pages of the book. The names felt foreign and uncomfortable. They felt like new characters, new people. But that might have been what the author was going for. To show that there was now a light starting to shine, that things were changing for the better.

Now the story itself is interesting. Screwed up and dark, but interesting. Every synopsis I read says that the girl is innocent and plain and he is filled with demons. I don’t think the synopsis really rings true to what the story is really about. She herself has demons, not as great as his, but still demons. She wanted to feel love and a part of him was finally wanting it, but they never thought they would find it within each other. But what came from what should have been a one night stand/quest to lose one’s virginity that had gone wrong turned into something more. Her surprising tenderness towards him the morning after changed what could have ended so quickly. Their affair started with what should have been no strings attached, but jealousy and betrayal found its way in along with love and longing which led them both to feel despair.

I could have done without the descriptions of blow jobs and sexual acts, but they were there anyway. There were times when it was understandable and needed. Her thoughts, what was happening, why it was happening. But there were moments where it felt pointless and laughable. Especially the weird swallowing metaphor scene that equated to trust in the end. I didn’t realize that it was an important metaphor or a metaphor at all until the end. Needless to say, I found it quite unnecessary.

Honestly, I didn’t think there would be a happy ending to the story. But it ended in a satisfying and honest way. None of what was happening to them or their relationship was easy nor did they make it easy for themselves. There was closure in the end. It allowed them to shut the door to those chapters in their lives that were filled with demons and it let them fully open the door to let the love they deserved to have completely in.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. Would I ever pick this book up again, probably not. Would I recommend it, not really, but I would never discourage one from reading a book out of curiosity or because of my personal taste. The book is fairly new, so if you would like to check it out, do it and let me know what you think. I am interested to hear someone else’s opinion of it.

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