The Pool Boy's Beatitude Paperback – 23 Jul 2013
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The main character Jack Joseph is a physicist (by degree) and a pool cleaner by job. He also comes across as quite a philosopher to me. This part of the character shone out to me, as written by D J Swykert. His characters are always seemingly intelligient with their words, but not so by their actions. The majority of characters I have known by Swykert have been addicts of some kind. Jack Joseph is no different, an addict but with an interesting outlook on life. Within the first few pages, he is showing us his philosophies.
“I am not a being of my own choosing, but I am free to make choices for myself.”
Although Jack is an alcholic and a cheat, he is likable. I could kind of understand his actions. He has gotten himself in a difficult place and has to survive the best way he can. Some choices he makes are debateable and some make total sense.
What I also loved about Jack was that he was a passionate foodie. He loved to cook and eat good food. We see him buy some ingredients and make delicious sounding dishes. Not something that I would typically pair with an addict. But Jack isn’t your typical addict and that is what makes him so likeable and readable.
The book is more character driven that plot ( in my opinion). We follow Jack through his days, with the side line characters and the things Jack has to do to get by, the plot is good and I wasn’t sure which way Jack’s life would go.
After Jack has a chance meeting with Delilah (as he called her), his life may be about about to change. But he also has a Wife, a sugar mama and a dependancy with which he needs to satisfy. It was Jack’s state of mind and philosphies that made me enjoy this book so much.
Will Jack go to prison? Who will he end up with, or will he end up alone? You will need to read to find out.
There are so many great quotes I could give from Jack’s thoughts, but I will finish with this one.
“I’ve always thought the best attributes you can have as a person are empathy and compassion, if you feel these, and you feel them passionately enough that they direct your life, then you’re a pretty good person.”
But to see the other side of Jack:
“I like the world better when I’m high”.
Sometimes, I think a few carefully chosen quotes from a book says quite a lot about the characters.
This was a very strange book but also quite an interesting one. It is written from the perspective of Jack, a womanizer, alcoholic, liar, cheat and drug addict, who shouldn’t be a likeable character at all. However, almost annoyingly, he won me over with his cynical world view and deeply philosophical musings on the meaning of life, time and the universe, which made for interesting little asides in the story. His background of studying physics for 10 years did also make his life choices a little more understandable – if you discover that nothing is permanent or actually means anything, we may not even exist and life is all relative, it isn’t completely incomprehensible that you would reject morality and living an honest life in exchange for easily-obtained pleasures from booze, drugs and sex. The narrative was well written and flowed easily and many of the other characters were well-developed and interesting, although Jack himself was the most complex and I did find myself rooting for him to succeed (although he absolutely doesn’t deserve too) as I went through the book.
However, the story itself was far from perfect. I found the way that Jack fell instantly in love with Sarah and was instantly able to tackle all his problems through the desire to have a life with her to be very unrealistic and also out-of-character for someone who we know to be driven by addiction. Whilst the idea that he was ‘addicted’ to Sarah was conveyed, it just didn’t ring true for me, and I thought it unlikely that he would be able to resist the temptation of at least some of his many vices. The ending was also very abrupt and in my opinion, unrealistic – it’s hard to explain without giving the story away, but I don’t think things would have really turned out the way they were implied too. It is the lack of a real conclusion to Jack’s story that has made me rate this novel 3 instead of 4 stars – I was genuinely disappointed that the author hadn’t written a few more chapters to wrap things up better, as there was great potential for a better ending.
Overall, this was a good book with an excellently developed lead, but I found that the ending was a bit unsatisfying and some of the plot a little far-fetched. However, the author is a talented and engaging writer and although I was a bit sceptical of this story, I enjoyed it more than I expected I would.
Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of this book to review.