Review: Ostrich – Matt Greene



Matt Greene

My rating:

4 star book

Goodreads summary:

A brilliant and moving coming-of-age story in the tradition of “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon–this debut novel is written with tremendous humor and charm.

This is Alex’s story. But he doesn’t know exactly what it’s about yet, so you probably shouldn’t either.
Instead, here are some things that it’s sort of about (but not really):
It’s sort of (but not really) about brain surgery.
It’s sort of (but not really) about a hamster named Jaws 2 (after the original Jaws (who died), not the movie “Jaws 2”).
It’s sort of (but actually quite a lot) about Alex’s parents.
It’s sort of (but not really) about feeling ostrichized (which is a better word for excluded (because ostriches can’t fly so they often feel left out)).

It’s sort of (but not really (but actually, the more you think about it, kind of a lot)) about empathy (which is like sympathy only better), and also love and trust and fate and time and quantum mechanics and friendship and exams and growing up.
And it’s also sort of about courage. Because sometimes it actually takes quite a lot of it to bury your head in the sand.

Advance praise for “Ostrich”:

“Irresistible! “Ostrich” is loaded with wit, charm, and wisdom. Alex is one of the sweetest and most inspiring narrators I’ve ever encountered. I dare you not to laugh, cry, and fall utterly in love.”–Maria Semple, author of “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” “From the Trade Paperback edition.”

This book was a lot of fun to read, it really was. Yet it did slightly disappoint me at times, not a lot, but enough to lose a star. The things I really love about this book are the cover, the writing style and the topic. The cover is very bright and very simple which I’m a big fan of. The writing style that is used in this book is most definitely similar to that in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon. If you are not familiar with the writing in that book, you might also compare it a little with that of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky. And if you don’t know what that means, it’s this: the main character in the book is directing this writing at the reader and you are taken on lots of tangents in the middle of most explanations. Lastly I also said I liked the topic, and though that might be a bit strange seeing as it’s not really a happy thing, it’ just a beautiful mix of a lot of topics that it just becomes great.

The story in this book was very good, it had a great assortment of themes thrown in there. Though it didn’t feel too much either, the author definitely knew what was just enough to be great. But there were a lot of tangents during the telling of the story. I’m not saying that I don’t like the tangents, I do because they were very interesting at times and sometimes just really funny, but there were too many. It just kept me a bit too distracted at times, sometimes I just wanted the story to get a move on. The balance was just not right for me and if I’m being honest I felt that it sometimes hindered the story a bit too much.

Alex is a very complex character, not just because of who he is and what he is going through, but also because of how he tells the story. At first I found it very hard to get a clear picture of who he was, but that was definitely a positive point in this book for me. His parents also played a very prominent part in the book and they were very great as well. They were very multi-dimensional and complex; though this is something that Alex sometimes had trouble with I think. He really sees them as his parents instead of people who happen to be his parents. Or at least, that’s how I felt it. There were also so people from school involved and I think they were pretty great though and I would have liked to hear more about them.

As mentioned before I thought there were too many times that the story was side-tracked by random thoughts, but other than that I really loved the writing. I really highlighted a lot of quotes in this book, things that just ring very true though they might be a bit uncomfortable to be said aloud. That was one of the things I loved the most about this book, those uncomfortable truths woven in there.

Don’t worry, I’m not going the spoil the ending for you, but I will say that I was thoroughly confused by it. And it was just so vastly different from the rest of the book as well. So yeah, it’s safe to say that I wasn’t at all a fan of the ending. I think I get what happened in the ending, but then I’m not completely sure how and why. In my opinion we just get too little information about it and I didn’t like the style in which it was written. For me this really was a let-down because I was so enthused about the book otherwise and this sadly is just the part that stuck with me (being the last part that I read obviously).

3 thoughts on “Review: Ostrich – Matt Greene

  1. I know exactly what you mean! When the book ended I was really lost. I was like….ok..what happens now? But I agree, overall Alex was a pretty cool character

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