Book Review: The Defeatist
Author: Sophie Bowns
Released on: April 19, 2015
“Nothing else matters by metallica starts to play and I cannot help but smile. It’s one of the most unlikely funeral songs.”
Have you fancied your own death or after life? Author Sophie Bowns addresses the questions in this journey of self introspection surrounding one’s death, the pain of leaving your loved ones in distress and the afflictions in the current life where one faces dilemma , identity crisis as well as social rejection. Torn between the love for dear ones and living your own life in a fearless manner often leads to human conflict. The author traces a passionate journey on love, human identity, pain and fighting one’s battle in a sensitive manner.
Sometimes you don’t realize the mess you’ve made until you hit rock bottom. My life is a car crash, and the only person I can blame is myself. I was the reason that my parents broke up, and I ruined my own chances of happiness. I’m not proud of what I’ve done, and worst of all I hate the person I’ve become. My name is Jude Reed, and when I arrived, I was helpless and alone.
Then I met Tiffany and everything changed.
The Defeatist is the story of Jude Reed, a young man suffering from an identity crisis, who saw the marriage of his parents crumble and is subjected to conflict raging in his mind. Who is he?, he often wonders. He crave acceptability for who he is and after facing rejection, he founds comfort in his partner Joe in their long-standing relationship. Sophie has explored the issue of homosexuality in a very humane and sensitive manner, going deep into the relationship and how it is scorned upon by Jude’s father. The best part of the book is that Sophie Bowns unravels the relationship between Jude and his mother-the tight narration is heart wrenching and between the former and Tiffany. Exploring the after life where Tiffany and Jude discover each other in death, the book showcases various facets of life as well as the unknown in the imagined life we all dread, death. It’s a journey in the unknown, dark at times and where flash back is played in the life of Jude and Tiffany, exploring the after life in a powerful manner.
It’s about a man whose life is resumed to fate and the writing is gripping, compelling and engaging from start to finish.The Defeatist struck an emotional chord in depicting the relationship between Jude and his pet Maple as well as the renewed friendship with Grace. Towards the end, the author constructs a powerful conversation between Jude and his father to whom he tells in frustration, ‘You haven’t changed.’ It makes us wonder on the relationship between parents and children, that goes beyond ideals but longing for love and understanding.
Based in Manchester, England, The Defeatist is an unlikely journey exploring it from the perspective of two dead individuals, Jude and Tiffany, where the former tries to redeem himself and the regrets in a life. His perspective changes when he meets a fourteen year old girl, Tifanny, who becomes his strength. Happy ending? Like they say, life always gives us a second chance. Jude and Tiffany discover they are not dead but done things differently. That’s how Sophie Bowns makes a powerful statement on existence and doing things the right way. It’s the icing on the cake: Jude gets back his life. He does things differently and became real. Tiffany gets a family, friendship and love.
The Defeatist is a difficult story to narrate since it deals with the after life and Sophie Bowns does it in a thought-provoking and deep manner, touching the metaphysics as well as existentialism through the world of Jude, Violet and Tiffany. It’s not without loopholes. The narration slows down at some point and leads to confusion with the different ways in which Jude may have met Tiffany at various stages in real life. It does fall in cliché of sort with the main protagonists, Jude and Tiffany watching from the sky on the showdown by Joe at Violet Reed’s house and the fact that the end was quite abrupt.
Sophie Bowns’s The Defeatist is a well told story in captivating the emotions and the writing is compelling in this adventure of life and death. We are all human beings and have weaknesses. Bowns has successfully sent a powerful message on discovering the inner self through The Defeatist. It’s about self discovery and looking inward for death can be fascinating, idyllic and intriguing at the same time. The Defeatist is a unique book that deserves to be read.
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