The Life O’Reilly – Brian Cohen

The Life O’Reilly by Brian Cohen was sent to me for review. Although this is not my normal kind of read, I decided to give it a go. I was not disappointed.

This novel is about Nick O’Reilly. Nick is a lawyer with a large firm and spends his life representing corporate giants in their litigation cases. He is wealthy, driven and successful. Perfect life right? Nick thinks he has it all, despite the fact that sometimes he longs for a family, but he pushes these feelings aside to focus on his career.

Then Nick meets Dawn. In an attempt to clean up it’s image, Nick’s law firm assigns him a pro bono case, representing Dawn who is fighting against her abusive husband for sole custody of their child, Jordan. At first, Nick isn’t that pleased about being given the extra work but he soon comes to realise that this case, although small compared to his usual corporate cases, is much more important and it changes his life in ways he did not know were possible.

Nick finds himself in a position where he is reassessing his life choices and asking himself what sort of a life he really wants to lead… and just when he feels he has the answers, Nick finds himself fighting for his survival.

Exploring the flaws of being human and the importance of controlling ones own destiny, The Life OReilly reminds us of how precious life is and how quickly and tragically it can change. Written with great empathy, The Life OReilly is an emotional and unforgettable tale that will challenge ones expectations of the modern love story and introduces a poignant and sensitive new voice in fiction.

I found this book easy to read. The story flowed seamlessly from page to page. The first half of this book dealt with Nick’s career, his success but underlying dissatisfaction with his life, the pro bono case and his growing relationship with Dawn. It also explores the questions of ethics in the law and in life.

The second half of this novel dealt with Nick’s life after the case, his new found happiness and contentment with his life and then, the shocking blow that threatens to tear it all apart. And what a blow that is!! The second half of this novel is also very face paced and feels like a recount but that does not detract from it’s emotion or message. It actually serves to make this story seem more real.

Some things that took place in this novel were predictable. From the beginning I guessed what was going to happen, but that said, there were still a few things in there that took me by surprise.

This characters in this novel are not as well fleshed out as I had hoped, but I still cared for them and found myself sitting up until late last night to finish this novel as I just HAD to know what was going to happen. By the end though, Nick felt like such a real character that I found myself wondering if this story was somewhat autobiographical. I really hope not.

Overall, this novel was an easy, interesting and emotional read. I must admit I found myself tearing up at the end. It also carries a really important and worthwhile message: In the end it is not important how much money you made or how successful in your career your were, what matters is how you lived your life, how you loved your family and that they loved you. That is what life is about. I also finished this book feeling that everyone should live their lives by following what is in their hearts, instead of aspiring to the image of what you think a happy and successful life should be like. I think the US Review of Books put it best when describing this novel:

…this is the way life should be lived. To be able to stop at any moment and say, I am proud of and very much at peace with who I am.

And that, is what this novel, is all about.

Rating 3/5

- I was sent a copy of this book by the author to review and have done so according to my review policy.


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