Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent
Oliver Ryan writes extremely popular children’s books and his wife Alice illustrates them. They seem to have the perfect relationship until he is arrested for beating her so badly she lies in a coma and the doctors are doubtful she will ever awaken. Oliver had never hurt Alice before. This book is the story of why he suddenly became so horrifically violent.
Told from the perspectives of many characters including Oliver who is as bewildered by his violence as anyone else, the story of Oliver, for it is his story that drives him to this act, is slowly unraveled as each person tells what they know. Altogether a complete picture of the man that no one truly knew is revealed.
This book won the Irish Book Award’s Crime Novel of the Year and it deserved it. I didn’t like Oliver, even when I learned about the awful childhood he endured, but I still felt some sympathy for him when I looked at his life as a whole…but then I didn’t again. I’m sure any reader will go back and forth as they learn more and more of his life. This is a great book on audio since each of the different characters that lend their perspectives to the story has a different reader. And they all have great Irish accents to really put you in the place and immerse you in the story. This one will stay with you for a long while.