Book Review: The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne

Book Rating

3.5/5

Book Review

The Naturalist was another book I listened to on tape, as you can see at my attempt of a bookstagram-worthy photo. There were a lot of great things about this book. First, the story was amazing. It kept me up at night. I listened to it while I was moving states with just me and my pup, and staying in a semi-secluded airbnb, and I was panicked, lemme tell ya. Walter walked (noisily) down the stairs in the middle of the night and I woke up thinking I was next on the killer’s HIT list, that this was the end, bye-bye Amy. Luckily, it was just Walter going to get a quick drink and I had hopped out of bed for nothing. Better safe than sorry, I always say!

Anyway, like I said, the story was great, the ideas were killer, no pun intended, but I had a few problems with it. The narrator drove me insane. I mean, insane. I take quick notes while I’m reading books so I can refer back to my genuine reactions during the book for when I write up this lovely review for you all, and I literally had in my notes “this guy thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips, GEEZ.” Which, now I’m reading that and shaking my head because who says that, I mean really. Ha! But, the narrator was selfish, over-analyzing of what other people thought of him, and sure of himself, but at the same time so totally un-sure of himself. He just seemed so persistent for something that he shouldn’t be so invested in.

One problem I had was that he jumped to conclusions out of nowhere, I personally would never have even thought about that scenario being true based on the facts we have, but this guy just figures it out in two seconds. But then, other conclusions that’s right in front of his face, he just didn’t get for the longest time. I shouted at him a lot, trying to get him to listen to me. (He never did).

The other thing is, what happened to this guys job? He talked about it all the time at the beginning, and then he seemed to totally forget that he was supposed to be at work, getting paid, being a normal citizen… Maybe that was symbolic, though, of how he got completely lost in the case.

Also, some of the characters seemed unrealistic. He gets a love interest, and she is a small town waitress who puts up with this guy flawlessly, and just seems completely fabricated. Maybe I’m saying that because I disliked the narrator so much and can’t see how even a fictional character could put up with him and his one track mind. The police were (hopefully) unrealistic because they were so stubborn and hard-headed and wouldn’t listen to anything. There were about 10 times where I kept thinking, “welp, they’re going to lock him up!”

But, as I’m thinking about the book, even with all of my complaints, I still really liked it. There are some gunshots, and I was listening to this on audible, and I have to say I laughed out loud during that because the reader’s rendition of gunshots is just hilarious. If you read this book, you really should listen to the audible just for that.

Anyway, this book is definitely worth the read. It’s pretty graphic, but it’s inventive, and I loved the element of science throughout the novel. Definitely a good book, just be ready to be infuriated with the narrator.

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