Friday, October 14, 2016

Review: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I don't even know where to start with this book. I found it deeply disturbing on so many levels. I did not like it and wondered why I kept reading it. That said, it is still well written, moving, and gives a point of view that is unique and unforgettable.

The narrator is Ivan, a 17 year old boy in an institution for the gravely ill. Ivan is not gravely ill but grossly malformed due to the radiation exposure his birth mother experienced during the Chernobyl reactor fiasco. Although it can be argued that the reactor problem was merely the tip of the iceberg as the plant had been dumping radioactive chemicals into the river and air for years. But that is another story.

To understand Ivan and his world, Google Chernobyl. Click on images. Add children to the search. There you go. But Ivan is highly intelligent yet institutionalized. He is a tragedy. He abhors himself and his circumstances, feeling helpless and nihilistic. Then a girl shows up and Ivan stretches within himself and grows more into the person he could become.

It's an intriguing story but I could have done without the excessive masturbations and her garbage that seemed to ooze off the pages into my mind. It's a personal preference but I think the story could have been told without a lot of peripheral details.

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