Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Life O'Reilly - Brian Cohen

Summary: On the outside, Nick O’Reilly has it all: a high-flying legal career, financial security, and an expensive apartment overlooking Central Park. Having grown up in a working-class family, it has always been Nick’s dream to make something of himself. But at the age of thirty-six, after several years of sacrificing his personal life for professional gain, Nick begins to question his future and consider the mark he wants to leave on society both professionally and personally. He is facing the penetrating question, “What is my legacy?

After being chastised in the press for turning a cold shoulder to the community, Nick’s firm calls upon him to help rehabilitate its image by handling its first pro bono case. Nick is asked to represent Dawn Nelson, a domestic violence victim who is fighting for custody of her young son, Jordan. A far cry from Nick’s specialty of defending the misdeeds of Corporate America, it is up to Nick to set Dawn and Jordan on a path to a better life. But Nick gets much more than he signed on for as Dawn forces him to reassess his life choices. Only when Nick finally realizes what is truly important in life does he face his toughest–and possibly final–challenge: a battle for his own survival.

My Review: "In the tradition of Nicholas Sparks......". That was what caught my attention about this book. What I discovered is that this book, though similar to Sparks work in many ways, stands just fine on its own.

O'Reilly has been in corporate litigation for a while, long enough to have doubts about the career path he has chosen. With no free time and no family in which he would spend it with if he did, he begins to question how he thinks. This is amplified when he takes his first pro-bono case to help out the firm's image with the media.

The case introduces him to Dawn, a mom about to enter a custody battle with her EXTREMELY abusive ex-husband over their young son, Jordan. As Nicholas exposes himself to the reality of this woman's world he is driven to not only help her and her son, but rediscover what his life is meant for.

I loved that this book, has a good "message". It was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once, however, I did find it lacking a certain depth. I cannot for the life of me identify why I feel this way. I just didn't connect to the story and it's characters the way I have in other similarly plotted novels. The writing is well done, and I felt like I couldn't put the book down. But once I was done, I didn't miss it the way I do a truly moving book. I was actually kind of happy to be done, not because I did not enjoy it, but because I was so emotionally drained.

I think Cohen will use this book for a launching pad for a lot of wonderful novels. He is obviously good at what he does. I just can't put a finger on why I did not connect. It is almost frustrating for that reason alone.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Sum it up: Heart strings weren't just pulled, they were tugged on and tugged on until they were completely detached.

(This book was given to us to review. Boo-yah. Free books rock.)

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