I received a review copy of this book from the author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Irv's Odyssey #1
Published by Mill City Press in 2011
Genres: Fiction (General)
Source: the author
Buy the Book • Goodreads
I received a copy of “Irv’s Odyssey: Lost in a Looking Glass” from the author in exchange for an honest review. When I received the query, I wasn’t initially planning to accept it. I’ve got six months worth of books piled on my living room floor, and wasn’t planning to take on any others until I’d made a significant dent in the ones that I have. However, I read a chapter of the sample and was immediately hooked.
Irving Podolsky, the author’s twenty-something alter ego, has just graduated college and is setting forth in the world on his own. He was a film major, but ended up taking a job directing porn because nobody else was willing to hire him straight out of school without any experience. The novel recounts Irv’s stories and experiences as he finds himself swept away by the problems of life, love, and money, yet all the while he struggles to do what he feels is right.
I was drawn to Irv’s story because it represents a different type of coming of age. Normally coming of age stories focus on characters in their early teens as they learn what it’s like to be an adult. Irv is a bit older, and already thought that he had things figured out. Reality began to sink in, and he started having all manners of crazy adventures, from introducing his parents to weed to working in a mental asylum caring for patients while waiting for a film job to open up.
Even though Irv is transitioning to adulthood in the 1970s, I think that his story is particularly relevant today, as the younger generation is having a harder time finding jobs and college doesn’t have the same guarantee of a future that it once did. Part of Irv’s coming of age is the realization that even though he’s done everything right, the magic job isn’t just going to show up. It’s going to take a lot of work for him to get there, but mostly a patience and a lot of luck.
The book is self-published, and I noticed a very small handful of spelling/grammar errors while I was reading. Don’t let that discourage you; I only mention it because it’s one of my pet peeves, and I notice equally as many errors in traditionally published e-books. What I noticed here was incredibly minor, and Irv’s personality makes it easy to forgive.
Overall, I enjoyed this one a lot. Irv is a great character, and he reminds me of myself. If my life were a book, people would probably think that it’s fiction. Irv is the same way; he has some crazy shenanigans, but they’re still plausible, and I found it to be very realistic. He is the type of person who can make mistakes, but it’s not the end of the world, and he can learn from them and move on.