Buy Link: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/deborah-obrien/the-trivia-man-9780857988027.aspx
The Trivia Man explores the challenges of conformity in the twenty first century. Juxtaposing eight-year-old Phillip with his uncle, Kevin Dwyer, O'Brien provides a contrast of the diagnosis of a developmental disorder in the educational and social world of today, against the mere acceptance of Kevin as a quirky child and an adult who now lives a very structured life.
Using the structure of a weekly trivia competition the reader sees the development of a relationship between Kevin and Maggie Taylor, a woman who has the ability to accept him as he is. Maggie has her own problems as do the other members of the team that Kevin joins up with.
This quirky tale explores the concept of labelling people who are different. At times, the language and the introspection of both Kevin and Maggie are poignant, as they each face their fears. Kevin, of acceptance, and Maggie of being unloved. ‘Apart from her parents and her dog, nobody had loved her, not in an all consuming, unconditional kind of way.’ She has tried to win back Josh, a man from her past who has rejected her twice before.
In the interval at each week’s trivia night, Kevin and Maggie begin a dialogue and we see their growth as they each accept the person they are.
In a society that is intolerant of difference, Deborah O’Brien draws the reader into the thoughts and lives of the protagonists.
Each character is beautifully drawn, including Kevin’s sister, Beth, and the other members of the trivia team—a same sex couple who are trying to have a baby, and an intolerant doctor
This was a thoroughly entertaining and insightful read which will leave the reader a little more thoughtful of people who are ‘different.’
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