Preview: ‘The Man Who Forgot His Wife’ by John O’Farrell

I did get through this, and I was curious to see how it ended, but my overwhelming feeling towards this book is nothing special. The characters weren’t overly compelling (Maddy showed promise but was overshadowed by the protagonist, Vaughan); the plot would have been better without the attempt at a twist towards the end, which simply showed how under-developed the story was, as it sparked no emotional response; and sometimes the (brilliantly written) comic moments felt a bit too forced, especially when they came one after the other and engulfed you, taking you away from the key plot points.

I feel like I’ve taken O’Farrell’s book a bit too seriously in the above, and like I said, it has some brilliant comic moments which had me laughing aloud, which is the highlight of this book. And some of the philosophy was quite interesting too: how reliable is history? Is it a case of “if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound”? This was one of the better plot points for me: it’s interesting to consider how much of our behaviour is constructed around nature and nurture.

Overall, I would say this is worth a read if you see it lying around, but probably not worth taking too seriously in its topic – it’s better read as a comedy, rather than a life-journey.

(This was a preview edition available for review from