I received a free ARC version of this book, thanks to Mr. Uttly, in return for an honest review.
My first thought is that the book creates sort of a little bit of mystery to Eugene which really interests me. He's the type of person, right from the start of the book, that I really want to know more about. I also kind of feel like the author is telling Eugene's side of the story. There are various instances where the man has done what some of us (or other people) might consider doing wrong, though from Eugene's perspective, they're "crimes" where he didn't know that he was doing the wrong thing and other people have gotten the wrong idea about his actions.
There are points within the book where I've found it to be a little bit confusing. For example, at one point as I didn't realise that he was reflecting on a point where was travelling and I didn't realise (at the time) that he was looking back on his past. I felt that, in some places, it was a bit back and forth because of this. Later on, Eugene again begins reflecting, though this time on his eighteen year old self. I admit, I can understand the thought process as I also think back on years ago. However, in the story, it just seems a little random. It has a sporadic thought pattern and kind of jumps around. In some places, it can be kind of bothersome, but at other times, it matches his personality and the way he goes through his life. I guess not everyone might enjoy this type of writing as it's kind of personalised as if it's going through Eugene's mind at the time.
Though there are some moments that are kind of sad. It's not, by any means, a miserable book. Though he's made mistakes and done some things the ordinary reader wouldn't have done, he seems very genuine. I don't feel as if he was learning from his mistakes as he's racked up thousands in credit card debt and lost numerous wallets. I somewhat enjoyed the level of generousity towards Eugene. It was quite refreshing to read about so many kind people, many of which took him in and helped him out. It was nice that even when people were kind of mean to him, he wasn't too offended by it. He took whatever insults or problems and then still had a positive outlook. Like I wrote above, it's not a miserable book. He has on overally happy outlook towards life. Eugene has a positive vibe, no matter what goes wrong. Even when he's lost all his belongings, he still takes a good outlook.
It's not just a book about a man with schizophrenia, it's a book about the travels of a man who finds out about his condition throughout his travels. It's kind of heartwarming that all Eugene is looking for is kind of a stability. He tries to go through school, though loses his interest. He tries teaching overseas and loses an interest in that as well. The way his paranoia has been written really fits the tale that's being told. Much of it, despite me not having the same condition, kind of reminds me of my feelings sometimes. I sometimes also have bouts of paranoia, as I'm sure many others do as well. Other feelings as well are familiar like when Eugene considers that people are wearing purple as some kind of support towards him. That reminds me of the way act sometimes, that some people are unconciously supporting them, even if they're not. Though I do not share the condition, many parts of the book do hit close to home.
My feelings on this are kind of hard to explain. However, I truly feel that I kind of got to know Eugene Uttley in this book, despite the shortness of it. He's a very interesting person and he has a somewhat whimsical outlook on life, despite having several bad bits of luck. I felt it truly uplifting that he's made so many friends in so many places, that he's well travelled and seemed to fit in no matter where he goes, even if people do seem to find him a little bit strange. It was quite a wonderful read. All in all, it took me about 4 1/2 hours. I reckon it's well deserving of four stars.