Book Review – “Odd Man Out” by James Newman

There are certain moments in life where you see a tragedy or accident taking place and are unable to do more than watch as it unfolds in all of its horrific magnificence. Time slows down, seconds lasting minutes and minutes hours, and a deep-seated part of you, the part that makes you human, continues to question why you aren’t doing something to prevent it even though your rational mind keeps tittering that you have no control or could offer no support. You’re stuck on the sidelines, relegated to the role of witness, and the stomach churning despair and overwhelming sense of remorse and dread will stay with you long after the collision occurs. Because despite being on the sidelines, you’re also a part of the problem. The two-seconds of hesitation, the mind-numbing rationalizations, they take you from a mere observer into the role of an unwilling conspirator, adding to the chaos and heartbreak and misery by your inability to act, to shout out, to stop the tragedy that’s unfolding.

This is what reading Odd Man Out by James Newman is like.

odd-man-outThe brilliance of this short novella isn’t just its relevance or the themes it touches on, but the role it casts the reader into. Because we’re there for the whole thing. And we don’t stop it.

A frighteningly introspective story about a boy’s camp that goes horribly wrong, this is a story I can’t recommend highly enough. Everyone should read this and reflect on what it says about our society in general, as well as ourselves, because ultimately we each have to make that decision each and every day. Are we standing on the sidelines watching hatred destroy the world around us or are we willing to stand up for the things we believe in, damn the consequences. A definite 5-star read.


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