Review: The Year of the Cock by Shane Morton

The Year of the CockRating: 2 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Jon Stockton has a wide circle of friends who love and cherish him. What he doesn’t have is a man to call his own. Jon tends to breeze through men and his romantic relationships never seem to last very long. His friends have lives of their own, but they can’t help worrying about Jon. They know he’s lonely and deserving of love. It’s just a matter of him finding the “one.”

Over the course of a year, Jon and his friends must confront changing relationships, lost lives, and new additions. Jon will have to acknowledge the reality of the man he has become and have the courage to change himself. If he does, then he might just find the man he’s been looking for.

The Year of the Cock could be one of my least favorite reads this year. The concept intrigued me — a year in the life of a man and his friends, all of who are facing huge changes to their lives. The result, however, is a chaotic mess of narrators, a stiff and awkward writing style, and a main character who is utterly despicable.

I give the author serious credit for telling this story in a unique and inventive way. Each chapter serves as a calendar date marking the progression of the year. Additionally, there are different narrators for every chapter. We hear from Jon, his friends, his lovers, and so on. Great idea, but because none of the characters aside from Jon is particularly well developed, the narrations feel more clinical and less warm. Additionally, there are just too many points of view and as a result the chapters feel cluttered and choppy and they lack smooth transitioning.

The writing in The Year of the Cock isn’t exactly bad, but neither is it polished. Like the chapter transitions, the writing is choppy and rigid. There is no warmth or depth and even when characters profess their love for Jon or one another, it feels hollow. This prevented me from really connecting with anyone.

The biggest issue with the book is its main character, Jon. He is, to put it mildly, a dick. Just a Grade A dick. His ex boyfriend describes him as selfish, childish, and self-absorbed. And all of that is true, but Jon is also cruel and dishonest. He cheats on his boyfriends and isn’t always kind to his friends. In fact, why those same friends continue to associate with him is utterly mystifying. Jon is a jerk and pretty much deserves what he gets for what he does to the people around him. By the end, we’re told he’s done some deep searching and has changed as a result. And his friends forgive him with barely a blink. But a man who makes a pass at his friend on his wedding day and then cheats on his current boyfriend with an ex at the same wedding doesn’t deserve that kind of easy, breezy redemption. I never believed that Jon was truly a changed man and it was hard to find any restorative value in his character as a result.

When you detest the main character of a book, it can be hard to find any sense of purpose in completing it. The Year of the Cock was very nearly a DNF for me. It does have a novel approach to denoting the passage of time and in its narration. But most of that is cluttered by too many voices on the page and a writing style that never finds its rhythm. All of that could have been forgiven though had the main character not be such a piece of human sludge. As a result, I’d have to suggest giving this one a pass.

sue sig

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sue.

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