To fall in love with the title and the cover of this novel is easy. Those two match together unfortunately not with what they try to deliver. It’s far from easy to love the story they bring. I’m glad that I didn’t bought its paperback despite high rating it has. The cover should be a white man standing in front so he would seemed bigger, while there were people at his back and please make them blurry.
An eleven-year old Jule is the youngest of Moreau family. He has Liz; an outgoing eldest sister, and Marty; a rigid and smart older brother. From Jules’ point of view we will know all of the characters and their background stories. He was an outgoing boy until the suddent death not only took his parents, but also his upbringing and his relationship with his remained family off.
He and his siblings enrolled to a boarding school. Liz was always being an adventurous sister while Marty was a logical brother as usual. He started to feel endless hole not only after his loss of parents, his home, but also his siblings. Until he met Alva, a girl with her own griefs. He and Alva became best friends even though he knew a little no nothing about what Alva had been through. He falls in love with her, thought she’s able to fill his emptiness.
Saying that this is a family saga seems misleading. The other characters especially his family feel to me as a background. Sure they played big roles in Jules’ life, but he would explain mostly about what he thought about a girl she loves. He tried a litle effort to communicate with her so what we will know from his point of view was that Alva is this typical traumatized woman who thinks herself unworthy of “good” love.
Liz and Marty are really interesting characters, each with her and his own complexities. A seemed laid-back Liz had her own self-destructive behaviour which she failed to recognize nor explain. Marty with his own fixation had his own anxieties and obsessive compulsions.
I’ve tried (too) hard to empthatize with Jules yet what I saw was this white young man who is so self-centered and craving for help, love, and understanding yet doing nothing to achieve them.
This is an example of how a man could feel as the center of universe. As if everybody around him, with their own shattered hearts, only orbiting around his wounds. I do absolutely understand because I know such people like him and I do believe that all of us (including myself) has this tendency to think that we are the most suffered person and that our stories are so rare.
The End of Loneliness could also be an outdated man and woman romantic relationship story where the woman character is so flat and lack of depth. She was in the novel not to contribute to the story but solely for the male main character. Alva is an enigma with her own traumas yet the self-centered narrator made her seemed a doll-like figure. Even girl toys in Toy Story 4 feel more human to me.
In one interview I’ve read Bennedict Wells said that this is a book he had to write, not wanted to write. This is a personal story yet doesn’t necessary mean that he used his own experiences. He spent seven years to finish the book and changed from third-person’s point of view back to first-person’s. I doubt changing it to the former would affect much if the main character itself was this whiny male character.
I already felt bored long before I reached halfway yet since the book is short enough I decided to continue. I was at this part when I realized that this is a story of a self-indulgent man:
“You didn’t help me,” I said. “I shouted for you.”
“I didn’t hear you.”
“You heard me. I was right outside your door.”
“Honestly, Jules, I didn’t hear you.”
I glared at him. “If you’d just opened the door they would have let me go. All you had to do was come out.”
My brother wouldn’t budge, though, so in the end I said, “At least admit that you heard me. Then I’ll forgive you.”
When Marty still hadn’t answered several seconds later, I left the room. In those days, whenever I thought of my brother, the image that came to mind was a closed door.”Why didn’t you help me?! Argh, you are so cruel!. Excerpt From: Benedict Wells. “The End of Loneliness: A Novel.”
The worst part of this, which also made me realize a hundred percent that this book is about a narcissist’s story was…
When Alva’s husband was looking for a gun which Jule knew that the old man would kill himself, and he let the old man killed himself. That was a preventable tragedy, but the writer might thinking that we would symphatize since Jules was this fragile. After the old man had passed away, Jule married the man’s exwive: Alva he loved so much. No surprise. How a person did nothing to prevent someone’s death even though that person is your lover’s crush? For me it was disgusting and too self-absorbed.
No wonder though, this is Jules’ universe and other characters are just speck of dusts.
The End of Loneliness is an effortless man’s universe with endless tragedies. For this reason, I think this story would be an award-winning Telenovala. Who brought all these onions in here?!