Title: The Lunatic Memoirs- The Jack Downing Story
Author: Thatcher C. McNally
Genre: Psychological Fiction
Number of Pages: 201
TW: Serial Killing, Sexual Abuse, Infanticide, Animal Cruelty
Ugh, this book had so much potential. I don’t read a lot of self-published books but the synopsis for this one grabbed my interest, so I ended up reading it on my Kindle. The Lunatic Memoirs is a book in verse narrated by a megalomaniac sociopath a-hole who wants to eliminate the ‘breathing breeders’ (i.e. people who are not him) from society. Jack Downing recounts his childhood and crimes, starting with when he smothers his baby sister as a young boy.
I’m a sucker for these kind of stories (The Wasp Factory is one of my favorite books) but right off the bat The Lunatic Memoirs was full of plot holes that were impossible to overlook. As soon as Jack kills his sister he is placed in a mental institution, but he is allowed to roam free for one night so… his parents can say goodbye to him? Then on his ‘last night’ when he predictably sets the house on fire and kills his parents he goes to live with his UNCLE, and absolutely no one suspects him based on the smothering of his sister or sends him back to the institution?
The mental health and criminal justice systems have incredibly short attention spans in this book, making it all too easy for Jack to do pretty much whatever he wants without ramifications of any kind. The writing style of this book is unique and actually kind of cool, but Jack’s repetitive rantings and ravings got tedious after a while. I appreciated that he wasn’t given a stereotypical tragic backstory to rationalize his behavior, but there ultimately just wasn’t that much going on with his character. He wasn’t as smart as he seemed to think he was and I found it hard to believe he got as far as he did with his plotting and scheming.