Hello everyone! Ova Veugh in the building, presenting an episode of Throwback Tuesday. Today, we travel back with The Unleashed One December 2016, as she discusses her thoughts on "Roads and Circuses" by Tom Mazzone.
Roads & Circuses by Tom Mazzone
Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: General Fiction
Some Civil Servants are not so civil.
Marcus O’Malley is the brown-nosing suck-up everyone despised in school. He also happens to be Ireland’s best-known barrister who truly has it all: a beautiful runway-model wife, two perfect children, prestige, power and wealth. When he refuses a dangerous villain’s request to defend him of heinous crimes, Marcus is rightly intimidated. A seemingly random opportunity to run for political office pops up and only as means to save him from the threats does he decide to dive in.
With his reputation as a do-gooder, Marcus takes like a duck to water to the local scene and his meteoric rise through the party’s rank begins. But as he sets his sights on becoming Prime Minister, he must cooperate with unsavory colleagues, bide time and determine what’s best for him versus what’s best for the party. Could outside forces bring him down, ruin his career and potentially send him to jail? Can he play the game in the shark-infested waters of Irish politics? Does he want power just for the sake of having power? Is he able to see that the chaos and the mayhem in his life are self-created? Can he continue to fool all of the people all of the time? Including himself?
Roads & Circuses is a thrilling satirical look at the world of politics and the duplicitous mind of a politician. It’s not so much what a politician says or does that should worry you, it’s what they actually THINK! And although set in Ireland, Marcus O’Malley could exist in any country or political party in the world.
Note: I must warn that for some readers, this may not even come across as humor. For me, the “ha-ha” moments occurred in the Prologue, which was included in the copy of the book I received. The rest of it mimicked observation that would be discussed via CNN or MSNBC. Therefore, if you are the type of individual that is not into political ping-pong, then this type of read may not be for you.
Before I get into the content of the book, I would like to give two thumbs up to the cover concept. It really mirrors what this story represents—a balancing act between self-interest, party interest and people interest. It does really feel like a circus.
There was only a scoopful of things that I considered cons, so these will be touched on rather quickly.
Some of the sentence structure was elongated—to the point where run-on sentences were formed. The thoughts could have been better delivered in a more succinct fashion and better placement and usage of punctuation.
I feel as if the blurb/synopsis gave away quite a bit of the events. That is one of the reasons why if the blurb seems a bit too long, I get wary, due to the strong possibility of revealing crucial bits of information I’d prefer to stumble upon.
There were actions (coughing, mumbling, chuckling, tearing, wiping, etc.) that were written as if it were a screenplay, as opposed to being conveyed as if it was a story. The amount wasn’t immense, yet it was distracting enough to keep this from a perfect score.
However, those are light in comparison to the points that were refreshing.
I could relate very strongly to Marcus O’Malley. He had an initial thirst for helping his fellow man and gave tremendous thought as to whether what he went beyond benefiting him. I admired him for that because I tend to do my own pros and cons battles with decisions that I make. No, I am not in politics, but every choice in life has a benefit and deterrent. The winner is usually the choice which tips the scales out of balance. Marcus learned that the quicker one rises to the top, some of his core principles get worn down and he has to fall in line to prevent running into a career brick wall. With all of these different forces tugging at him, sacrifice is imminent. In Marcus’ case, the trip takes on a route of outrageousness with many detours into extremism.
The author did a fine job of bringing the reader into Marcus’ world—taking time to map out the differences between West Dublin and East Dublin, as well as painting the local mannerisms of each segment.
There were some passages that I really enjoyed, and I’d like to share a particular segment that hit home. It embarks on Marcus’ initiative to repair the roads, and he is explaining why it is important.
A bumpy road may be a fact of life and indeed a more interesting ride, but it is the well-maintained road that allows one the energy to be well and truly able for one’s destination and the reason one travelled in the first place.
Give a man a vehicle and he has the ‘What’ and the ‘How’ …
Give that same man a good road and he now has the ‘Why’ and the ‘Where’ …
There were some striking parallels between this series and what is happening in politics, touching on circumstances that hit the United States. It makes the absurdity, the greed, and the angst very real, resulting in a small, nervous chuckle on each occurrence.
I recommended Roads and Circuses not as humor but as a tale with mirrors political pitfalls that can apply to any area in the world, not just in Ireland.