20 January 2015

Five Days on Ballyboy Beach by David J. O'Brien

 A startling revelation - the long-time friend you never viewed romantically is actually the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life.
But what do you do about it?

For Derek, a laid-back graduate camping with college friends on Ireland's west coast in the summer of 1996, the answer is … absolutely nothing.

Never the proactive one of the group - he's more than happy to watch his friends surf, canoe and scuba-dive from the shore - Derek adopts a wait and see attitude. Acting on his emotional discovery is further hindered by the fact he's currently seeing someone else - and she's coming to join him for the weekend.

As their five days on the beach pass, and there are more revelations, Derek soon realises that to get what he desires, he'll have to take it. Events conspire to push him to the forefront of the group, and, as unexpected sorrow begins to surround him and his friends, Derek grasps his chance at happiness. After all, isn’t life too short to just wait and see?

* 10% of the author's royalties will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund. *
I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this book from the description.  What I got was a very well-written and thought-provoking tale of young people and their awakening into adulthood.

This is the story of a group of college friends who get together for a camping trip on Ballyboy Beach.  Derek has a bit of an awakening on this trip, as he realizes that he has more than just feelings of friendship for another young woman in the group who has been his confidant and friend for years.  But what should he do about it?  Never one to act rashly, he doesn’t do anything.  But when a sobering event strikes it wakes each member up to the realities of being an adult and taking destiny by the hand and living your life the way you should.

I have to admit, this is a very beautifully written book.  The scenery of the beach is described in such detail as to make the reader feel as if they are actually there.  I really liked that.  I also really enjoyed the characters.  There was originality to the characters and their lives that I think is difficult to find in contemporary literature these days.  Plus, the underlying theme of this book is something that really makes the reader think and consider questions about their own life and their own destiny. 

I did find that at points the dialogue between characters was a bit hard to get through.  Drinking…what they plan on drinking…how much they can drink…who will go buy the drinks.  I got a little bored through parts of it.  But, this book more than makes up for all of that when you get to the pivotal moment that defines this story.  I won’t give anything away, but it was a “NO WAY!”  kind of moment that rarely happens to me in the course of a reading.

Overall, I enjoyed this story very much.  It’s emotional and interesting and very well written.  4 stars.


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