6/27/15

The Thing about December Author: Donal Ryan Narrator: Wayne Farrell

The Thing about December
Author: Donal Ryan
Narrator: Wayne Farrell

Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins
Publisher: Steerforth Press L.L.C

Wayne Farrell's reading is steady from beginning to end maintaining the sober, somewhat sad and often confused inner thoughts of Johnsey Cunliffe. Johnsey is pensive and lonely and Farrell does such a beautiful job narrating the mentally challenged Johnsey. Mr. Farrell narrates a variety of books and not only brings out the best in each story but maneuvers nicely through many characters and emotions. It is lovely and a special treat when an Irishman narrates a book about and Irishman. 

Book Review: The Thing about December by Donal Ryan


Donal Ryan Author image
Donal Ryan Author

There is no doubt that Donal Ryan is a skillful writer and talented beyond belief in delving into the minds of the people he creates going deep into their soul. In The  Thing about December he manages to root out the essence of Johnsey's thoughts which are simple, yet, insightful and often forgiving. I found the book rather depressing because of the sad and spiteful treatment shown to a person that needed compassion and patience.

I was left with a slightly unsavory view of the Irish people that in modern times were acting  no differently than their eighteenth century ancestors and perhaps were even more cruel. I suppose the same could be said if it were set in any other country and Donal is revealing how little true progress mankind has made in dealing with the less fortunate. No matter how much hue and cry is made for political correctness and equality in all things, maybe it is just hue and cry with no substance or genuine gain.

Johnsey's father does his best to give good direction and helpful pointers to Johnsey and his words are frequently heard in Johnsey's mind even long after his father has passed away. His mother seems less sympathetic towards him and Johnsey does hear her words and advice in his head, though less frequently than he hears his father. Sadly they failed to prepare Johnsey to find any independence or ability to take care of himself after they were gone. Leaving him with no understanding of how to handle the farm or money left to him.



Again and again Johnsey fails to see or understand the people he thinks are friends are not and many unscrupulous people try to trick him to get his money or property. In his simple way of thinking he takes things at face value and has no ability to discern body language or duplicity. Johnsey is fated to never understand people and they will never understand him. One can hope that from time to time a person with scruples will help him make wiser decisions.

Overall The Thing about December is a beautifully written book and insightful. Perhaps a much more in depth perception into a mentally challenged person's mind that one might wish to go. Nonetheless a book worth listening to and an superb narration by Wayne Farrell. The book was almost unbearably sad and depressing, but Donal Ryan does know how to slice and dice his words and phrases to get the most emotional impact that is possible out of each one.


Wayne Farrell does and equally soul felt and excellent narration of Donal Ryan's award winning The Spinning Heart. The Irish Times did a great review you may like to read of The Thing about December. 

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