BY KAREN INGALLS
Murray Clark, the selfish genius, is destined to be a victim his entire life. Why? Because he never takes responsibility for his own actions. Every mistake is someone else’s fault. During four marriages, he is never faithful and has multiple affairs. Sex consumes him and he constantly gives in to desires for another woman, only to quickly lose interest in her and move on to another. Alcohol becomes a way to deal with any upsetting situation in life. He holds every emotion in and adopts the philosophy that all people are bad.
During his childhood in California in the early 1900s, he wanted more than anything to gain his father’s approval. Yet, outwardly, he did everything to gain disapproval. His father had been the bastard son of a famous artist and though he dearly loved Murray’s mother, Buddie, he seemed incapable of expressing love to his sons. So, we see a pattern develop. Murray was very smart, but as his father so often pointed out, he failed to apply himself.
The author, Karen Ingalls, did a fantastic job of showing the social and climatic changes as she takes us through nine decades of Murray’s life. Smoking was the norm. Everyone smoked. No one knew it was bad for their health. As a result lung disease claimed many.
Throughout this story, we move with Murray through one disaster after another. We see his anger at how unfair life has been to him and we see his inability to communicate or return any true feelings to those who continue to love him through all of his failures.
If any young man is looking for a guideline of how NOT to be in life, this would be the perfect book. The author refers to “Iron John” in the story and as it turns out, this is a book written by Robert Ely as a guide for young men, to teach them how to be real men and the opposite of Murray.
At times I felt sorry for Murray, but most times I just wanted to shake him and yell at him to step outside of his own centered self for one moment and take a honest look at life and at himself.
He died in his 90s, alone, still believing that there is no God, life is unfair, and that people are all bad.
This is a very well-written biographical story. Karen Ingalls is a talented wordsmith and anyone who has sons, knows a man, or is a man will enjoy this story.
Author, Karen Ingalls, is an amazing author and a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.
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