By the Book @ Rogers Memorial Library

Eleven, by Mark Watson

Xavier Ireland is a young and handsome radio DJ who lives a quiet, reserved life in London.  He works the graveyard shift, midnight to 4 a.m., where he often ends up acting as a counselor to his lonely late-night listeners.  Native to Australia , Xavier is far from his homeland and seems to like it that way.  His social calendar consists of weekend scrabble tournaments and the occasional night out with his best friend and co-host, Murray.  When asked about his past, Xavier remains tight-lipped, smoothly changing the subject.

One snowy day while walking home from the store, Xavier notices a group of bullies attacking a younger, smaller boy.  When Xavier tries to intervene, the bullies turn on him and frighten him away.  The smaller boy is left to fend for himself.  Although Xavier is disappointed in himself for deciding to walk away, he actually has no idea how far the repercussions of that choice will travel.

Mark Watson is a popular British comedian and an exceptional author.  As he begins introducing readers to some of the characters whose lives are affected by Xavier’s choice, Watson weaves their stories together in a seamless and creative way.  Many of the characters — from food critic to therapist, real estate agent to overweight adolescent — have lives that are vastly more intertwined than they could ever imagine. Like a giant row of dominoes, readers see how one action affects the next and so on, until people are doing things drastically out of the norm from their personalities.

Little by little readers learn more about Xavier, including his real name, as well as details about the people he left behind.  Although a painful topic, things keep happening that force Xavier to look into his past and examine the series of events that brought him to where he is now.  Throughout the book, Xavier gives readers small snapshots of his earlier years, but he maintains suspense about what actually happened until the end of the book.  At that point, readers have fallen in love with Xavier, and the story he finally reveals is gut-wrenching.

The tone of Eleven switches effortlessly from hysterically funny to desperate, and keeps readers looking forward to what is going to happen next.  From a speed-dating event that has Xavier going home with a new house cleaner rather than a date, to hearing the confessions of his repeat call-in listeners, this book will leave readers wondering about the seemingly simple choices we make every day, and how each one affects the world around us.


3 Responses to “Eleven, by Mark Watson”

  1. I love your review of this book. I just put a request in the system for it. Can’t wait to read!

  2. Thanks so much, it was a great book. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did:)

  3. Just finished and I really enjoyed this book. What a different way to look at life. A person might not ever realize how many lives are affected by one action they choose to take or not take. Thanks for the review and recommend.

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