★ ★ ★ ½
Heather, The Totality is indeed a strange book, but is a also worthwhile read that can easily be finished in one sitting. I won’t give too much away as it is such a short novella and the story grows as you read, but the book centres around a loving family, a predator’s upbringing and what happens when these groups collide.
The author, Matthew Weiner, is one of the creators of Mad Men, so my expectations of the novel were higher than usual. Unsurprisingly, the tone was sharp and solemn, however it took me a while to get used to the simplicity of the text.
At first, the writer in me had the urge to fill in the blanks, and to rewrite this story with a more descriptive approach. I felt like something was missing and had to read the first 10-20 pages a few times before I was really immersed in the story line.
As the story evolved, I began to get to know the characters and found myself suddenly invested. I struggled back and forth between who I empathised for, who’s side I was on and how I wanted their stories to end.
I think it was pretty remarkable what Matthew Weiner was able to achieve in such a small amount of pages. I respect how the author produced an intense, emotional reaction from his audience using such a simple and almost clinical writing style, and see this book as not only a sad story, but a provoking piece of literature.