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Little Cruelties - Review

This story begins with a funeral. One of three brothers is dead, mourned by his siblings. But which one? How? And, most importantly: why?

William, Brian, and Luke are each born a year apart in a lower-middle-class Catholic family in 1960s Dublin. William, the eldest, rises to the top of the film industry as a successful movie producer. Luke, the baby of the family, surprises everyone by morphing into a worldwide pop star. Brian, the compliant middle son, is the adult in the room: the helpful, steady manager of finances and careers.

But none of them are what they seem. Wounded by childhood taunts, they have betrayed one another in many ways, hiding behind little lies that have matriculated to full-blown treachery. Liz Nugent's new work of fiction follows three working-class Irish brothers and delves into the many ways families can wreak emotional havoc across generations.

Little Cruelties wasn't what I expected. The synopsis opened with a conversation dealing with the death of a brother. It led me to believe it was going to be a mystery or a thriller. It was neither. This story is about family drama. You know, the typical drugs, mental illness, cheating, lying, and misogyny. While reading, I completely forgot that a brother had died. The only time I was reminded was in the pretext before each sub-chapter. The story was more of a memory trip into each brother's account on family rifts. I like how Nugent showed personal, one-sided views each brother had on the same situation. It answered questions of how the brothers thought of and got into situations.

What leads me to read this book was the references to the hit HBO series, "Succession". I can trace each Drumm brother to the Roy family counterparts. William is Kendall, Brian is Connor, and Luke is Roman. If you've never seen the show, this book will serve as the perfect runner up. The Drumm brothers are the most fucked up individuals you would only hear about in scripted television dramas. A lot of their justifications will make you scream, "WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU"! This is such a dysfunctional family!

With each account, we learn about the Drumm brothers throughout their stages of growing up. Each brother has their demons and deep-rooted jealously with each other. It's incredible how they could thrive in their businesses as successful movie producers, pop stars, and managers.

Overall it was an okay book. I'm not particularly impressed with the ending, which fell flat, especially after such a descriptive build-up. The individual, situational stories are what kept me flipping pages. Maybe you guys will find more pleasure reading this book than I did.

Little Cruelites is available in stores now.

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