book reviews | fiction

Book Review: The Trivia Man

the trivia man

If you’ve ever read one of my bios on Twitter or Instagram you’ll notice that one of my favourite things is Trivia. Give me a quiz show or a game of trivial pursuit and I’m there! So when the team at Random House asked me to review the latest book by Australian author Deborah O’Brien aptly titled “The Trivia Man”, it was a ‘had me at hello’ moment.

The Trivia Man tells the story of Kevin, a quirky middle-aged loner whose life revolves around collating information in his notebooks and attending trivia nights as a one man team. Kevin has always been odd, or as his sister would say ‘a nerd’, and his one and only friend is his nephew Patrick with whom he shares many characteristics.

The story revolves around Kevin’s weekly attendance at a trivia competition. Usually content with his own company on his one man team, Kevin meets Maggie. A middle-aged, unlucky in love Latin teacher who is nominated by her team to recruit Kevin and his endless knowledge.

Although out of character, Kevin agrees to join their team after being quite taken to Maggie – One of the first people to see past his idiosyncrasies and actually find his occupation, a forensic accountant, interesting.

What follows is a heart-warming, charming story about finding one’s place in the world, and maybe even finding a little love in the most unusual circumstances. And of course there’s the trivia questions sprinkled through the book, which for any trivia buff is an added bonus.

It didn’t take me long to become invested in the story. The simplicity of the storyline could very well sound a little boring, but Deborah has a wonderful knack of drawing the reader into the fiction world with interesting and unique characters.

What struck me was how perfectly formed Kevin, Maggie and the secondary characters were. Each with their own story to tell, seamlessly weaved in with the main narrative. A talent that is enviable to any writer and makes for an enjoyable and well-rounded experience for the reader.

I particularly enjoyed the underlying themes that Deborah addresses throughout the book. The way that everyone is expected to fit within a box within society, and how if you don’t you aren’t considered ‘normal’. But what is normal anyway? And the fact that labelling people creates blinkers that prevent us from seeing the real person beneath the label. Such food for thought.

I was also fortunate to ask Deborah a few questions about The Trivia Man and also her writing process which you can read HERE, (and it’s well worth the read).

So if you are after a beautifully crafted and heart-warming and quick read that will also provoke your thoughts (and your trivia knowledge), I thoroughly recommend The Trivia Man.

Rating: 4 out of 5


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(And yes if you missed it I was gifted an ebook of The Trivia Man for review purposes)