Novy’s Son: The Selfish Genius by Karen Ingalls
First a bit from the author on Amazon, “From his early childhood, Murray Clark sought love and acceptance from his father, who was raised as the bastard child of a famous artist. Murray struggled with jealousy toward his younger brothers, and he questioned the morals and values of people around him.
As an adult, Matthew lived life his way, with years of lying, womanizing, and heavy drinking. Though married four times, did he ever find unconditional love? Would Murray’s high intelligence, his love for his two daughters, and his unique philosophy of life help him rise above his demons?”
Make no mistake; this book is a compelling read. Ingalls has written a biographical account of her father, from a young child until his death at age 94. Matthew Collins tried to win acceptance from his own father, who was extremely disapproving of Matthew. I felt sorrow for Matthew as his parents only dealt out negatives as he was growing up or Matthew as his parents only dealt out negatives as he was growing up amid half siblings. Neither parent fostered self-esteem in Matthew. He was left bereft of the love that he felt his half-siblings received. With the birth of each new sibling, the deeper the chasm grew, and the relationships became more strained. Although his mother loved him, Matthew built a wall so that he was walled off from seeing/feeling/sensing that love and they never truly bonded. Being sent to live with other family while his mother was pregnant with another baby was destructive to him, especially at such a young age however, it wasn’t his fault that his mother was frail. If Matthew did something wrong, or that his parents perceived as wrong, they would strike back at him with how proud they were of his rather famous grandfather. He tried and tried again to make his parents proud of him. Ingalls brought out the parenting styles of 1920s California in a richly woven narrative. This unhappy childhood followed him into adulthood, and manifested itself in numerous ways.
As an adult, things never worked out the way he thought they would, and negatives kept happening. Over and over a job was lost, a boss was angry, marry, then divorce, and the cycle would repeat. Even his own children were left out and neglected, and he appeared to be paranoid. He tried to make things go the right way, but he was his own worst enemy, and he could only blame himself. Motivation was absent, and he became an alcoholic as well as a sex addict. Ingalls portrayed his shattered life in an engrossing style. In places, my heart broke for this forgotten child, and in others I disliked Matthew for his actions and choices. Ingalls has certainly taken his character and fine tuned it in such a way that one must appreciate just how she could draw the reader into this man! I believe everyone can relate to a tiny part of this man. This is a well written story that evokes many emotions. I highly recommend this book!