It’s said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome. If that’s the case, then an alcoholic narcissist repeating the same bad life choices on a daily basis but is confused why his life is in a constant downward spiral is true derangement.
And it adds to quite a bit of… discomfort.
We meet Marcus at age six when he takes his first drink with his devastated mother after her husband leaves her… for another man.
By age eight, Marcus is an alcoholic and evidently quite talented as he is able to hide his juvenile drinking problem from everyone including teachers who believe he’s just a quiet child.
Marcus continues to drink in private with his mother as his self-hatred and feelings of inadequacy grow.
The catch with Marcus is his self-serving nature always overshadows his low self-esteem. He deserves to do whatever he chooses because all the negativity in his life is someone else’s fault.
Despite this attitude, Marcus moves into adulthood managing to hold down a full-time job and a four-year relationship with good woman, Tiffany. Oh, and he’s still an alcoholic, and no one knows, including Tiffany.
A family party brings Camille—and a plot twist I didn’t see coming—into the picture. The two enter into an intense affair. Marcus knows he’s wrong and loyal Tiffany doesn’t deserve to be cheated on. He feels as low and disgusting as the father he hates. But he doesn’t end the affair.
There is a good story in Discomfort. It deals with current real-life issues, but I believe it missed an opportunity by not going farther.
But this is Marcus’ story and we’re in his head and looking through his eyes.
And it’s exhausting because he’s so repetitive.
Is narcissism heredity? It’s easy to believe when Marcus, Sr. returns with his husband and adopted son expecting Junior to let bygones be bygones so he can be a doting father.
Character development was consistent, but I didn’t like most of the characters. (Not necessarily a bad thing.) Tiffany started out a strong woman but dissolved into a whiny, indecisive whiner. Camille had gone through a lot of rejection and my heart went out to her, but it didn’t make her any less wrong and manipulative.
Marcus? Does anyone like a narcissist? He blames his father’s abandonment on the direction his life took, but all the problems in this story are on HIM.
The bright spot in the story is Marcus’ childhood friend, Christina. They lost touch for the last six years and she has weathered multiple addictions and failed relationships.
And she’s a diagnosed psychotic with frequent stays in the ‘psych ward.’ She calls her depression ‘Bryan’ and her suicide ‘Julie.’ While Christina may not be able to control her own life, she’s spot on with Marcus and a refreshing air of clarity. She has no problem calling him a narcissist to his face. The best thing Marcus could do is listen to Christina… and of course, he doesn’t.
And… the amount of people who keep journals/diaries in this story AND leave them lying around is mind boggling.
I struggled with Discomfort. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.
I don’t need a clear HEA or HFN to enjoy a read. I can overlook the absence of salvation, redemption, or justice if the protagonist show’s some semblance of change or growth. But, Marcus was, in essence, the same man at the end he was at the start. Not good.
I don’t know if there is a book 2 planned for Discomfort, but I have to be honest… I’d read it. I’m invested enough to want to see some real resolutions. Or another rant from Christina!
by Earnest Whitley
Genre: Literature & Fiction/Dramas & Plays
The story of a man and the affair he’s having with life. For every action there’s a reaction.