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Our own unique affliction - by Scott Moses


If I was to give a one-line summation of my experience of Our own unique affliction, it would be that this is undeniably Scott Moses’ most bleedingly honest novella to date, and with honest, I refer to the crisis of identity, passion, and assumption of responsibility and self-analysis that I’ve come to know Scott battle with, as glimpsed through his social media content. Whilst I am unaware of the details of Scott’s trials, I do know that he has openly referenced his battle with mental health and wellbeing, and only that level of introspection and the fight for re-asserted self-worth could have produced the relationship Scott breathes to life in the pages of OOUA.


It’s both beautiful and repugnant. It makes you take a good look at your own reactions to the situations the main character finds herself in, and re-assess your own gratification of the events that follow. Why do we need to watch “vampires” live recklessly? Why do we need to live alternate lives through them so hedonistically?

Let’s take a step back for me to explain all that. Be warned, spoilers are coming up, so please skip this review if you want to remain unprejudiced by my opinions.



Still with me? Ok.


We start with Alice-Ann, out on the town, ready to drain some mortal, leaving her sister back at their base camp. We figure out pretty quickly that she’s a vampire with hypnosis thrown in for good measure, although the V word is not used in the novel (to my knowledge). Given we know the trope, we are rooting her on for the kill, happily accepting our own preconceptions about vampire-ism, and wanting them fulfilled.


So, here’s the thing, Alice’s sister is paying the price for her sister’s freedom to choose her lifestyle. By focusing all our attention on Alice, by playing to the reader’s prejudices, we happily ignore the plight of the elder sister, though we know there is something wrong there. We ignore it. We want to focus on the lifestyle we can only imagine. But that comes with a price, a price we don’t find out about until the end. A price Alice doesn’t even perceive until it is too late to change.


One person’s life choices in a relationship impinge on the other person’s. One sister assumes responsibility so that the other can assume none and blossom in their freedom and right of expression. And when that person finally sees the damage their other half has endured in enabling their prior freedom – the whole thing crashes down. But way too late to do anything about it.


Now, and this is speculation on my part - this may all be an allegory for mental health (or it may not). This may be Scott’s own tribute to those that enabled his fight with that issue, how he recognizes other people’s parts in his own battle, how, having focused on his own mental health, he is now free to praise those that sacrificed their time and effort for him to win that battle, acknowledging in his own way the need to have focused on his own requirements, yet now, in reflection, the sacrifice of others own needs during that time needs to be acknowledged, and the grief and guilt of that weight of recognition is its own unique affliction.


I may be totally wrong about this.


But it feels like a love letter. The sisters, and their relationship with one another, it’s very real. Moses, quite rightly, focuses on the core relationship, time and again, yet we are caught up in the need for an adventure for Alice, and we almost miss the point. Moses throws hallucinations and time shifts into the narrative to build background, context, and emotion. He plays with the V trope that remains unnamed, and brings detail to the circulatory systems of the undead. Shows us greed.


It's hypnotic and sad, and emotion-laden. It’s Moses doing what he does, giving a glimpse of what he has lived through, internally fighting for the right to live free of self-denial and find self-worth.


This isn’t an easy read. It has action, it has an engaging - if somewhat complicated -plot, but I think it fair to say that a good portion of the book is internal dialogue, revelation, and introspection, or that is the impression I had having read through the book. It’s worth your time in the book, but going in, you know it will hurt.


I’m giving this 5 ⭐ ‘s, I can’t say I loved this. I can’t say it’s enjoyable, but it’s definitely gripping, thoughtful, and as I said above, bleedingly honest.


Thank you, Scott.


I received a copy of OOUA as an ARC, with gratitude, from Andrew Fowlow at Dark Lit Press, and this review represents my honest opinion.


 

You can buy Our Own Unique Affliction, by clicking on the appropriate Amazon link, below:



You can visit Scott's website, HERE.

You can follow Scott on Twitter, HERE.

You can follow Scott on Instagram, HERE.



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Hi, thanks for dropping by!

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