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Publisher's Summary

David Federman has never felt appreciated. An academically gifted yet painfully forgettable member of his New Jersey high school class, the withdrawn, mild-mannered freshman arrives at Harvard fully expecting to be embraced by a new tribe of high-achieving peers. But, initially, his social prospects seem unlikely to change, sentencing him to a lifetime of anonymity. Then he meets Veronica Morgan Wells. Struck by her beauty, wit, and sophisticated Manhattan upbringing, David falls feverishly in love. Determined to win her attention and an invite into her glamorous world, he begins compromising his moral standards for this one, great shot at happiness. But both Veronica and David, it turns out, are not exactly as they seem.

©2016 Teddy Wayne (P)2016 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    164
  • 4 Stars
    162
  • 3 Stars
    132
  • 2 Stars
    64
  • 1 Stars
    52

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    231
  • 4 Stars
    169
  • 3 Stars
    86
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    12

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    146
  • 4 Stars
    135
  • 3 Stars
    119
  • 2 Stars
    64
  • 1 Stars
    61
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Creepy Inner Dialogue of a Psychopath

What did you love best about Loner?

I certainly didn't love this book, but instead found it fascinatingly intriguing. The shift from first person to second person narrative gave depth to the character's deepening obsession.

Who was your favorite character and why?

There were no favorite characters.

What about David Bendena’s performance did you like?

He did a good job conveying the main character's inner dialogue.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It definitely creeped me out.

Any additional comments?

This book provides a chilling glimpse into the compulsion of a psychopathic personality on a college campus.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well-Crafted, Caffeinated Rush


LONER is a well-crafted, caffeinated composition about a volatile, socially-impaired Harvard freshman from New Jersey and his poco loco fixation on an upper crust co-ed from Manhattan's upper East Side, who is not quite as transparent as she seems. Teddy Wayne builds this relationship slowly at first, then deftly manages a sort of whitewater rush where I kept looking for the next dangerous rocks.

The last 30 pages were like watching a long fuse burn toward a powder keg, or seeing another neurotic, introspective Hahvahd freshman Quentin Compson browse around Cambridge before diving into the Charles River--with Wayne's nod to Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, as near the novel's end the anti-hero David sees the plaque that is actually now on the Anderson Memorial Bridge above the Charles which reads

"QUENTIN COMPSON
Drowned in the odour of honeysuckle.
1891-1910"


This highly clever fireball of a relatively short novel has an explosive ending with a few unexpected surprises. Wayne also toys with our expectations based on gender and socio-economic status. I highly recommend this if you like psychological character studies.

47 of 55 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

When Harvard boys go bad

This is one of the most cringe-inducing books I've ever read. You can almost feel sorry for the protagonist throughout his self-serving narrative as he describes his freshmen year at Harvard, increasingly consumed by his obsession with a hot Manhattanite older girl, except that he's such a complete louse.

David Federman is a perfectly dull, if smart, Jewish boy from New Jersey. He's already a walking cliche when he arrives at Harvard - he was the smartest kid in his high school class, and good grades always came easily to him, but he is unable to grasp the fact that in Harvard, he is no longer the smartest guy in the room. Everyone was at the top of their class. He settles in with an equally nerdy roommate, and almost immediately is introduced to Sarah, a nice Jewish girl who is obviously interested in him right away.

But Sarah's roommate is Veronica Morgan Wells - a gorgeous socialite from a wealthy Upper West Side family. David is smitten with her. Not just smitten, but obsessed. His life soon centers around impressing her, insinuating himself into her life, winning her.

Loner is full of painful episodes. Painful because you are wincing at the stupid stunts David pulls, the obliviousness with which he pursues Veronica (who, despite her seeming indifference, the reader is certain knows exactly what he's up to even before the final act). And as I said, one could almost feel sorry for David, the poor schmuck, lost in the pursuit of the hot, unattainable girl who is clearly manipulating him.

Except David is such a creep. He starts dating Sarah, and letting their relationship get serious, all the while viewing it purely in terms of leveraging him into a relationship with Veronica. He views all interactions in terms of how it will improve his standing with Veronica. He has some self-awareness, as when he describes with painful accuracy their likely future if he and Sarah get married, two dumpy middle-aged parents shuttling rugrats to soccer practice and living banal lives in suburbia. That's not for David - he wants the hot girl from Manhattan, who has cool, sophisticated friends, who brings him along to Final Club parties where he has his first taste of cocaine... whom he actually follows to Manhattan in his hapless pursuit of her.

At some point, David goes completely around the bend, and even though you still want to feel sorry for him, it just never stops being any less painful reading about what a creepy, obsessive headcase he becomes.

This was a surprisingly good book, with believable characterization and a story that zooms along comically and tragically to its finale. It is also believable as a glimpse of college life in the modern day (to those of us who were college students, ahem, quite a while ago).

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Well told story about an unappealing character

Hard to critique this one, because it's true to its premise...a smart, socially and morally undeveloped personality develops an all consuming obsession with a fellow student out of his league. There is a reference early on about "the spectrum", and that might be key to David's obsession and lack of conscience.
David unabashedly uses Sarah, the roommate of his obsession, to create contact. He consistently fails to see to see the utter lack of compatibility that exists between himself and Veronica, a smart, socially well developed personality.
There is one area in which these two match up pretty well...neither is a morally evolved human specimen. As a consequence, the reader is not rooting for anyone as the story moves on.
I debated reading it to the end, but glad I did; the author wraps it up pretty well. I guess I'd classify it as a case study of two unsavory personality types.
The narrator gave just the right tone of desolation to his reading. Not pleasant but true to the tone of the book.
There was a hint of moral evolution attained by the older David, at the end of the book. Wish he had been able to reach a bit more insight through self examination.
True to the tone of the book, we have no clue as to any advance in conscience or self perception by Veronica. Though a major character, about whom the reader becomes curious, we never know what makes her tick.
Well done, but in the end, unsatisfactory.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good Lesson Even If Improbable

The message in this tale was clear. The plot leading to it was pocked with holes of improbability, and the stretch to suspend disbelief put a strain on the imagination. The entertainment value is not totally lost as the dialogue was adequate, as was the feel of space, time, and the elements, all of which came easily to mind with author Teddy Wayne’s ability to splash them in your face with notable skill.

The narrator did an outstanding job. The tempo, voices and mood shifts were very well carried out.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This Author is a Spellbinding and Talented Writer!

I loved this book! I don't think I've ever listened to a novel so compelling to hear in the early chapters and verbal portraits painted of the three main characters (freshmen at Harvard) were intricate and fascinating. I was stunned by the impressive quality of writing from this author Teddy Wayne, likewise the performance artist (David Bendena) delivered in an appropriate voice worthy of this psychological plot unfolding to a possibly worrisome ending. The story does move into intense focus later on but that is how obsession plays out, no? There are interesting incidents and turns which occur but I don't want to provide spoilers. I only wish I could create here a review as well written as this exciting book but then I would be a great author myself and remain silent out of deep professional jealousy....

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alison
  • essex jct, VT, United States
  • 11-25-16

Excellent!

Loved this book! Loved the prose. Loved the slow burn storyline. If you enjoyed Caroline Kepnes novels (Which I did), you'll probably enjoy this.

18 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Chillingly needed

Simply put, this novel artfully exposes very real threats to women and men in our society, threats that need to be denounced.

The story is largely excellent, with only a few eyebrow-raising moments of convenience or implausibility. By and large, the narrative is relatable both deeply and superficially. But more than that, it is woven cleverly with subtle foreshadowing and resonance.

Any potential shortcomings of the writing style, such as overreaching vocabulary or downright conceptual opacity, are wholly attributable to the character of the narrator.

The single greatest weakness of the book is in the performance, not because of flat affect or identical character voices but because of the quality of the recording itself. The s sound is particularly hard to listen to.

In short, this book does what it sets out to do, and it's something we need to be more aware of.

31 of 43 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Meh

The narrator's voice and tone were well done and appropriate to the story but as the story mired in monotony, even the performance became dull and uninteresting. Ending seemed abrupt and unsatisfactory.

27 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow.

Chilling story in all the good ways. Almost a psychological thriller in how painfully, emotionally and personally the story was told. Amazing narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful