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Ostrich: A Novel

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,009 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
A brilliant and moving coming-of-age story in the tradition of Wonder by R. J. Palacio and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon—this debut novel is written with tremendous humor and charm.
This is Alex’s story. But he doesn’t know exactly what it’s about yet, so you probably shouldn’t either.
Instead, here are some things that it’s sort of a
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Ballantine Books (first published August 27th 2013)
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Ostrich - by Matt Greene

My husband has a way of ordering steak: "Make it rare to have it still embarrassed, but make sure the vet cannot save it anymore"

So I immediately connected to the story when I read in the prologue that Alex's dad ordered his steak "Cooked long enough that his family aren't in denial but not long enough that they're at acceptance. Anywhere between bargaining and depression. Just so long as it's seen the inside of a warm room."

This observation of Alex will actually become
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This was a very, very strange read indeed. The story is told from the perspective of Alex, a 12 year old boy up to and following the weeks after an operation to remove a brain tumour.

He is a very interesting, quirky character and the author really has got right into the head of a 12 year old boy – there were times when I really laughed because I could quite clearly see and hear my own sons at that age in Alex. Then there were times when his precocity came to the fore and I did wonder if he was p
I'm pretty sure that I enjoyed this, there were definitely times were I laughed out loud at ALex's thought processess, however I am at a loss at what happened at the end. I think the book beat me.
Jul 12, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First, as a middle school librarian, let me publicly and forever divorce this book from Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This book is NOTHING like Palacio's Wonder and it actually gives me night terrors to think that any parent of a child who has read Wonder might purchase this as a companion novel. Ostrich is about a 13-year-old British boy named Alex who begins having seizures, which leads to the diagnosis of a brain tumor. The novel is written in a "stream of consciousness" and Alex puts me more in mi ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This novel by Matt Greene is written in the first person by the protagonist, Alex. He writes as if he is practicing for his English composition exam, using large vocabulary words because he says the teachers think they are better words and it helps your score. He also loves to use parentheses (which is a better word for brackets). The things he talks about are usually the normal things a boy just becoming a teenager would be interested in - girls, growing up, school, friends, etc. But he also ta ...more
Becca  ☾☁︎⋆ (
I knew right away this was something unique. Not just was one of a kind, a mesmerising, detailed look into the complicated life of Alex. He was a character that many readers long to read about; Matt Greene gave us a deep look into the life of Alex with a witty, quirky character with a real story tell.

Half way through Ostrich, I recalled that it reminded me of when I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower because of in the way Matt Greene had given us a detailed look into Alex's life i
John Ironmonger
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
Ostrich is a book that should come with a serious health warning. If you don't want you head utterly messed with, if you like your narrators reliable and your endings predictable, then run a mile when someone presses this book on you. Because they will. Oh yes, they will.
It all begins in such a familiar way, you'll think you're on safe enough ground. Alex Graham, is a precocious twelve year old with health issues (and possibly mental health issues) learning about relationships, and sex, and infi
Sep 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alex is an interesting character, he's 12 years old and on the verge of puberty. There are also lots of serious issues happening in his life - parental disputes, discovering porn and being ill.

Ostrich has some very funny moments and Matt Greene has created a likeable chap in Alex. However, I began to find the style of narration a little tedious after the first few chapters. Alex often gets sidetracked and drifts off into a whole new direction, often not related to the story. This could be very c
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really really liked this book. It made me laugh and I kinda enjoyed how Alex's friendship with Chloe developed. It was also quite touching as well. I had tears welling in my eyes at the end.
Janette Skinner
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It may be an overworked statement, but this is one of the best books I have read in a very long time, and I read constantly. It is an endearing tale of Alex, narrated by himself at a difficult and growing up time in his life. The book is full of humour and very clever original word plays. The style feels original although it has been compared by other readers to works by Palacio and Mark Hadden.
All the characters in the book are excellently portrayed and Alex himself is a boy you can’t help but
Sheryl Hornblower
Loved Alex, loved this authors writing, loved his book. Very witty and clever. What a journey I was taken on of a young boy and his illness, how it affects the child and the parents. Oh my this book made me laugh out loud and sob too. The French oral exam - hilarious! 😂 Brilliant book - thank you Mr Greene
After The Fault In Our Stars and other successful John Green novels, we had high expectations for Matt Greene's debut novel Ostrich. From the synopsis, it seemed like exactly the kind of book I could appreciate, and something in the same vein as TFIOS with the characters having to deal with tragedy.

The story is written from the perspective of Alex, a 12-year-old boy recovering from brain surgery. Written in a non-linear, slightly disjointed pattern, readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in
Vicky (A Backpack Full of Adventures)
Writing about people suffering from serious illnesses is a difficult thing to tackle but Matt Greene does a brilliant job in his début novel. Ostrich tells the story of Alex, a young boy who has brain tumour and suffers from epilepsy which, despite the fact that he’s smart and seems to be among the best pupils at school, inevitably makes him feel like an outsider. Through the course of the book Alex undergoes brain surgery, falls in love (even if he doesn’t know this at the time), gets behind th ...more
Jackie Molloy
The story is about Alex Graham and his mum and dad plus his hamsters Jaws, Jaws 2 and Rickey.
Ales is poorly but manages to go to school most of the time, have friends, enjoy the lessons and keep up with his parents’ marriage.
Chloe Gower is a very independent girl who judges Alex’s problem parents with her own who have separated some time before. Is it a like for like match in reality or is this the only way Alex can explain the issues which are manifesting themselves at home?
When Chloe explains
Caitlin Smith
This book started off so great to only eventually let me down.

This is a story about a young teenage boy dealing with brain surgery, family issues, making friends, girls, and maybe having a mind that's slightly autistic or something in that nature.

It started off so great. I laughed out loud (literally) several times in the beginning but the story slowly but surely lost my interest. There were several lengthy paragraphs that were just hard to get through. Also the story jumped around quite a bit
Tammy Schoen
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting read...from the voice of a young boy who is ill. One of the 'freshest' most original voices I have read in a while. Don't want to give away too much...but it isn't really a 'tear jerker' as you would expect. Instead, it leaves you thinking after you finish reading....which is really the best kind of read. I have to share some favorite lines:

"I can swear in sixty-seven languages. But I can apologize in only three, which means I could get beaten up in sixty-four countries."

Jo Bennie
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: g
Alex has a brain tumour, he has just come out of hospital after having a hole drilled in his head. But he is also a teenage boy and has to sort out the strange behaviour of his hamster Jaws 2, the mysteries of his parent's marriage, school work and school social life. He has so much to learn, how to narrate his life as French schoolboy Serge in his exams, and how sex works from the acres of pornography on the internet.

Being of a certain generation my closest experience to Ostrich has been Adrian
Lindsey Lang
***netgalley copy***
I really, really wanted to love this book. It was compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time which is what made me pick up this one in the first place as I did love that one. Unfortunately while this book was interesting and unique at the beginning with the preteen stream of consciousness narration and a lot of fun tangents at the start it just got old after a while. The first half of the book kept my interest but most of the rest of it was a bit bothersome
Nov 25, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes when authors are trying to be really inventive and original in the way they tell a story, they miss the boat. This is one of those cases. The book is about a 13 year-old with a brain tumor and his attempts to achieve his goals despite the illness. Sounds good right? Well, it is written as a train of thought with everything that comes to the boys mind spilling on to the page. It gets confusing and hard to follow. Mostly though, it just isn't interesting. It is set in England, so I will ...more
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Ostrich by Matt Greene is a blunt book about the different ways one person can feel ostracised (hence the title) through the eyes of a twelve year old boy.

First Paragraph:

"I can tell my parents are unhappy by the way they smile at waiters. In that small act of ingratiation I can see the custody battle to come. It won't be fought in the courtroom but in HMV and Game. Stocks in Nintendo will soar as my affections are auctioned off to the highest bidder. My teeth will rot."


Alex is an "almost th
Kendall Concini
#readingchallenge2017 (my book about someone with a disability)(audio book)

The synopsis pulled me in with an intrigue based on the notion the book is about nothing yet, but something eventually. I dove in to discover the story. Instead, I read a lot (well listened), but yet nothing.

Within the sections there are a few quips of wit that entertain, but Alex often went on tangents without ever really coming back to a story concept that made a point. I expected it all to wrap-up in the end, with som
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man did this book take me forever to finish! I'm not exactly sure why. But It was a pretty good book, my only complaint, is that I'm not 100 percent confident in my understanding of it. I mean I'm pretty sure I got most of what happened. But I feel like it was a little fuzzy in places, so even though I have a pretty good idea about what happened, I'm not positive. But anyway, it made me laugh. Alex was a pretty funny kid. I can't tell you how many times this book reminded me of a John Green book ...more
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quirky. Very well written and amusing. I especially liked discerning the spelling mistakes that Alex does as part of the narrative. Innocent and completely understandable from the point of view of a 13 year old. Especially the way he links these wrongly spelled words to instances which depict the actual meaning. Ostrichize? His take on many such words and events is quite intelligent if not just plain hilarious. All in all a good satisfying read!
May 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I found the main character insufferable. I am sorry.
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Debs Johnson
Not for me...

....I didn't give up but found bit's of it hard going. Better to be honest. Didn't agree with any of the written reviews.
Daniela Federici
Gave up on it. Really struggled to get in to it and wasn't keen on the writing style
Aug 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Alex Graham, 13, is the precocious narrator of this novel. Recovering from brain surgery because of a tumour which caused him to suffer from seizures, he sets out to play detective and investigate the state of his parents’ marriage. (“It can be helpful to use the word state when describing a marriage because it makes you think of the people involved as particles. Right now Mum and Dad’s marriage is a gas.”) Alex suspects a divorce is imminent because they have been behaving strangely; his hypoth ...more
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Confused by the ending *Spoilers* 4 72 Apr 29, 2015 01:18AM  
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Matt Greene was born in Watford in 1985 and studied English language at the University of Sussex. OSTRICH is his first novel.

Influences include: Kurt Vonnegut, Anne Tyler, Joseph Heller, P.G. Wodehouse, J.D. Salinger, John Swartzwelder, David Foster Wallace, Richard Yates, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, Lorrie Moore, John Kennedy Toole, and, of course, the Jewish Holy Trinity: Philip Roth, Woody All
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“Hope is not the thing with feathers. Hope is an anchor. What keeps you from floating away. Despair is weightless.” 9 likes
“This is the lesson: that sometimes something ugly is just something beautiful that I do not yet fully understand.” 5 likes
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