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The Wacky Man

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  50 reviews
My new shrink asks me, ‘What things do you remember about being very young?’ 'It’s like looking into a murky river, I say. Memories flash near the surface like fish coming up for flies. The past peeps out, startles me, and then is gone . . . 

Amanda secludes herself in her bedroom, no longer willing to face the outside world. Gradually, she pieces together the story of her
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 2nd 2016 by Legend Press
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Dannii Elle
I received this book from Goodreads giveaways. Thank you to the author, Lyn G. Farrell, and the publisher, Legend Times Group, for the opportunity.

I felt a little conflicted whilst reading this and I still feel conflicted after giving it 5 stars. The writing was undoubtedly deserving of every one of them; it had such a beautiful, lyrical quality that had me rewriting quote upon quote in my notebook to commit them to memory. The story itself was powerful and so deeply and utterly sad in a way tha
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
Trigger warning: child abuse!

The reason for my 1 star is simply that, as goodreads rating system says, I did not like it.
Does that mean The Wacky Man is a bad book or poorly written? Of course not. The author did an amazing job with an awful story.

So why the 1 star? Why didn't I like the book? Because of all the hate and suffering in this story. Because even now I feel like crying, but cannot because I'm too angry. There was no satisfactory ending for me. I wanted the tormented family avenged.
A heartbreaking novel that packs a visceral punch!

“The Wacky Man” is a compulsively readable debut novel that expounds upon the life of Amanda May. Amanda is fifteen when we meet her and she is a scarily intelligent and seriously mentally ill girl. Her illness stems from a lifetime of both physical and emotional abuse. She has retreated – both mentally and physically. She has detached herself from a world that is just too painful for her to endure. She has become a recluse and has spent the past
Apr 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Wacky Man is quite a heart breaking and emotional read.

Amanda has serious issues with her mental health. She has seen numerous shrinks that make her go back and recall incidents in her life that have made her into the person she is at the tender age of fifteen.

I have to say my heart really went out to Amanda as well as her mum and brothers. Unfortunately the years of physical and mental abuse from the husband/father have taken it’s toll on all the family and has affected them all in differen
Jackie Law
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Wacky Man, by Lyn G. Farrell, recounts in painful, vivid detail the childhood of Amanda, whose vicious father took out his anger and frustrations on his children with a cruelty it is hard to comprehend. The story opens with Amanda talking to her ‘new shrink’, trying to piece together the fractured memories of her past. It is a past filled with fear, yet the bruises she carried were as nothing compared to the emotional damage endured. The beatings she suffered hurt from the outside in. The ba ...more
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have been reviewing books for Legend Press for some years now. I like them, they are a small, intimate, independent publishing house who publish very original and ground breaking novels from some of the finest authors around. I like the intimacy of Legend Press, I like their teamwork and their loyalty, and am rarely disappointed by anything that they publish.

The Wacky Man is one of those books that totally consume the reader, from the first few paragraphs, right through to the final chapter, t
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: family-drama
The story is narrated by Amanda, just a teenager, she looks back at her life in a series of flashbacks and memories, emerging from her damaged and fractured mind. No sweet coming of age story this.

Her life was dominated by her loathsome and violent father, he bullied and mistreated Amanda’s Mum and twin brothers mercilessly, but saved his really psychotic nastiness for his only daughter whom he despised and loathed, ensuring she grows up despising and loathing herself.

This story is brutal and sh
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Quick Review: A difficult read that resembles the haunting nature of abuse and mental illness. Read this if you're looking for realistic portrayal.

I had to take my time with The Wacky Man because the prose was haunting and affected my mood quite a bit. We follow two narratives; the first person narrative of Amanda as she talks intimately about her broken life, and the third person narrative that gives insight into Amanda's family, especially her mother. The former narrative is extremely persona
Lolly K Dandeneau
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well that was a harsh read! This reads like a panic attack- and while I'm not supposed to quote I have to say this sentence hit me between the eyes with it's raw honesty about abusers. "We moved around him like crabs , sideways on so we could always see him. We spoke ghosts might speak, in whispers and murmurs, so that the noise didn't carry. But still he swelled and swelled with anger..."
This novel is a ticking time bomb, and our poor damaged Amanda is the voice of every victim you have ever me
Joy Clark
If you are looking for a nice, easy, fun read - walk away. Actually, run away, because this is one of the most gut-wrenching, tear-your-heart-out, make-you-want-to-crawl-in-bed-and-cry books I've read. It's also one of the best portraits of mental anguish that has ever existed. In the beginning, we meet Amanda Duffy, a teenager who has not left her room in months, whose mother and therapist have to sit in the hallway and speak to her through the door. The story then switches to 3rd person, and w ...more

I was disappointed by this book. Looking back at the synopsis, I can see that I interpreted who the Wacky Man might be as an outside character that ... was actually wacky. To me, wacky is weird, different, non conformist, and at times, somewhat uncomfortably so.

Who it turns out to be, isn't actually very surprising but wasn't what I expected.

But what was disappointing, "wacky" meant unpredictably and often violently volatile.

Maybe the story is decent if you go in with more accurate picture of wh
Mark Pearson
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not sure where to start with this review. Guess I have to admit that the author would have been a closer school friend of mine, had she been there more often, so our links go back 35+ years, but hopefully this won't detract from the value of my review

I've seen a number of 5-star reviews for this debut novel on book related sites and blogs over the past couple of weeks. They all mention the harrowing nature of the subject matter, one or two mention the odd expletive that is contained in the pages
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
I’ve seen The Wacky Man reviewed on a couple of my favourite blogs and I immediately added it to my wishlist. I was therefore thrilled when the publisher got in touch to offer me the chance to review this book for the blog tour.

The Wacky Man is a very powerful and moving novel. It’s an unflinching look at how childhood abuse, and abuse within a marriage, causes such damage – not just physical damage but the emotional impact. It shows how even once the bruises have healed and the perpetrator of t
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Amanda May...
Amanda May doesn't have an easy life, she's young but has lived more experiences than she should. Her story is not easy to read, but you will be stuck into it, wanting to know more.
If you are searching for an easy read, this book is not for you; this is an intense and sad voyage on Amanda's life, but it will not leave you indifferent.
You will read this book as an Amanda's guest, she will share with you her experiences and stories; her childhood, her parents rela
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A powerful and emotional story of Amanda, a young girl with serious mental health issues as a result of a lifetime of abuse at home. When we meet her she refuses to even leave her room and gradually we go back in time to discover what a nightmare she and her family have been enduring. This is a hard-hitting novel indeed, and one which feels totally convincing and authentic. I can only imagine the author has had some first-hand experience. She gets to the heart of what the effects of abuse really ...more
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5, but I deducted the .5 star for the abysmal copyediting (many words repeated, deleted or in the wrong order). Take one part Anne Enright and one part Sade, and you basically have this novel. The title is something of a misnomer, not only because 'wacky' means something different in the US (i.e., silly, oddly amusing) than it does in the UK (i.e., truancy), but the titular character is only a minor one (although he is also supposedly a symbol of the protagonist's sadistic father also). It's a ...more
Mairead Hearne (
Tears rolling down my cheeks. Review will follow over next few days.
If you get a chance...please read this book.
Heartbreaking! Raw!

My Full Review (6 Dec 2016)

The book that sent my emotions into overdrive…..

The Wacky Man by Lyn G Farrell

Published by Legend Press May 2016, following on from Lyn achieving the 2015 Luke Bitmead Bursary, The Wacky Man is described as a ‘Raw, unflinching debut novel that journeys through one girl’s abusive upbringing and the catastrophic effects this can have’

This is
Kelsi H
May 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Please check out all of my reviews at!

Amanda was severely abused as a child, and now as a teenager she has locked herself in her bedroom and refuses to come out. Her “shrink” asked her what she remembers about being young, and the horrific memories came flooding back, crippling her emotionally. Although her mother feeds her and tries to get her to leave the bedroom, her love has no effect on Amanda – just as when she was young, and her mother was unable to prot
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Wacky Man is fascinating portrayal of mental anguish and one that is in the minority of being actually honest and not romanticised.
We first glimpse Amanda through her meetings with a therapist so it is apparent that she is a teenager deemed an outsider. But it is when she uncovers her past and her reasoning for having therapy that her situation becomes absolutely harrowing. Her abusive father and her negligent mother have broken her as a person, the two people that she should trust and shoul
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Wacky Man begins with Amanda, at the age of fifteen, telling the reader about the few people in her life – her shrink, one teacher she mentions, and her family. She goes on to recount, in visceral detail, the story of her own decline through a spectacularly miserable childhood. As a portrait of the effects of abuse, both physical and mental, it is outstanding. The most disturbing thing about the book is that one cannot help but fear, from the complete authenticity of the narration, that the ...more
Katie B
First of all, I want to state that this book deals with the subjects of child abuse and mental illness so this book might not be for everyone. The book is hard to read at times because of the subject matter being so emotionally grueling. With that being said, I hope this book is able to find an audience because it is too well-written to slip by unnoticed.

Amanda has shut herself off from the world after enduring a horrific childhood full of physical and mental abuse from her father. Amanda's two
Craig Gillan
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: legend-100
Thanks to Legend for this book. Well written and great insight into abuse. Brutal and upsetting at times
Linda Hill
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Amanda sits isolated in the detritus of her room, self harming and pulling out her hair one strand at a time.

I don’t want to write a review of this remarkable book. I just want to repeat the word ‘stunning’ several times. Stunning, stunning, stunning.

I have no idea whether Lyn G. Farrell is writing from her own experiences, but her background in psychology certainly adds depth, credibility and authenticity to this outstanding read.

The narrative is split into Amanda’s first person dialogue with t
Sal Noel
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think it’s set in Heywood.
This was a harsh but original read. The writing drew me into this appalling family. I felt that I was sneaking glimpses of their private interactions. What can anyone do?
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This stunning debut novel by Lyn G Farrell is a darkly powerful tour de force which had a deep emotional impact on me. A must read!
Ann Alexander
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katrina Vasey
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leah Moyse
May 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book last night in preparation for doing this post today and I can honestly say I am still being assaulted by a barrage of emotions. I am going to go out on a limb here, and I don't often say this, it is one of the most incredulous, brilliant and stupendous pieces of writing I have EVER read.

This story is about the lives of a family where all is not well, most live in fear. Happiness is snatched in the smallest of glimpses, before The Wacky Man comes home from work. Happiness is
Apr 18, 2016 added it
Winner of the Luke Bitmead Bursary 2015, Lyn G Farrell’s debut novel, The Wacky Man is nothing short of excellent. Quite possibly the best book that I have read this year so far, Farrell powerfully portrays the consequences of trauma on those who have been victim to domestic abuse.

The Wacky Man is far from an easy read. There were many times where I had to stop and reflect on what I had just read because the language and events in the novel are so hard-hitting to point where I felt uncomfortabl
Juli Rahel
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was curious as to what this novel would have to offer from the moment I saw the cover and read the blurb. Sometimes a blurb walks the fine balance between revealing what the novel is about and keeping the reader guessing as to actual plot. That was the case with The Wacky Man which means that from the first page Farrell surprised me. This review might hold some spoilers due to plot discussion. Thanks to Netgalley and Legend Press for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an hone ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Wacky Man by Lyn G. Farrell - 3 stars 1 12 Jul 03, 2016 03:34AM  

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Lyn G Farrell is the winner of the 2015 Luke Bitmead Bursary Award for her debut novel, The Wacky Man. The story focuses on Amanda, hoping for a better future as her family disintegrates, for a way out from the violence and fear that has consumed her childhood. Can she cling to her sanity before insanity itself is her only means of escape?
Lyn is currently working on her second novel, studying crea

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