Home > Book, Book Review, Reviews > Book Review – ‘Entitlement’ by Jonathan Bennett

Book Review – ‘Entitlement’ by Jonathan Bennett

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

About the Book:

Andy Kronk is from a lower-class family with little chance of ever leading a privileged lifestyle until he is discovered by an elite private school for his hockey abilities. There he is quickly befriended by Colin Aspinall, who is a member of one of the wealthiest families in Canada. Andy is thrown into the lavish yet complicated life of the Aspinalls when he is taken under their wing and spends his summers living with them.

Years later, biographer Trudy Clarke is doing an expose book about the lives of the Aspinall family and is trying to her to uncover the secrets that lurk within their personal and professional lives. Andy thought he had severed his ties with the Aspinalls until Trudy comes knocking on his door and they embark upon an in-depth interview forcing him to confront the demons of his past.

Wowza – I am so glad that ‘Entitlement‘ by Jonathan Bennett was recommended to me by a friend. At first I refused to read it (after checking out the synopsis), saying that I had no wish to read the modern Canadian version of ‘The Great Gatsby’. But my friend kept on praising it to high heavens, and said friend really has good taste when it comes to books, so I gave in… and I am now a convert to Jonathan Bennett. ‘Entitlement’ is quality writing at its most excellent. Prose is seriously Jonathan Bennett’s bitch, baby. My only complaint is that the poignant story had me feeling down in the dumps for days afterwards – I know – I really get too attached to the novels I read! I remember when I read Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let Me Go‘- so freakin’ depressed afterwards – even though it was one of the best novels I’d ever read in my life…

Jonathan Bennett has a style of writing that is very minimalistic (is that a real word? lol) – the emotions are very restrained, but underneath, the reader can sense the undercurrents of great love and great tragedy. It’s the same quality I love in Kazuo Ishiguro’s writings. It’s like everybody is oh-so-polite with stiff backs and stiff upper lips, and underneath, the savagery is just churning. Good stuff.

I guess we’ll always be fascinated with how the fabulously-wealthy live and love and die, and Mr Bennett doesn’t disappoint (note however that Bennett is never gossipy). Now, I don’t know anything about Canada’s privileged class (and social strata), so I’ll just take Mr Bennett’s word for it with how he portrayed the Aspinall family versus the Kronks and the Clarkes.

The book synopsis hardly does this novel justice – I expected the usual cliché of a poor-boy-in-private-school story – but it’s not just that. There’s layers upon complex layers, and if I had to choose a central theme that holds the entire novel together, it is the question that Stuart Aspinall (patriarch of the Aspinall family) poses early on – What Happened to Colin Aspinall? The biographer Trudy Clarke digs and Andy Kronk (keeper of secrets) pillages his memories and haltingly tells us all about the Aspinall family in little bite-sized flashbacks. We learn how Fiona and Colin and Andy are as teen-agers in private school, the deep friendship that forms between the gay Colin & the straight Andy (and yes, all the homoerotism that suggests but isn’t really played up), what happens when they all grow up and apart … The writing is smooth & effortless, the dialogue is sharp and realistic, the characters are richly drawn & human (even the flamboyant Colin who we don’t get to meet at all until late in the book) … and oh, the twist in the end that pretty much had my heart aching …

So okay, did I love the novel? Oh, yes, I did, I did, I did. And I’m recommending it to everyone – just be careful with your heart – you’ll fall in love with the characters and since Spoiler Alert! the events are going to be heartbreaking – so there you have it. But if you are wondering what happened to all the good novelists out there in this literary world dominated by bestsellers by Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer, just jump in the deep end of Bennet’s pool, baby, cause the ride/swim? (I suck at metaphors!) will be worth it.

Entitlement by Jonathan Bennett is available on Amazon as a hardcover ($21.24) and Kindle edition ($9.56).

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  1. January 14, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Thank you for this kind review. I don’t believe I have ever, or will ever again, read the line, “Prose is seriously Jonathan Bennett’s bitch, baby.” I am glad you enjoyed my book, and took the time to tell others. Best, Jonathan

    • January 14, 2010 at 11:42 pm

      Hey, thanks for passing by! I have a legit author’s comment on my blog – how cool is that! Guess that was unconventional praise I gave you? Totally sincerely meant 🙂

  2. January 14, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Nice blog! I’m going to download “Entitlement” to my kindle based on your rave review–thanks. And thanks for stopping by Feng Shui By Fishgirl and leaving a comment on my Seriously Twisted post.
    namaste~
    fishgirl

    • January 14, 2010 at 11:43 pm

      Hey thanks for the visit too! I hope you like it, but I warn you – the twist is sad…

  1. January 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm

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