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review 2016-10-22 19:53
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko/Scott Stambach
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Scott Stambach

Seventeen-year-old Ivan Isaenko is a life-long resident of the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children in Belarus. For the most part, every day is exactly the same for Ivan, which is why he turns everything into a game, manipulating people and events around him for his own amusement.

Until Polina arrives.

She steals his books. She challenges his routine. The nurses like her.

She is exquisite. Soon, he cannot help being drawn to her and the two forge a romance that is tenuous and beautiful and everything they never dared dream of. Before, he survived by being utterly detached from things and people. Now, Ivan wants something more: Ivan wants Polina to live.

 

This book ended up being more mature and older than I thought, which ultimately made it a more powerful novel with lasting thoughts.

 

It took me several chapters to really get into this book. Ivan initially didn't draw me in and I found him kind of annoying; however, once I did fall into this, I found it terribly heartening and hard to put down. Each scene seemed to have a purpose, and I liked that I was getting over my initial discomfort with how hopeless Ivan's whole life seemed.

 

I loved the narration style of this book. It was incredibly unique and made me feel as though Ivan were actually a real person. His cynicism about the world was incredibly amusing, and though he was a teenager, he initially felt quite young. The way he talked about the nurses around him and his environment was incredibly heartening.

 

Though this book might seem initially a little removed from the world of most readers, I thought it gave an important perspective to what living with severe disability might be like, and how one can still have hope and one can still have a purpose, and I found that to be very important.

 

I'm glad I was reading this review because otherwise I likely wouldn't have continued reading this book. The first part was slow and hard for me to get into. But ultimately, this book was so worth it and I highly recommend it.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-08-22 15:34
Review: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Scott Stambach


"...from what little I know of the outside world, I am fairly certain that my comrades and I live in hell. For most of us, the hell is in our bodies; for others, the hell is in our heads. And there is no mistaking that, for each of us, hell is in the empty, clinical, perfectly adequate, smudgy, off-white brick walls that hold us in here. In spite of my intelligence, I'm forced to accept that I'm one of the lucky ones."

 

I received a free copy of The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko from the publisher in return for an honest review.

 

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko is such a harrowing read but at the same time it's both inspiring and full of hope. I fell in love with Ivan's voice he's a strong, unique and interesting character and his life both inspired and saddened me. It's a very poignant story told by a very memorable character that brings out a whole gamut of feels: heartache, sadness, joy, anger, hope, humour, and more.

 

I feel like I want to say this is a hard book to read but it's not. That is due largely to Ivan himself, his character approaches life in a very unique way and through his humour and stubbornness the shocking and heartbreaking story of his life is made more bearable and easier to read. Ivan shows us that a little bit of kindness can go a long way and even though this is a fictional story I'm sure much of it has gone on at some time or another.

 

The writing style is unlike anything else I have read and I highlighted so many passages and sentences while reading. One that particularly stood out for me was "How do you even start a book you know is going to be your last?" Which seems such a small and insignificant line to stand out amongst so many touching and insightful passages in this book but as a reader this really resonated with me. Most will know the saying "Too many books, so little time", as someone who lives and breathes books, the thought of only ever being able to pick up one more book, for it to be the last I ever read, I find that such a daunting prospect. There's a finality to it that I find very haunting and scary.

 

I don't often re-read books but this is one of those books that I know will draw me back to it.

 

Highly recommended. I'm off to buy myself a copy for my shelves.

 

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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review 2016-08-16 00:00
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Scott Stambach "I’m seventeen years old, approximately male, and I live in an asylum for mutant children."

Every once in a while, I like to read something that is out of my comfort zone. I’m not even entirely sure why I requested this one from NetGalley, but I liked the title and the cover, so what the hell, I gave it a shot. I am glad I did. I enjoyed this one a great deal.

Ivan is a great character, deformed, sarcastic, scheming, with extremely dry and sardonic humor. He is also a compulsive reader and masturbator. What’s not to like about this kid? Enter Polina. A new patient at the Mazyr Hospital for Gravely Ill Children. She is beautiful. She will rock Ivans world and make him reevaluate all of the personal tenants that he holds dear.

A touching and funny adventure with a sprinkle of sadness and a hope of redemption. My only peeve was that it felt a bit rushed at the end. And I was awaiting a huge tear-jerking breakdown. I am talking about big, man, crocodile tears. It didn’t really materialize and strangely enough I was pretty disappointed. You know the kind of tears I am talking about? The movie E.T…those kind of tears. Where the Red Fern Grows, uh huh, now we’re talking. F’n movie Rudy, man!! Now, you get what I’m saying.

Whoops. Got off track there momentarily. It didn’t need the tears, but it did lose a little juice for me for whatever reason with the seemingly hurried ending. Still a very good and well written tale with an interesting and unique protaganist. 4 Stars and Highly Recommended.

Thanks, NetGalley!
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text 2016-08-15 21:09
71% done with The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Scott Stambach

 

"How do you even start a book you know is going to be your last?"

 

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review 2016-08-03 00:24
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko - Scott Stambach

#INVISIBLELIFEOFIVANISAENKO   What a beautiful story. Not necessarily for the characters but for the readers. This story hit every emotion that I had. I felt so much just reading this story. Apparently this was a true story and I felt so much just living life through Ivan's eyes. We sometimes forget how much we have to be thankful for and this story so opened my eyes to so much that I have that others don't. I loved this story. It was both funny, sad and poignant and I loved every minute. Ivan is my hero and I so much want others to read to read about him. It's such a great story!

Thanks St. Martins's Press and Net Gallery for giving me a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. This book has truly made a huge impression on me.

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