Diary of an Oxygen Thief Book Review

(Photo: Freddy Velasquez)

by Dana Hirsch


In Diary Of An Oxygen Thief protagonist Holden Caulfield commits a vast number of sins—most of which involve women.

“We are not punished for our sins, we are punished by them,” writes the novels anonymous author.

After leaving his job in London and going to work for a big company in the U.S., Caulfield meets Lolita, a photographer’s assistant, who he falls in love with. His relationship with Lolita differs significantly from the games he has played with women in the past—she hurts him.

Early on, a pattern emerges: Caulfield selects his victims in the shape of beautiful women and makes them fall for him just to see the pain in their faces when he breaks their hearts. Sometimes his excuse is alcoholism, but deep down he knows that hurting women gives him immense pleasure.

The story has an autobiographical characteristic while still remaining fictional, which invites readers to speculate where fiction ends and truth begins. “I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m far more interested in symmetry,” writes Anonymous, when asked about why this novel was written.

Originally published in 2006, Diary Of An Oxygen Thief landed on The New York Times bestseller list in 2016.

Caulfield is depicted as a severely emotionally abusive, despicable human being who is convinced he deserves everything bad that could possibly happen to him. This seems to be rather an expression of utter self-loathing than a reflection of reality.

It becomes clear that Caulfield takes upon himself the punishment for his sins that he so readily believes he deserves. The confession of this deeply disturbed and troubled individual is shockingly relatable and inspires as well as fascinates on a level that isn’t often found in literature.

This novel is full of foul language and crude, detailed sexual content, bordering on the offensive. Because of this, the story becomes very real and tangible.

This novel hits where it hurts. It is real, honest and fascinating in a disturbing yet revolutionary way.

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