The Origins of Benjamin Hackett by Gerald M. O’Connor

imageIn the summer of ’96, Benjamin Hackett has come of age, technically. And in the midst of the celebratory hangover, his world is whipped out from under his feet. His parents have finally shared their lifelong secret with him; he’s adopted.

At the age of eighteen, the boy still has some growing up to do, and with the help of JJ, his loquacious consigliore and bodyguard, he embarks on an adventure that’ll put to bed a lifetime of lies.

Over the course of five days, they find themselves caught up in the darker side of Cork. But when they sweep through the misfits blocking their way and finally discover the truth of it…now that’s the greatest shock of all.


The day after his 18th birthday Benjamin finds out that he is adopted.  He is shocked but most of all angry for the lie his parents have kept from him all his time.  After seeing the parish priest who arranged the adoption he goes on a quest to find out who is parents are.  This sets him on a path that takes him into the underbelly of Cork and aligning himself with questionable characters to help him get to the truth.  With JJ helping him unquestionably as a friend should, he finds what he is looking for.  Will he keep what he found out to himself or will he blow apart the world of the people who raised him and others around him to satisfy his every building anger?

The opening few pages of the book had me laughing.  The writing and language is great, the local lingo and manners of speaking brought me right back to when I was in Ireland.  Benjamin was right to be angry but the story is a long and winding one that brought him to the truth.  it’s a tall yarn that only the Irish can write and get away with.  It’s not your typical coming of age story.  I loved the first and third part of the story.  The middle third with him and JJ’s goings on in Cork were farfetched. It did add to to the story but I found it dragging a bit in my opinion.  The whole thing with the way they wanted to break into the convent to find out his parentage was just way to out there.

In saying that it was a good read and brought me to 90’s Ireland. I also could tell that this was written by a Corkman even before i realised that the writer is from Cork.  Stories set in the west usually have a certain feel and desolation to them, just as you can can tell a Dublin writer as well.  Having worked for a Corkman you can get some of they lyrical way of the county in this story. It’s a good first novel from Mr. O’Connor

ARC provided by Netgalley for a fair and honest review

3.5  stars


Buy: Amazon

Buy: Amazon UK


2 thoughts on “The Origins of Benjamin Hackett by Gerald M. O’Connor

  1. Hey,
    Great review. I don’t know why I was reminded by a movie I saw a few years back. It’s called Incendies (it’s from 2010) it’s a pretty hard to watch movie, a sort of coming of age but mostly two twins finding out about their mother’s life after her passing (also and mostly looking for their father). It’s one of those movies that stays with you. It has nothing to do with this book besides the “looking for parents” theme..

    • Thanks, I’m glad you like the review. There have been quite a few books out lately with the same theme of finding a parent. Some are really good. I did a review a while back for a book called The Orphan Keeper that was an amazing book. It’s based on a true story. It stayed with me for a long time. If you like that sort of book, check out the review I posted. I highly recommend it!

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