Authors Spotlight: Elizabeth O’Neill

A Broken Shell of a Man by Elizabeth O’Neill

broken shell

The Legg family are a nightmare, and Peggy Legg has many issues.

A homeless and hungry gypsy visits Peggy’s cafe to beg for food, but Peggy is uncharitable. When the gypsy puts a spell on Peggy, everything in her dysfunctional life that was already awful, gets even worse. Domestic violence, heavy drinking, drugs, junk food and cigarettes are the staples of everyday life.

An unholy interest in eggs only adds a surreal twist to the misery Gregg Legg has to put up with. He’s been bullied throughout his life, but when he marries Peggy, the bullying only gets worse. Eventually, Gregg can’t take it anymore – he has to think of what is best for his son and makes a difficult decision.

A Broken Shell of a Man is a surreal, darkly hilarious and often terrifying novel that looks at the problem of domestic abuse from a new and refreshing perspective. The darkness of the story is leavened with black Scottish humour throughout.

A previous version of this book was published as Wooden Womb Man.

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Top customer reviews

seilachan boy

11 December 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I truly think Elizabeth O’Neill is a unique and talented author. Her bleak and dispiriting novels are at times appalling in their portrayal of a Scottish underclass but even though the reader is drawn down deeper and deeper into a cesspit of misery, there is enough dark humour and sharp societal observation to keep you licking your lips and turning the page for more. The dialogue won’t be for everyone and takes a bit of getting used to but, once you’ve mastered that, then it’s like watching a Scandi crime epic on TV, you don’t notice the subtitling after a while.
It’s a book that takes realism to a new level – think Irvine Welsh meets Danny Boyle on a really bad day… Loved it!
BrainybirdAA

6 December 2017

Format: Kindle Edition
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I nearly gave up after a few chapters because a lot of it is written in the heavily accented Glaswegian dialect and I found it hard to keep to the flow of the story, as I tried to decipher the meaning. I also think it was a struggle because I was reading from my phone.
Once I switched to a bigger ereader it seemed easier.
The story itself is very dark and very disturbing in places, however it kept me hooked. I really couldn’t understand why Greg stayed with Peggy. I can’t even put into words how horrible she is. At the same time, knowing her background and the culture her and Greg grew up with it explained some of her attitude, but not all. I don’t think any reader would root for Peggy, however I highly recommend you read to the end to find out how their lives turn out. It is a heavenly ending.
I congratulate O’Neill on being able to insert humour into a dark topic.I must congratulate the author on such a well written book, with all the dialect and dialogue it must have been a work of love.

Raven

30 August 2017

Format: Kindle Edition
This is the second book that I have read by Elizabeth O’Neill, and as with the first book, it is a gritty story of a dysfunctional family in Scotland.
Gregg and Peggy Legg have a very turbulent relationship, mainly due to Peggy’s attitude to her husband and young son. She is violent and deceptive. This is partly down to a curse that a gypsy put on her, but she wasn’t a good person before that either.
Her long suffering husband Gregg puts up with her behaviour until one day he realises how much danger his little boy is in.
Most of the dialogue in this book is expressed in a Scottish accent which was fine for me as I’m Scottish.
Another good read from the author. Well worth reading.
Steve

16 October 2017

Format: Kindle Edition

The author shares a story of deep dissatisfaction and bitterness with a touch of hope and faith. The two main characters Peggy and Gregg have had their fair share of misfortune and misery and it keeps getting worse throughout the storyline.

Elizabeth O`neill gives the reader a look into a somewhat dark side of our society that most people would rather swipe under the rug. She writes about Peggy and Gregg in such a way that you can feel the pain and anguish first-hand throughout their daily experiences. There is also a unique type of humor to be found within the pages.

I had a bit of a problem with the Scottish dialogue used in the story but feel this gave the book that extra something that helps the reader identify with the conditions of living in a poverty stricken community in that area of Scotland. There are a few parts of the story that are very dark, brutal and borderline being appalling. However this darkness was needed to emphasize the way of life for these people.

I do not wish to share any details about the book but I am sure it will cause you to have mixed emotions upon reading it. It is possible that you will also feel something stirring from a deep abyss within you where most people do not wish to go. It is difficult to put into words. It will leave you in a state of contemplation.

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