Diary of an Oxygen Thief is not a book I would call, associate as or compare to literature, but it is a book with merits of its own.
It is written like a memoir, which means that it’s written in an informal, casual, every-day-kind-of-talk way. If you think of the narrator as a real person—a friend even, the repetitive, ranting/rambling and occasionally diverting and fourth-wall-breaking text makes sense, or it did for me since my friends, my family, some strangers I’ve conversed with, and I talk in such a manner. It can be annoying, but well, not everybody in real life is a winner, no? So really, the repetition, ranting/rambling, and the occasional diversions and breaking of the fourth wall made this book realistic for me as it’s as though I’m being directly spoken to by the narrator himself. (My friend, on the other hand, says that the writing reminds her of bad fanfiction.)
Of course, I’m not saying that the narrator endeared me but he, as a sycophant who gets off emotional abuse, is interesting to read about. There are people who are fascinated with criminals, addicts addicted to strange things, and such, but this doesn’t mean that they’ll want to emulate them or live their lives. Some of us are merely curious and as long as harm is not caused to others or to oneself, I think that curiosity is fine.
Also, because this is a fictional memoir of sorts, I don’t believe that it must have some kind of didactic or redeeming quality. We’re reading a person’s life, not a fairy tale. A person may not change simply because something ‘karmic’ has happened to them. A cheater may continue to cheat because even though s/he has had a taste of his/her own medicine, it does not mean that they’ll be completely put off of it. This might sicken you and you would wish for justice to be brought upon that person or for s/he to learn his/her lesson, but it’s important to note that there will always be someone like this out there. Thus, I think that it’s important to read Diary of an Oxygen Thief with an open mind. One does not have to alter or put aside their moral values, views and such, but this book may become a better read if one is able to read it objectively. I definitely don’t approve of what the narrator and the similar people in his life has done, so I had to mentally prepare myself before I read this book. Had I not, I probably would’ve thrown it in rage, especially after realising that this book has a continuation and that the narrator is apparently still the same.
Though, despite the aforementioned mental preparation, the one thing in this book that really irked me are pages 134-144. Here, the narrator tries to gain some pathos by having the reader envision themselves as him during the ‘finale’ the love of his life tried to have and heavens above, I was so pissed off by his stupidity that I nearly brained myself with the book. I tried my best to remain objective as I had set out to be but gods, I couldn’t hold back my inability to suffer fools gladly.
Overall, this was a very quick read for me. I was invested in wanting to know what happened to the narrator, but after surfacing from this book, it’s pretty much just ‘oh, okay’ and not much else from me.