MINDING MY OWN ME is a rambling portrait of a working thief; an essentially plot-less yarn about a group of young thieves always on the lookout for the their next score. They go from job to job, and from east money to easy money. They are not necessarily amoral actors, but as author Nik O.K. writes them, they are self-obsessed and self-interested cons. Throughout it all, the nameless thief remains focused on the now rather than the bigger picture.
The novel’s narrator is a nameless crook. He (or she?) spends a majority of MINDING MY OWN ME pontificating about the odds and ends of daily life. There are musings on why people take showers in the morning. There is even an examination of why people make small talk about the weather and sports rather than deer hunting. The circular nature of the overall narrative is first encountered by the narrator’s mental perambulations. Suffice it to say this is not a novel for those who love tight, well-constructed plots. This is closer to a sociological study, as the narrator and a small cast of fellow criminals occasionally muse on what it means to live and work outside of the law. Fortunately, the book is chock full of humor—some of the dark, cynical variety, but a lot of light-hearted fare too. In Chapter 2 we get a scene involving a maladjusted wig, while later on the crooks rack their brains about what to do with a stolen violin.
The chapters of the book are exceedingly short. Many are just two pages, with each focused either on the narrator’s observations or some kind of theft. The writing is plain and in simple English. The characters all speak like regular people, and their interactions with daily life in the urban environment are credible. MINDING MY OWN ME reads as if your best friends at the office or your college classmates decided to start pinching objects at night, rather than stay home like the rest of us and watching Netflix.
Nik O.K.’s MINDING MY OWN ME has moments of pleasure and fun but these fleeting passages don’t make up for what is an aimless read, with little to keep and maintain the reader’s interest outside of the narrator’s witty view.
~Benjamin Welton for IndieReader