Book Review: The Unkillable Kitty O’Kane


People have intuition, a hunch. And the author delicately planted many seeds where Kitty reckons where her future lies and I found it amusing how things unraveled exactly how she subconsciously expected. 

Despite my hope of her conquering her way to being fulfilled with her purpose, she didn’t achieve great success with her writing and she chose to marry Tom, which was her escape to a comfortable, realistic life from all calamities she experienced. It reminded me of Jane Austen, who made a different choice and made me think about what choices I am making. Although Kitty had her adventures, saw the world, and fought for what she believed in. I just wish after trying both options, she found happiness and the life she truly wanted.

The characters are interesting, especially Kitty and Lincoln. They are both brave, incredibly unflappable, and restless in pursuing the changes of which they dream for the world. Sub-characters also make the readers reflect on their own life choices and ponder what makes the best choice for one.

Men are depicted as saviors for Kitty whenever she’s in trouble. It’s contradictory to the overall description of her character, who has the strong determination to pioneer her way to escape men, especially her father, dominating her and robbing her right to be happy.

It was stimulating for me to read how people tried to maintain their sanity and everyday life during wars in the past and that everyone has a part in history, but it’s entirely up to them which role they play.

The progress in human history was made by people like Lincoln, madly devoted to the cause and ever so confident. But they typically devote their own life and happiness to the cause to make changes in the world. What does that look like in the modern world? Can we achieve the same results without sacrificing these historic individuals’ chance to enjoy a life filled with comfort and happiness?

Although it felt like it was a romance novel at the end, unlike my expectation of it being an adventure of a woman during shipwrecks, I enjoyed the reading a lot. It made me contemplate purpose, choices, life, and changes in the world.

My Highlights


You’re surrounded by Death and water, death and fire, and your whole life you’ll be surrounded by bad men. I don’t see anything for you in the future unless you change what’s in your heart.


“I’m happily unattached. I don’t hold with marriage. It makes a slave out of a woman and a monster out of a man.”


“He won’t help you, girls. At least, he’s never helped me. When ma dad took the belt to me, or my ma, where was God then?”


“Kitty, it’s a sign. You’re meant for better things than this. Do you not want to make a difference to the world?”


“There’s a revolution happening, Kitty, and it’s time you were part of it. I can see it in you. You’re no ordinary woman, and you know it.”

She looked in his eyes, the fiercest eyes she had ever seen; it was as if they were lit from within.

She wondered how many women he had used it on. He had a certain charm about him and no mistake, but charm had been her undoing before, and she didn’t survive the sinking of that great ship just to throw herself into the arms of a different kind of disaster. Oh Kitty, she thought. Be careful, girl. 


“There’s not much to life, is there? Sometimes you just have to grab it, because you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”


Lincoln Randolph said she could make a difference in the world. Let’s see if he meant it. 


Danny had said he’d write, and he never did, and maybe Lincoln was the same. Still, she would deal with tomorrow when it came. 


“You must write about the things you know and the things that inspire your passions. What is it you know about, Kitty?”

“Look at you! You get red in the face just talking about it. You must write with that sort of passion.”

“And we will change it, Kitty, even if it takes us a hundred years.”


“I don’t care about the money.” 
“Well, you should because it’s money that will give you freedom as a woman. Don’t ask Lincoln to give it to you.” She squeezed her hand. “Don’t give up, Kitty. If I can do it, I’m damned sure you can.”


“When I see my name on a magazine piece or a newspaper article telling the whole world why women should have a vote and why workers shouldn’t have to slave all hours so rich men can get even richer, why young men shouldn’t bleed and die while other men buy another big house and a fancy car—when I do that, then I’ll know my life has been for something!”


There couldn’t be a home, or happiness, until she’d done what she had promised herself she would do.


My parents sent me to study in France when I finished school, and I made the most of my opportunities. I learned about life in the West, and I learned how to read Western books and converse with Western intellectuals. I can speak thirteen languages. But the most important thing that I learn was that changing laws is nothing. To really bring about revolution we must change the way that people think.”


“Every woman has right not to be afraid that one day she and her children will be left with no food, no shelter, no money. Men are unreliable in this regard; they use their economic power as weapon. It is only the state that can guarantee a woman her freedom.” “What about love?” Kitty said.

“I do not dismiss it. It possesses a uniting element which is valuable to the collective. But women must forget this idea that their well-being can be entrusted to the hands of another. Then she becomes just another form of property.


You can’t have both, Kitty. You can’t be a good little wife and change the world as well. What is it going to be?


Fun for some, she thought. When it’s fun for everyone, and the world is a fairer place, I’ll stop writing and come downstairs and dance with you.


“I’ve changed my mind about many things in my life, Kitty, but not about you.”


She didn’t know how to answer him. The truth of it was she didn’t know what she wanted anymore. She felt caught up inside, like there were two voices inside her, both yelling at each other, and she couldn’t make out what either of them was saying over the din.


“You do the little that you can, then you go home and live your life. You can’t spend your whole life going up and down the same beach. Otherwise it never ends.”
“I just want to count for something before I’m done.”
“You do count, to me.” He stepped closer. “You can’t change the world, Kitty. Best you can do is change yourself.”


She was right. She knew that if she told him, it would change everything, and when she looked at his face, the look in his eyes, she knew it was true.
She might as well tell him everything.
“There’s one more thing; while I’m at it, I might as well tell you it all. When I was in Liverpool, I got pregnant to Dan, but by then he’d already left me. So, I stopped the baby. God forgive me, I just couldn’t face doing what my ma did. I couldn’t. I know it was wrong, but don’t worry, God punished me for it, for the damned abortionist nearly killed me and now I can’t ever have a baby again. So you see Tom, I can’t be what you want me to be, not in any way.”


He took her by the arm, and they crossed the road to Central Park, dashing between the horse-drawn cabs. The fog had started to clear, the sun burning it away to leave a washed blue sky.


There was still a fortune-teller playing her trade out there, the last time I went, though not the same one, of course. I ventured into the tent when I was nineteen, and she told me I’d write a book one day.
She was wrong, of course; I’ve written dozens of them. Never trust a fortune-teller.

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