Thursday, July 23, 2009
Ron Currie Jr's second novel, Everything Matters!, recently came out. And let me tell you, it's well worth reading. Junior Thibodeau has been encoded in utero with the knowledge that the world will be obliterated by a comet in 36 years. With this knowledge ever present, Junior lives his life as best he can. He's something of an alcoholic like his mother. His brother is a star ball player for the Cubs, and his hard-working father gets cancer. Bleak, I tell you, but this book is not bleak. Mr. Currie handles the Doom of us all with humor and a humanist touch. The story challenges the reader in many ways. It is told from the perspective of multiple characters, and some of Junior's story is told by the beings who gave him the burden of knowing how and when the earth will be destroyed. Part of the story plays out amid the political endgame of a planet realizing its doom. There are some amazing plot twists I won't talk about. But know that if you're willing to go along for the ride, it is a beautiful ride. Everything Matters! is a visceral, breathtaking novel. When I finished it, I sat in the chair, looking up at the clouds, at the birds, at the airplanes flying overhead, and believed in the title's truth. This is a book, a story, that lingers deliciously. I highly recommend this one. It would bring up some very interesting talk in a book club, that's for sure.