Everything Matters! Book reviews

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Author(s): Ron Currie Jr.Download  

Description: 

In infancy, Junior Thibodeaux is encoded with a prophesy: a comet will obliterate life on Earth in thirty-six years. Alone in this knowledge, he comes of age in rural Maine grappling with the question: Does anything I do matter? While the voice that has accompanied him since conception appraises his choices, Junior’s loved ones emerge with parallel stories-his anxious mother; his brother, a cocaine addict turned pro-baseball phenomenon; his exalted father, whose own mortality summons Junior’s best and worst instincts; and Amy, the love of Junior’s life and a North Star to his journey through romance and heartbreak, drug-addled despair, and superheroic feats that could save humanity. While our recognizable world is transformed into a bizarre nation at endgame, where government agents conspire in subterranean bunkers, preparing citizens for emigration from a doomed planet, Junior’s final triumph confounds all expectation, building to an astonishing and deeply moving resolution. Ron Currie, Jr., gets to the heart of character, and the voices who narrate this uniquely American tour de force leave an indelible, exhilarating impression.

Some Reviews: 956 in Goodreads.com

Rebecca  Karasik

Rebecca Karasik  rated it     

I’m not giving it five stars ONLY because it felt like people who loved it really really loved it and I don’t know if I’m one of those people. However, I did really love it. It was great to read, cheesy ONLY very rarely. I think what I liked most about it is that it was a story about a family. I think it’s rare to find that in contemporary US fiction (I feel like the author usually focuses on one person and that person’s major love.) So that was refreshing. It felt deep without being annoying about it.

Christina

Christina rated it     

Found in a bookstore as part of the “mystery” books that are wrapped up with clues on the front. It was recommended to those who liked A Little Life and Slaughterhouse Five which I both enjoyed. The most recent piece of fiction that I read and fully enjoyed.

Well-written with a range of characters who are struggling in their own ways. The author phrases beautifully the sanctity of life without being too cheesy about it. Would recommend to read this one and my experience of buying a mystery book was successful on the first go 🙂

Taylor

Taylor rated it      

This is my favorite book. Bar none.

This book hit me in a such an unexpectedly profound way, that as soon as I finished it, I reread it again, just to make sense of it. Something about this book just resonates with me in a way my other favorites do not. While I do love Harry Potter and Tolkein and grand adventure stories, those books aren’t on the same level as this in terms of being able to relate to them. That’s why this book grabs me.

I’ve also just always been fascinated by the idea that one small action or inaction in the past can completely alter the future. This book touches on that as well. Overall just… fantastic.

J.A.

J.A. rated it     

This is Seeking a Friend for the End of the World done right. [Sorry, I just saw the film a few weeks back, so the comparison is inevitable.] Rather than learning the world will end in three weeks, Junior Thibodeaux learns of mankind’s demise in utero. An omniscient voice speaks to Junior (and is recorded throughout the book) informing him of the exact time the comet will strike the earth, wiping out life as he has yet to know it. The question is what to do with this information delivered in formation? Like young Siggy Martin in What About Bob?, you get the sense of a kid dressed in black who doesn’t want to learn to swim because we’re all going to die, so what does it matter?

I’m nearing the age Junior will be when he will be obliterated (36), and the nagging suspicion that nothing I do makes a difference has been cropping up, so this was a timely read for me (particularly with Currie’s new book, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, just around the corner). Everything Matters! has all of the off-kilter humor and none of the Keira Knightley. There is a romantic interest, but it’s one you can believe and want to succeed. This isn’t just seeking a friend for the end of the world; the voice instructs Junior to “Seek the meaning in sorrow and don’t ever ever turn away, not once, from here until the end.”

Ron Currie, Jr. is from Maine, as are the characters in this book. I spent a semester at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, but my experience there didn’t really resemble Junior’s. My greatest delight in reading this stirring book came when the love interest dropped a flatlanders (their term for anyone not from Maine) reference on returning home!

Gretchen

Gretchen rated it     

What a wild ride. I tend to shy away from books with an apocalyptic theme (I get enough depressing news from the real world) but the title of this book grabbed my attention. Maybe because, when I am having a particularly world-weary day, I will sometimes poke a stick at that behemoth of a philosophical question that slumbers in a corner of my mind: “Does anything really matter?”

The protagonist in Ron Currie’s book, Junior Thibodeau, really has reason to ask that question. From the day he is born he is cursed with the knowledge of exactly when our world will cease to exist – in 36 years and assorted days and hours a comet will slam into the earth, extinguishing all life. Junior comes by this knowledge via a voice in his head, but he isn’t delusional. The voice also acts as sometimes narrator, informing us of what it is informing Junior. Currie doesn’t bother trying to explain who or what the voice is – God? Alien beings? A super-charged guardian angel? and it doesn’t matter. The voice, which speaks of itself as we, is a sort of gentle guide for Junior, even as it the source of the crushing knowledge he carries with him.

I found this book wildly original and beautifully written even if there are a few small flubs (I’m happy to go with the sometimes outrageous flow, but Junior finding a cure for his father’s terminal cancer in a week? The fact that he is the 4th smartest person in the world isn’t made clear until later in the book. Maybe I was supposed to have gathered that sooner; if so, I missed it. And then there is the mad government official who kidnaps Amy…that came from way out in left field).

Even though the premise is dark, Everything Matters! is a book about love and choices and, at its core, is poignant and oddly hopeful.

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