Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book makes me want to drive all the way to Texas just to see vast fields of bluebonnets, because stuff like that is important, dammit.
This. This matters. Photo courtesy of John R Rogers, Flickr/CC
Bookshelves: humor, love-story-not-a-romance, philosophy, sci-fi, spiritual, this-is-the-stuff-right-here, end-of-the-world, what-is-it-all-for-anyway, metaphysics, multiple-povs, second-person, read-for-book-club
Everything Matters! is the tale of a man knowing from the womb exactly when the world will be struck by a massive comet and explode into nothing. Currie is funny, philosophical, flippant, matter-of-fact, and bittersweet all at once, as he tells of Junior Thibodeaux’s painful, stumbling journey through what would be an ordinary life were it not for his unique knowledge, his terrible secret. Poor Junior is riddled with doubt at every turn, alternating between anxiety at the idea that every little thing matters, from despair at the thought that nothing does. I’ve always enjoyed multiple POV’s when they are well done, and the second person viewpoint especially is stellar here, when God or the Universe or the Collective Consciousness or whatever it is speaks to Junior at various times. Sci fi, spirituality, philosophy, metaphysics, and the questions of fate and destiny come together without smacking you over the head with preachiness or feel-good woo-woo, a tough trick that Currie pulls off flawlessly. The butterfly effect and chaos theory make a nice appearance–step on a bumblebee with your bare foot, or don’t, and change whether someone’s cancer will be found at Stage 2 or at Stage 4, thirty years later.
There were a lot of passages that stayed with me:
Whom you take out a mortgage with is mostly an accident of geography and economics, and has nothing to do with destiny.
“You’re going to end up with rabies,” I said. He shrugged, like What does it matter? He’s always doing that. It pisses me off. He hasn’t earned the right to be so world-weary.
But these tests disclose nothing, because no test has yet been invented that can reveal a patient is suffering from the soul-dread caused by knowledge of the impending end of all existence.
and my personal favorite, the spot-on description of how I felt most of the way through a six-year run of the most horrific case of insomnia ever, aggravated by intense anxiety and near-suicidal depression:
…a buzzing stupor of protracted sleep deprivation, a semipsychosis exacerbated by grief and fear.
There are deeper quotes than those but to me, they give too much away. Read it! Depressing and uplifting by turns, this book made me want to laugh and to cry at the same time.
Poutine: dish originally from Quebec, Canada, consisting of French fries topped with cheese curds and brown gravy. It’s probably tasty, but the word “curd” sounds gross to me. Maybe because it rhymes with “turd,” I don’t know.
Integument: tough protective outer layer, as on an animal or plant
Shigella: Bacteria found in many primates, including humans, some of which cause dysentery
Boca Fairy Duster: Not a new word but a new flower, native to the Baja Peninsula. Crimson starburst on a bush.
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