Wednesday, August 19, 2009
How would you live your life if you knew since birth the exact date that the world will end? Would anything you did matter? Well, yes, Everything Matters! I'm talking about the problem posed to Junior Thibodeau, the lead character in Ron Currie, Jr.'s fantastic new novel, Everything Matters!
While still in utero, an unknown voice informs Junior that in thirty-six years a comet will obliterate life on Earth. Needless to say, this knowledge puts a damper on things, and affects how Junior views life, his relationships with his father and mother and brother, and any chance he has of keeping a girlfriend. And the voice keeps occasionally checking in to offer guidance. Or, if not guidance, more unwanted knowledge.
The novel—also told in chapters from the point of view of the other characters—hurtles brilliantly toward the inevitable, climactic end. But is it inevitable? Are there options? Can Junior save the world, or just save himself? The unique plot in and of itself will keep you on the edge of your seat. But what elevates this novel from good to great is the heart Currie puts into his writing. The scenes with Junior and his father toward the end of the book, and the end of the book itself will have you questioning your own life, your own relations, and if you are living the life you want to lead.
Junior knew when the (his) world would end, but in reality, none of us knows when our time will end. So, yes, everything you do does matter.