Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Explanation for Everything

Title:  The Explanation for Everything
Author:  Lauren Grodstein
Publication Information:  Algonquin Books, Workman Publishing. 2013. 338 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program free of cost in exchange for an honest review. The book came as a paperback advance reading copy.

Favorite Quote:  "As long as we're on this earth we should do right by other people. Especially those who have been good to us."

Andy Waite is a widowed father raising his two daughters. He is still attempting to reconcile with the loss of his wife six years ago. He is a college professor who has built his life and his career around the theory of evolution.

Enter into the picture Melissa. Melissa is a student who wishes to study intelligent design, a idea that suggests that certain aspects of our world cannot be explained by evolution and natural selection but rather by the hand of a designer. Melissa convinces Andy to direct her study even though their views conflict.

I feel that the intent of the book is to look at the philosophical discussion of evolution versus creation especially at times of difficulty or tragedy. To me, however, it's a sad book about a man attempting to reconcile the sadness in his life. He loses his wife in a tragic way; yet, the moral dilemma of the existence of something beyond death comes six years later? He builds his career and work around one central idea, but calls it all into question based on the work of one student? He is a father of two attempting to build a life for his daughters, but he puts it at risk for a young woman?

The motivations and actions do not ring true. Andy Waite comes across as a man lost in his own life, somewhat sad and directionless. As such, the book's intent to raise a discussion about philosophical issues seems to lose direction in the individual characters.

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