Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Twenty-one Truths About Love

Title:  Twenty-one Truths About Love
Author:  Matthew Dicks
Publication Information:  St. Martin's Press. 2019. 352 pages.
ISBN:  1250103487 / 978-1250103482
Book Source:  I received this book through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "Ways to keep Jill from getting pregnant..."

Favorite Quote:  "Wanting to be a better human being and finding a way to become a better human being are two very different things."

Daniel Mayrock writes "lists so I won't stop existing like my father stopped existing for me." It is a way of dealing with anxiety.  I completely understand that, but an entire, over 300 page book written in lists. I don't know. Gimmicky? Yes. Does it work? In this case, yes it does.

Through the lists and no other perspective, the book manages to convey an image of Daniel Mayrock...
  • He has never recovered from the way in which his father left his life.
  • He loves his wife Jill.
  • He fears that he will never live up to the memory of Jill's first husband (he died).
  • He was at one point a teacher but quit his job to start his own business.
  • He runs a bookshop but is unable to quite make it a success.
  • He is terrified of being a father.
His lists range from the mundane to philosophical musings about life...
  • "If the childhood version of yourself would hate the adulthood version of yourself, you suck at life."
  • "Truth is not what you believe in. This is the problem with the f****** world. Truth is no-longer fact-based."
  • "A person is more than a person. A person is the promise of everything that person can be."
  • "To truly love someone, you must love the person you never knew, the person you know today, and the person that will someday be."
The two books I have read by Matthew Dicks both have had unusual perspectives. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend was told as a first person narrative in the voice of a little boy's imaginary friend. This book is in the form of the lists of a flawed and ordinary man who is trying to chase his dream and get through life the best way he knows how.

The one jarring note in the book is the wild plan Daniel concocts to solve his money problems. Really? Understandably, everyone has wild thoughts at times. Very rarely do people actual research the hare-brained schemes and even less so, act on them. From a story perspective, this component seems like filler and distracts from the main story, which is of this couple who loves each other.

The main reason this book still works for me is that Daniel feels real. I sometimes think I would like to hear his wife Jill's perspective, but that too is a testament to the fact that the entire situation feels real. A set of lists somehow manages to create a cohesive and sweet image of characters and a family I want to know more about.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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