Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Everything Matters! - by Ron Currie, Jr.

What would you do if you knew the exact date and time the world would come to an end? Who would you tell? When? Why? and How? These are the questions that trouble Junior Thibodeau, who has known since before he was born that a comet would hit the earth during his 37th year and obliterate all life. His knowledge of this haunts him and leads to problems with drug abuse and alienates him from his family and his girlfriend. The chapters are told in the first person from alternating perspectives of Junior, his family members and other acquaintances, with occasional interruptions of the omniscient "voice" that Junior hears telling him things about the past, present and future, sometimes simply providing information, other times offering advice that he sometimes takes and sometimes doesn't.

Junior uses the library several times on his way to doomsday. He does research on how to cure his father's lung cancer and takes his young daughter Ruby to the public library where she learns about the fragility of the environment and has her own existential crisis. Ruby knows nothing about how the world will end. Does it matter?

In addition to the library related passages, I marked another of particular interest to me. Junior's father is advised to go to Brockton Hospital for cancer treatment. This is intriguing not just in the fact that someone living in Maine would be sent not to Boston for world-class cancer care, but to a little-known city just south of it (and just to the north of Bridgewater, where I live). Brockton is a real place, it is, in fact, the city where my daughter was born. And Brockton Hospital is a place that I have received minor surgery (although it is not where I delivered my daughter). I don't think I've ever read a novel that mentioned Brockton before. It was serendipity that I picked out this book to read from my local library. I read the jacket flap and liked that it appeared to have a surreal quality. There was no indication that it might have a bit of local interest.

A story of supernatural forces, time travel, parallel universes, infinity, conspiracies, choices, and second chances.

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