G. Bianco, 2019
Everyone makes lists in their life. Whether it’s a grocery list, a to-do list, or what music to add to your playlist, everyone finds little scraps of paper or random notes on their phones with random thoughts or items on it. In Matthew Dicks’s Twenty-one Truths About Love, the protagonist not only writes lists about everything; it’s the only thing the reader sees.
Daniel Mayrock loves his wife Jill more than anything. However, he is scared because he is in the midst of a financial crisis, Jill wants to start a family, and Dan’s life isn’t what he thought it would be. Through Dan’s obsessive list-making, the reader sees what lengths a man will go to in order to save his family, his failing bookstore, and become someone special. Looking at the world through his eyes, Dan’s humor and personal thoughts shine through as he struggles to be the man he wishes he could be.
While the novel was a little tough to get into, it ultimately became an intriguing look into a middle-aged man’s life as he grapples with the circumstances around him. The lists were a surprisingly effective way to learn about Dan and what his thought process was throughout the span of the book.
Sometimes, the lists were tedious and boring, but other times they were able to convey just the right emotions in the perfect way. Daniel’s sarcasm and humor is very specific and he’s not afraid to offend anyone in his list-making. But that is what makes this novel work! The lists Dan makes are only for his eyes; therefore, he is unabashedly himself in his writing. While sometimes Dan makes bizarre observations and comments (for example: “Why does everyone like Friends so goddamn much?” or his list of “The worst people in the world”), other times he is insightful in ways that are beautiful. In one of his lists he says “We undoubtedly underestimate people on an everyday basis” and later on realizes “I write lists so I won’t stop existing like my father stopped existing for me.” These little blips of Dan’s thoughts are woven together to create a humorous, yet beautiful, look into an ordinary person’s mind and what they will do in order to become extraordinary.
The only thing this novel lacks is depth in the character department. The upside to the lists is how deep into Dan’s mind the reader gets to see. The downside is that same reason: we only get to see inside Dan’s mind. However, other characters are revealed through Dan’s interactions recorded via lists.
If you are a reader who enjoys descriptions and detailed accounts of setting and characters, this may not be the book for you. However, for anyone looking for a fresh take on how a story can be formed by a few sentences compiled together, then Twenty-one Truths About Love will be a unique reading experience. This is definitely a book to check out on November 19th.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Do you like sword fighting, Shakespeare, taverns, and pirates wooing wenches? If the answer is yes, the boy do I have a book for you! Jen DeLuca’s debut novel, Well Met, features all of the above in this heartwarming story about finding love in an unlikely place.
When Emily moves to Willow Creek for the summer to take care of her sister after an accident, she doesn’t plan on having to volunteer at the local Renaissance Faire with her teenage niece. She also doesn’t plan on the irritating schoolteacher in charge of the Faire to be so annoying that she can’t stop thinking about him. The Faire is Simon’s family’s legacy and clearly gets frustrated with Emily’s carefree attitude, crazy Shakesepare conspiracies, and suggestions to make the Faire better. But when they take on their Faire personas, flirtation flow freely between the two, making Emily question whether or not her newfound feelings towards him are real or just part of the act. What starts as a pit-stop summer for Emily quickly turns into the possibility of finding love, and a new home in Willow Creek.
I don’t know if I have enough amazing things to say about this book! I laughed, I teared up, and I couldn’t put it down! This novel was flirty, funny, and blushworthy with the broody banter and coy innuendos scattered throughout the story.
The descriptive language really brought the Renaissance Faire to life in the reader’s eyes, as well as made every moment that much more intense in the way emotions and movements were described. Between the costuming, scenery, and atmosphere of the Faire, the novel took on a very realistic mental image. I could picture the human chess match clearly in my mind (as well as the steamy romance scenes)! Both Emily and Simon were well developed characters that had their flaws, yet were able to try and resolve them through each other. Emily’s attempt to “put roots down” somewhere and Simon’s grappling with making his own choices help to propel the story forward, while still retaining the fun, romantic parts.
On top of all of this, the overall setting of a Renaissance Faire and having little Shakespeare references spattered throughout the story will make any English major/literature lover squeal with delight. The juxtaposition between wooing in Renaissance times versus finding love in our modern day and age was really intriguing as well. While things were obviously different back then, this novel shows how romance isn’t dead and that sometimes all it takes is a gesture, grand or small, to show someone how you really feel.
DeLuca’s amazing concept for a novel is very well executed and fans of romance will fly through this novel, yet never want it to end! This book is a must-grab on September 3rd!
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!