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Everything Matters!: A Novel Hardcover – June 25, 2009

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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best of the Month, June 2009: On the day that Junior Thibodeau is born, he learns the exact moment when the world will end: 36 years, 168 days, 14 hours, and 23 seconds into the future--pretty heavy news for a newborn. Knowledge of the pending apocalypse--revealed by an omniscient, unnamed "we"--colors Junior's existence from day one and leaves him wondering: "Does anything I do matter?" Ron Currie, Jr.'s terrific debut novel unfolds through the funny, poignant, and tragic stories told by Junior and his family, (each of them owning a chapter) including the all-knowing Greek chorus that gently, affectionately nudges Junior toward his destiny. Everything Matters! is one of the most unique novels I've come across this year--unpredictable without being flashy, sweet without being sentimental, thoughtful without being preachy--a fun read that will keep you thinking long after the story is over. --Daphne Durham

From Publishers Weekly

In Curie's curious second novel (after NYPL Young Lion Award–winning God Is Dead), a young man nearly succeeds in his attempt to inject meaning into a doomed world. A mysterious voice has accompanied Junior Thibodeax all his life, having chosen the moment after Junior's birth to tell him that a meteor will destroy Earth in 36 years. The voice also tells him secrets about his father, his girlfriend and his brother, as well as providing a cure for cancer and sage advice against bombing a federal building. From modest beginnings, Junior descends into violent insanity before finding himself lifted to a position of supreme importance. But even with his foreknowledge, the prophet cannot win every battle, and the ones he loses are more than sufficient to break his heart. Curie shows an appreciation for whimsical storytelling, leaning on unlikely chains of events and multiple perspectives to tell what could otherwise be a very dark tale, and though the omnisciently narrated portions come off as heavy-handed, the big decision he makes toward the end recasts the story in a strangely hopeful light and lends a pile of emotional currency to the book's title. (July)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (June 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670020923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670020928
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #448,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Ron Currie, Jr., took his place as one of America's freshest young literary voices with his acclaimed debut collection, "God Is Dead," which won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Monica J. Kern VINE VOICE on June 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Each and every one of us walks around with our own personal sword of Damocles dangling over our heads, which we do our darnedest to forget. This book tackles the question of how we would react if we could ignore no longer the looming end of our existence. The protagonist, Junior, is singled out (for unnamed reasons) to receive the wisdom and prognostications of some omniscient entity or entities (God? Aliens? We are never told). Chief among the information given to Junior is the news that the Earth would be struck and destroyed by a large comet 36 years after his birth. The novel follows the story of Junior's life from multiple perspectives: the omniscient entity, Junior's mother, brother, girlfriend, father (who is the book's most sympathetic and heroic figure), and Junior himself. Most of the plot centers around Junior's desperate fight against destiny.

Without spoiling crucial aspects of the plot, I will say that at first I wished it had ended differently. I kept thinking about the book, though, throughout the night, and the next day, and the day after. I returned to it and read the final few chapters again. And, slowly, I began to appreciate the point uttered quite bluntly by the author on the last page yet which remains so terribly, terribly hard to accept: "...that there is no escape and never was, that from the moment two cells combined to become one they were doomed."

The beauty of this novel is that the author somehow manages to convey both the depressing and inescapable reality of our doom as well as the simultaneous truth we are also given the gift of life and the unspeakable beauty and joy that entails--and where everything *does* matter.

I am a voracious reader and read several books a week, of all genres.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. VINE VOICE on June 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What if we knew without a doubt when life on earth would end. Also, what if we knew that destruction would come during our lifetime; how would we cope? The author deals with these situations in a fascinating way, ultimately even showing alternative solutions. Page by page we discover how one man deals with precognition and how it alters his life relationships before the end. In painful detail, we see how Junior Thibodeau deals with the impact of the fatal prophecy. Also, the plot is expanded through the eyes of his family and his girlfriend. Ultimately, without weakening the ending, Junior is given an almost impossible choice.

If you are looking for an action packed sci-fi novel or a biblical "Left behind" type story this is not for you. If you are looking for a solid story about interesting people making their way through a complicated world this might be for you. As a work of fiction knowing the ending could become tedious, however; the author gives us numerous story developments that keep us entertained till the end.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. O'Sullivan on June 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Right from the start EVERYTHING MATTERS! reminded me of Carlos Fuentes's CHRISTOPHER UNBORN (US 1989), both in scope and in tone. Granted, both novels have nothing to do with each other as far as plot or story (per say), but the general idea of a birth of portent, of a child waking into this world with the world literally on their shoulders, well, it's heady stuff and whereas CHRISTOPHER UNBORN ran with satire and black comedy, EVERYTHING MATTERS! aims for the sweet spot of the brain by asking the question...if you you knew that the world was going to end, for sure, since birth...well, would anything you do actually matter?

The answer will come as no surprise to those willing to simply answer the question at face value, but for those that need something more, then Ron Currie, Jr. has done a surprising job of balancing the scales between the inevitable and the journey getting there. Each chapter is a countdown of both the years left before humankind is destroyed and the events in Junior Thibodeau's life growing up as his family grows apart, dies off and eventually comes together for the final chapter - simple, but I was surprised how well Currie managed to put the mundane on the page and make it stick.

There are some truly boring moments which, in any other book, may have been struck through by an editor as wasteful, but here Currie is unafraid to explore corners in his characters lives we often ignore in our comes across with a feeling of crawling under your bed, laying on your back and taking the time to actually EXAMINE everything that went into making the bed and seeing everything done to the bed by your body over the years.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Myfanwy Collins on July 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I worried through the entirety of my pregnancy. How, I fretted, could I bring a child into this world? How could I protect him? What did he have to look forward to but melting ice caps, tsunamis, wild fires, genocide, floods, hurricanes, drought, war, war, war, serial killers, crazed gunmen in schools, bullies, etc. Now that I am a parent, I realize I can't protect him from these things. I can only protect him from what I can control, and even then I am often left powerless.

We will do as we wish, we humans.

Ron Currie's daring, humorous, poignant, heart-wrenching, and, ultimately, joyful second novel, Everything Matters! also addresses the question of how can one bring a child into a troubled world. Most importantly, though, it follows the life of Junior, who not only knows how he will end, but knows how the world will end as well.

It is from there, his foreknowledge, that we witness the choices he makes in his life--when does he choose to give up and when does he choose to push beyond his limits. When does he choose to live and accept all of the beauty that life has to offer him even though he knows it will one day be taken away.

Yes, on the surface this is a book about mass destruction, but it's not about hopelessness. Rather, it's about what we wake up and choose to do each day--put one foot ahead of the other and move forward even though we know that one day we will cease to be. We are all brave to live, to choose to live.

Some books you read to be entertained, others to learn something, and some you read to change your life. Everything Matters! was all of these books for me. I finished it just as my two-year-old was waking up from his nap. I was crying as I picked him up from his crib, not because I was sad, but because I was so happy and grateful that he was alive in this beautiful world where everything matters.
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