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Ermahgerd. Berks.

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Caliban's War
James S.A. Corey
The Shining Girls

Everything Matters!

Everything Matters! - Ron Currie Jr. Picking up a book called Everything Matters! (a book shouted Everything Matters!) turns out to be both a challenge to you, the reader, but also a trap, and a bit of a spoiler. Because you are being told, nay, implored to Pay Attention! to everything. You don't think that's asking too much of you because the book has such a great premise, which is: what if you (this time I am not referring to you the reader, but the hypothetical you, but specifically, the main character) were born with the terrible, certain foreknowledge that in about 36 years, on a particular day in July, all life on earth would be obliterated by a giant comet? Have you got your attention yet?We apologize if this is confusing, but you must know, large parts of the book you have chosen to read are written in the second person, from the POV of the all-knowing voice that tells you when the world will end and other things, like an omniscient narrator you (the character again) can hear. This is very annoying to you (reader this time), but it's just something you're going to have to deal with, no matter how tedious it gets. But if anyone who has read the book wants to get into why the second voice sections didn't really work for you, they can engage you in the comments, because you want to avoid excessive spoilers.So anyway, you more or less enjoy this book, even though it reminds you a lot of Ken Grimwood's Replay, because in the end they are both really arguments for existentialism in a way, but because of the way they are written, it also turns out that large portions of them aren't strictly necessary, which is ok as long as you are enjoying them, but sometimes you do not.You look up the author on the internet and realize this is his first novel, and he usually writes short fiction. And you are not surprised because a lot of this book, which is told in four or five different voices, feels like short stories strung together into a novel. And you tend not to heart short stories because you waffle in your attention to them sometimes, but here you keep plowing through because it really is a novel. But still, there are these large sections which are basically anecdotes from the past, often for characters who don't really matter to the narrative, never mind what the title is shouting at you. So you enjoy reading about the stoic father's experiences in Vietnam but find the section on preteen cocaine addition somewhat tiring, not to mention the weird torture and interrogation scene toward the end there.In the end the author tires to convince you that all of the parts of the book you found boring or implausible really did matter in a "what if you went back in time and stepped on a butterfly (or didn't?)" kind of way. But you aren't really buying it, mostly because by that point, especially after the last 50 pages were entirely in second person (I mean really, even this review is annoying you), you were hoping for something a little more original instead of exactly what the title suggested the end would be. But then you remember the book did keep you engaged for the most part and even when the characters were frustrating they were well drawn and there was some very clever writing, like "her silhouette thin as god's alibi," and the ending gave you a robin's egg-sized lump in your throat even though you found the very same thing so annoying when you netflixed that terrible, terrible Nicholas Cage movie that time. So you give it 3.5 stars. Because that matters too! No, probably that does not matter.