Algonquin Books, May 27, 2014
Originally Read: I read The Explanation of Everything when it came out in hardcover on September 13, 2013.
New Cover or Old? I love the blue cover and the way it relates to Andy’s work in the lab. The font is also very appealing. The colors in the original were rather drab, and I doubt I would have gravitated toward it as much if I hadn’t really wanted to read Grodstein’s work in the first place.
What I Thought Then: From my thoughts on The Explanation of Everything “: The Explanation of Everything proves why Grodstein’s work is lauded by readers and critics alike. Her writing is lovely and well-considered. I loved the details that supported the intimate portrait of Andy’s relationships with his daughters, his neighbor, Sheila, and his place among the faculty and staff. Grodstein made it easy to see why Andy arrived at some of his conclusions, and how he could have wandered so far off track.”
I loved Grodstein’s writing, the subject matter she chose and many of the characters, but I also felt that it lacked something (couldn’t quite put my finger on it.which would have made it a truly compelling read.
Now, On Further Reflection: My thoughts on this book are pretty much the same. I have noted at other times, most recently on Twitter, that I have major problems reading apathetic characters, and I think there is a fair amount of inertia in Andy’s grief. That’s hard for me in general and definitely played a factor here.
Book Club Pick? Definitely. The subject matter (widowed man raising two girls, college professor who falls for a student, and creation vs. evolution) is what made this appeal to me, that and Grodstein’s stellar reputation with trusted voices. There is plenty to discuss, and frankly, I think book clubs work best when there are a variety of opinions on the book and subject matter. There was much that I appreciated about this novel, and it easily lends itself to spirited discussion.