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Monday, November 7, 2011

Everything Happens Today

Everything Happens Today

Jesse Browner
Europa, 2011

Wes is a seventeen-year-old who lives in Greenwich Village in a dilapidated town house with his terminally ill mother, remote has-been author father and precocious younger sister. This novel is the record of what happens to Wes In the course of one day: he accidentally loses his virginity to the wrong girl; he tries to rewrite an English paper on War and Peace , and he prepares an elaborate dinner for his mother. As Wes struggles with his conflicting feelings about the girl he hooked up with the night before, he juggles grocery shopping, texting his friends, taking his sister to a movie, and doing his homework while contemplating such issues as sex, love, song lyrics, innocence, friendship, God and French cuisine.

Long sentences and longer paragraphs provide a stream of conscience approach to the atypical brain of a bright young man who seems overwhelmed with too many responsibilities for a teenager. No doubt Wes has a lot on his mind, but most readers would be questioning why Wes is the one who has to the caregiver of both his mom and his little sister. Where is his father? And why hasn’t anyone called Protective Services? These issues are not addressed, however, and then, frankly, I stopped caring. Although I felt sorry for Wes, I really didn’t care to read his every passing thought and detail of every minute of his one day. Yes, a lot happened to Wes today, but much of it did not make compelling reading and in fact, was a little boring and more than a little forgettable.


Other novels by this author:
The Uncertain Hour (2007)

Other titles you may enjoy:

The Dearly Departed by Elinor Lipman (2001)
The untimely death of her single mother, Margaret Batten, brings Sunny back to small-town King George, New Hampshire, the scene of her unhappy adolescence, where she discovers old family secrets and a possible half-brother she never knew she had.

Trepass by Valerie Martin (2007)
Chloe Dales's growing dislike of her college-age son Toby's romantic relationship with Salome Drago, a Croatian refugee who is a seductive but somehow toxic blend of the old world and the new, threatens to alienate her from her tolerant husband and besotted son.

A Multitude of Sins by Richard Ford (2002)
A collection of short stories that explores the theme of love and intimacy looks inside the relationships between men and women--both in and out of marriage--and the sense of right and wrong.

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