Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Crying & heart squeezes combined with a unique and successful format = five stars! Also, this was the 100th book of 2019!!! That was a huge and unplanned accomplishment for me. 🙂
For a unique format, for an intimate way to learn one man’s heart and fears
Daniel Mayrock’s life is at a crossroads. He knows the following to be true:
1. He loves his wife Jill… more than anything.
2. He only regrets quitting his job and opening a bookshop a little (maybe more than a little)
3. Jill is ready to have a baby.
4. The bookshop isn’t doing well. Financial crisis is imminent. Dan doesn’t know how to fix it.
5. Dan hasn’t told Jill about their financial trouble.
6. Then Jill gets pregnant.
This heartfelt story is about the lengths one man will go to and the risks he will take to save his family. But Dan doesn’t just want to save his failing bookstore and his family’s finances:
1. Dan wants to do something special.
2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary.
3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure.
4. He doesn’t want to live in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband.
Dan is also an obsessive list maker; his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humor, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to do anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.
Thoughts: This was a featured release book!
This is going to be a pretty mixed review for a five star rating, and I really debated what to give it for a while. Ultimately I went for five stars, because the depth the author was able to give through such a simplistic format was impressive. He thrived in a limitation, and created something unique and well done. Despite some of my nitpicky feelings on other elements within the story, I’m overall celebrating this as a fantastic accomplishment and worthy addition to my shelf.
The lists make this look deceptively simple, but the story itself involves a conflicted and twisting heart the whole way through. Dan reveals bits and pieces of himself through his lists, from the mundane to the secretive to the humiliating. The intimacy with which we learn to see him comes from the format, as his lists are explained as partly a therapist-ordered journaling method.
That said, I didn’t actually like Dan that much. We meet him at a difficult time in his life, but the decisions he makes are repeatedly colossally stupid and it’s hard to empathize at times. Similarly, his portrayal of his wife is somewhat mixed, at times making her seem a saint and others a lazy jealous slob. I found myself rolling my eyes a lot, and working pretty hard to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy and accept the story.
Ultimately, I ended up crying, which is pretty much an automatic five stars. Anything that can make me feel enough to force liquids out of my body is laudable. The lists were so intriguing, and made me think about what story my own lists would tell (grocery, to-do, to-read, and otherwise).