Siggy Says

Everything Matters!This is Seeking a Friend for the End of the World done right. [Sorry, I just saw the film a few weeks back, so the comparison is inevitable.] Rather than learning the world will end in three weeks, Junior Thibodeaux learns of mankind’s demise in utero. An omniscient voice speaks to Junior (and is recorded throughout the book) informing him of the exact time the comet will strike the earth, wiping out life as he has yet to know it. The question is what to do with this information delivered in formation? Like young Siggy Martin in What About Bob?, you get the sense of a kid dressed in black who doesn’t want to learn to swim because we’re all going to die, so what does it matter?

I’m nearing the age Junior will be when he will be obliterated (36), and the nagging suspicion that nothing I do makes a difference has been cropping up, so this was a timely read for me (particularly with Currie’s new book, Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles, just around the corner). Everything Matters! has all of the off-kilter humor and none of the Keira Knightley. There is a romantic interest, but it’s one you can believe and want to succeed. This isn’t just seeking a friend for the end of the world; the voice instructs Junior to “Seek the meaning in sorrow and don’t ever ever turn away, not once, from here until the end.”

Ron Currie, Jr. is from Maine, as are the characters in this book. I spent a semester at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, but my experience there didn’t really resemble Junior’s. My greatest delight in reading this stirring book came when the love interest dropped a flatlanders (their term for anyone not from Maine) reference on returning home!

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