Monday, December 12, 2016

EVERY EXQUISITE THING BY MATTHEW QUICK - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick.



Do you ever just read a book and somehow it just GETS you? That was this book for me.

I'll try my best with a summary, but this one is kind of bizarre, so bear with me. Basically, this is the story of Nanette, an eighteen year old who is stuck. Every day, she and her favourite teacher, her English teacher, eat lunch together in his classroom because she hates the cafeteria and he hates the teacher's lounge. One day, he shares with her his copy of The Bubblegum Reaper, a cult classic that has long been out of print. Immediately she connects with the main character Wrigley, and her teacher introduces her to the author, a personal friend and local almost-recluse, Nigel Booker. Booker pulled printing of the book just about a year after it was published, and refuses to speak about it with Nanette once they become official friends.

Through Booker, Nanette meets a fellow reader and Reaper lover, Alex. The two form a fast friendship, including Alex's fourteen year old friend, Oliver, each with their own interpretation the book's character Wrigley 'quitting' at the end.

Now, I know from looking at other reviews, and after reading this book that some people won't really like this story. Nanette's issues are easy to brush off as privileged white girl whinings and Alex doesn't really solve the bullying problem, he just makes it worse.

I will say that I loved it, so this review might be a bit biased.

I didn't get the annoying vibe others got from Nanette; she was an introvert who struggled with what to do with her life. Her parents were expecting a soccer scholarship but Nanette hates soccer. She doesn't even know if she wants to go to college. This is where a lot of people will either relate to Nanette or things will go downhill. I totally felt what Nanette was feeling. Even two years into university, I'm still not 100% sure. I almost ended up doing something that I thought I loved to do, but really it was kind of just what was expected of me. So I could feel for Nanette. 

I also found that her voice was always strong, just sometimes overshadowed by others. She makes some drastic changes in this story, and some reviewers couldn't see how she could possibly do such a thing. But that is the whole point of the book. Doing something unexpected and not worrying about the group's thoughts. When Nanette walked off that soccer field swearing like a trucker, she became, just for a second, the person SHE wanted to be.

This story also shows the importance of exploring those other sides of you, to an extent. One of the other character's Alex provides almost a cautionary tale of flying too far from the group. He lost himself along the way instead of finding himself. Alex loses sight of reality and shows what happens if you take these messages to the extreme.

I really loved Booker's character throughout the book, he was kind of like what I think most of us were expecting that author from TFiOS to be like. He never gave a straight answer about his book, but he was there to help give sage advice to Nanette.

Personally, I enjoyed Nanette and Alex's relationship for the most part. At the beginning, it was good, a little fast, but it didn't feel like insta-love because they were so similar. They clicked really well up until Alex went off the deep end.

After things happen with Alex, there is a point where Nanette goes back. She is seeing a therapist but she also goes back to school, hangs out with her old soccer teammates, next thing you know she is playing again and visiting colleges. And I was heartbroken for her. She was so close to being her own person but is dragged back into the norms of everyday life. Eventually, she finds her voice, but I was so sad for her for that part of the book.

Overall, I loved this book. But I can also see where some might not like it as much. I implore you to give it a shot and leave you with one of my favourite quotes from the book:

"The cage is unlocked, but everyone is too scared to walk out because they whack you when you try, and they whack you hard. They want you to be scared, too. They want you to stay in the cage. But once you are a few steps beyond the trap door, they can’t reach you anymore, so the whacking stops. That’s another secret: They’re too afraid to follow. They adore their own cages."