Matthew Dicks's TWENTY-ONE TRUTHS ABOUT LOVE -- Jen's Review
Updated: Oct 9, 2021
Thanks to Partner NetGalley for the digital ARC of Matthew Dicks’s Twenty-one Truths about Love in exchange for an honest review. The book released Tuesday, November 19.
Dan’s life is out of control. His wife, Jill, yearns to be have their first child. Dan is not so sure. He quit his job as a teacher to open a bookshop . . . which is failing. He has no relationship with the father who left him when he was a child, and he’s overshadowed by his brother, Jake Jr. He has no friends.
His coping mechanism is lists. Soooo many lists. He lists his ideas, his feelings, his fears, his wishes, and the truths he’s learned—or thinks he’s learned—about life.
Matthew Dicks’s novel is, in fact, composed solely of Dan’s lists as he tries to make sense of a chaotic life. The convention works fairly well through most of the novel, providing insight into Dan’s perspective. After a while, though, the device wore thin for me, and the novel’s conclusion defied credulity for me in a way that I could not recover from.
There’s still plenty to enjoy here: as a teacher and book lover, Dan’s lists of principles for administrator and ideas about the importance of books for children resonated. The book is organized into months, and each month, he shares his book store’s picks, stories about customers, and philosophies about reading. Those moments are, I think, my favorites.
Overall, Matthew Dicks’s Twenty-one Truths about Love is a pleasant enough book with an empathetic protagonist but not a book I’d strongly recommend.