At first glance, Everything Matters by Ron Currie, Jr. centers around the impending doom of the world and the one man who knows exactly when it’s going to happen. An unidentified voice speaks to him from the time he is a zygote to the final moments of his life. While this voice is a bit unnerving, it serves as a perfect metaphor for what all of us know but never fully grab onto because it’s just too simple – everything truly does matter regardless of the inevitable end we all face.
As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that this is not necessarily a story about the end of the world, but rather the story of a man who discovers the true meaning of love in all it’s various forms. While it sounds a tad prosaic, Currie has a wholly original way of telling a story that has been told a million times before. Rather than have complete focus on the doomsday plot, he hones in on the human aspect and creates characters that are both unique and relatable. The end of the world looks quite different from the perspectives of a proud father, an insecure and overly worried mother, a brain damaged brother, and the main character himself who is uncommonly intelligent (thanks in large part to the voice in his head) yet governed almost entirely by his fears of attachment and emotion. Usually, I am not a fan of novels where the point of view switches from one person to another, but Currie does it seamlessly. To my surprise, I was actually curious to know what each character was thinking as the story progressed. Through each person’s experience, Currie shows that it’s the choices we make that determine how love will exist in our lives, if we allow it to exist at all.
Perhaps the most jarring aspects of the novel lie in the second half in that Currie makes some bold choices in plot development. The story sometimes takes ludicrous turns that have no seeming purpose. However, this tactic works as a reminder that people do some crazy things when placed in extraordinary circumstances, whether it be the end of the world or otherwise. In particular, we will do almost anything to cheat death. It’s in this idea that Currie makes his strongest point. Ultimately, we all face an end even without global cataclysm. Its just a question of when. This is not something to fear or dodge as it is inescapable. What isn’t set in stone is how we choose to spend the time we have between the beginning and the final moment. To that end, everything we do matters. The real fear should be placed on knowing whether we made each day count. Currie chooses to convey this message through a powerful ending that defies common logic. To reveal it would be nothing short of blasphemy. However, I implore anyone who reads it to remember the world is full of possibilities.
Everything Matters will mean different things to different people, which is what makes it a remarkable read. Personally, I felt something shift in me when I read the last word on the last page. It’s a shift that changed my outlook on everything for the better.