4 out of 5: Just before Junior is born, an authoritative voice in his head informs him a comet will crash into the Earth in exactly thirty-six years, one hundred sixty-eight days, fourteen hours, and twenty-three seconds, on June 15, 2010, at 3:44 p.m. EST, killing all people on the planet and ending the world as we know it. Thus begins Ron Currie, Jr.’s imaginative novel about a boy who grows into a man while wondering if anything he says or does matters. While Junior wanders through life in an existential (and often alcoholic) haze, his story, and that of his family and closest friends, unfolds through ever-shifting points-of-view, each character contributing new perspectives and different truths to create a rich, many-layered story.
Everything Matters! is full of fallible humanity, swinging wildly between moments of hilarity and deep tragedy, and maintaining a quick pace throughout. Even setting aside the book’s end-of-the-world premise, several key plot twists strain credulity. The oversaturated whirlwind that is Junior’s life will delight obliging readers and disappoint those preferring a more credible story. The quite brilliant final section of this novel demonstrates how everything we do does, in fact, matter and, at the same time (as revealed in one, final, bizarre plot twist), does not make a damn bit of difference.