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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

“It’s terrifying when you consider that every thought we have, every choice we could possibly make, branches into a new world.”

“So all these other realities…where are they?”
“Imagine you’re a fish, swimming in a pond. You can move forward and back, side to side, but never up out of the water. If someone were standing beside the pond, watching you, you’d have no idea they were there. To you, that little pond is an entire universe. Now imagine that someone reaches down and lifts you out of the pond. You see that what you thought was the entire world is only a small pool…You realize you’re a part of a much larger and more mysterious reality than you had ever dreamed of.”

This was my first Blake Crouch. I picked up Wayward Pines from the Kindle Lending Library, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. And you can hardly turn on the television without seeing something about one of his books-turned-shows… So I was a little apprehensive – my tastes don’t tend to agree with overly popular, culture-saturating, authors very often. But merciful heavens, I’ve never been so glad to be wrong! This book was amazing – utterly original, a completely fantastic page-turner from the very first words…

I love the concept of the multiverse – the infinite branching out of worlds that are created by the choices we make and, equally importantly, the ones we don’t. It is such an intriguing idea to me – I am a firm believer in the importance of accepting the consequences for our actions/inactions, and the multiverse ramps up the concept of consequences to the nth degree. Aside from some fascinating science, though, I found this book to be a marvelous exegesis on the value of contentment, of accepting your life and your self and realizing that both are a product of your choices and moving forward from that point.

“… maybe I can let go of the sting and resentment of the path not taken, because the path not taken isn’t just the inverse of who I am. It’s an infinitely branching system that represents all the permutations of my life between the extremes…”

As Jason Dessen travels the paths not taken, he comes to appreciate what he has/had in ways that I think are so important for contemporary culture. We live in a world of instant gratification, of gross consumerism and obsessive fame/fortune-seeking – often at the expense of everything else. Contemporary culture conflates popularity with success, money with happiness, and publicity with love. Through Jason, Blake Crouch reminds us that these are NOT equivalents – that contentment comes from making choices and living with them, from realizing that we may not have everything we ever (thought we) wanted, but that doesn’t mean we are not happy with what we have. And he reminds us of these things in a thoroughly engaging, non-preachy, fashion, working the lessons in delicately among the bones of a really strong, character-driven, work of fiction. Suffice to say, he’s most definitely a permanent fixture on my to-be-read list now…

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