I picked this up at the library because the title intrigued me, the back said it was semi-epistolary, and I felt like reading something set in the modern world, as I've been reading a lot of fantasy and historical fiction lately. I gobbled this book up in one day, as it was a quick read, albeit not quite what I was expecting.
I expected it to be a sort of cheery story of people becoming friends by exchanging letters about food and books, based on the cover blurbs and the inside of the dust jacket. And that was basically true -- it was about a novelist named Jack and a reader named Eve who strike up a friendship by writing letters and emails to each other about food, books, and bits of their lives.
But it was not cheery.
In fact, most of the book was downright depressing. It perfectly suited the sort of grey and deflated mood I had the day I read it, which is probably why I read it so quickly. On a sunny, warm, joyful day like today, I would probably have groaned and tossed it aside. Funny how mood dictates my reading sometimes.
Anyway! Jack is recently divorced and having a mid-life crisis. Eve is long-ago divorced, and her daughter is getting married, and she's coming to grips with the fact that she has been suffering from panic attacks for years. And I think what depressed me the most about this book was how hopeless these characters were. Sure, it ends "happily," but at the same time... what makes us think that these two characters will be any more successful at finding happiness with each other as they were at finding happiness with the other people they were with at earlier times? There's a sense of aimlessness to their lives that reminded me of how Ecclesiastes tells us that the things of this life are meaningless, just "grasping for the wind." There is no mention of God in this book, no saving faith in the lives of these characters, and without that, they are hollow, searching, and ultimately empty. What saddens me is that there are so many real people in this world who are living exactly this way. Hopeless, confused, empty... and damned. Not just lacking purpose in this life, but facing an eternity without God, whether they realize it or not.
In the end, this book makes me want to go evangelize. Spread the good news that God knows exactly what you're going through, he knows that sin is the root of all your problems, and he has a solution for you: the suffering and death of his son, Jesus, which gives life and hope to all who believe. Without that faith, everything in this life really is meaningless.
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: R for sexual content and some language.