Do you know when you finish an amazing book, but you weren’t quite ready for it to end? So you delay beginning something new, just because you’d like to spend a little more time with just these characters in your mind? That’s how Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is for me. It was so lovely and insightful, I just didn’t want it to end. Also, never fear, there are no spoilers here!
This book is so weird, y’all. I tend to put things on my to be read list months before I read them, and then forget what they’re about when my turn at the library comes about. So I went into this knowing it had a fabulous title and nothing else. The plot this novel follows is incredibly odd and twists and turns with the characters, but the basic premise is this:
NYC graphic designer discovers giant sculpture in the middle of the sidewalk, proceeds to investigate.
I’m sure the book jacket does a better job of summarizing, but I think going into this book open minded and without expectation really allows you to immerse yourself in the story and suspend your disbelief. That’s where the real magic happens.
There are many things I love about this novel, but one that stood out immediately is this: the main character is bisexual, and that’s not what the book is about. It’s just a part of her, as naturally as my heterosexuality is for me. One of the many reasons I get so engrossed in books is the opportunity to walk in another person’s shoes- someone different from me, but also alike. There are ways in which I’m like April, the protagonist, and there are ways I’m different. But our differences don’t make us enemies. They just make us different, and able to learn from one another. I really enjoyed being in the mind of someone different from me, but not having those differences be the point of the story. It’s just a part of who she is.
I really adored this main character. April was really great at being able to tell when she was being self-destructive and when something might ultimately become a temptation for her. I think that kind of self-awareness is incredibly valuable (although some is acknowledged as hindsight). But what I love most about her is her ability to see the good. She has a natural inclination to believe the best, even when she’s been shown the worst. Yet she perseveres in her good natured belief, and I love seeing that played out in a new and unexplored arena.
I also love the inside look at the potential consequences of viral video fame. This book delves deep into the world of internet fame versus other types of fame, and it’s enlightening. It’s easy, especially with social media influencers and YouTube stars, to see the persona instead of the person. It’s also simple to assume they’re one and the same, and not that the persona is a carefully curated and palatable version of the person. There’s always more to the story than meets the eye.
The inherent risk of always having to ‘be ahead of the story’ is also explored in a way that many books with journalists as protagonists miss. Pressure and adrenaline affect decision making, and the pressure of making those decisions, followed by endless content creation decisions, is overwhelming.
If you’re itching to read this now and not later, here’s the Kindle link on Amazon:
I’m obsessed with the Kindle and the ability to highlight books without damaging them, and I love how you can link to Goodreads and see your highlights long after the library book has been returned. You can see some of my favorite highlights here, but be warned: there may be spoilers in the highlights, or you may be able to deduce things, so proceed with caution!
If you’d like to follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading or wanting to read, you can do that here!