Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Book Review: "I Regret Everything" by Seth Greenland

"Our lives are lived with the illusion of control and then there are moments rare as wisdom when we abandon the pretense that we are masters of our fate."

New York City wills and trusts lawyer Jeremy Best has nearly always taken the safe choices in his life, causing him more regrets than he'd like. He does have one interesting secret: he's also a poet of some promise, publishing under the pen name Jinx Bell. He certainly dreams of renown, but beyond having his poems published in a few literary journals, he keeps his talent hidden.

He is utterly unprepared for the arrival in his life of Spaulding Simonson, the 19-year-old troubled daughter of his boss. Although she refers to Jeremy at age 33 as "already halfway to dead," somehow she knows that Jeremy and Jinx Bell are one and the same. And she loves his poetry. Spaulding is unpredictable, emotional, even erratic at times, but fiercely intelligent and immensely talented.

Jeremy can make a long list of reasons why he shouldn't get involved with Spaulding, the least of which is he's on the partnership track at his law firm and he's just received news that shakes him to his core. But he can't seem to get her out of his system, and she is inexplicably drawn to him, particularly as he encourages her to live her own life and never give in.

Seth Greenland's I Regret Everything is a story of an unlikely couple, one who is trying to be less predictable and one who is trying to take control of her life for perhaps the first time. It's the story of letting your heart have power over your head, even though that's the last thing you're comfortable doing. It's also a story of wordplay, of poetry, of creativity. Because the book shifts in perspective between Jeremy and Spaulding, the tone shifts with their personalities, which is unsettling for a brief second, but wonderful once it kicks in.

I absolutely loved this book. It threw me for a loop a few times (in a good way), and I wondered just where Greenland would take the plot, but Jeremy and Spaulding are such unique characters that drew me in instantaneously. Greenland is such an excellent writer, and his narrative occasionally has a near-poetic quality. I couldn't sleep last night, so I devoured this book in practically one sitting, and as much as I loved it, I'm disappointed it's done. Bravo.

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