Every Exquisite Thing, Matthew Quick, Little Brown, May 2016, review by Larry
Quick is the author of the popular Silver Linings Playbook. Every Exquisite Thing has the same light tone, despite dealing with some heavy life issues. The main issue here is living up to expectations and the book will have particular resonance with young adults of about 15 and up, and also with anyone living with feelings of entrapment or uncertainty.
Nanette, a privileged, moral scholar and a top athlete, discovers a work of literature that affects her profoundly, leading her to break away from the expectations of family, friends and herself about who she is and what she wants to do with her life. While Nanette’s life is one that many parents would love for their children, she feels she is not living the life she wants and needs. Her attempts to create a more authentic self have good and bad effects – rebellion is never easy or without consequences.
This is not a hateful rebellion directed solely at parents, which is a refreshing change from so many teen books where parents are considered ambivalent or uncaring. The characters and high school culture are realistic. Note that sex is a part of this book, and although not graphic, there are some scenes described.
I found this an insightful and entertaining read. There is a lot for the reader to think about in Every Exquisite Thing.