Friday, March 20, 2015
I Regret Everything: A Love Story by Seth Greenland
The house of regret has many rooms.
The title, I Regret Everything, makes this sound like a much different book. Yes, it is about regret. Jeremy, a successful lawyer whose true love is poetry, lives a life of quiet desperation despite his material wealth. Spaulding, a 19-year-old girl who happens to be Jeremy's boss's daughter, has spent periods in various institutions after attempting suicide in various ways. There are deadly diseases, shattered dreams, and some soul searching. But overall, I Regret Everything is still a pretty light read.
That's not a bad thing--it's the sort of book you can read in bits and pieces that still gives something to think about when you're finished. The writing is good, sometimes very good, and Greenland does a fine job at switching up the voices between the two first-person narrators. Even the plot itself is satisfyingly intricate, not necessarily a given in what is basically a slightly weepy romance, and the ending, in spite of heavy themes and a surprisingly dark twist, doesn't devolve into treacle.
If I sound a little reserved in spite of this praise, it's because I Regret Everything was good but felt like it could have been better in some way. There are points where Spaulding feels like a bit of wish fulfillment--she's sort of crazy but can be saved/she can save Jeremy--and the sometimes dour events sit a little uncomfrtably with some of the book's more humorous moments.
Still, there are small complaints in the big picture. I Regret Everything is funny, sometimes moving, and doesn't commit any awful literary sins during its highwire act. If this sounds like your sort of thing, check it out.
Posted by Brent Waggoner at 8:14 PM