After meeting and befriending the eccentric author, life takes on new meaning. She's suddenly standing up against doing all the things she's done just to make other people happy. Together with Alex (a boy who writes poetry and is also obsessed with The Reaper), she starts living in a world of her own making rather than one other people have made for her.
There's nothing like Matthew Quick books. It's been a void in my life that needed filling. I read Every Exquisite Thing in one day because I could not stop reading it. At times I had other things to do, but they didn't get done because this crazy/beautiful book completely took over my life.
Nanette is given a book that speaks to her soul and makes her feel like life makes more sense. What reader can't relate with that?? That's my favorite thing about reading: every now and again I come across a piece of writing that makes me feel like I'm not alone in this crazy world. I meet characters that are ME. I read words that make me feel OKAY. So then, Nanette gets to meet AND be friends with the author of this life-changing book!! I was so jealous! I would do anything to be besties with my favorite author(s).
That was probably the end of me relating to Nanette though. Nanette has a "rebellious spirit" which awakens after reading The Bubblegum Reaper and meeting a fellow misfit named Alex. And I feel like normally I would relate with rebellion (sometimes I still find myself rebelling just to rebel), but Nanette went about it in a way that felt super selfish and high-horse riding.
Every Exquisite Thing is broken up into 2 parts-- and so were a lot of my feelings. Part 1 I was right THERE with Nanette and Alex. I was loving their journey and I was so happy Nanette found someone to share this awakening in her with. Part 2 though-- I started not liking Alex (he has some serious anger issues) and I started REALLY not liking Nanette. She went from confused girl looking for meaning, to a girl that just gave up. She also spends a lot of Part 2 talking in the 3rd person-- out loud. It was SUPER annoying-- almost as annoying as how selfish Nanette became. I don't know how it happened-- one minute she was a character that I related to and just FELT, and then next thing I knew she was this girl that I wanted to punch.
Ranty Section Where I Tell You What I Think Of Part 2 Nanette:
The thing is: I wanted Nanette to CARE and she just wouldn't. I didn't want her to care about things like soccer and college and conventional teenage life, I wanted her to care about PEOPLE. Why couldn't she just care enough about the people in her life to give them a chance? She wasn't connecting with anybody and she somehow comes to this realization that it's everyone else causing the problem and not her. I get it-- people are HARD sometimes, but it's really disheartening to read about someone who's already given up on people at such a young age. To her they're all homogenized and "mainstream". She had plenty of non-mainstream people in her life, but was able to walk away from all of them without a second thought.
Another really bad thing about Nanette is that she does this insane "experiment" where she decides to act like a popular girl. It goes on for months and she even has a serious boyfriend-- all the while knowing in her mind that it's fake. And then she's all Sorry, Not Sorry to this boy that she completely stomps on. You know why?? Because it's ALL ABOUT NANETTE. When she got up at graduation, I literally wanted to jump into the book and say "sit your ass down, you ungrateful little brat". Someone needs to tell this girl SOMETHING!
There is something completely relatable to not knowing what one wants to do with their future. I feel like most of us have wondered if where we were headed after high school was the right path for us. But Nanette somehow wanted to believe that her uncertainty was worse than all that came before her because she listens to obscure music, likes seeing "art house films" and having philosophical conversations.
So after ALL of what I just said, you're probably thinking this book is BLAH. The weird thing is it's not!! Sure Nanette is kind of awful. But the thing is, I like reading about all different types of stories. It usually would offend me to read about a girl who is selfish and pretentious, but this book just worked. I'm never going to like Nanette, but I was intrigued by her story. That's the genius of Matthew Quick for me. That he could write this totally un-likable girl and still have me turning pages like mad to see what would happen to her, is impressive.
OVERALL: I love a book that can make me feel... even if that emotion is mostly ANGER towards one of the characters. What reader couldn't relate to finding a book that changes your life?? That premise made me love this book even after the main character started acting a fool. I totally recommend this to anyone who's ever felt lost and found a book that made you feel found.
Date Published: 5/31/2016
How I got this book: I bought it
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Add it to your To-Read List!!
This Book Contains:
- Teenage rebellion
- A middle school sex scandal
- An author being friends with a reader!!!
- Drinking/Sexual Situations
My Rating: 5/5
Character: Nanette O'Hare
Book: If I Stay by Gayle Forman
- Because Nanette needs to read something that reminds her that people are worth it.