Twenty-One Truths About Love is a contemporary fiction novel by the American novelist Matthew Dicks. It follows the story of Dan Mayrock, who is a very anxious man. Dan is worried about his finances, his relationship with his wife, his weight, and a myriad of other things. He is obsessively worried that his wife is still in love with her deceased ex-husband, and that she is going to leave him when she finds out that they are running out of money. Dan keeps a lot of secrets from his wife, including that they are running out of money, that his business is not doing as well as she thinks it is, and that he, in fact, does not want to have a baby. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Dan as I was reading, but at the same time I grew frustrated with him as a character.
When I first opened my copy of Twenty-One Truths About Love, I was surprised by the first page of the novel because it is entirely made up of lists. The following is a pretty accurate rendition of my thought process when I saw this: ‘oh, what a unique way to start a book, but he can’t possibly keep this up. You can’t tell a story like this. *Flips through book* Right, this entire book is composed of lists. How is this going to work?’ And you know what, it did actually kind of work. I remain impressed by the fact that the author managed to tell a full story through lists alone; it is a truly interesting concept.
That being said, about two-thirds of the way through the book I grew tired of the lists. I wanted more. I desired to read more about what was going on around Dan, and I craved the insight of those around him. The lists do provide this to an extent, but all insights are filtered through Dan.
I think the story contained in Twenty-One Truths About Love is excellent, but at the same time I wish that it was presented in a manner other than lists. Don’t get me wrong, the lists are important, but I don’t think that they are the only medium that should have been used here. Of course this is entirely my opinion, and I actually have a lot of admiration for this author because he did manage to create this book through lists alone. It certainly took me out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing.
All in all, Twenty-One Truths About Love is an insightful, quirky novel. It is delightful times, may crush your heart at others, and it is completely unique. That being said, I struggled with this book at times because of the lists, but I can see why others might love it. I will definitely book looking out for more works by this author in the future.
Dan is also an obsessive list maker, and his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humour, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.
Matthew Dicks is a bestselling American author. His novels have been translated into more than 25 languages.
Twenty-One Truths About Love is a unique, heart-felt novel full of insights about the world around us. It is a fun read.
My rating: ★★★☆☆
Waterstones (UK): here
Amazon (US): here