Steve Almond has written a novel? That’s really good news. It’s better news that this is a really powerful, epic novel.
The book begins almost as a YA angst story when two 13 year-olds from very different social and economic backgrounds are assigned to work together on a school project. The teacher believes it is good for the girls to get to know one another and see what life is like for the other. They do form a friendship which binds together not only them but their families.
But this isn’t a YA novel and it twists, turns, and convulses into an anxiety filled police thriller with families torn apart, a criminal justice system that run amok, and cops that straddle the line between ‘good cop’ and corrupt. There are no easy answers here, and that’s part of what Almond smacks the reader over the head with … we don’t always get the right answer, or the good answer, of the easy answer. And sometimes life has to go on for the survivors. And yeah, that really sucks.
The book identifies and crosses boundaries – territorial, social, gender, moral – making this a terrific social exploration that is both physically and figuratively expansive in its coverage.
I first got turned on to Steve Almond’s works when I randomly picked up his collection of short stories, My Life in Heavy Metal, and I’ve been a fan of his work ever since (I even showed up for an in-person author discussion with Steve Almond – something I generally don’t do).
Although Almond has typically written short fiction and nonfiction (Candyfreak is a must read for anyone who’s ever had a favorite candy treat) this novel, sort of a debut novel if you don’t count the co-authored Which Brings Me to You (and I don’t), is a spectacular achievement. Its scope is broad and topical. It is no wonder that this has already been picked up to become a television series. Read it now so that you can tell your friends you read it before it was a popular show!
Looking for a good book? All the Secrets of the World by Steve Almond is a thematically heavy book but the author brings the reader into the story gently and with great curiosity before showing us the underside of the world.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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All the Secrets of the World
author: Steve Almond
hardcover, 416 pages