Five words from the blurb: women, daughter, suicide, diaries, lonely
I loved Notes on a Scandal, but couldn’t finish The Believers and so was interested to see what I’d make of Zoe Heller’s debut novel, Everything You Know.
The book focuses on Willy, a bitter man recovering from a heart attack. His youngest daughter has just committed suicide and he is struggling to cope with the other relationships in his life. The book explores his emotions as he attempts to put his life back on track.
Willy is a unlikable character who is impossible to warm to. As I read about his opinions and actions I frequently wanted to slap him, but despite these problems I was impressed by the realistic honesty of his words:
There were some fantastic pieces of writing, peppered with emotion and insight, but the structure of the book didn’t work for me. At less than 200 pages this should have been a fast read, but it was frequently a chore – it didn’t flow very well and there was no forward momentum.
It was interesting to see how Heller’s writing developed over the three books, but apart from that this book had little appeal. I like my books to have more plot and less bitterness.
Recommended to anyone interested in the thoughts of a grumpy old man.