So I’m very openly both of these things, a nerd and a hopeless romantic. There were times in my life that I tried to cover either or both of these characteristics up. But one of the great things that comes with growing up is the realization that embracing who you are rather than trying to hide it will bring you so much more happiness and ease in life.
The twelfth book I read this year struck a chord with both of these character traits of mine. Q by Evan Mandery is a book about a man in love, and all his future selves who come to him in hopes of improving his life.
The funny thing is that I almost didn’t read this book. I was worried that while recovering from a break up, I would suffer from rather than enjoy reading about a couple in love. But the truth of the matter is, I believe in love. That may be a cheesy statement. And I’m not saying I believe that love is easy, or like the movies, or like the books. I believe love is hard work, but that it’s worth it. I believe that if you open yourself up to love it’s not hard to find. And this book, in a lot of ways, was exactly what I needed. Yes it’s fantastical. Yes, it’s got a classic happy ending. But to be honest, I think I would have liked this book just as much without the happy ending.
This book does so much more than just tell a love story. It explores happiness. Not what brings happiness, but rather, the difficult pursuit of happiness. Towards the end of this book, when future selves seem to visit the character almost on every other page with new requests of what he should or shouldn’t do, I found myself laughing aloud. I think most readers would. At the end of the day, none of his pursuits turn out as well as he thought. And when he reaches the age himself when time-travel is finally invented, he explores the fact that most people in his time have succumbed to the fact that if they go back, it is to improve their past-self’s life and not their own. There is something beautiful to me about this. But I think it’s also meant to serve as a lesson for us. Pursue something, not for how it may effect your future, because you have no way of knowing that. Pursue something because you are passionate about it now.
This book is one of my favorite types, literary science fiction. It uses time travel, but doesn’t succumb to explaining it or exploring its grand effects on the world. It just uses it as a tool to convey a message. I love that. And I will leave you with this quote which speaks volumes about us. It’s a quote about time travel, but moreso about technology. “Ultimately, though, as is so often the case with scientific innovation, neither man’s greatest dreams nor his worst fears are realized.”