I worried through the entirety of my pregnancy. How, I fretted, could I bring a child into this world? How could I protect him? What did he have to look forward to but melting ice caps, tsunamis, wild fires, genocide, floods, hurricanes, drought, war, war, war, serial killers, crazed gunmen in schools, bullies, etc. Now that I am a parent, I realize I can’t protect him from these things. I can only protect him from what I can control, and even then I am often left powerless.

We will do as we wish, we humans.

Ron Currie’s daring, humorous, poignant, heart-wrenching, and, ultimately, joyful second novel, Everything Matters! also addresses the question of how can one bring a child into a troubled world. Most importantly, though, it follows the life of Junior, who not only knows how he will end, but knows how the world will end as well.

It is from there, his foreknowledge, that we witness the choices he makes in his life–when does he choose to give up and when does he choose to push beyond his limits. When does he choose to live and accept all of the beauty that life has to offer him even though he knows it will one day be taken away.

Yes, on the surface this is a book about mass destruction, but it’s not about hopelessness. Rather, it’s about what we wake up and choose to do each day–put one foot ahead of the other and move forward even though we know that one day we will cease to be. We are all brave to live, to choose to live.

Some books you read to be entertained, others to learn something, and some you read to change your life. Everything Matters! was all of these books for me. I finished it just as my two-year-old was waking up from his nap. I was crying as I picked him up from his crib, not because I was sad, but because I was so happy and grateful that he was alive in this beautiful world where everything matters.

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