Tuesday, November 20, 2012

G11 Book Review of The Book of Why by Nicholas Montemarano

Name of Book: The Book of Why

Author: Nicholas Montemarano

ISBN: 978-0-316-18847-0

Publisher: Little Brown

Type of book: Romance, coincidence, dog, Harry Houdini/ Erich Weiss, 1970s?-2012, confusing, poor transition, Martha's Vineyard, New York, cancer, faith vs. reason, reincarnation, dreams, Ralph the female dog

Year it was published: 2013


A novel about an unforgettable love. The Book of Why asks big questions: Is there meaning in signs? Do coincidences matter? Does love ever really have to die?

The answers to these questions are within you- at least that's what writer Eric Newborn said in his mega-best selling books and speeches. But the loss of his wife has left Eric with a failed belief system. In the wake of that trauma, Eric has become a recluse in his home on Martha's Vineyard.

A fan who tracks Eric down brings him back to memories of his wife, leading him closer to her than he'd dreamed he could ever get again. With a breathtaking twist at its end, The Book of Why is a perfect, unforgettable love story.


Besides Eric, to an extent, I couldn't understand the characters. I think if a different writing style was used, the book would truly shine. Eric is superstitious, a gift from his father, while his wife Cary is the realist. Eric also sells self help books created like The Secret. (Positive energy brings on positive, negative brings on negative,) yet he is a widower, his wife is unable to have children, and he becomes a recluse. I think that amidst the personal tragedy, there can be happiness, which is the ultimate message of the book.


Love never dies.


The story moves front and back, and also tends to skip years. The year that Eric met Sam was 2001 if I'm not mistaken, and Sam stayed for only a few weeks or days, at least that's my impression. Yet the story seems to be like scrambled eggs, or scrambled brain, with the character only giving glimpses and then moving to something else and then something else. He only gives hints as to what's wrong with Cary, but never says anything out loud. I got confused following the train of thought and whatnot.

Author Information:

Nicholas Montemarano is the author of a story collection, If the Sky Falls (a New Your Times Book Review Editor's Choice,) and a debut novel, A Fine Place. He is an associate professor of English at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


I wanted to like it, really I did, but I feel that due to poor transitions, I couldn't like it. The book does remind me of Andrei Makine's story Once Upon the River Love, but while I appreciated the depths and intricacies represented by the book, I couldn't appreciate it from this book. The author does have talent, but I feel that he needs more practice in writing novels. I don't mean to be harsh by the way; I loved the scenery and mood he evoked, as well as the way he used words, but I got confused as to why. Also as well, the author expects for the reader to know or be familiar with the story, and I think that the story needs to be re-read a few times in order to be understood.

Quick notes: I won this book on goodreads.com thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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