After lamenting I wasn't going to be able to achieve my year goal of "read 100 books" if I also go for my goal of "read the entire Wheel of Time" (14 books that are the equivalent of 36+ "normal" books, given the length of each WoT book), Kris said, "Read a bunch of short books!" While, yes, that would work, reading short books for the sake of achieving a "read 100 books this year" goal feels somewhat like cheating. Book length is typically not a factor in my book selection process. I hemmed for a bit, causing Kris to jump up, and grab this book from his shelf. "Here, I think you'll like this one. You can read it in an evening."
Which was mostly accurate, I could have read it in an evening. I had another two (okay, four) books going, so it actually took me two treadmill walks and a curl in my reading chair to finish it, so maybe a 3 hour read? Which is to say, this is a fun, cute, fast read.
The book opens with Meg Finn making a choice, which pretty much sets the theme for the book: choices have consequences. Some choices, while not bad, don't results in a life we want. Some choices made in fear set the tone for a life.
Meg's initial choice cascades into her dying (in the first chapter of the book, so not much of a spoiler). Her soul is exactly neutral between good and evil, so she is sent back to mend the last wrong she committed before she died, which was also helping the last person she harmed before she died. Enter Lowrie.
Lowrie's been lonely for the last few years, after his alcoholic, abusive wife died. In his isolation, he made a Wish List, tasks to do before he died to correct the choices he made that lead to his disappointing life. The rest of the story is about the four items on his Wish List, Meg's helping Lowrie complete the list, and how sometimes the choices we make don't have the consequences we thought they might.
It was a fun, easy, fast read. If you are an Artemis Fowl fan, definitely worth reading.
Meg bristled. "I'm not afraid of anything, Belch Brennan!"
Belch chuckled nastily. "Prove it."
He was manipulating her, and she knew it. But Meg Finn could never resist a dare.
This wasn't real. It couldn't be happending to her. Fourteen-year-olds didn't die; they went through a troublesome phase and grew out of it.
Lowrie had spent so much time mulling over these particular questions that he had managed to isolate a few key moments in his past. Ones where he had a choice to make, and made the wrong one. A litany of mistakes . A list of would-haves, could-haves, and should-haves. Not that there was any point in thinking about it. It wasn't as if he could change anything now.
"No, You're right. What life? What's what I've been trying to tell you." Lowrie's eyes were lost in past memories. "If only..."
He shook himself back to the present. "To late for if onlys. Time to do something about it."
"But these? I mean, what's the point? It's crazy."
Lowrie nodded. "To you, maybe. To everyone else on the planet. But these were my greatest failures . Now I have a chance to put them right, even if no one cares but me."
Meg was running out of arguments. "But what will it chance, running around the country like a crazy man?"
"Nothing," Lowrie admitted. "Except my opinion of myself. And that, young Meg, becomes very important to a person as they grow older."
"Lowrie, you should be in a hospital," she said gently, alighting from the fence top.
"No," snapped the old man, a sheen of cold sweat shining on his forehead. "What can I do in a bed? The same as I've done all my life. Nothing! Now are you going to help me or not?"
Like all intellectuals, he could nto resist the impulse to explain the procedure.
I laughed out loud at that line.
"This is your last chance, too, Myishi. You do know that, don't you?"
Myishi nodded weakly. Funny how a man's smugness deserts him in a face of oblivion.
Twelve months a year, the small town was hopping with Americans looking for their roots, Dutch tourists looking for hills, and New Age mystics searching for leprechauns. In this company a man talking to himself seemed the epitome of normality.
Except during a worldwide lockdown.
Every breath could be his last. It felt worse now, somehow. Now that he had rediscovered himself. There was more to lose.
Everyone deserved an equal shot at redemption. Even the Man Himself agreed with that.