Book of the Month – July: Every Exquisite Thing

by Matthew QuickEvery Exquisite Thing, about a girl named Nanette O’Hare who grows from popular star athlete into literature-obsessed non-conformist, is an unexpectedly delightful coming-of-age story. Throughout, the story makes a number of unexpected but still believable turns, and in the end Nanette’s journey felt genuine and the twists unforced.Nanette is eighteen, doing well in school and socially, but entirely unhappy. She tends to avoid the high school lunchroom by hiding out with her favourite teacher, Mr. Graves, and discussing books. One day Mr. Graves lends her his favourite novel, a cult classic about high school rebellion and boredom. Blown away, it makes Nanette begin to see the whole world differently. He also introduces her to its writer, an elderly man named Booker. This burgeoning friendship changes Nanette’s life- allowing her to meet other misfits and giving her the independence to contemplate other futures than what she’d previously accepted blindly. The book doesn’t shy away from issues such as depression, grief, bullying and loneliness- but it is respectful in its treatment of Nanette and it even manages to experiment with form for a bit at the end in a way that exhilarates the final half of the story.Quick has a way with words, and the novel’s wit brings a brightness to the proceedings even when dealing with darker issues. Whether you are a misfit, a book-lover or just a fan of great storytelling, I recommend this book very highly.