The Theory of Everything Book Review

The Theory of Everything by J.J. Johnson
Peachtree Publications
October 1, 2012

In the months since her best friend Jamie died in a tragic accident, Sarah Jones has been unable to move on, caught within a spiral of self-loathing, guilt, and depression, that she cannot climb out of. Her parents, brother, friends, heck even her boyfriend Stenn, are ready for her to move on, but if they knew what had happened that day, would they be able to? With everyone breathing down her neck and threatening to take away everything she holds dear, Sarah begins the arduos task of picking up the pieces of her shattered life. Nothing is easy or fair though, as she has learned, and Sarah will have to confront some people, lose some friends, and make new ones before she can truly come to terms with Jaimie's death.

As I started to read this novel, I had this very weird deja vu feeling that only grew more pronounced as I continued. At first I chalked it up to being tired, but after guessing a major plot point twist it became clear that I have read this particular novel before. This is impossible though, seeing as the book won't even be published until October, right? Wracking my brain, I realized that it is highly possible that I may have read this manuscript as a submission while interning at Candlewick Press. I cannot say why Candlewick didn't choose to accept this book or what my comments were on it, and I didn't have much say in the acceptance process, but here is fact, Peachtree managed to get a real gem with this one

The Theory of Everything is an absolutely beautiful portrait of grief and how different everyone handles it. Sarah is snarky and angsty, getting into trouble in an effort to feel something, but forgetting that she is not the only person who misses Jamie. Her pain and depression were never tiresome, especially as Sarah begins her journey to reconnect with her world. As Sarah is a bit of an unreliable narrator, it was easy to dislike her parents who felt so unsympathetic or Roy, a local Christmas Tree farmer, as a crazy coot, but Sarah does eventually see these people as how they really are.

Each chapter was illustrated with different charts explaining her various opinions be it sex, drugs, boyfriends, depression, death, and truth. Some were humuorous and some took far too much deciphering than I was willing to figure it out. Other than that minor drawback, The Theory of Everything is a very solid book that captures the aftermath of death with all its downs and ups.