- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Europa Editions (February 3, 2015)
Life is an often-confusing mixture of heartache and hilarity, or so prove Seth Greenland’s appealing characters in this tenderly comedic story of modern love. Imbued with Greenland’s signature wit, I Regret Everything confronts the oceanic uncertainty of what it means to be young and alive.
Jeremy Best, a Manhattan-based trusts and estates lawyer, leads a second life as published poet Jinx Bell. To his boss’s daughter, Spaulding Simonson, at 33 years old, Jeremy is already halfway to dead. When Spaulding, an aspiring 19-year-old writer, discovers Mr. Best’s alter poetic ego, the two become bound by a devotion to poetry, and an awareness that time in this world is limited. Their budding relationship offers them the possibility of enduring love, or the threat of tragic loss.
A skilled satirist with a talent for biting humor, Greenland creates fully realized characters that quickly reveal themselves as complex renderings of the human condition – at its very best, and utter worst. I Regret Everything explores happiness and heartache with a healthy dose of skepticism, and an understanding that the reality of love encompasses life, death, iambic pentameter, regret, trusts and estates.
PBuy, read, and discuss I Regret Everything
Seth Greenland is a novelist, playwright, and a screenwriter. He was a writer-producer on the Emmy-nominated HBO series Big Love, is an award-winning playwright, and the author of the novels The Angry Buddhist, The Bones, and Shining City, which was named a Best Book of 2008 by the Washington Post.
Greenland lives in Los Angeles with his family.
First, I was meant to have this review posted a week ago, and somehow it didn’t get put on my calendar, despite the fact that I’d read the book in time for the originally scheduled day. If this review seems a little disjointed, it’s only because I’ve read five other novels since the 19th, when it was originally due.
That aside, I cannot say enough about how much I loved this quirky little love story.
I confess, I had to let it flirt with me a little bit. The first chapter didn’t quite hook me, but, like a few others on this blog tour, I knew Seth Greenland’s work from binge-watching Big Love (twice), and I kept at it, finding myself thoroughly engaged, with the language singing in my head, by the middle of chapter two.
I’m glad I did, because this is a gem of a novel. The language, especially, is brilliant, which makes sense since the lead characters are a published poet (Jeremy) and an aspiring writer (Spaulding), who first bond over poetry. Both their wordplay and their tendency to drop in and out of character ‘bits’ are integral to their relationship, and I’m certain I responded to those nicely nuanced exchanges because I’m the same way.
I also liked that, with the exception of Spaulding’s father, no one seemed at all phased by the fact that there was a 14-year age gap between the Spaulding and Jeremy. Age doesn’t have to be an issue unless we make it one (and she wasn’t a child), and 14 years may seem huge when one character is nineteen, but ten years later, it’s not so big a gap.
If I had to describe Greenland’s writing style, at least for this novel, I would use words like ‘precise’ or ‘selective.’ I got the feeling that he’d carefully chosen every single word, so that we had senses of people and places without too much description, but without ever feeling like something was lacking. His prose ensnares your imagination, and his characters live very vividly on the movie screen in your mind.
The one thing that may confuse readers is the way he tags dialogue with only a dash, although that also forces you (well, it forced me – I typically read incredibly quickly) to slow down, and read the text very closely. It works within the context of this story, and only adds to the faintly otherworldly ‘living inside verse’ sense that pervades the entire book.
I haven’t read any of Greenland’s other novels, but I’m now incredibly curious about them, because if they’re anything like I Regret Everything, I’m sure I’ll regret it if I don’t read them.
Goes well with a perfectly cooked steak smothered in mushrooms, a baked potato, and a glass of red wine.
Connect with Seth
Monday, February 23rd: BookNAround
Thursday, February 26th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, February 27th: Bookchickdi
Tuesday, March 3rd: Bell, Book & Candle
Friday, March 6th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, March 9th: Broken Teepee
Thursday, March 12th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, March 13th: Storeybook Reviews – spotlight
Thursday, March 19th: Book Dilettante
Friday, March 20th: Life is Story
Friday, March 20th: 50 Books Project
Monday, March 23rd: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, March 25th: Bibliophiliac
Wednesday, March 25th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, March 30th: Bibliotica
TBD: Unabridged Chick