Twenty-one Truths About Love

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

I loved this book. Dan's story is written entirely in lists. Some made me laugh, some made me want to roll my eyes at him. Some of the lists are deep thoughts and others are stream of consciousness. Dan quit his job as a teacher and opened a bookstore, but things aren't as easy or going as well as he hoped. The character development was excellent, and I felt I knew Dan, his wife, and his friends and coworkers better than characters in many books written in a more traditional style. The book was a quick and entertaining read with an ending I enjoyed.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I liked the unique list format of this book, but the story really fell short for me.   Maybe it's because as a 20-year-old woman I can't relate to the ramblings of a 30-something man, but I couldn't form an emotional connection to Dan.  I'm an obsessive planner and list-maker so obviously I had really high hopes for a book told in a series of lists that were not achieved.  I'm sure some people will enjoy this book, but not me.
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I didn’t know how I was going to feel about a book being written completely in lists, but I absolutely loved it! This story was honest, fun, and extremely human. Matthew Dicks can really make you feel a roller coaster of emotions for the main character.
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I have to be honest.  My hopes were high for this fictional story.  21 Truths About Love has the potential to be such a good story.  Yet, it is written entirely in lists and I am not a fan.  

As I read list after list, I really felt for Daniel at times....his anxieties, his failures, his worries and his fears.  He follows his dream, quits his job and opens his own bookstore.  However, the bookstore is not performing well.  He feels as if he is living in the shadow of his wife's dead husband.  His mom is not that supportive.  

I enjoy Daniel's wife Jill.  She loves him for him, no matter his failures.  He loves her unconditionally but is also a bit insecure in his love for her.  I also really enjoy Dan's friendship with Bill once Bill is finally introduce.  Bill helps Daniel get out of his rut and is one of the highlights of this book.  

BUT...truth be told, the lists become too much.  It is too tedious.  The story is told month by month and by the time I got to April, I wanted to put a pen in my eye.  Although 21 Truths About Love is a super creative idea and it takes some talent to write a story in lists (thus 3 stars), it falls flat.  It kills me that it has the potential to be so much more and isn't.
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Dan Mayrock is an obsessive list maker who has quit his job as a teacher and opened a bookstore. But now he's in financial trouble and afraid to tell his wife, Jill. Jill was previously married and Dan feels he can never quite live up to Jill's late husband. And then, Jill gets pregnant. Now Dan feels even more pressure to be the best he can be for Jill.

The shtick of this book is that it's told entirely in list form. No dialogue, no narrative, nothing. Just lists. It did wear a little thin at times, but it was an interesting way to learn about someone's life. You learn about Dan's finances, feelings, and amazingly, a lot about his past.

For me, what really got me about this book is that I just couldn't warm to Dan. I think most people find this book heartwarming and cute, but I found him--and it--annoying and whiny. He doesn't want to tell his wife about his financial problems with the store, so he concocts some ridiculous scheme to "help" the family instead. It was just too much for me. Man up, tell your wife, and take responsibility for your actions. I didn't find it cute, and if I was his wife, I would have kicked him to the curb.

It's a shame, because a lot of the book was filled with really funny and spot-on observations about life. I especially loved Dan's ruminations on teaching and meetings. They were incredibly true to life. There are a lot of humorous and touching moments in this book, but I could never really push past the fact that he was a spineless liar.

"'Let's start off with an icebreaker' are words no human being has ever wanted to hear."

Overall, I enjoyed pieces of this book, but found myself skimming others. I liked the idea of it, but could never warm to Dan and since the whole book was his lists and life, it was hard to enjoy without liking him. I need a book from the POV of his older Bingo buddy, Bill. Now he was a cool dude.
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I loved the creative narrative style and format of this book. To have an entire plot and story arc told through lists is incredibly interesting and created a really compelling reading experience. While at time the main character's decisions frustrated me, I also felt deeply empathetic to his situation, his fears and worries felt so real.
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Know in advance that this is a book of lists.  That gets old at some points (at least it did for me) so put it down for a bit and come back to it.  Dan loves Jill but feels haunted by her dead first husband.  He's also been lying to her and everyone else about the financial health of the bookstore he opened when he left teaching.  He writes down everything that comes into his head into a list.  Some of these are coherent and others ping around.  It's an intriguing way to write a novel because you do get into the main character's  (Dan's) head.  At the same time, however, the other characters don't feel as fully realized.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  Try it for something different.
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"Love makes you do the stupidest, bravest, most ridiculous and idiotic things in your life. It makes you scared and crazy and crazed and joyous. Love is all the feelings."

Daniel Mayrock has quit his job teaching to open a bookstore that is currently failing. His wife is pregnant, and they are running out of money. Daniel is an obsessive list maker. He writes down EVERYTHING happening in his day-to-day life. His thoughts, his ideas, random quotes, and his plan to save his family’s future. Twenty-One Truths about Love is a glimpse inside Daniel’s head. Written entirely in these lists.

My thoughts about this book:
I must seriously applaud Matthew Dicks for writing an entire book out of lists. It is creative and nothing like I’ve ever read before. Literally every single page is list after list. The most amazing thing is that the story flows nicely and makes complete and perfect sense. It was a very quick read because you’re only reading lists.

I enjoyed reading Dan’s thoughts. They are witty and filled with dry humor about his life and himself. My only critique is that some of the lists, the ones containing page after page of song lyrics or thoughts from Einstein and other various famous thinkers, got kind of boring and lost me. They also aren’t necessary to follow the plot of the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book especially the end when Dan shares his Twenty-One Truths about Love. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martins Press for an advanced ecopy and the opportunity to offer a review.
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Such a fun and unique book that is also poignant and relatable. I found myself nodding along in many places. I enjoyed this creative read and have found myself wanting to start my own collection of lists :) . Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the advance review copy.
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I completely loved this book. Loved it. Initially the thing that intrigued also had me weary. How engaged could a person be in page after page of lists. I was hooked. This format was unlike anything I have read previously. At times funny, sometimes sad- overall this felt so real and human.
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I found this book written solely in the form of lists to be compulsively readable. The lists were divided into chapters with recurring themes like the budget, shopping list, how to get out of debt, plans to commit a heist (facepalm), discovered nuggets of wisdom, texting conversations, and more. . . His list of items to share with his child had me misty-eyed and his Twenty-One Truths About Love included this gem at #1: "Real love means always being good enough in the eyes of the person who loves you most but never being good enough for them in your own eyes." Dan struggles and overcomes, but he has to ask for help! One of my favorite recurring themes was his growing relationship with Bill, a Vietnam Vet he meets at a bingo hall. A reminder that sharing our life between generations is a blessing not always given the appreciation it should. I also love, love, love the cover! My one disappointment in this book was the number of times the "F" word was dropped. For me to use that word in daily conversation, my house would have to be on fire. Just saying. . .

Thank you to St. Martins Press and Edelweiss for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I enjoyed this book, the ending took an unexpected turn with the way he tried to get money.... I didn't like the lists about how he was going to obtain this money. It felt out of place.

BUT I loved that someone could write an entire book using lists. At times I laughed out loud and thought " I am not alone!"
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A creative angle to writing by funny, insightful Matthew Dicks. My recommendation to other readers is to not approach like a novel as it could become tedious. Instead, read as you would a  one-day-at-a-time inspirational,. Matthew has so many random thoughts, that they are more easily digestible in small doses. Dicks is a good writer, his thoughts are often laugh-out loud funny yet be aware there is material that some readers may find offensive.

*will post in online venues closer to publication
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Interesting book.  The entire story is told in lists.  I never would have thought an entire novel could be written in lists and make any sense but Dicks accomplished this, made it interesting and as a reader I totally understood and felt the story.  I felt like the list maker protagonist was OCD though.  I enjoyed the book and was intrigued with the innovation.  I did sometimes get bored with those lists and some didn't seem relevant to the story.  Overall it was a fun read - even though I didn't like Dan, the list maker.  He makes too many lists and doesn't even seem to make any progress on the things he makes list about doing.

Thanks to Matthew Dicks and St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I think your liking of this book will be largely dependent on if you can read a whole book composed solely of lists. I will admit it got old after a while, but Dan’s quirks and self-actualizations made it worth the read.

Dan reminded me a lot of Don from The Rosie Project and he had me laughing out loud one moment and feeling empathy for him the next. Overall, this was a quirky, touching novel.

I received an advanced copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.
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Daniel Mayrock writes lists. His therapists started him writing them, and he has continued because it is calming. He quit his job as a school teacher and opened a bookstore. The bookstore is not doing well and he is afraid to tell this to his pregnant, widowed wife, Jill. He feels he is constantly striving to measure up to Jill's dead husband. How can he fix his mess without losing his wife?

This was very interesting to me. At first, I thought, how is it possible that a book of lists can tell a story? I read the first one and put it down, thinking I wouldn't enjoy it. I picked it back up and gave it another shot and I was surprised. The lists start to progress and you see an enjoyable story building, and you start to feel attached to the characters. Dan makes quite a bit of personal growth throughout the book, which endears him to the reader even more. I'm very glad I gave this book a second chance - it was well worth reading!
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I give this book a two because I liked the format so much. Otherwise, I didn't like the characters, and I was frustrated throughout most of the story by the main character's whining and inability to do anything for himself. This book should have been a quick read, but I didn't want to come back to it, which made it quite a long read. I would absolutely read another novel in list format though because it was really intriguing.
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My Twenty One Truths About This Book

1. I was very excited about this book, described as being comprised mostly of lists.
2. I did not realize this entire book was made up of lists.
3. The main character - Dan - being able to write these minute by minute lists throughout his day, with other people around him, is incredibly unrealistic.
4. It would have been more realistic if these were described as his innermost thoughts, as opposed to the idea in my head of him opening up a notebook as his wife is talking to him to start making notes. (Which is weird.)
5. Dan is a very hard character to like, as for most of the book he is doing very unlikable things.
6. Dan should not have lied to his wife about his financial troubles, considering they are also her financial troubles. This is close to unforgivable, although we all have our different breaking points.
7. Dan sometimes thinks very not-nice-things, but I’ll give him the smallest of passes on this, as we all think uncharitable things sometimes. 
8. It is best if you do not write down your uncharitable thoughts.
9. I liked Dan a lot more by the end of the book then I did at the beginning, although he did some of the stupidest things that he’d done the entire book in the last fifth of the book.
10. My favorite parts of the book were the lists and notes about the bookshop Dan owned.
11. Sometimes people ask really stupid questions in bookstores.
12. Dan seemed a lot more likable and endearingly fallible about halfway through the book after you got some of his backstory and realized why he was being such an idiot about so many things.
13.  It’s hard to make smart decisions about things sometimes, especially if you haven’t had good role models in your life.
14. I’m only on my fourteenth truth and I thought this would be a lot more concise than it’s turned out to be.
15. Dan was really hard on other parents and their decision making. Bad form, Dan.
16. Sometimes I agreed with him and sometimes I wished he was a real person so he could have some of those things thrown back in his face after he became a parent.
17. I love how much Dan loved his wife, and how much he tried to be deserving of her, even though 99% of the time he was being a prat about it.
18. I gave this book 4 stars initially, then changed it to 3, then back to 4, then back to 3, then landed at 4.
19. I might not have always liked Dan, and sometimes he thought awful things, but I liked this book more than I thought I would at the beginning.
20. Dan does not deserve his new friend Bill, or his old friend Steve, but I’m glad he has them, as they both make him a better person.
21. Dan’s eventual listing of his 21 Truths About Love was my absolute favorite thing about this book.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for my gifted eARC of this book! This in no way influenced my review - opinions are all my own.
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When I was invited to read and review 𝐓𝐰𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐲-𝐎𝐧𝐞 𝐓𝐫𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐬 𝐀𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐋𝐨𝐯𝐞 I was skeptical. A book made entirely of lists? How would that work? @stmartinspress never lets me down though so I decided to take a chance.⁣
This book is so witty, fresh, original and FUN! Im so glad I took a chance and tried something new. This is so unique and I truly enjoyed it. The writing is snarky and laugh out loud funny. Yet the author is also able to convey deep emotions during huge life events...through LISTS. This just boggles my mind. The book was entertaining and I will definitely be reading more from this author! Thank you again to the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review!
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I found this book just didn't capture my attention well enough. The story is set up as a series of lists through the narrators, Dan, life by month and while I found the execution of the book through the creation of lists quite interesting I just didn't find the story all that captivating. It's not usual for me to pick up and put down a book so much which I find is a sign of boredom. The lists just wore me out, some of them being tedious and more like fillers. No matter how easy the book was to read it's not overly engaging.  

However, there were moments in the lists that I could really relate to as a human, as a spouse, as a parent which I did appreciate. Matthew Dicks reaches into the heart of Dan and really exploits his fears about love, dreams, and the possibility of loss and heartbreak which I found refreshing. In the list making there's a good amount of humor too that I found I could relate to and counteracted some of the more cumbersome lists. There's a lot of honesty and heart in this book that kept me attached and wanting to see it through. It's just not something that truly fits my reading personality or taste.
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