An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A review

Hank Green is one of my favorite YouTubers. He does some of the coolest science shows, including Scishow. I adore him.

When we stumbled upon his book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, in our local bookstore, the husband and I had a bit of a disagreement. He was insisting to me that this was Hank Green, the Youtuber. I was sure that this was Hank Green, the author of A Fault in our Stars. Needless to say, the husband won that argument. John Green is the author of A Fault in our Stars, and he’s Hank Green’s brother. Oops, my bad.

But that’s not really what I wanted to talk to you about. I wanted to talk to you about this book. Because it’s really good. And if you haven’t read it yet, you should. 

It’s not like anything I’ve ever read before. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. The story imagesis about a statue that appears out of nowhere on a New York Sidewalk. April May, the main character, puts up a video on Youtube about it, saying that it was a shame that no one was paying attention to this impressive art piece. She named it Carl and thought that would be the end of it.

By the next day, everyone was paying attention, because the Carl’s had shown up all over the world, all at the same time. And she was the first person to say anything about it online. For this reason, April May and her friend Andy become overnight celebrities.

As mankind starts investigating Carl, it becomes clear very soon that no one’s seen anything like this before. 

One of the things you realize right off the bat about this book is that the main character, April May, is a real person. She’s not always nice she’s often selfish and self-centered. She’s a mess, emotionally. And I love that. I love that she’s relatable. I love that. Not only because it makes her a much more entertaining and relatable character. But also because it kind of ties into the whole storyline. A lot of this book involves watching April May go from a very private person to the most well-known person in the world. So it’s a constant reminder that she’s a real person behind the celebrity.

I was impressed with Green regarding one aspect of April May’s character. She’s bisexual. Hank Green is, obviously, not a bisexual woman. I’m also not a bisexual woman. But I am a woman, and I think he did a great job writing a female character. He handled a sensitive situation well. 

Andy was also a well-written character. Though I’m pretty sure he’s basically the stand-in for Green. His mannerisms certainly reminded me of him.

Now, let’s talk about the closest thing this book would have to an antagonist, Peter Petrawicki. Let me tell you, I hate him. I hate him a lot. Possibly because he largely reminds me of Ben Shapiro. They’re both megalomaniac fear mongers who don’t care what happens to people so long as they’re inciting their base to buy their books. Both are responsible for encouraging others to violence, but neither is willing to take responsibility for their hand in things. And both of them made a large amount of money for writing books that are pretty much bullshit.

Is it clear that I don’t like Ben Shapiro? I hope so because I don’t. And I pictured his stupid little rat face every time I read about Peter. Basically, well done on this character. I really hate him.

Now, I do have to say that it took me a long time to get into this book. At first, it was largely about how April and Andy were dealing with this newfound celebrity status. That part drug on for a long time, to be honest. And I was bored to tears.

Until very suddenly, I wasn’t. I hate to ruin it for you, but there’s a distinct turning point in the story that grabbed me and did not let me go. So if you start reading this book and feel like it’s not your cup of tea, keep with it. Trust me, the ending is worth it.

As of right now, there’s no information on the sequel. But I can assure you, I’ll be on the lookout. And you’ll be the first to know.


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