A light read for this month’s book club pick, Less by Andrew Sean Greer was delightful. I felt that it didn’t take itself too seriously despite the main character going through a mid-life crisis. (As I think of Arthur Less now, Hari ng Sablay plays in my head — and now on YouTube.)
The story is essentially of a middle-aged man who goes on a trip around the world to distract himself from his boyfriend’s wedding and his 50th birthday. The premise is meh, okay, I admit, but it’s the execution that captured my heart. So background: Less is a wash-up whose writing career is failing; he takes up some “odd jobs” or freelance work (or whatever equivalent in the writing industry) to stay (or, to become) relevant. In the midst of all the travel and flashbacks, there were two ideas that hit close to home:
- Enjoy your youth: There was a scene in the book where we are told that it’s sad to hear of 25-year-olds talking about the stock market. Ouch. As a young professional in financial services, I’m too far gone for this. I live a “sad” life, but I get it: live life without worries.
- Love yourself: Another moment in the book talks about how the protagonist in Less’ new novel is just not likable, and Less justifies it by saying that the character is a middle-aged man and that’s just how it is. Well, it’s not. Less rewrites the book and gives his protagonist more oompf and lurve, and if you tell me his story book character is not an extension of himself, we’re going to have a debate here.
Refreshing read. Much needed given that quarter-life crisis is a thing nowadays.