This novel is… everything. It is the perfect way of telling the story of what it means to be human – the fear, the bravery, the pain, the healing, the heartbreak, the love… of yourself and of those around you.
I did not expect all of that, but maybe that’s because I’m a jaded human in need of some of the self-discovery journey that Albert Entwistle goes on in this novel.
And it isn’t a journey that chooses him. He chooses it.
That’s what makes Matt Cain’s story stand out from others like it. The only nudges Albert really receives to start his journey are the death of his beloved cat and a chance meeting with a young woman named Nicole who is also in search of herself. The rest is all what he decides to do. No one setting things in motion to ‘fix’ him, just Albert taking the incredibly daunting steps to right the wrongs of four decades ago… and finding himself along the way.
The friendship between sixty-four year old Albert and twenty-year-old Nicole is so pure and healing for both of them. And that she is given the minor story to his major (and the detail, nuance, and attention paid to it) is absolutely, to use the word again, perfect.
And while the novel is about love, it acknowledges the reality that there are many, many kinds of love and each of us deserve them all. And then, in what counts as the end, is the culmination of all that love into a final, yes, happily-ever-after that is far deeper than “we lived happily ever after.”
This novel is now one of the best I’ve ever read. I laughed. I cried, out of sadness and out of happiness. And I cannot wait to read it again!
(I received a copy of The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle through a Goodreads giveaway. My thanks to the publisher and Goodreads for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.)