The Moment of Everything – Shelly King

(Reviewed by JD Jung)

“After working in software for a decade, I understood the bits and bytes of e-mail, Facebook posts, tweets, and texts, but dropping a piece of paper into a box and it appearing on the other side of the world a few days later? That was true magic.”

“Bookstores are romantic creatures. They seduce you with their wares and break your heart with their troubles. All great readers fantasize about owning one.”

Since I didn’t grow up in the digital age, I never thought that traditional modes of communication and brick and mortar stores would have a certain amount of romanticism about them. Growing up, my world was just what was physically around me and what the television media wanted me to know about the rest of the globe. I’m in awe of being able to have the whole world at my fingertips simply by clicking a mouse on my laptop! In fact, I embrace every technological innovation that comes around.

That is why I enjoyed another take on this by someone younger, in the novel The Moment of Everything. However, the story is about so much more.

In the late 1990s, Maggie Duprés left South Carolina with her best friend Dizzy and moved to Mountain View in the heart of the Silicon Valley. Dizzy saw the opportunities here and started ArGoNet, a social media company. Maggie felt that her Master’s degree in library science helped her with her job as Director of Information Architecture. Unfortunately, as the company grew, her position was outsourced to India—as were similar jobs from other companies— and she found herself without work.

Dejected, she began hanging out at Dragonfly Used Books. She wanted her old job back, so she networked at a local book club which was run by an ArGoNet head and was challenged to bring this used bookstore up to the social media age and increase its sales.

One day at the Dragonfly, she came across a copy of “Lady Chatterley’s Lover”, where notes between two people, Henry and Catherine, were written in the margins. A date of “April 1961” appeared near the first entry and a conversation ensued between the two as each went to the bookstore or library to read and correspond to the last entry. Though they never met, they fantasied about each other. This not only drew Maggie in, but became a big hit on social media.

We learn what happens between the would-be lovers, which is one of the best aspects of the book. However, what I particularly enjoyed about the book were the supporting characters. They were the foundation of the story and Author Shelly King fleshed them all out. Though some played minor roles in the book, they were all essential in Maggie’s life. This reminded me how rich our lives can be with the special people around us.

Of course, we also learn what Maggie discovers about herself and the decisions she makes about her future.

The witty The Moment of Everything will give the reader a lot to think out, and I think that each reader will take back something unique from the story, as I did.

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