#341 ~ Everything Beautiful Began After

Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy

Published by: Harper Perennial

Published on: July 2011

Page Count: 400

Genre: Literary Fiction

My Reading Format: eGalley provided to me via NetGalley

Available Formats: Paperback, eBook, audiobook

My Thoughts, Feelings and Love:
In other words, I’m too all over the map to be call this a review

I am at a loss for words when it comes to Everything Beautiful Began After. I feel like I must say something profound. I’ve written draft after draft of less than profound drivel. Posting any of that would be like throwing pearls before swine. I simply cannot do that to this gorgeous book.

Reading Everything Beautiful Began After was like looking out my bedroom window and seeing:

If this picture means nothing to you, read this book. The right picture will come to your mind and it will encapsulate:

  • The glory of a first, all-consuming love
  • The heartbreak of losing that love
  • The crazy things heartbreak prompts you to do
  • The walls you’re trying hard, but unsuccessfully, to build around the love who hurt you

Most importantly:

  • The hope of love returning

When I first picked this book up, my first thought was “everything beautiful began after what?” The answer was quite simple. It began after I started reading Simon Van Booy’s first words. This book was so fabulous that I would have eaten it if I could. I got wrapped up and lost in his prose easily, despite the formatting distractions that come hand in hand with reading an eGalley. I did have to stop after Henry and Rebecca’s first date because it was probably one of the most romantic scenes I have ever read. While Henry woos Rebecca, Van Booy is wooing the reader. I just had to catch my breath.

Here are some examples of what made Everything Beautiful Began After such a delight to read:

from page 67

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Rebecca interrupted. “loneliness is like being the only person left alive in the universe, except that everyone else is still here.”

from page 274

You remember what George said once about language, about words and sentences—like Pompei, a world intact, but abandoned. You scramble down the words like ropes, he said. You dangle from sentences. You drop from letters into pools of what happened.

Language is like drinking from one’s own reflection in still water. We only take from it what we are at that time.

from page 367

After every chapter of devastation, there is rebuilding.

It happens without thought.

It happens even when there is no guarantee it won’t happen again.

Humans may come and go—but the thread of hope is like a rope we pull ourselves up with.

I smiled with Henry. I soared high with Henry. I understood Henry. I cried with Henry. I despaired with Henry. I hoped for Henry. I loved Henry. Now, I miss Henry.

What else is there to say?


  • At 2011.07.12 08:40, bookmagic said:

    I’m loving this book, I understand your gushing about it.

    I bookmarked that same quote about loneliness. He really is an amazing writer. I just hope he doesn’t break my heart at the end of the book.

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    • At 2011.07.12 09:06, Julie @ Read Handed said:

      What a glowing recommendation! I am definitely interested in this book now. The quotes you shared were beautiful and I get the feeling that they only scratch the surface of the contents of this story. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      • At 2011.07.12 12:49, Cassandra said:

        I have a printed copy, and I’m not going to touch it. I’m sure, after listening to everyone rave, that I’ll get tears on it or something. I spilled a coke on a signed book yesterday. I don’t want to ruin two. I’m going to listen to Simon reading it, and I’m sure I’ll swoon. 🙂

        • At 2011.07.12 15:59, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

          I thought the same thing when I saw the title. I just got this book last week. You’ve made me really excited about it. I hope you have a blast tonight!

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          • At 2011.07.12 16:50, Sandy said:

            Lloyd!!!!! I know this feeling, and if an author can really, truly, effectively capture it in words, I’m sold baby.

            • At 2011.07.12 17:03, Ti said:

              I am reading a collection of stories by him now. The writing is lovely. I thought this was a story collection too. No?

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              • At 2011.07.12 19:59, Marg said:

                Given the enthusiasm I have been seeing around the place, I guess I need to add this author to my need to read soon list?

                • At 2011.07.12 21:46, Kailana said:

                  Everyone seems very excited about this book. I think I might have to check it out!

                  • At 2011.07.12 22:49, Diane@BibliophileBytheSea said:

                    Such a powerful review. I have the eBook, and am anxious to dig in.

                    • At 2011.07.13 20:40, Jennifer said:

                      Trust me, you guys. You will love this book.

                      • At 2011.07.13 01:39, Charlotte@chalet said:

                        Reading some parts of this book makes me think that it is a wonderful book indeed. I will love to have a copy of this

                        • At 2011.07.14 23:29, Lisa said:

                          You know that line from JERRY MACGUIRE “You had me at hello?” Well, you had me at John Cusack and Say Anything! If this can compare to the feeling of that scene then I am on board!

                          • At 2011.07.15 07:40, Jennifer said:

                            Welcome, Lisa! I know you’re going to love it!

                            • At 2011.07.15 20:03, Emily said:

                              Wow. I just fell in love with this book and I haven’t even read it yet. It better arrive at the library soon!

                              • […] at Fountain Bookstore all of the time. I chose this particular event because I was reading Everything Beautiful Began After at the time I saw the announcement and the writing was gorgeous. Rarely do I stop make notes when […]

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                                  • At 2012.01.01 01:01, 2011: The Best of the Best said:

                                    […] Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy […]

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