The Expla­na­tion for Every­thing: A Novel

  • Review
By – August 26, 2013

Andy Waite’s life has been in flux. A biol­o­gy pro­fes­sor at a small New Jer­sey col­lege, he is teach­ing an evo­lu­tion­ary course com­mon­ly known as, There is No God.” He is immersed in acad­e­mia, hop­ing for tenure as he engages in writ­ing a grant pro­pos­al to research revenge-relat­ed alco­hol abuse. At the same time he is learn­ing the ropes of rais­ing two young daugh­ters alone, while con­stant­ly see­ing and talk­ing to the ghost of his dead wife, who was killed by a drunk dri­ver. As he attempts to care­ful­ly and civil­ly rec­on­cile his shaky rela­tion­ships with col­leagues, stu­dents, neigh­bors, and friends, he is side­swiped by two manip­u­la­tive evan­gel­i­cal stu­dents who want to prove the truth of intel­li­gent design and dis­pel Andy’s athe­ist views.

Rich­ly drawn char­ac­ters, who speak their minds and hearts and beck­on us into their com­pelling lives, pop­u­late this well-plot­ted sto­ry. There’s bril­liant and force­ful Rosen­baum, des­per­ate Melis­sa, shaky Lionel, trag­ic Ani­ta, omnipresent Louisa, and just-try­ing-to-exist Sheila, who all play roles in Andy’s jour­ney of search­ing, waver­ing, con­flict, and hope. He must tack­le the pos­si­bil­i­ty of the exis­tence of a divine being against all he has ever accept­ed and considered.

The Expla­na­tion for Every­thing is also a stim­u­lat­ing nov­el of ideas that han­dles dif­fi­cult emo­tion­al and intel­lec­tu­al issues such as evo­lu­tion vs. intel­li­gent design and reli­gion vs. sci­ence with insight, sen­si­tiv­i­ty, and respect. This book begs for con­tin­ued dis­cus­sion and stirs the read­er to explore its questions.

Read Lau­ren Grod­stein’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

Reni­ta Last is a mem­ber of the Nas­sau Region of Hadassah’s Exec­u­tive Board. She has coor­di­nat­ed the Film Forum Series for the Region and served as Pro­gram­ming and Health Coor­di­na­tors and as a mem­ber of the Advo­ca­cy Committee.

She has vol­un­teered as a docent at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty teach­ing the all- impor­tant lessons of the Holo­caust and tol­er­ance. A retired teacher of the Gift­ed and Tal­ent­ed, she loves par­tic­i­pat­ing in book clubs and writ­ing projects.

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