Book 28 Dark Matter

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch fulfilled the “Book Published the Month of your Birthday” category for the 2020 PopSugar Reading Challenge. It was published on July 26, 2016. Please don’t do the math. I know. According to Facebook, my birthday is in February. Authors sometimes change some details about themselves. Shhhh, don’t tell.
Dark Matter is a sci-fi thriller. Usually, a novel like this is more my husband’s cup of tea. But I’d heard some good reviews, and the library had it on audio. (Plus, this guy wrote Wayward Pines.) Win, win. The story investigates the ideas of happiness, regret, and string theory. Do I have your attention yet?
Imagine a life where you’ve made some professional sacrifices in order to have a good home life. Would you regret not fulfilling your potential as a scientist, writer, lawyer if you chose another path? I could totally relate to the idea. Being a stay-at-home mom for the past fifteen years has made me question my choices. But regret them? No way. I would not have my beautiful family. I may have never started writing if I’d stayed teaching or never moved from Connecticut.
But that road not taken…
In Dark Matter, one scientist tries to reset his life and have a do-over. Kinda. The book is super suspenseful, and we don’t know what’s happening until all the pieces click for our main character, Jason Dessen. He’s kidnapped at gunpoint, shot up with drugs, and wakes up in a world that is not his own. He has no wife, no child, but an amazing career as a physicist who’s discovered how to enter alternate realities. String theory at its finest. But how did he get there?
Boom! The Jason from the “amazing scientist with no love life” reality has switched with him. Very cool premise. It was kinda obvious once he was dumped in an alternate reality what happened. But the author kept our Jason guessing. The poor man had no time to think due to all the running away and hiding and running some more. Tom Cruise would be a perfect actor for the role as he always seems to run in every single movie.
My thoughts—loved the book, but was disappointed in the ending right after I woo-hooed the author for being brilliant. Spoilers ahead.
At the end of the novel, when Jason finally makes it back to his world after seeing dozens of alt-realities some with terrible things happening, he discovers he’s not the only Jason who made it. I loved that. If every decision we make, results in all possibilities happening, then every time Jason made a decision, more Jasons.
In the end, the author had more than a hundred. And all the Jasons wanted the wife and kid back. Some were willing to be violent to get them. What is the real Jason to do? He’s got his family in tow, running from crazy versions of himself? He opts to go back through the machine and try a new reality with his wife and son.
Uh, okay.
What about all the Jasons you deserted in Chicago? What about all the dead Jasons left behind? What about the hundreds more who could burst out of that parking garage forever? And the other Jasons let him go. That made little sense. Some should have seen it as the best solution, but others were nuts from living though multiple apocalypses. I think the ending was a cop-out. Sorry, that’s mean, but it was as if he ran out of story. I felt like I was reading Dean Koontz—hours and hours of suspense and a quickie ending. No time for a cigarette or anything.
But the worlds he visited! Man, Mr. Crouch could write thousands of books of Jason living through those realities. He only hit on a few—major earthquake (I’m thinking Yosemite), pandemic disease (2020), nuclear winter, the planet freezing. Any of those could be a great story. Perhaps he’ll inspire all those YA authors that seem to love a dystopian story.
In summary, I liked to book but not the end. I may fan-fic it to make myself feel better.
     I give Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Four Ampules.

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