The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know [Book Review]
“What’s the point of it all?”
That’s the question Russel Middlebrook asks himself as he contemplates his life in the middle of his shower. It’s a question many millennials find themselves asking these days and it’s a story many can relate to.
The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know is Brent Hartinger’s upcoming novel based on his hit character, Russel. I’ve followed Russel since I was a young teenager and fell in love with him. There was humor and seriousness rolled into him; it was hard not to admire the fictional character. Affectionately dubbed “The Futon Years,” The Thing follows Russel as a young adult living in Seattle with his two best friends, but it’s not just another addition to the series. It’s the start of a new beginning, bringing the character to a new life in a “new adult” series. If you haven’t heard the term, it’s similar to young adult novels but marketed toward an older audience, such as 18 to 25 year olds.
The lengthy title may hint at what the actual “thing” is, but I can’t give it away because it’d ruin the entire book. Rest assured it is something that many find themselves looking for, even if they don’t know it. The journey to discovering it is important, even while searching for Bigfoot or spending time with an eccentric older woman or finding romance.
It’s surreal having grown up alongside one of my favorite gay series. I was an awkward teenager and fell in love with The Geography Club and almost a decade later I’m reading Brent’s tenth novel that happens to reflect where I feel I am, along with other college aged students – lost and confused in a world that never stops moving.
The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know is a real page turner and I laughed, I gasped, I cheered for Russel, and everything in between as I read it. Brent hits the nail on the head when describing adulthood for the new generation: how we have dreams, fears, and are lost.