ARC Review: Twenty-One Truths About Love

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Twenty-One Truths About Love

By: Matthew Dicks

Release Date: November 19, 2019

Genre: Fiction (not a romance despite the title)

Rating: ✨✨✨ (Could have been 2 stars)

Bookish Tip: Have a pen and paper ready. You may be inspired to write a list or two.

Special thanks to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.


1. Daniel Mayrock loves his wife Jill…more than anything.
2. Dan quit his job and opened a bookshop.
3. Jill is ready to have a baby.
4. Dan is scared; the bookshop isn’t doing well. Financial crisis is imminent.
5. Dan hasn’t told Jill about their financial trouble. He’s ashamed.
6. Then Jill gets pregnant.

This heartfelt story is about the lengths one man will go to and the risks he will take to save his family. But Dan doesn’t just want to save his failing bookstore and his family’s finances—he wants to become someone.

1. Dan wants to do something special.
2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary.
3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure.
4. Of living in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband.

Dan is also an obsessive list maker, and his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humor, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life. 


I have to be honest. My hopes were high for this fictional story. Twenty-One Truths About Love has the potential to be such a good story. Yet, it is written entirely in list…and I am not a fan.

As I read list after list, I really felt for Daniel at times….his anxieties, his failures, his worries and his fears. He follows his dream, quits his job and opens his own bookstore. However, the bookstore is not performing well. He feels as if he is living in the shadow of his wife’s dead husband. His mom is not that supportive.

I enjoy Daniel’s wife Jill. She loves him for him, no matter his failures. He loves her unconditionally but is also a bit insecure in his love for her. I also really enjoy Dan’s friendship with Bill once Bill is finally introduce. Bill helps Daniel get out of his rut and is one of the highlights of this book.

BUT…truth be told, the lists become too much. It is too tedious. The story is told month by month and by the time I got to April, I wanted to put a pen in my eye. Although Twenty-One Truths About Love is a super creative idea and it takes some talent to write a story in lists (thus 3 stars), it falls flat. It kills me that it has the potential to be so much more and isn’t.


Save yourself some time and skip it.

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