By Lauren Grodstein
Algonquin, $24.95, 338 pages

Have you ever been brought up to believe one thing and then to have it challenged and your whole world turn on its axis? This is what happens to Andy Waite, a biology professor who teaches at a small New Jersey college in Laura Grodstein’s new book, The Explanation for Everything. He is still reeling from the death of his late wife, seven years later and trying to be both father and mother to their two daughters while trying to find love again. Andy was brought up with little faith and as an adult becomes an atheist – which is put to the test when dealing with his students. This change of faith will trickle down to his knowing daughters, who are trying to find their own place in the world. Lionel and Melissa in particular but only one will turn his world upside down. Not only is Andy dealing with being a professor and the work that comes with it, but also trying to forgive those who have caused his family harm. A central theme in this book is forgiveness, and how it can affect those directly and indirectly and the results they bring. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could see how Andy faced the challenges that were brought on by having his entire life put to the test. Sometimes one’s life needs to be reexamined.

Reviewed by Annie Hicks

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