Every Little Thing explores how lives are shaped by the butterfly effect of decisions that go desperately wrong. After a shocking family tragedy, Cohen Davies feels isolated, guilty, and numb to everything except the allure of his new neighbor, Allie Crosbie. She’s a free spirit, and he sees in her the perfect place to bury his troubles. But when Allie’s father asks an unfathomable favour, Cohen’s decision to help himsets off a chain reaction of irrevocable events that leave one man dead, one man assaulted, and Cohen incarcerated. In the aftermath, Allie will reveal a shocking secret of her own.
Q & A with Liz
Q: What drew you to this book?
1. The writer is the founder of the literary blog Salty Ink
2. It’s on the main wall at my local Chapters Store
Q: Did you enjoy reading it?
This book is a page-turner that was hard to put down (always a nice thing to find) for many reasons, one being a structure that keeps us guessing. The novel opens in a prison where the main character, Cohen, is incarcerated. We don’t get the explanation of how Cohen got there, which makes us want to find out more. As the book progresses the backstory is woven between these moments at the prison, which heightens the foreshadowing and suspense.
Immediately, we find that Cohen has strong memories of a woman named Allie, who seems to have played an important part in his journey up to that point. As the book progresses, the backstory reveals Allie and the importance of their relationship. We sense how much Allie matters to Cohen. He is drawn to every little thing about her e.g. “He’d notice something new about her every time he saw her. The way she blinked slower than most. The way some words caught in her mouth; an over-lingering on the letter F.” There is strong chemistry between Allie and Cohen right from the start, and their connection grows deeper through their shared experiences of grief. Their flaws and brokenness are left exposed, adding layers of depth and authenticity to these characters and the connection they have.
Pelley writes about intense subjects, such as family tragedy and strong love, with insight, intricacy, and care. He captures the confusion, blame, sorrow, and pain involved in tragedy, while also managing to inject moments of lightness. His writing reveals the complex nature of grief, relationships, and life.
What I liked best about reading Every Little Thing was discovering an author with an amazing writing style. Pelley’s ability to provide single images that sum up entire scenes, moods, and experiences really left a lasting impression on me e.g. “His mother was in a rocking chair when he walked into the cabin. Back and Forth and back and forth. Creaky hardwood. Crumpled tissues, like swans with their necks wrung. Cohen sat on the couch. There was a silence between them that no words could have penetrated. It would’ve been like shooting arrows at a cement wall”
I will be looking to read anything else this author comes out with next. He is certainly a writer worth following.
Q: Would you recommend it?