The Heart of Henry Quantum
Author: Pepper Harding
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: October 4 2016
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Source: Simon & Schuster
In the bestselling tradition of A Man Called Ove and the beloved film Love Actually, a quirky, socially awkward man goes on a quest to find his wife a last-minute Christmas gift and encounters several distractions—including bumping into his ex-girlfriend who was the one who got away.
Henry Quantum has several thoughts going through his head at any given time, so it’s no surprise when he forgets something very important—specifically, a Christmas gift for his wife, which he realizes on the morning of December 23. Henry sets off that day in search of the perfect present for her: a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. But much like Henry’s ever-wandering mind, his quest takes him in different and unexpected directions, including running into the former love of his life, Daisy. His wife, meanwhile, unhappy in her marriage, is hiding a secret of her own. And Daisy, who has made the unsettling choice of leaving her husband to strike out on her own, finds herself questioning whether she and Henry belong together after all.
A sweet, funny, and touching debut from author Pepper Harding shows how the seemingly insignificant events of one single day can change our lives forever—perhaps, if we’re lucky, for the better.
“My friend Henry Quantum, who everyone called Bones because he was so tall and thin, and because Dr. McCoy was his favourite character from Star Trek, had a single task that day, and that was to buy a Christmas present for his wife.”
When The Heart of Henry Quantum was first brought to my attention I was excited for it. While I haven’t read A Man Called Ove I know this book has received a lot of praise. The film Love Actually is a film I really enjoyed.
I normally break down my reviews with things I liked, loved, and disliked but I had a hard time trying to figure out what is was I liked about The Heart of Henry Quantum.
This book is broken down into four parts. We start off in part one from Henry who has realized he hasn’t bought his wife a Christmas gift yet and sets out to do so. Yet such a simple task turns into something not so simple as his own thoughts keep distracting him from this task. At first I thought of him as someone who’s probably philosophical, I kept trying to understand Henry but his scattered brain was hard, if not annoying at times to follow.
In part two we meet my least favourite character ever, Margaret. Margaret is Henry’s wife and is on her way to meet her secret lover. THIS WOMAN IS HEARTLESS and no it’s not because she’s having an affair. There are events that take place during her chapter while she’s on her way to meet her lover and I couldn’t help but wonder if this woman even had a heart.
“…and screamed at the top of her lungs, “Let the fucking bitch jump!”
Her words echoed off the sea and bounced off the towers and cables, and from the crowd there rose such a roar of approval, such a loud round of applause, that the Golden Gate Bridge itself shook with laughter.”
In part three we finally get to know more about Daisy. Probably the only character I came to somewhat enjoy. Although, the more I think about it, I think what I actually enjoyed was the insightfulness that came during her part.
Lastly, we come full circle to ending part four with Henry. Who has literally wasted the whole day and still has bought the perfume. At this point Henry is trying to figure out his life, and the events that took place throughout the day and what it all means. Has he been wasting his life? And at the last possible moment (literally, 5 pages left) he has an epiphany.
I was constantly on the fence of if I should mark this as read or DNF. I read part one, skimmed part two, read part three, and skimmed part four. I got to the end and all I could think was “that’s it?” I felt like readers weren’t really given full answers and things were more so left to the reader’s interruption as to what happens next. I’m not sure if it’s intentional with the author showing readers that there is no certainty when it comes to love.
According to Simon & Schuster’s website, Pepper Harding is apparently a pen name for an author that writes from a different genre/literature. I’m really curious to know what this author writes. Because one of the main things that made it hard for me to enjoy The Heart of Henry Quantum was the writing style.
“Then she showered, carefully chose her underwear, skirt, blouse, jacket, and shoes, returned to the bathroom to put on her makeup and brush her hair, examined herself in the mirror, and changed out of her skirt, jacket, and blouse into a little dress, changed the shoes, put on different jewelry, checked herself again in the mirror, took of the dress, put on a different skirt and this time a tight-fitting sweater and a third paid of shows, went back to the original earrings and bracelets, added some pears removed the pearls, attached a pin to the sweater, looked again in the mirror, took off the sweater and put on a second blouse, repined the pin, adjusted her hair, and went back down to the kitchen.”
Could you not have just simplified it? I felt like the author was trying to do too much, trying to make the writing so different that it took awhile from the plot and more so had me questions what the point of it all was.
Would I recommend The Heart of Henry Quantum? While this did not work for me I could see how some may come to enjoy this. There are insightful moments and some might even find this as humours as it’s suppose to be.
Until next time bibliophiles,