Behind an affair
If you’ve been watching Showtime’s “The Affair,” you may see some similarities in I Regret Everything. Writer and producer (“Big Love”) Seth Greenland’s new novel tells the story of a relationship that some might find inappropriate, from the first-person point of view of both parties. There’s melodrama, and a subplot that involves a crime. But there is also real warmth, wit and irreverence woven throughout this thoroughly readable tale.
The book kicks off with our first narrator, Jeremy Best, a Brooklyn-dwelling trusts and estates lawyer who expresses his lyrical side through poetry written under the (somewhat laughable) pen name of Jinx Bell. Aside from this literary diversion, his life seems rather dull and empty.
Enter Spaulding Simonson, the boss’ pretty and precocious 19-year-old daughter, a budding poet herself who has somehow uncovered Jeremy’s secret identity. She has her own very real troubles: a bitterly broken family, a history of depression and deep loneliness.
As soon as they meet, it’s obvious there’s chemistry between the two. It’s also apparent that Jeremy’s monotonous existence is about to undergo a radical change, despite the real risks involved.
A smart reader may worry about the clichéd premise. But Greenland is smart, and so are his characters. Their inherent likability, along with the humor that’s a welcome contrast to the more maudlin aspects of the story, easily save this sparkling read.