Do you ever wake up and think “what the hell am I doing here?” For anyone who has ever felt disillusioned or disconnected with life, if you have ever worried that your English major will be worthless in four years, or that your life is not going quite as planned, this book will speak to you.
Isn’t It Pretty To Think So? is a quintessential coming of age story by author Nick Miller. Not since Salinger has a writer captured the tribulation, angst, imperfection and sacredness of living like Miller has for our millennial generation.
Set in Los Angeles, Isn’t It Pretty To Think So? follows Jake Reed, fresh out of university and armed with his liberal arts degree. Jake quickly realizes that his dreams of being a writer are much further away than he ever thought. Momentarily discouraged and pushed by his parents, he settles down to grind out his days at an uninspiring desk job. But when his grandmother dies, leaving him her condo and a $50,000 inheritance, Jake promptly quits his job and moves out of his small apartment in search of inspiration and himself.
Bouncing between small-town hotel rooms while trying to write, Jake finds himself becoming deeply troubled. He distracts himself by rooming in a west-Hollywood mansion, spending his days and nights lost in a world of drugs and sex. Only after innumerable blackouts does Jake decide that he needs to get out of the downward spiral he is in. Haunted by depression, plagued by a constant feeling of inadequacy and frustrated with what he feels is a severe lack of real human connection in this world of social media and instant messaging, he reaches out to a kindred lost soul but ultimately finds the savior he has been looking for in himself.
Isn’t It Pretty To Think So? is not your typical edited and polished novel. There are imperfections in the writing such as an overuse of a metaphor here and the abuse of the comma there that normally an editor would have cut out on the first draft. But it is an imperfect story for an imperfect time and is far from detracting from the writing. The bumps on the page only serve to allow the sincerity of the story to be truly felt by the reader. You are sitting with Jake in the lonely hotel rooms he frequents. You are there with him as he falls down and builds himself back up again.
Miller has painted a shockingly real picture of life in a world that does not shelter anyone. The people who inhabit Jake Reed’s world serve as a reflection of our society. While showcasing the hardest tribulations of life, the author has also captured the most simple truth of growing up; that we can take solace in the fact that even though life does not go as planned, it can still be beautiful or at least it is pretty to think so.