Not Quite a Review of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

I’m writing this as I’ve literally just finished reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. I even feel as though I’m channeling April May typing this with urgency. I’m not sure how I feel about the novel yet. It’s Hank’s first novel, and I honestly don’t know how he got the time to write it when running a media company, organizing two global conference series, filming, podcasting, and blogging weekly, and spending time with his family. Can this man sleep? I don’t think so.

MC-An-Absolutely-Remarkable-Thing-Hank-Green-YA-Book-CoverSo, there’ll be a full review of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing coming in a few weeks. I need time to think about it. It’s the story of April May, with the most amazing name. April is walking home (her transit card failed) from her depressing, just-out-of-college design job at 3am when sees an enormous statue in the middle of the Manhattan street. Like others, she nearly walks by, but something compels her to stop and take another look. It may be 3am, and she had just worked a long day and wants sleep, but she’s an artist, and this is art. She also recognizes this is an absolutely perfect remarkable thing. The kind that everyone gushes over then moves on to the next absolutely remarkable thing and the process repeats. She called her friend Andy, and they spontaneously film a silly video that goes viral because these statues appeared around the world at precisely the same time. She names it Carl.

There’s the setup. It’s a sci-fi set in modern times. It deals with the world of internet celebrity, and societal reactions, and self-reflections—it’s deep. That’s why I need time to process it. It’s everyone’s lives, and the analysis of marketing mixed with online personas makes it very much my life, but I’m definitely lower than a level three.

But for an initial post, some things jumped out that had me in giggles.

Oakland Carl

I’m glad I lived in San Francisco for a few months, just so I understand this joke. It’s hilarious. For those who don’t know, greater San Francisco is known as the Bay Area. It’s San Francisco City, Silicon Valley (which is several small cities) to the south, and east, across the bay is Oakland. There are more places all around but essentially those (sorry Bay Area people for simplifying your home). We can forget Silicon Valley (again, sorry), it’s just tech companies and ’70s architecture. San Francisco has all the attention and landmarks, and the residents often have the superior attitude to match (yes, I was one). The Northern Californian Carl was placed in Oakland, and the San Franciscan people were not impressed. For those in Seattle, it’s like placing a Carl in Bellevue. For those in Australia, it’s like overlooking Sydney’s internationally known landmarks and placing Carl in Melbourne, if Melbourne and Sydney were a 15-minute drive apart.

Presidential Power

The subtle digs at the 2018 US President were hilarious. Thank you to Hank for giving a fictitious president who respects freedom of the press, even when she admits it’s not what she wants to do. And thank you for normalizing a female president. We’ll get there in real life… eventually.

Grape Jelly

There are many ways someone can die. I can’t say more without spoilers, but why grape? Then again, why jelly?

That last one reminded me how US-centric the novel is. I don’t know if it is localized for different markets. I hope not, but a few things could be confusing.

Harsh My Yums

OK, so the phrase is harsh my buzz, but Hank and John discussed it on a Dear Hank and John episode and it got mixed up. I hadn’t heard the phrase before that so in my mind it’s a cute and amusing harsh my yums.

Stand by (but don’t hold your breath).

Update: It took nearly two years but I tried a re-read of an Absolutely Remarkable Thing AND even wrote a real review. Check it out.

Do you want to read more posts like this? Subscribe with email and have them delivered to you.

Proofread with Grammarly (affiliate ad)

More about Bianca

Bianca's a nerdy, book worm who is constantly curious and appreciates being alive while the internet exists. During the day, she's a content writer for a huge multinational tech company. The rest of the time she's reading, and running, and bike riding, and sipping coffee, and taking photos around Melbourne, Australia.

2 thoughts on “Not Quite a Review of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

  1. Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    Goodness gracious, this one hits so many buttons and ticks so many boxes!! I literally lol’d at your likening the conflict over Carl’s placement to the Sydney/Melbourne rivalry for us Aussies ? though I must say, having lived in both cities (but being a tried-and-true Sydneysider at heart), it would probably be more like having Carl placed in Newcastle or Woollongong for us – technically “cities” in their own right, but far smaller and far less interesting according to the standards of us city snobs 😉 Great partial review, really looking forward to reading the whole thing!


    1. Bianca

      Your proud Sydneysider mention made me giggle. When I ran the MuggleCast shows in Sydney and Melbourne, the Sydney show was first. The audience was huge on the rivalry, so I thought I could play that to get more buzz for the Melbourne show. Except the Melbourne audience didn’t care. But Woollongong and Newcastle must have grown since I was last there. They didn’t have the company sizes that Oakland and Bellevue have. I used to catch a quick bus from Seattle to Bellevue to work at Expedia each day.

      Thanks!! It’s definitely a need to read again novel.

      I’m possibly (probably?) returning to Melbourne for uni next year. Who are the other Australian book bloggers I need to know?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.