About 130 pages into Among the Ten Thousand Things, the author, Julia Pierpont, starts a new section of her book with the title “That Year and Those That Followed.” In the following chapter Pierpont’s story jumps forward many years. Up to this point she had carefully unveiled her characters and plot. It was detailed and purposeful. And then, all of a sudden, it jumps forward years. And from that point forward I lost interest in the book. It’s as if she didn’t know what to say when her characters moved on from the event that triggers the book.
The book’s beginning is promising. A young girl finds a box of love letters and mementos (the “10,000 things” of the title) on her front step. It turns out the box was left by her father’s avenging mistress. Not only does the discovery destroy the family, it sets the girl on her own journey in which she contemplates the meaning of family and love and tries to process the graphic sexual content of the box. But when the story seems headed one way, the “That Year and Those That Followed” chapter comes and the momentum of the story is lost.
For the most part I enjoyed the book but I can’t say I really cared what happened to any of the characters. The event at the beginning of the book seems so significant, but by the end the impact fizzles, and because of the way Pierpont awkwardly advanced the story and casually revealed what I would’ve thought were important details and plot points, I didn’t care the story was over.