The truth is, I haven’t read as much Philip Roth as I should have. There. I admitted it. The truth is, while I recognize his mastery of the craft, I find most of his books depressing. Not that Everyman was any different, but to a certain degree I found a certain redemption of the genre in this novel. The main character, who, typical of Roth has been married three times, cheated on all of his wives, is not a religious man, and perhaps not a very nice man at all – comes to a point that he is dying and realizes that he has not had a very meaningful life at all. That perhaps he shouldn’t have slept around as much as he did, that he should have been a better father to his children and a better husband to his wives.
It’s really a very sad book. I cried a lot. The book contains messages for all of us about love and loss and meaning in our lives and the fact that at the end, perhaps, it’s really mostly about family and our loved ones and very little about everything else. He comes to the end of his life and he is alone. He dies alone. And the only person he can blame for that is himself. What a real lesson to all of us. Cultivate your family relationships, be a good person and a good friend, because at the end when you are all alone and at the end of your life – they are all that will matter.
For the most part, I really prefer Saul Bellow, Mordechai Richler, and Chaim Potok, but I have to say that this book made me want to give Roth’s other books a second chance.