Why Liv? by Jon Sebastian Shifrin is a novel about Liv – short for Livingstone – a 20-something year old man. Liv lives in New York City and is surviving the grind of corporate life while keeping up with the social life obligations of Manhattan and a soon-to-be doctor girlfriend who is pretentious and self-absorbed.
The novel is split into 2 parts. The first part focuses on Liv’s life in New York. He is good at his job and successful, but he’s not happy. It never occurs to him that this doesn’t have to be his life until one day he just has a lightbulb moment and decides he’s picking up and leaving life as he knows it behind. For how long, who knows?
Part two follows Liv in Barcelona. Everyone thinks he’s crazy for giving up a lucrative career in New York City to traipse around Spain, but this time actually allows him to figure out what he wants in life and what he wants to do with his life.
Honestly, I had a little trouble getting really into this novel. It just didn’t captivate my attention, however I thought the writing was really good and that’s what kept me wanting to read it. It’s not to say the story was bad, I actually found it to be realistic and relatable – the idea of doing things for far too long because we think it’s what we’re supposed to do, but not what actually makes us happy or is worth our time mixed with that fear and uncertainty of giving it all up for a life of the unknown. There were also some humorous parts that poke fun at our current reality. In the novel, a radio personality is running for president, hoisted up by white supremacists, this guy is loud and obnoxious with weird hair, a string of bankruptcies and accusations of sexual assault. Sound familiar? In the novel, Liv talks about writing a book where this guy becomes president and his girlfriend says no one would believe something so insane. Joke’s on us, I guess!
But, back to the deeper aspects of the story. There was one part that really spoke to me:
“Life’s arc is shaped by a handful of inflection points that determine its ultimate trajectory. An action taken or not taken, an opportunity seized or missed – these are what define the path our lives follow. What we call “destiny” is simply that which flows from our own response to such flashpoint events.”
*I received this book complimentary, but all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.*