Seize the Day covers one day in the life of Tommy Wilhelm who is experiencing more than just a bad day; he's having a bad life. He is a failed actor, unemployed and broke, estranged from his wife (who refuses to give him a divorce and always demands more money), feels unloved by his aging father, and knows he is being lied to by an associate who loses Wilhelm's money in a financial scheme. Wilhelm makes one bad decision after another, even when his conscience tells him otherwise. He has a bleak picture of himself and often focuses on his own suffering.
Throughout the story he has periods of internal conflict: he emotionally and verbally berates himself; he feels completely secluded from the world and frets that no one understands or cares about him; and he is conflicted about how he should appear to the world.
This is his day of reckoning, and at the very end of the story, he succumbs to his pity and has a meltdown, sobbing over his discovery.
Will he forever be depressed, continue to make his mistakes, and just suffer through life feeling sorry for himself? Or will he turn over a new leaf and get a life finally?
I cannot say.
Sorry to be so harsh, but I find it difficult to accept a grown man trying to find himself. Mistakes are a part of life, but they should not prevent us from living responsibly. And adults should not have to worry so much about how others perceive them. It is too bad that "Wilky" needed to spend half his life figuring that out.
Bellow also uses a lot of psychology and philosophy, and I admit, this little novel was over my head and beyond my comprehension. But unlike "Wilky," I am not going to throw a tantrum over my lack of understanding. I probably will just do some research and get over it.
Overall, I liked this little book, and I'll probably keep it in the back of my mind for a while to consider the author's arguments. I may even want to reread it someday. As small as it is, it offers a lot to think about.