It is the autumn of 1999. A year has passed since Lucy Darby’s unexpected death, leaving her husband David and son Whitley to mend the gaping hole in their lives. David, a trauma-site cleanup technician, spends his nights expunging the grisly remains of strangers, helping their families move on, though he is unable to do the same. Whitley—an 11-year-old social pariah known simply as the Kid—hasn’t spoken since his mother’s death. Instead, he communicates through a growing collection of notebooks, living in a safer world of his own silent imagining.
As the impending arrival of Y2K casts a shadow of uncertainty around them, their own precarious reality begins to implode. Questions pertaining to the events of Lucy’s death begin to haunt David while the Kid, who still believes his mother is alive, enlists the help of his small group of misfit friends to bring her back. As David continues to lose his grip on reality and the Kid’s sense of urgency grows, they begin to uncover truths that will force them to confront their deepest fears about each other and the wounded family they are trying desperately to save.
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Super heavy, but it pays off in the end.
Yes, it is beautifully written even though the subject matter can be quite depressing. Some of the best actualization of what it's like to be a kid that I've ever read. Also, interesting twist to the story in the end.
In the end when we finally see things from the mother's perspective. Ouch. But gorgeous.
I did listen to it while getting ready, when I usually only listen to audiobooks in the car.
There are moments when you want to give up, when things seem too awful for these characters. But I recommend that you persevere. It's a beautiful pay off.
- Sunny Webb
Why hadn't I ever heard of this guy? Amazing book!
I intend to take advantage of steady memory loss to read this again, as if I hadn't ever read it. This book is near the very top of all the books I've ever read. I do love books that put children in situations that they don't understand or that are difficult, and see how they cope. The young boy in this book tries to handle things that have happened in his family in incredibly creative ways. This is not the precocious child that thinks like an adult and solves the mystery, that is common in so many movies. He is a real child incapable of understanding what was happening, but who figured out such unique ways of dealing with events. The writing was real, rich, gorgeous, fascinating. The child and his father were each trying to figure out a mystery in their lives, in their own ways. And unlike so many books, I had no idea how this book was going to turn out, until the very end, and the end was perfect. It contained everything I love: great character development, wasn't predictable, and just terrific writing.
It would give too much away to describe it, but it involves the child making a really tough decision, which he hated doing, but he figured it out.
I am familiar with Pinchot from some not-so-hot movies which my son loved. But as a reader, he's top-notch. Very, very good.
- Jennifer L. Jordan