Ok so. Lydia’s brother Danny goes missing, and he’s missing for most of the book so it kind of doesn’t matter to you, the reader, whether he is found dead in a ditch or comes meandering home. Danny is not the point. Danny not being the point is, in fact, kind of the point. Because the point is Lydia, who has never before in her life been the point, because Danny is SO VERY THERE. Until, of course, he’s not.
And as often with books that aren’t whodunnits, what matters is not what is told but how (although Danny going missing in the first sentence appealed to my inner rubber-necker and got me through those crucial first pages with alacricity). Because the missing-child’s-family-dissolves trope has been done, and the ‘family dissolves’ part is always the focal issue, and this is exactly where Gershow spends her words, so it is exceedingly difficult to give any damns.
Except when the book is scarily good. I loved eeet. There was literally almost nothing going on and I WAS SO INVESTED I COULD NOT STOP READING. Gershow has a freaky eye for natural human interaction, and it was all so uncannily accurate, so weirdly real that it was like watching myself march through the pages of a book. It’s banal in a way that is engrossing, not like unedited reality tv.
And Gershow dodges the easy ways out, the quick pathos, and is gleefully honest about things we kind of prefer our books not to be so gleefully honest about. It’s fun to get drunk when you’re 15! You’re probably not going to be assaulted at every unchaparoned house party! Sometimes it’s good for your popularity when your douchey brother goes missing!
Ok and so I was all smug because it’s so rare I get to bring something new to the internet’s table, and I didn’t remember reading any reviews of this one, but Caribou’s mom apparently scooped me so…shit. But she also enjoyed it. Win-win-win, I guess. (Upon further
googling research I see that Constance Reader ALSO scooped me but ALSO loved it, so my proposition stands, except now it’s win4.)