Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Lillian and Madison go way back – having been roommates at boarding school in high school. And while they’ve not seen each other in years, they’ve been in touch, with Lillian offering minimal details of her dull unaccomplished life, while receiving letters from Madison filled with details of her picture-perfect marriage to the senator, her picture-perfect home and her picture-perfect little boy. Now, finally, as Madison has written to ask Lillian to visit because she has a favor to ask of her, she will finally see her again in the flesh. Will it be the same between them? Will Madison really be as perfect as she has always seemed? What is this mission she is being asked to do? Will Lillian be able to live up to Madison’s expectations? Will she be able to live up to her own?

Spoiler alert: The mission involves Lillian caring for two children who spontaneously combust. Yes, they burst into flames when they are upset. They are not harmed but they can cause harm to what may be around them. They are awkward kids and are clearly affected by this inconvenient trait, but inside, they are just kids. Lillian appreciates them for who they are, in spite of this trait, but others fear them and have difficulty accepting them for who they are.

While I appreciate a dramatic metaphor as much as the next reader, I just find this entire story too incredulous to swallow. Even beyond the flaming children, there is the history between Lillian and Madison that leads one to question why Lillian would come running at Madison’s behest. And then there is the question of how, with such a neglectful mother as Lillian is demonstrated to have, she has such a knack for mothering challenging children that no one else seems to be able to handle.

I think the author had an interesting idea that started well but went so beyond the boundaries of reality that it was no longer viable. And this, at least for me, was a disappointment. Much of the story felt ridiculous and I had difficulty envisioning at least parts of it. While I did develop affection for some of the characters, such as the 2 flaming children, I wondered always what the attraction was that Lillian had for Madison, as Madison was quite the selfish, and eternally self-serving character. And while the message clearly was one I respect – that we should all be appreciated for our weirdness and quirks as well as what we can do for others —  it was delivered at too a high price.

So, unfortunately, I have to say for Nothing to See Here – nothing to read here, at least in my opinion.  


The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson (migrated from bookblogger)

Strange, strange book!  Camille and Caleb Fang are performance artists who create a chaotic scene and find the “art” in the reaction to the chaos they create.  Unfortunately, their art often involves their 2 children, “A” and “B” or Annie and Buster as they are known to the rest of the world.  As Annie and Buster are now grown and feel the effects of being the props of their parents, they feel their lives falling apart and come home to reconcile their lives.  Suddenly, while they are home, their parents go missing, leaving a bloody crime scene.  It is up to Annie and Buster to find them, unsure as they are that they really do want to find them.

This story is totally bizarre if taken at face value; however, it rings true and familiar in many ways.  There are many funny, even quotable lines that are actually very poignant.  And the characters of Annie and Buster are endearing and sympathetic.

If you are open to the slightly off-beat, very allegorical book, this is one to take a look at.  I’d love to discuss it with someone, if anyone does!