- Fizzy Thoughts: Thank You for All Things

Thank You for All Things

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Thank You for All Things
Sandra Kring
2008
430 pages

Last Friday I stayed home sick (damn allergies) and I read this book. It was cute. And intense. But not intensely cute.

Lucy McGowan, our narrator, is a precocious 11 year old. Her twin brother Milo is a genius. Their mother, Tess, is a beleaguered writer. When her literary novel failed to achieve any kind of success, Tess turned to writing Christian romances and travel articles to pay the rent. Since Tess is also an atheist and a non-traveler, she’s not exactly bragging about her career.

When Tess receives notice that they need to vacate the apartment so the asbestos can be removed from the building, it’s not good news. She’s out of money. When her mom announces her estranged father is dying and they need to go take care of him, it’s also not good news. Tess does not want to go home. However, she drives her mom home and ends up staying. Lucy is a happy camper, because they are out of Chicago and in the country, and she plans to use this time to do a little detective work.

As Lucy gets to know her dying grandpa, she uncovers all sorts of family history. At the same time, she is bound and determined to find out who her father is (since her mother has vehemently denied both Scott Hamilton and a Nobel Prize winner as candidates). In the process, Lucy meets some of the town’s characters, and she learns some uncomfortable things about her mom and her grandmother (and her grandfather, and her uncle, and her dad, and herself).

As the book progresses it gets more and more serious. For the first few chapters we’re introduced to most of the characters and their quirks. As the family secrets unfold, the book gets darker. And at first, despite Lucy’s intelligence, I was having a hard time reconciling the tone with the fact that the narrator was only 11. It got a little better as the book went on, but it still never rang quite true. There’s some pretty heavy stuff in here. Not that 11 year olds don’t experience all of this heavy stuff, but they certainly don’t publish books about it. And I don’t know why this is bothering me, since I’ve read other books with young narrators.

All in all, not a bad way to spend the day, but I won’t be including this one in any best of lists, either.

1 comment(s):

Dar said...

Hey Jill, great review. This does sound like a good read, even if not the best. I think I'll check it out. Thanks.

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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