Reviewed by Jennifer Dupree, Circulation Supervisor at the Windham Public Library
This is a book about friendship, in a way. But, it’s also about children who catch on fire. It’s smart and laugh-out-loud funny and sweet and tender.
Lillian is a middle-aged screw-up. She lives at home and works in dead-end jobs she hates. And then Madison calls. And Lillian can’t say no to Madison, even though at first she doesn’t know she’s saying yes to caring for twins who sometimes catch themselves and everything around them on fire. Lillian saved Madison from a ruined reputation once and so she does it again, because Madison can’t have her self-combusting stepchildren ruin the chances of her powerful husband becoming Secretary of State.
So, Lillian takes over the care of ten-year-old twins Bessie and Roland and she’s unexpectedly good at it. And she loves them. And we love her for loving them. And they’re all weird together, which feels real.
What happens next isn’t completely unexpected, but it doesn’t matter. The book is brilliant in the blasé tone Lillian uses to narrate, in Wilson’s perfect observations and dead-pan sentences, in the subtle yearning everyone in this book has. This is a fast read that will, at times, catch you by surprise.
Much like fire itself.