“Why didn’t we act like normal people instead of huddling in the stacks, our bodies shiny with fire gel?” – Nothing to See Here, Kevin Wilson
For a book that is, at its core, about abandoned children, this book is hysterical. The dialogue, the prose, all of it.
Lilian and Madison have a weird friendship. Weird in that it is not reciprocal. Madison takes advantage of Lilian, and they both know it. They haven’t seen each other in years, but when Madison writes with an odd request, Lilian come a runnin’. Madison’s husband, a prominent politician, is in a bit of a bind. His ex-wife has died, leaving him to take care of his strange and estranged children.
He and Madison are busy, so they hire Lilian as caretaker. There’s just one catch…
When the kids, twins Bessie and Roland, get emotional, they burst into flames.
So, you know, you can’t really have them getting excited in public. Mostly because Jasper, the dad/husband, would find it embarrassing. Because Jasper is the worst.
If you plan on reading this book, and you should, I would stop here. Oh, before you go, if you love hilarious books, here’s link to a free download of our first book. You’re welcome.
Okay, now for the spoilers
Lilian is in no way qualified for the task she’s been given, and matching her up with super strict Carl was pure genius. Carl is basically the get shit done guy for the family. I’m sure he has an official title, but it is never revealed, so I call him Get Shit Done Carl. Carl and Lilian couldn’t be more different. When they go to pick up the twins, Carl’s plan is to drug them with spiked Kool-Aid, while Lilian’s plan is to talk to them. The result is, two fully alert children attack Lilian, pull her into the pool, and come at her like spider monkeys while Carl is like, “The Kool-Aid, tho.”
Later they have a scene where they are brainstorming ideas to keep the children from going full firestarter and ways to prevent the spread if they do. Hilarious banter about tiny firefighter suits, Nomex, and stunt actor fire gel abound.
Guys, this book is so good.
I want a reality show of Carl and Lilian just doing normal people things together.
So, the fire children. Their backstory, which we get later in the book is tragic. So, there’s that, but I love how Lilian handles it. Her response is very, “Shit, dude. That sucks.” Because it does suck. I think a lot of times, especially with kids, we try to pretend that things don’t suck. Or turn your mom’s attempted murder suicide pact into a life lesson when, in fact, it just sucks. The kids catching fire when agitated, sad, mad, or, in one scene, insanely happy, says a lot about how we handle our emotions.
Sure, we don’t literally burst into flames, but I’ve been angry enough that I thought I was going to.
So, Lilian’s unorthodox approach to dealing with these kids when everyone else, lookin’ at you Jasper and Madison, wanted to hide them away, was refreshing.
Plus, there’s this whole thing about how Dolly Parton is the crowning jewel in Tennessee’s famous people tiara. Jasper is like, “But what about Andrew Jackson? Blah, blah, blah.” Lilian replied with, “Andrew Jackson was kind of a dick. Dolly is the greatest.” And I totes agree.