Jackson’s novel perfectly captures the flavor and rhythm of Southern life as a young woman preparing for college finds herself caught up in a real-life drama.
Shandi has a miracle baby. His name is Nathan, but she and her BFF, Walcott, call the precocious 3-year-old genius Natty. As Shandi moves out of her mother’s home to her successful physician father’s condominium in Atlanta, she, Walcott and Natty become caught up in an armed robbery. It’s during this robbery that Shandi meets William Ashe, a giant of a man with a palpable, lingering sorrow. When William takes a bullet during the robbery, Shandi decides to take on William and starts caring for him on the day he leaves the hospital. In due course, she discovers that William’s suffered a tragic loss and finds herself fighting both his memories of happier times and his best friend, Paula, who makes it clear she wants Shandi out of the picture. However, Shandi is coping with a dilemma she thinks William can help her resolve: discovering the identity of the man who fathered her child. Shandi conceived Natty after being raped at a college party years before and still has enough of his DNA to possibly deduce his identity. William, a research scientist, has both the tools and the know-how to narrow down, if not figure out, just who her attacker might be. Jackson draws on her own Southern roots to paint this pitch-perfect portrait of a girl from a small town in Georgia. She traces Shandi’s struggles to figure out what, if anything, William really means to her. Wrapped in a thoughtful, often funny and insightful narrative that brings Shandi and those in her satellite to life, Jackson presents the reader with a story that is never predictable and is awash in bittersweet love, regret and the promise of what could be.
A surprising novel, both graceful and tender. You won't be able to put it down.