Two brothers watch over their father during his last days while looking toward an uncertain future.
When Oscar and Vance's father gets in a car accident, the doctors discover that his alcoholism is destroying his liver and warn him that he must stop drinking. But he doesn't, and now his sons, both white, are staying near his bedside at the hospice to make sure they're with him when he dies. Artistic, quiet Oscar and lacrosse-playing, boisterous Vance couldn't be more different, though, and instead of coming together, they're still fighting. It doesn't help that their mother died in a car accident three years earlier after a terrible fight with their father. How will their family work with half of it missing? However, grief can do strange things to a family. Will it rip them apart or pull them closer than ever before? Walton creates flawed, realistic characters that invite readers to root for them even as they screw up their own lives and the lives of those around them. The back-and-forth structure told in alternating voices (Oscar’s in the present and Vance’s recounting the past) is accomplished and offers a deep look at the complex relationship between two brothers. Although the plot and dialogue can feel manufactured and simplistic, characters and story are compelling.
A sweet look at an end-of-life moment that offers surprise even as the inevitable unfolds. (Fiction. 14-17)