The latest novel from the author of A Girl Becomes a Comma Like That (2004).
Seven-year-old Hannah Teller is on her way to school when she’s hit by a car. Martin Kettle—just out of high school, still drunk from the night before—is the driver who injures Hannah and leaves her by the side of the road. Glatt follows the intertwined lives of these two characters as they deal with the accident’s aftermath. As a little girl, Hannah is precocious and shy. While her intellectual curiosity persists, her reticence falls away—bit by bit—as she grows into a teenager. But the series of casts she has to endure as doctor after doctor tries to help her walk again serves as a barrier between Hannah and the kids around her. She sees the world as divided between the normal and the damaged, and she wants desperately to resume her place among the normal. Unfortunately for Hannah, her leg isn’t her only obstacle. Even by the standards of Southern California in the 1970s, her family is…different. Her father leaves her mother and Judaism for his mistress, evangelical Christianity, and surfing. Her mother marries a psychology student specializing in sexuality, which leads to weekends at a nudist colony. Hannah has a lot to navigate—on crutches—and she does so with a mordant wit that makes her delightful company. Martin’s story is sadder but not without its moments of comedy and gentle beauty. Immediately after the accident, he’s paralyzed by guilt—an emotional analog to Hannah’s immobility. First, he tries to hide; then he tries to run. Ultimately, neither helps much. Throughout this novel, hope is as much a curse as it is a blessing, and in the end, Glatt doesn’t shy away from this ambiguity. What she leaves her characters—and her readers—with is possibility.
Funny, wise, and painfully honest.