A journey into her mother's past helps a young woman right her own future.
Mattie Wallace is pregnant, broke, and lost. After shoving all her possessions into trash bags, she leaves her old life behind and once again ends up at her ex-stepfather's door hoping for a little guidance. Herman Isaacs, or Captain Queeg as Mattie fondly calls him, remains dedicated to his stepdaughter, even after his divorce from Mattie's mother and her subsequent death. Though Queeg is glad to see Mattie, he's a bit miffed by her flakiness—it turns out Mattie's been ignoring phone calls, including one from a lawyer in her mother's hometown of Gandy, Oklahoma. Queeg tells Mattie that her maternal grandmother has passed away, and Mattie once again hits the road, eager to claim her inheritance. Of course, this doesn't prove to be easy. Once in Gandy, Mattie learns that her grandmother's estate is meager, multiple creditors have claims against it, and the legal proceedings will take three months. For the time being, Mattie is given the key to her grandmother's house and ownership of two dogs, both named Winston. Mattie's mom was always a troublesome mystery who struggled with alcohol addiction and other unknown demons; and since her sudden death years earlier, Mattie's many questions about her past have remained unanswered. In Gandy, Mattie is forced to make sense of her mother's character and begins to understand the circumstances that led her mother to leave her life and family behind. Mattie's voice is fresh, her penchant for off-color language balanced with a revealing earnestness and vulnerability. Gandy's other residents are vibrant and well-developed, from stern library director Fritter Jackson, who's obsessed with obscuring the past, to JJ, a persistently surly neighbor.
DeCarlo's debut is confident and accomplished, filled with heart and humor.