A father suspects his young son may hold the power to see the future in this novel.
Simon Burchwood is a tender father of two with a difficult life. A computer networking specialist who dreams of becoming an author, he spends an inordinate amount of time reflecting on his inadequacies and failures. Following the death of his ex-wife in a motor vehicle accident, Simon must raise Sammie, a bright as a button little boy with special needs, and his elder sister, Jessie, a competitive young girl with a ferocious love of taekwondo. Sammie wants a pet budgerigar (an Australian parakeet), which he plans to name Budgie. Simon begins to suspect that Sammie has unusual abilities when the child foresees his after-school counselor seriously injuring herself. Intrigue builds as Sammie’s apparent mysticism allows him to select a winning lottery ticket at a convenience store. Surprised and alarmed by his son, Simon takes Sammie to a physician but is met initially with skepticism. Yet when Sammie envisions that all is not well with his grandfather, whom he refers to as PeePaw, the clan sets off on a road trip posthaste. The result is a sensitively told story about family bonds and individual dreams. This is the third installment in the life of the fictional wannabe author. Semegran’s (The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood, 2012, etc.) fan base will recognize Simon’s rambling, often crude confessional inner monologue: “Sometimes, kids say the weirdest things at the weirdest times and there really is no rhyme or reason to why they say these things. They just do, and what they say is like an involuntary burp that escapes your mouth an hour after lunch or a silent yet stinky fart that slips out while you’re in an important meeting.” Some readers may quickly dismiss this approach as overly wordy and tiresome, yet Semegran is a persuasive writer, and in this particular story, Simon’s self-doubting verbosity becomes oddly endearing. Sammie is the true star, however—a sparklingly intuitive young character whose few words make the tale truly tick. Simple lines such as “Sorry I told you the truth, Daddy” are not only heart-melting, but also succeed in puncturing the hubris of adult life with the innocence of childhood. Illustrated throughout by Semegran, this book is the author’s best. In these pages, his steadfastly idiosyncratic style really begins to click.
An unconventional, beguiling, and endearing family tale.