A conversational, contemporary fable about children and parents and letting go.
The author (Beautiful Somewhere Else, 2004) has written books for adults as well as teen fiction and even a children’s book, and this reads like a hybrid—with a style that could easily pass for a teen book but a thematic focus that aims at adults, parents in particular. The narrator is Paul, a sad sack who was some kind of writer until the birth of his daughter, Spring, whose mother he married when she was four months pregnant. She's his third wife, young, attractive and full of life, so it’s hard for the reader (as well as Paul) to understand what she sees in him. Most of the narration takes place inside his head, where he conjures aphorisms such as “My life’s work seems to be just getting through my life” and “Doing nothing has always been my strongest skill.” Most of what little happens in this novel concerns 5-year-old Spring, who suffered a fall, went to the hospital, and may or may not have had a seizure. The major cause for concern is that Spring keeps seeing a little green girl, who would seem to be an imaginary friend, except that Paul sees her too. Before Spring, says Paul, “I can’t say being a father was ever high on my list. It made the list, sure—but somewhere above understanding the laws of physics and below learning to appreciate Cubism.” But now his daughter is his life. Over the course of the novel, both Spring and Paul must come to separate terms with the green girl, and Paul must face the reality articulated by Spring’s teacher: “Oh, they are not really ours, are they?...They are all on loan.”
A breezy meditation on what it means to be a child, and a parent.