Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson fulfilled
the category “A Magical
Realism Book” for the PopSugar 2021 Reading Challenge. I looked up the term
before I choose my novel for the prompt. I know most genres, but apparently, I
failed to notice this one. Magical realism is a story that takes place in the
modern regular world, but there’s a bit of magic hiding or in plain sight. In
this book, the children catch on fire when they are agitated.
Lillian is asked by an old childhood friend to help
care for her new stepchildren. Madison is the wife of a wealthy politician, and
the children are her husband’s
from his first marriage. All Lillian has to do is care for the kids for a short
time while their father waits on a political nomination. Sounds easy until
Lillian finds out the kids catch on fire all the time. Not that they play with
matches or they are pyromaniacs. They literally burst into flames when upset,
agitated, mad, scared, angsty… You get the idea. Lillian embraces the job to
prove to herself, her old friend, and the universe that she can do this.
Children on fire.
As if parenthood wasn’t tough enough. Now the children are on fire. I read the
book with the thought of children’s mental health as the real issue. (Yes, kids
on fire is a great metaphor for so many things. But my kids have mental health issues,
so I went with that.) Lillian is a trooper. She has practically no clue on how
to interact with children, much less with kids that flame up and can burn down
the universe if they don’t get a Popsicle. All the while I kept thinking, this
fire thing is like the depression or anxiety that my teens feel in our Covid-rocked
world. Luckily, I don’t have to cover it up because of politics, nor douse my
girls with fire extinguishers. I do have to intervene with soothing talk, quiet
times, and understand their level of need. I felt Lillian’s struggle with childcare.
For such an odd concept, the book was well-written,
interesting, and tear-jerking. I loved the journey Lillian took throughout the
story, and I rooted for her the entire way. In the end, I wanted more. I needed
to know what happens next because those kids catch on fire, literally. And I
was impressed that the male author did such a superb job with writing the main
female character. Plus, the women played basketball. Kudos on that too.
I had several great titles on my list for this prompt
including Big Fish (a movie I loved) and Night Circus (which I read
half of previously and will try again). I’m so glad I choose this title for the prompt. As a popular
title, I’ve seen it several times at the library and wondered what that cover
was all about. It’s perfect—the cover and the text.
I give Nothing
to See Here by Kevin Wilson Five Fire Extinguishers.