Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson is very original plot, involving a woman looking after two twins that can spontaneously combust, bursting into flames at any second. How do you take care of kids like that? This novel is original in its approach taking the concept of kids that can burst in to flames seriously, I thought this novel was going to be more of a satire. There are some moments of satire, but I was thinking the majority of the book. The book was good but I wanted a bit more out of it. The story makes great observations about class structure, but it didn’t really follow through with it. I was lead to check out this book by a discussion and reading that I was held at Parnassus books a local bookstore ran by author Ann Patchett, who this book is dedicated to. The majority of this story takes place in Franklin, Tennessee, which is only 40 minutes away from me.
The Plot: Lillian struggles in life working two grocery store jobs and living in the attic of her mother’s house, she was supposed have a better life than this. She receives a letter from Madison and old acquaintance from high school, Madison calls Lillian her best friend, but Lillian questions of they even are friends. She has a job that thinks Lillian will be perfect for knowing their past experience together. The job is taking care of two twin siblings Bessie and Roland that are stepchildren to Madison. Madison’s husband, Jasper, is being looked at for Secretary of State, and the kids need to be trained to be presentable for vetting. There is one catch when the twins become agitated they burst into flames.
What I Liked: The plot and the idea behind the story is so good and original. I found the Lillian Madison relationship very interesting. Carl is the unsung hero of this story, I loved his quiet demeanor and Mary the cook as well. I liked the use of basketball in the story. I liked the way the southern characters were written. The cover for this book caught my eye with its 1950’s comic book strip lower half of a child’s body and the flames on the top half. The humor is really subtle but works very well. The scene where the kids met Lillian was so unexpected and hilarious. The twist was great and I did not see it coming.
What I Disliked: No adult in this story seemed to learn anything or have any consequences to their actions. I wanted a better explanation of why Lillian loved Madison in any way other than she was beautiful, the novel did make attempts, but the excuses didn’t connect with me and were to vague.
Recommendations: I will mildly recommend this book, the plot and the originality are so strong, it’s an easy book to tell others about. Read this book of you’re looking for an out of the box plot. I rated Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson 4 out of 5 stars. I will seek to read another book by this author, I have heard good things about The Family Fang.