Monday, September 12, 2016

Small Disasters and a Little World. (Perfect Little World)

Welcome to my morning of small disasters.  First stop - my accountant to drop off end of month info.  "Where's your bank statement?' Tina asked.  After all, that is the crucial piece of info needed to do my books.  Forgot to include it with the rest of the info.

First customer ordered a blended drink.  That went well until the whipped cream exploded all over my black jacket.  Then, a button caught on the counter top and ripped off. 

Small disasters, as I said.  For once, I had a solid to-do list but fear that today is not the day to tackle any of it.  My best bet is to just sit here and tap away lest I trip over my shoelaces, spill the water from the pail and soak my shoes as I wash the floors.  Oh, of course I packed chips and salsa for lunch so I will surely be wearing that shortly.

Anyway.  Onward.  If you read and loved Kevin Wilson's quirky fam-com novel, The Family Fang, don't expect more of the same in his second novel.  The Fangs were art performers, staging elaborate, public events featuring their children, A and B.  In one scenario, the parents prepped their son to participate in a little miss beauty pageant and, in the event that he won, he was coached to reveal the farce of the situation by removing his wig.  He did win, but the plan backfired in an hilarious display of hubris.  He liked winning.  He liked the crown and sash and went screaming from the stage as his parents watched horrifiied.  The plot turns dark and twisted toward the end, but the book is so worth the time.  

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Alison Arngrin, author of Confessions of a Prairie Bitch, a memoir of growing up as a child star and playing Nellie in "Little House on the Prairie". Her childhood was so like the Fangs that I gave her a copy of the book.  A few weeks later, she emailed from an airport in Paris, stunned at the similarities.  I had so hoped that she would be tapped to play a role in the movie version, but that didn't happen.  Sadly, the movie focused on the dark side totally missing the humor that Wilson so adeptly wrote into the plot.

The once common thread in both books is the examination of non-traditional families.  In the new novel, a group of adults are chosen tho participate in a communal child raising experiment based partly on the proximity of their due dates.  The ten children are to be raised collectively.  It will not be until the third year of the experiment that each child learns the identity of  his/her biological parents. 

Complications arise, including adults straying from their marriage partners, and parents growing to love some of the children more than their own.  Their lives are structured, with charts and timetables managing most of activities and responsibilities.  What will happen, I wonder, after eight years when the experiment ends and the children are no longer being raised by a village of parents and other educated caretakers?  That may be the very question Wilson wants to leave us with. It will be interesting to see if his next book continues to examine the evolving definition of "family".

Wish me luck....a dirty floor and bucket of water await.