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Taffy Brodesser-Akner Reviews “Nothing to See Here”

In Kevin Wilson’s New Novel, Rageaholic Twins Spontaneously Combust

By Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Good Lord, I can’t believe how good this book is. I know you’re supposed to begin book reviews with subtlety and a nod to storytelling’s past and the long literary tradition that the book has managed to hook itself onto. But “Nothing to See Here,” the third novel by Kevin Wilson (“The Family Fang”), defies an entry like that because it’s wholly original. It’s also perfect. It gives me no pleasure to say this; the enjoyment of reading a perfect book was much mitigated by the fact that I am in the middle of writing a new novel, and I believe agreeing to write this book review has set me back egregiously.

Where should I start? Here’s the plot: Lillian is a young Southern burnout, living with her mother (who is so mercenary that she would make the stepmom in “Hansel and Gretel” cringe), working and losing shift jobs. When Lillian was young, she’d managed to defy the inertia of her poverty and self-propel into a fancy girls’ boarding school, “a training ground for Amazons,” where she roomed with the luminous Madison, the kind of beautiful blue blood for whom the school existed. “I wasn’t destined for greatness,” Lillian says. “I knew this. But I was figuring out how to steal it from someone stupid enough to relax their grip on it.” Lillian and Madison were close, though Madison also had the kind of friends who would never hang out with someone like Lillian. One night, drugs are found in their room, and Madison’s father pays Lillian’s mother a largish (but not really large enough, if you ask me, but that’s maybe the point) sum of money for Lillian to take the fall. Lillian’s mother agrees, and Lillian’s fate — shift work and living at home — is set. Read the full review at The New York Times.

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