Some people aren’t designed to have or raise children. Most of the time those individuals know this, the way you might know that too much junk food makes you sick, or that you aren’t flexible enough to become a gymnast. Lillian, the narrator of Kevin Wilson’s incendiary new novel Nothing to See Here, is one of those people. But Lillian would also do anything for her old friend Madison, and has blown up her own life to save her reputation before. So when Madison – desperate for help maintaining her family’s public image – begs her to take a job as her stepchildren’s ‘governess’, Lillian agrees, despite the fact that she has absolutely no relevant skills or experience. Of course, considering the children spontaneously burst into flames when they’re under stress, it’s possible that all the experience in the world wouldn’t do much good.
Nothing to See Here has generated a ton of buzz in the US since its publication across the pond, with raves from The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME and Buzzfeed among many others. The hype is well-deserved. Kevin Wilson has created characters who are believable, with all the virtues, flaws and foils that reality entails. The relationship between Lillian and Madison is especially vivid, as they play into and off of one another’s neuroses, always circling each other despite their vastly difference lives and social statuses. Their complex history and quietly enduring love is matched only by Lillian’s surprisingly staunch devotion to the children in her care.
Overall, Nothing to See Here is a story of personal growth and commitment, and the power of showing up for people again and again – even if they might burn the house down.
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson is out 30th of January 2020 from Text Publishing
(9781922268334, p/b, £10.99)
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