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Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

For book club, my co-moderator suggested Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, who easily persuaded me with "it's about kids that spontaneously combust".

Lillian has struggled to find meaning in her life, that is until her best/ only friend from freshman year in high school reaches out to her with a job offer. Madison -- now a wealthy wife of a highly influential senator -- wants to hire Lillian as a governess for the twins from her husband's first marriage; their mother had died. Lillian of course is ecstatic at the promise of living a rich woman's life with her best friend; but, naturally there is a catch. Or two. That is two twins. Who catch on fire when they're upset. No big deal.

So ensues the saga that is Lillian trying to maintain some semblance of control over a completely out of control couple of ten year olds, all while keeping their peculiarities a public secret during their father's run for Secretary of State.

I don't know that I have a favorite character, because I really enjoyed reading them all! I think I personally identify best with Lillian, because of her general dislike and discomfort around children, her excessive use of the "f" word, and her overall everything-sucks attitude. One of my favorite scenes is when Lillian -- with the help of another employee named Carl -- take Roland and Bessie on their first public outing. For some of their pseudo-schooling led by Lillian, they decide to write reports on famous Tennesseans and hence go to the library for resources. It isn't until after they find their books that they realize -- even though Madison is on the library board -- no one has a library card. So, what does Lillian say to get out quick before the kids' anxiety takes hold? "Here, put this in your pants..." It's absolutely hysterical.

This entire book can be described in one word as 'bizarre'. Every character is so complex and weird -- even the minor characters like the housekeeper Mary, and Madison's toddler Timothy -- and they all have their own little character arcs. The plot is well thought out and the concept itself is fascinating. It seems like a book that could end up somewhat heavy, but it's a surprisingly light (no pun intended) read.

Nothing to See Here reminds me of Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin with a twinge of Nanny McPhee from Nanny's point of view. It really drew me out of my weird non-reading Covid-19 induced funk. I finished it in two days! I knew that I would like it when I heard it was about children spontaneously combusting, but I didn't know I'd like it this much.

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