Simple, uncomplicated acts of kindness can sometimes be a saving grace. In this moving debut novel, protagonist Augusta Iris can use some kindness.
After accepting the fact that her husband has actually left her, Augusta abandons daily life, seeking solace in the safety of her bed with the shades drawn. Her two sons, Matthew and Henry, cope with their mother's depression in disparate ways. The boys have had little to do with each other in recent years, but this family crisis brings them together - at least physically. Matthew almost emulates his mother by retreating to his old room, while Henry mows lawns and silences his fear with chemical abuse.
Their sad, gray world is tilted when Henry brings home a girlfriend, Bette Mack. She overwhelms all in her course with verve, action, and plain spoken advice. She urges Henry to pursue his dream of being an artist, imbues Matthew with the courage to relate, and draws Augusta out of hiding.
Stevens' lucid unaffected prose makes life's heartbreaks more poignant and any triumphs cause for greater celebration.
This report prepared by The Snide Gail Cooke