The story begins in 1956, a time when neighbors would judge a divorced woman. So it is with Ava Lark, a Jewish divorcee, who rents a house in Waltham, Massachusetts and tries to be the best mother she can be to her twelve-year old son, Lewis. But in order to keep her job, she must stay the long hours her boss demands, which makes her worry about her son. This concern grows when one of her son's friends suddenly goes missing, which changes the dynamic of the previously safe suburb.
Ava also finds it difficult to date. She doesn't like to bring men around her son, who still has hopes his parents will get back together. She doesn't want to burst her son's bubble about the fact that his father wants nothing to do with him, so she has to take the brunt of the boy's anger.
Once Lewis graduates from high school he hightails it out of the neighborhood and goes all the way to Madison, Wisconsin. There is still the mystery of his missing friend from years ago, since no body was ever found. He also still feels abandoned when his missing friend's sister, Rose, and her mother, had left Waltham years earlier without any ability to contact her. He and Rose had a special relationship and shared a bond that no one else could claim.
Lewis gets a job in a hospital and occasionally calls his mother to see how she's doing. It turns out she has made a new career for herself by baking pies. She remains single while still yearning for one man who up and left the neighborhood not long after the child went missing. The mystery of this literary work is where did this child go and why? Who was responsible for what happened to him? Readers may think they know, but will be surprised when they reach the end. I, on the other hand, felt as though there were many after thoughts and timelines that didn't quite work. Otherwise, the author did a good job showing how a mother-son relationship can find its way without relying on overdramatic action.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the writing. It did a great job of showing and not telling.
Best scene in story:
When Lewis and his missing friend's sister decided to search for her brother, thinking they could do what the police weren't able.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked the mother since she genuinely represents so many women who just want the best for their child, but must make sacrifices that the child may not understand until he is older.