Narrator: Marin Ireland
Published by Harper Audio on 10-29-19
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Literary
Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
Buy on Amazon/Audible
Kevin Wilson’s best book yet — a moving and uproarious novel about a woman who finds meaning in her life when she begins caring for two children with remarkable and disturbing abilities
Lillian and Madison were unlikely roommates and yet inseparable friends at their elite boarding school. But then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal and they’ve barely spoken since. Until now, when Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help.
Madison’s twin stepkids are moving in with her family and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there’s a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated, flames igniting from their skin in a startling but beautiful way. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it’s the truth.
Thinking of her dead-end life at home, the life that has consistently disappointed her, Lillian figures she has nothing to lose. Over the course of one humid, demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other—and stay cool—while also staying out of the way of Madison’s buttoned-up politician husband. Surprised by her own ingenuity yet unused to the intense feelings of protectiveness she feels for them, Lillian ultimately begins to accept that she needs these strange children as much as they need her—urgently and fiercely. Couldn’t this be the start of the amazing life she’d always hoped for?
With white-hot wit and a big, tender heart, Kevin Wilson has written his best book yet—a most unusual story of parental love.
I think this book was recommended to me last year by some colleagues, but despite putting it on my TBR pile, I didn’t venture into it until yesterday. I’m not sure why but the book title and cover didn’t appeal to me and I kept putting it off for more than a year. Gosh, I was so wrong! I listened to this book in barely more than one sitting. I listened to one our yesterday and I devoured the rest this morning. I just couldn’t stop.
Lillian is a girl from a poor and dysfunctional family that hasn’t gotten much luck in life. She has kept a strange friendship by mail with Madison, a rich girlfriend from high school, and after fifteen years, spent only writing letters to each other, Madison, who is now married to a successful politician writes to Lillian about a special job offer. Upon arriving in Madison’s place, Lillian finds out that the job entails taking care of two children from Madison’s husband’s previous marriage. Two children that can be difficult at times, and that tend to catch on fire when in distress.
I had no idea what I was in for when I began this book, it’s cute, funny, poignant. Nothing like I had read before. It feels like literature for women, but with a twist, as children that catch fire is not something we can find in the real world. Books from a women perspective that are written by a male author usually make me cringe, as there’s always something in the writing that gives away that the author is not a woman, but this was so beautifully and well done that I didn’t even think for a second that the author was a man while I was listening to it.
Lillian’s feelings are so very relatable and raw at times that the book felt painful but also very hopeful. I was doing some cleaning while listening to it and on two occasions I began crying while washing and scrubbing. I kept cleaning even though it was late because I had to finish the book. I needed to know what was going to happen to Lillian and the children, and I needed to keep listening to it. Knowing that I was getting close to the end made me terribly sad. This is one of those books that I know will stay with me for a very long time.
Marin Ireland’s narration was simply perfect for this story. She did great not only voicing both children and sounding slightly Southern when interpreting Madison, but she also did become Lillian in an honest and raw kind of way, bringing her to life like if I was listening to a dear friend telling me her story. Ireland knew how to express Lillian’s sarcasm, hurt, confusion, and love. The audio production was spotless. A five-star audiobook in all aspects.
My name is Elena. Since I was a little child I loved science fiction and fantasy, and I can’t resist a good novel. In 2015, while wait I started to listen to audiobooks and I discovered the pleasure in being able to read while doing my daily tasks, so there’s always an audiobook playing on my phone. If you see me with my Bluetooth headphones on, please be gentle, I get easily startled.
I live with my boyfriend, which I met during my six-year stay in Belgium, four cockatiels, eight lovebirds, and a hamster in Madrid, Spain; and I like to spend my free time knitting and sewing while listening to audiobooks.