Auteur: Michael Downing
What happens when your very own mincing, makeup-sporting Mini Me comes to stay–forever? In Michael Downing’s highly amusing and hugely touching Breakfast with Scot, a couple takes on an 11-year-old with a difference. Sam’s a prosperous chiropractor and Ed, the novel’s narrator, works for the English-language edition of the highly pretentious magazine Figura. Almost 40, Ed hasn’t followed through with much of anything, save his relationship. But now swishy Scot could be putting that at risk:
I never wanted a kid. Sam never wanted a kid. We were getting a kid because Sam believed a man is meant to make good on his word, and because I hadn’t seeded and watered and weeded my garden, and now, when I needed it, I had no abundant supply of garlic to ward off the little vampire.
Let’s just say that though the boy isn’t even remotely a bloodsucker, when he utters that familiar complaint “Nobody understands me,” he really means it–and he’s right. Well, almost.
Within days of his arrival in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Scot’s new guardians are “drowning in make-up policies and other moral imperatives,” for he is an accessorizor par excellence, prone to wearing pantyhose, nail polish, and various other affronts to things masculine. He’s also a catalyst for disaster, pointing up the shame and social booby traps that Sam and Ed have done their best to ignore. Nevertheless, their days slowly begin to take on a familial rhythm, and Downing effortlessly displays the depth and feeling that can come up in the most casual moments and conversations. He’s equally good at overt disaster, and even as he never lets us forget the mortifications that may be just around the corner, the author makes us believe in his triumvirate.
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