According to the author, this work of fiction was actually born out of a true story. Her great-grandfather "went fishing in North Carolina in 1913 and never came back. There was no bad weather or anything, but all his family found was his little fishing boat floating in the river. He didn't seem depressed and wasn't an unreliable person in any way. He just disappeared."
Eleven-year-old Hannah Legare and her forty-one-year-old father, Buzz, are out fishing on her Dad's flat bottomed aluminum boat. Even Tucker, the family dog, is on board for this excursion. Buzz was a doctor and always quizzing Hannah on little facts: "How many bones are in the human body?" "206", Hannah would reply. "How many cells?" "One hundred trillion", answered Hannah. She was a smart girl, a studious student and planned to become a doctor just like her Dad.
Daisy, Hannah's mother, is a responsible woman and mother to Hannah and her brother, Palmer, after their father, Buzz, disappeared 20 years ago. Everywhere Hannah goes she searches the crowds for her Dad but all she ever sees is different people with different body parts resembling her Dad. A man with his shoulders, another with his gait, and another with his nose, but she never finds "him" in one person.
Both Daisy and Pamer have let go, given up and moved on. After therapy and counselling her mother remarried within the year. Hannah has never quite forgiven her for that.
Hannah just has too many unanswered questions like: "How does one fall off a boat on a calm Spring evening? Why did no one else see her father out in the harbour, and why was he fishing on a Monday at twilight? And if he drowned, why was no body ever found, and why was the dog still there?" Hannah's persistence and constant looking caused a riff in the family so after high school Hannah felt it best to just leave. She has only been back to Charleston four times for Christmas and a funeral. She eventually met and married, Jon, but theirs isn't a perfect marriage by far.
This was a hilarious, affecting and wholly original tale of siblings trying to reckon with their flaws, featuring a heroine as exasperating, magnetic, and breathtakingly real as family itself. You'll love it!!
May 17, 2011