I should have known it was trouble that the book started with encomia on previous books by the same author. Thank You for All Things is a heavy-footed story of an unlikely “people genius”, 11-year old Lucy, who has an unlikely 180-point IQ brother, too geeky to believe, an intensely private mother, and a liberated grandmother with a dark past. All the bromides of dysfunctional families are explored thoroughly in a narrative that plods backwards to the grandmother’s sad life as a married woman — where all the problems started, of course, and which, once revealed, will pave the way to a perfectly harmonious future.
The character that seemed most plausible is the mother’s hapless boyfriend but the author has him uttering such drivel as “Leave what alone? Us? Tess, you can’t shut out the reality of what we have together any more than you can shut out the reality of your past. It works for a time, maybe, but it’s still there, whether you’re looking at it or not. It’s all there.”
And I won’t say anything about Lucy’s wavering voice. No way can she be 11.