Baby, You're Gonna Be Mine: Stories

Ecco: HarperCollins. Aug. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9780062450524. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062450685. F
OrangeReviewStarAs evidenced by his debut novel, The Family Fang, and now this second affecting story collection, Wilson expertly limns fraught family relations and especially the trouble many adults have growing up. In the title story, a self-absorbed rock star quits music and moves home, then rejoins his band after a successful turnaround; what's heartening is not his smug delight but his mother's reaction at story's close as she watches a video of his singing: "But Gina knew what was in his heart. Her son." Similarly, in "Housewarming," a long-suffering father intervenes yet again to help a helpless adult son who can't control his emotions, this time dragging a dead deer from a pond near where the son and his wife live; the result is pitch perfect and absolutely wrenching. Elsewhere, a young man assists his girlfriend with the feral, neglected children of her sister, who's just stabbed her husband with a kebab skewer, and a teenage boy finds a magical razor that allows him to go back in time and redo bad days. Gruesomely, he's got to cut his throat with the razor for its magic to work, but he uses it repeatedly into adulthood to avoid truly reckoning with life.
VERDICT Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 2/26/18.]
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