Here’s a question for you: what constitutes a “normal” family?
What if your child isn’t the picture of perfection you envisioned? What if parenthood itself is full of doubt and uncertainty?
A Nearly Normal Family by MT Edvarsson plays on this concept to show a family on the fringe. Daughter Stella, 15 years old, has been accused of murdering her 30-year-old suspected lover. Stella’s always been a problem child, so while everyone in her orbit is disappointed, they’re not exactly surprised about the accusation.
Edvarsson uses multiple points of view in this book. It’s often a risky gambit, shifting perspectives, but it makes the story so much richer in this context. We see the story through the parents’ eyes and are with them in believing the worst. But then, we shift to Stella’s view, and suddenly everything changes.
While outwardly following convention, the parents went into parenthood with ambivalence. Even their feelings about Stella herself are ambivalent.
A Nearly Normal Family questions our preconceived notions while simultaneously serving up a potboiler of a mystery.