The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews

flyinttroutmans1Have you ever had a moment when you think you must have discovered the proverbial hidden treasure? You found a band or movie or book all on your own (or with maybe, maybe one suggestion from a friend or media source) and you freaking LOVED it. And once you were finished (or perhaps even before you could finish) you just would not shut up about it. Well, this is me not shutting up.
The story goes a little something like this: After avoiding her mentally unstable sister, Min, for the past few years, Hattie Troutman returns to Canada when her 11-year-old niece, Thebes, calls for help. The family has to check Min into a clinic and panicky Hattie, of the perpetually single & not-very-good-with-kids ilk, decides that now is the time to find Mr. Dad. Road trip ensues.
The plot may sound like something else you’ve read or seen, but I guarantee this book breaks the mold. Hattie is funny and resourceful. Thebes and her older brother, Logan, are two of the most lovable, witty, precocious, and well-rounded characters I have ever met. Thebes is still young enough to be terribly optimistic, outrageously energetic and totally impressionable…all without being even remotely annoying (and this is coming from a proud member [me] of the not-so-good-with-kids club). She talks in gangsta phrases, never bathes and is therefore constantly sticky and covered in glitter (what pre-teen isn’t?), and is, of course, artistic (just wait ’til you get to the novelty checks!). If I ever adopt, this is the kiddo for me. Conversely, Logan is “Sulky Teenager, party of one,” through and through. His hoodie, headphones and basketball are security blankets, he carves cryptic messages into walls, journals and even dashboards, and he has that teenage way of knowing more than what the adults choose to tell him. Together they form a true comedic duo, a yin-yang symbol, and the bond between siblings personified.
In some ways they may sound like typical, even stereotypical, kids, but they’re not. None of the characters in this book are. Even the father they are searching for is a stand-up guy who got kicked to the curb by a manic Min, not some deadbeat dad. Throughout the novel you get to watch these folks grow and open up and just become fully developed, fully faceted characters. Ms. Toews must have based them on persons in her life she knows very well, because it is almost too hard to believe that these are fictional people pulled from her head; just words on paper.
allweeverwantedIf you have gotten a chance to read All We Ever Wanted was Everything by Janelle Brown and you enjoyed it, I think you will like this one as well. The Flying Troutmans is humorous, heart-wrenching and heart-warming, and just a complete joy to read. It’s full of characters that are truly hard to say good-bye to and family situations that will have you smiling and feeling lucky because they never happened to you, or chuckling loudly because they did.

Posted by cassieswank

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