Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
Magical Realism | Contemporary
Published by Ecco
Released October 29, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Kevin Wilson’s Nothing to See Here is a short novel about found family and children that catch on fire.
Yes, you read that right.
I chose Nothing to See Here as one of my Book of the Month picks several months ago (or maybe a year ago, I can’t remember) because the idea of spontaneous human combustion in a non-fantasy or science fiction novel intrigued me.
The story takes place in modern time and follows Lillian, a woman who pretty much has no life and nothing going for her. One day, out of the blue, her old school friend Madison contacts her with a mysterious job opportunity that has to be discussed face to face.
Lillian arrives at Madison’s mansion after years of not speaking. Madison has married a senator and is rich beyond belief. Madison offers Lillian the position of governess to her husband’s two children from a previous marriage. Once Lillian accepts, Madison tells her about the children’s “condition” – they catch on fire when they’re upset.
Agreeing to take care of the two children, Lillian moves into a guesthouse on the property and starts caring for twins Bessie and Roland. After a few incidents involving fire, Lillian helps them grow and learn how to manage their mysterious affliction.
While Nothing To See Here was an entertaining novel, it wasn’t anything particularly great. It was perfectly average. Sort of like a kinda fun movie you see once and enjoy but never watch again. This isn’t to say it’s bad, because it’s not, but for me it was just average.
I did enjoy the surrealism of spontaneous human combustion juxtaposed over our modern world. It added a unique element to the story. I also liked the characters of Bessie and Roland, but especially Bessie. Very no-nonsense and smart for a child her age, she ended up being my favorite character in the book (although there weren’t many others to choose from – so many of the characters are boring or unlikeable).
What I didn’t like was Lillian. She was such a boring character. The only thing she seems to enjoy in life or even think about is basketball. She takes the job because she’s pretty much a dead-beat that doesn’t do anything else. I in no way sympathized with her.
There’s also an awkward romance situation between Lillian and Madison that seemed a bit out of place. Perhaps if it had been explained further in the novel it would have meant more to me as a reader.
I won’t be reading this book again, and there’s nothing I can particularly recommend about it. If it sounds intriguing to you, however, definitely pick it up. It took me less than a day to finish.