This strange, dreamy, depressed book follows Grace, a high school student with a missing mom and an absentee dad. The dad's absence is directly related to the missing mom. A doctor, he has dedicated his life to staging research to cure psychiatric diseases, and his daughter has followed him into the lab, having won a prestigious internship.
The book's epigraph is from Sartre:
Life begins on the other side of despair.
Grace is deep inside despair, and you spend much of the book hoping she'll find her way to life. She's a smart, reflective person, who, when confronted with pears that are just beginning to think about going bad, observes,
The point at which ripeness crosses over into decay is unperceivable.
I'm not sure why she thinks "unperceivable" instead of "imperceivable," but I feel like there's meaning to it.
Points for many of the brilliant doctors at the lab being women, with names like Diaz...and Mendelson, which, in a book about genetic research also seems significant. But meanwhile, back in miserytown,
Here I have a role. A function that is bigger than just breathing for life's sake.
Grace doesn't share her father's faith. She believes "Fate is but an encrypted code of genes." This girl is a lot of laughs, and if she's going to develop schizophrenia, it's genetic. Remember the Sartre epigraph, Grace is an existentialist.
I was left to do what all adults are supposed to do. Live. As though that was the solution to everything.
The product of an unplanned pregnancy, Grace confesses that she wishes her parents had never had her. And that's when things start to get weird.