All About Lulu, Jonathan Evison, Soft Skull Press, 2008, 338 pp
I learned about this book in the Poets and Writers Magazine feature called "Page One," where they print the first sentence of several books. All About Lulu is a first novel by a young author and is excellent.
Will Miller, Jr, is the son of a body builder who used to be a hippie. (I love all these stories about kids raised by hippies and former hippies because of me and my kids.) Will is the wuss of the family while his younger twin brothers are sturdy and follow their dad into body building. But the mom dies when Will is 8, followed by a new wife who brings into the family her daughter Lulu. Will and Lulu are the same age and become best friends who fall in love as they reach puberty.
However there is a problem and a deep dark secret concerning Will and Lulu. The reader figures this out before Will does, but in the end that does not matter. This is Will's coming-of-age tale told by him and though Lulu, her mother and Big Bill have their own stories, these are all seen through Will's eyes.
All About Lulu is a tragedy, but is filled with humor, satire and an authentic hipness. I don't know how old Jonathan Evison is but he has not forgotten the teen experience, not one whit. He has also got the college years right. When the whole truth about Lulu comes out and Will gets his closure, at first I thought that section might have been better written. It was all so well, well. Then I realized that is the way it is at that age in the 21st century.
This is a very fine first novel. I eagerly await more from Evison and feel once again optimistic about the fiction of the future. (I sent Evison an email, which he answered, and he has another novel coming out in 2009!)