It’s June of 1965 when Wrecker enters the world. The war is raging in Vietnam, San Francisco is tripping toward flower power, and Lisa Fay, Wrecker’s birth mother, is knocked nearly sideways by life as a single parent in a city she can barely manage to navigate on her own. Three years later, she’s in prison, and Wrecker is left to bounce around in the system before he’s shipped off to live with distant relatives in the wilds of Humboldt County, California. When he arrives he’s scared and angry, exploding at the least thing, and quick to flee. Wrecker is the story of this boy and the motley group of isolated eccentrics who come together to raise him and become a family along the way.
I knew I’d feel sympathetic toward this little guy. I’ve never met a three-year-old I didn’t love. However, it would take some strong loving to handle this little guy. He’d spent the first three years of life in very unstable conditions and all he knew how to do was run and live recklessly.
It’s true that his feats acquired the status of legends. The day Wrecker jumped from the barn roof (two stories!) to bounce from the hay bales below. The day Wrecker was lost and they scoured the pond bottom for his body. The day Wrecker climbed into the pick up and released the brake, took it out of gear, and rode it all the way downslope into the field, where a big rock slowed it down by lodging itself in the oil pan. He seemed to need to feel his body collide with the physical world to know he existed.
To put it very mildly, Wrecker was a handful. Yet he managed to touch something inside every person in his little world. Wrecker seemed to bring out the best in each of these unconventional characters. They became first protective of him and then nurturing and loving. They managed to give new definition to the concept of family.
The story traces this ragtag family centered around Wrecker for fifteen years. If you like family sagas as much as I do, give this one a try. Just be aware that this is not a family in the conventional format. But – they are a family none the less.
There was one short clip in the promotional material that peaked my interest:
“For readers taken with the special boy at the center of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Wrecker will be a welcome companion.”
I’m turning the quote around – I was taken with the little boy, Wrecker. Now I need to read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. Have you read either of these books? What are your thoughts?
The publisher (Bloomsbury) has offered a free copy of Wrecker to one of my readers. (US only)
Please let me know in the comments section if you are interested. I’ll announce a winner on May 11th.