One young man’s desperate attempt to define himself by returning to the purgatory of modern American suburbia and moving back in with his mom and dad.
Barnes & Noble.com
The night before Alex went away to college he mistakenly uncovered a disturbing secret about his family’s past. Unable to deal with consequences of what he learned, he began a self-imposed period of exile from home.
Five years later, his girlfriend has left him, his best friends are moving on without him and Alex, now 23 years old, finds that he is unable to care about anything. Hoping to reconcile the uncertainties of his past with the uncertainties of his future, Alex finally returns home to face the family, friends and truths he’d left behind.
But a lot can happen in five years. The houses might look the same in his quiet “lower-upper class” neighborhood, but the people inside are another story. Old friends are drowning in mediocrity and his parents are struggling with demons of their own. Bouncing between the tragic and hilarious, Alex attempts to find himself in these faces and places both all too familiar and all too different. Somewhere in the midst of this suburban nightmare, he comes face to face with the secret that sent him packing in the first place and the real reason his own life fell apart.
I’d been having the same conversation with a lot of my friends before I came home last week. I’m not sure what sparked it - probably it was all the tv coverage of those three seemingly happy and privileged kids in Dallas who blew up their high school - I don’t know - but at some point I decided that the reason those kids probably did what they did is the same reason all of us have such bad attitudes. Our parents didn’t prepare us for life outside the cull-de-sac. No one ever told us we were going to have to work and struggle and shit. We were tricked into believing that if we just did as we were told - stayed in school and out of prison - we’d be popular, loved, get handed a high paying and intellectually stimulating career, a perpetual sense of satisfaction and self worth, a big house and a Mercedes, or at least a Volvo. Our parents, by convincing us as we grew up through extensive gift giving, vacationing, coddling, and basic catering to our every desire, imparted upon us the notion that the world is this pleasant place where you don’t have to do anything to get whatever you want. In our case, it wasn’t until after college, when we all really needed a handout, that mom and dad explained how they never could find the money for that trust fund because of the country club membership and the Mercedes payment and here’s the name of some friend of a friend who might have an internship position available at his office for someone with a History degree and good luck with the rest of your life but don’t call us for money anymore because we don’t have enough to continue living in the manner we’re accustomed to and give some to you. It’s bullshit, something I heard someone once call the curse of the lower upper class, and it seems like everyone around me - all the people I went to school with and deal with on a daily basis - it seems like they’re all slowly losing their minds because life as a grown up isn’t anything like they thought it would be.
It was supposed to be more fun.