Dysfunction as Crucible The Hole We're In By Gabrielle Zevin 288 pages; Black Cat
What kind of mother, facing a cash crunch, steals her son's identity and maxes out his credit card? In the provocative novel The Hole We're In, Georgia Pomeroy is a stealth monster, masquerading (even to herself) as a devoted, middle-American mom. When Georgia makes a life-altering move that her diabolically selfish husband—a failed grad student turned fundamentalist pastor—will never forgive, she even lets adolescent daughter Patsy take the rap. Former young adult author Gabrielle Zevin follows the Pomeroys from 1998 to 2022 and addresses such issues as abortion, racism, and the emotional fallout of a stress-filled economy. Yet somehow the novel feels generous: We identify with the Pomeroys' troubles while we gasp at their casual brutality and marvel at Patsy, who journeys from oppressive Bible schools to military service in Iraq and, finally, to becoming a more loving mother than her own could have dreamed of being.