Fireworks Every Night
A young woman trapped in a deeply dysfunctional family in the seedy wilds of 1990s South Florida has to make a choice—save her family, or save herself—in this larger-than-life debut novel from the acclaimed author of Lay the Favorite.
“Florida, we got it all. Motorsports, ribs, beer. You can drive on the sand right on up to the ocean. Fireworks every night.”
That’s how twelve-year-old CC’s father, who named her after his beloved Canadian Club whiskey, describes the appeal of their new home. The man is a born grifter, a used-car salesman who burns down his dealership in southern Ohio for enough insurance money to set up a life for himself, his wife, and his two young daughters in a place he picks largely at random, because the living seems easy.
CC’s mother is thirty-five going on seventeen, a housewife who just wants to drive a Mustang and hang out at the mall. CC’s sister goes from loving Debbie Gibson and jelly shoes to having a full-on drug addiction and listening only to heavy metal, after enduring forms of abuse within her family. In the midst of this dysfunction, CC is trying to stay afloat and make it out—to achieve some semblance of a stable life in America while coming up against the structural and cultural challenges of growing up in poverty.
This tumultuous coming-of-age novel features an unforgettable protagonist, a character who narrates her life story with dark comedy and compassion for her family, even as she is failed by them. Those failures—and her self-taught methods for succeeding anyway—are the backbone of this deeply funny and surprisingly poignant story about hard bargains, family loyalties, and the grit of a woman determined to create a better life for herself than the one she was born into.
Story Locale: Florida
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June 27, 2023