Synopses & Reviews
Hester Louise Day: high school graduate, almost-wife, would-be mother, soon to be wanted for kidnapping a ten-year-old with a comb-over. Apprehensive about spending the rest of her existence in a void of nothingness in Nowheresville, Florida, where she currently lives with her painfully intrusive family, she decides to tip her life over into any kind of surrealism she can lay her hands on. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Shortly after graduation and a heated fight with her mother featuring an airborne toaster, Hester's life takes a turn for the better when she notices a billboard with two wide-eyed children and the catchy phrase "All they want for Christmas is a family." What better way to drive a chainsaw through her placid existence? But when the adoption agency rejects her application to adopt a child, she realizes she must do something more drastic to derail the mediocre life threatening to spread out before her. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Having found herself stuck in a camper named Arlene with Fenton Flaherty, her nemesis from the library (who, through a series of interesting events is now also Hester's husband), Jethro, Hester's ten-year-old cousin, and Duncan Clyde, a.k.a. "Jesus Freak," who is traveling along the side of the road asking passersby to sign his life-sized cross, Hester is quickly freed from anything even remotely mediocre (or normal, for that matter) about her life. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Debut talent Mercedes Helnwein has crafted a sophisticated, savvy story that explores the un-likely friendship between two adolescent outcasts and a ten-year-old aspiring space-cowboy -- and what happens when you throw them in a camper without a compass. Preposterously dysfunctional, side-splittingly funny, and surprisingly touching, andlt;iandgt;The Potential Hazards of Hester Dayandlt;/iandgt; is an adventure that you'll want to experience again and again.
"A wisecracking misfit finds herself along with a motley assortment of outcasts on an impromptu road trip across a bleak America in Helnwein's funny, offbeat debut novel. We first meet sarcastic Hester Day at her high school graduation and instantly sense her disconnect from society. Her mother wants her to go to college, but Hester has other ideas and soon marries Fenton Flaherty, an eccentric she barely knows. The marriage, of course, infuriates Hester's parents, so Hester and Fenton embark on a road trip in Fenton's camper, only to discover her weird 10-year-old cousin, Jethro, has stowed away. As their journey becomes more and more aimless, her 'kidnapping' hits the national news, and other wanderers from a 'Jesus freak' hitchhiker bearing a cross 'big enough to nail a buffalo to,' to Jack, a fellow drifter for whom Hester develops feelings (Hester and Fenton, meanwhile, thrive on bickering, and his one amorous advance isn't consummated) breeze in and out of the picture. Although Hester might be an exaggerated portrait of disaffected youth, her soul-searching adventure is reliably entertaining and her obligatory final-page epiphany feels just right." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In the offbeat spirit of such classics as "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" comes a quirky, witty, road-trip novel that travels the heartland of America to uncover an unlikely relationship between two adolescent outcasts, a fat kid, and a Jesus freak.