The End Of Everything
This is an inspiring book, in the sense that the shortcomings of this early novel are so well overcome in Abbott’s You Will Know Me and Dare Me. As in these later novels, The End Of Everything is a story of a family that is other than happy, but here the unhappiness — actually the unhappiness of two or perhaps three unremarkable suburban families — is so slight that it’s hard for Lizzie, Abbott’s thirteen-year-old narrator, to explain what’s wrong. Characteristically, Lizzie explains what she doesn’t understand at great length.
Lizzie copes with the abduction of her inseparable friend and next-door neighbor, Evie Verver, by trying on theory after theory, each less plausible than the last. Meanwhile, she’s also trying to help her divorced mother cope with everything while trying to repair the pain of the kidnapped girl’s desolate father.
At the heart of this novel, there’s a terrific short story struggling to emerge.