cover image Hap and Hazard and the End of the World

Hap and Hazard and the End of the World

Diane DeSanders. Bellevue, $16.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-942658-36-8

DeSanders gives readers a glimpse of postwar America through the eyes of a curious and thoughtful girl in her smart and subtle debut. The unnamed preteen narrator lives in suburban Dallas and is stuck between childhood, like her younger sisters (her parents’ clear favorites, if you ask her), and the adult world, which she is left out of and often doesn’t understand. She relates a mix of lighthearted experiences—an almost mythical appearance by the Easter Bunny, family dinner shenanigans, and her father’s intense passion for cars—and foreboding currents of darkness, as with the looming fear of nuclear annihilation and her father’s violent temper. The question of Santa comes up throughout, and the narrator’s changing thoughts on the possibility of his existence mark her growth toward adulthood. Although the narrator comes to life as she works through the problems of young adulthood—learning about God, stealing for the first time, seeing her mother age—it is the depiction of suburban life and the changes that swept through America after WWII that bring the book to life. While more of a set of interconnecting sketches than a single narrative, DeSander’s book offers a modest but moving example of a family trying to make life work. (Jan.)