The Annie Year

This came in one of my Quarterly Co. book boxes.  It’s Stephanie Wilbur Ash’s debut novel, and it is both humorous and strange. 

Tandy lives in a small town in Iowa.  She’s the only CPA around, and as such she knows all of her neighbors’ business.  She’s part of the Pessimists group with her late father’s friends, and she spends the nights with her husband, when he’s not eating Subway in their hot tub. Tandy’s life is normal enough until a new teacher comes along. 

Kenny is the high school’s new vocational agriculture teacher and FFA supervisor.  For reasons she can’t explain, Tandy is immediately drawn to him.  They begin an affair, and naturally the whole town knows.

Tandy realizes that she took on more than she can handle when Kenny (referred by Tandy only as “the vo-ag teacher”) disappears and leaves a scandal in his wake. 

The narrator is Tandy, and she certainly had a distinct voice.  She’s very precise in her descriptions, and she states everything as factually as she can.  She is what I imagine Sheldon Cooper would sound like on paper.  Tandy is quirky and honest and a wonderful bowler, but she doesn’t seem to know what she wants in life. 

This book is weird.  The characters are amusing, and the relationships are strange. There are exploding meth labs and and visits to mental hospitals.  Sometimes I wasn’t sure what I was reading.  

But maybe that’s just life in a small town.  What do I know?

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