Not impressed by the Fang family's "art"

Last night I finished reading Kevin Wilson's The Family Fang. To be honest, I cannot say that I was too impressed. The book, obviously, focuses on the Fang Family and their crazy theatrics but besides that, I didn't find much to it.

Book Cover: The Family Fang
The parents, Caleb and Camille, are performance artists who do seemingly "random" acts of art, basically by creating a plot and a plan and then showing up in a town (usually at the mall) where no one will recognize them, and create "art." But their children, Annie and Buster, also simply known as Child A and Child B or just A and B; however, think their parents are just creating chaos and hate that what their parents call art is really just ruining a moment in innocent peoples lives. This family is messed up. But not only because the parents are weird, but because they make their kids "perform" with them, from the time of birth.

Now, although this book will not go on my list of favorites, there were some admirable qualities about it. I love a story that can switch back and forth with each chapter to a present day and a flashback moment, without getting the reader lost in what happened right before in the present. Kevin Wilson was able to make the story flow smoothly between the two and seemed to know when was a good moment to cut off the present day and jump into a flashback chapter pretty fluidly. I also very much appreciated the relationship between Annie and Buster because having to live with wack-job parents would totally bond siblings together because they are the only other ones in the world that understand the situation you're in as well. Not to mention I'm getting tired of the typical story line where siblings hate each other and cannot get along even though they are well into adulthood - for me, that is unrealistic since my brother and I have grown up and become closer, not further apart.

Author: Kevin Wilson
However, my beef with this novel is that I couldn't fully love any of the characters. Their personal stories only brushed the surface level and it was hard to want to keep reading at times because I wasn't feeling an emotional draw to any of them. Especially with the character of Camille, her life in general was too unbelievable to me. I get that she was a rich girl and started as a painter and then fell in love with her professor (Caleb) and started to love his kind of art instead, but once she becomes a mother there is too much back and forth with her character where I think she should have been a constant. Once she becomes a mother, the book mentions that she is so much better with Annie as a baby then Caleb is and knows through instinct what she needs, which is all well and good but then as the kids grow up, and finally as they have moved out, it's like she does not love them anymore, which is not a believable sentiment at all. Mothers who are that in tune with their children do not stop loving them...mothers never stop loving, period. This character flaw ticked me off because it was as if she loved the art more than her children, but if that's what Kevin Wilson wanted to display, he should have shown that side of her since their birth. (In my opinion anyway.) And considering I saw Caleb's character as nothing more than a selfish, brainwashing prick, I have nothing else to say about him.

For all I know, since I actually read the uncorrected proof of the novel (for some reason that's all the library had) the actual printed version might be totally different. Camille might be more lovable in it, Annie and Buster might have real emotion to the fact that their parents continually ruined their lives and Caleb might be a worth-while character to mention...for your sake, I hope the uncorrected proof was not the one that went to print. Sorry, Kevin.

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