Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors compare their recently released books to weird things. This week Becca Spence Dobias writes about her new novel, On Home, out now from Inkshares.
If On Home were a photograph, it would be the one you found of your mother in black lingerie. She’s younger in the photo than she was when she met your father and you don’t know who took it. She looks like she’s trying hard to look sexy and part of you feels sorry for her. But also, she does look sexy and that makes you angry. What do parents give up for their children and what do their children owe them for that? You start to consider this, but get sidetracked, thinking about your own breasts and how they have begun to sag.
If On Home were a souvenir from a hike, it would be an arrowhead. Your father was so proud when you saw it in the tall grass, and he told that when he was a boy, they were easier to find. They covered this land. You are torn between how proud this makes you and how guilty you feel knowing that this place can never truly belong to you.
If On Home were a jacket, it would be the one that belonged to your grandfather. He wore it when you went fishing and you remember how it puffed out like a balloon when he squatted to get bait. For awhile after he died, you wore it so you could smell him. The smell’s gone now, but you still wear it because it looks good on you.
If On Home were a haircut, it would be an undercut, shaved on the bottom but long enough on top to cover the stubble. You want people to know you’re one of them—that you’re cool, but you don’t want the wrong people to know—the ones who would find you weird or disgusting. The feel of the razor was a thrill. Every day you wonder if you should shave your head.
Becca Spence Dobias lives in Southern California, where she writes frantically as her children sleep. She is the author of On Home. She misses West Virginia every day, but learning to play clawhammer banjo helps. Follow her on Twitter at @totallynotbex.