Thrity Umrigar is a beautiful writer who capitalizes on human emotion in her latest novel about two families that couldn't be more different.
During a terrible heatwave in 1991, ten-year-old Anton has been locked in his mother's apartment in the projects. After being by himself for seven days without any air-conditioning, or fan, with the windows nailed shut, and no electricity, Anton breaks a window and climbs out. He is bleeding from a wound in his leg when the police find him. All-the-while, his mother, Juanita is discovered unconscious and half-naked in a crack house less than three blocks away. When she comes to, she immediately asks for her "baby boy" insisting she only left for a quick hit, but that her drug dealer kept her high while repeatedly raping her. Anton is placed with child services when his mother is sent to jail.
David Coleman is the son of a US senator and a white Harvard-educated judge. After the death of his only high-school-aged son, Coleman is desperate for a home with a child again. David and his wife, Delores, foster Anton and quickly grow attached to the bright boy. Despite Anton's mother's existence, Coleman uses his power, connections, and white privilege to keep his foster son.
Anton follows in his adoptive father's footsteps and seems to have a knack for politics that is complimented by his charm. On the cusp of greatness, Anton learns the truth about his mother and the lengths Coleman went to to keep him as his very own. He begins to question who he really is—he is nobody's son, yet everybody's son.
Umrigar explores class, race, power, privilege, and morals in this emotional heart-wrenching story that will stay with the reader long after it is finished.