Doug is an outsider in a new, small town, where people are slow to befriend and quick to jump to conclusions. But slowly things begin to happen for Doug--he discovers the artwork of Audobon and decides to learn to draw, he gets a job, he finds a friend or two. As he discovers his place in the community, and inside himself, he is able to deal with his rough home situation in a way that sheds a ray of light into those relationships as well.
Superb. Wow. The characters were all complex. It wasn't one of those books where the protagonist does all the growing and everyone else stays static. Doug's changing perception of himself also allows him to see other sides of people who seemed at first one-dimensional.
I picked it up a little reluctantly, not knowing what to expect, and couldn't put it down. I still think about it from time to time. What does it take to give someone--or even a whole family--a chance to change?
Now I really want our book club to read it!