A pickpocket who finds value in things others do not want, Trip Morgan meets and becomes involved with Nate Mackey, a down-and-out former Wall Street professional who looks eerily like a child in a photograph Trip found years before.
It’s part of a collection of stolen trinkets he’s collected since he arrived in New York. He keeps it all close and works out a life he could have if he could ever let someone keep him long enough for him to build up a treasure trove of small wonders all his own.
In confronting their own demons and finding value in each other, Trip and Nate may find that their relationship is a wonder of its own.
Oh my gosh the pain Trip deals with from his past and his current situation! You just hurt with him. Trip makes the best of the life he’s handed, as long as he has his guitar. The story of the guitar makes you want to weep as well, but it’s a part of Trip. Eventually Nate becomes an important part of Trip’s life, but don’t tell Trip that. The journey for Trip to get where he can admit his love and that he’s got wants for a future is amazing to read. You don’t realize both Trip and Nate are both growing and changing in beautiful ways until they’re almost there and all you can say is “wow”, and are in awe of how perfect they are for each other. The book ends with a solid happy for now, where you’re sure these two are probably going to make it, and Trip’s roommates will as well. But I so want more story! I want to see how Trip handles the GED test, and a trip to Nate’s family, and how Scarlett handles living with Kellan and if Liam makes it with his art. I want that last bit to round out their ending so I can know they’re going to last long term. Sequel? Please?
Four and a half
Courtney entices Trip to stop by and tell us a little bit about his childhood. I have to say those freezy pops he talks about are an important part of my childhood too. Though my memories are different than his. I kind of like his better. Read and enjoy!
Trip is not one to share his personal life, especially anything from his childhood, but if you paid him (cash, alcohol and cigarettes are all acceptable forms of currency in his book), he’d probably share something small with you.
Growing up wasn’t exactly sunshine and roses for me, but it had its nice spots, I guess. When it got real hot—like the blacktop is sticking to your shoes hot—my mama’d buy a box of freezy pops. You know the ones—come in a cardboard box or that red netting and there’s about a thousand different colors that are all stuck together? We didn’t ever get the big box and she was real stingy with them, but when it got into that late-August kinda hot, she’d give us the okay to break them out. I usually ended up with orange on account of my brothers taking all the good colors, but I didn’t mind. We’d all sit out front of the trailer and suck them down fast. They’d still melt and my brothers would pin me down and get me all covered in syrup so the bees would be after me, but I always cleaned up okay and I still liked that minute or two of us all just sitting quiet and together.
Today, he has encountered no southerners and only a few tourists from elsewhere, and he’d be okay with that if it weren’t for the rain. It comes fast. One minute it’s sunny and lovely and easy pickings, and the next the sky’s gone black and people are running from the park with street-vendor umbrellas popping open over their heads or shopping bags held up as makeshift shields. Trip switches to catchy pop numbers and more recent music, but it’s no use.
Some days this works. People take pity on a not-quite-twenty-something singing in the rain. Older women especially seem to take in the auburn hair stuck to his forehead and his relatively petite stature and read hungry young desperation in him. They offer him sympathetic smiles and a few soggy dollars.
Other times, playing in the rain has the opposite of his intended effect—strange boy with strange eyes playing his guitar as if he doesn’t know the rain is there. Those people see the darkness in him: a boy with a chip on his shoulder that makes them nervous. Those people give him wary looks and a wide berth. Trip’s not sure he blames them.
He’s a little put out and a lot cold, so he sells his umbrella for a few dollars before shouldering his guitar and closing the lid on his coffee can to set to work at his other favorite occupation.
He’d been a decent pickpocket in his younger years, but now, after a lot of practice, he’s a better thief and a good runner when he needs to be. Not that he steals anything of particular worth. He finds value in treasures scrounged from the bottoms of pockets.
Loose change, hair binders, halves of Vicodin, broken cigarettes, crumpled matchbooks. All of it has a purpose, a certain sense of importance. He envies women and their big purses. They’ve got whole bags of riches waiting to be exhumed. Though, more likely than not, those little trinkets will remain forgotten and neglected in the bottoms of Marc Jacobs clutches and Target sale hobo bags.
Other people don’t see it—the value in these things. Maybe that’s why he steals from them. Nothing they’d miss: a worn dollar here, a business card there. He keeps it all close and works out a life he could have if he could ever let someone keep him long enough for him to build up a treasure trove of small wonders all his own.
For now, he will live with worn shopping lists, broken crayons and ticket stubs he lifts off of others. He keeps them in a beaten-up bag that is more duct tape than canvas and lets them build up stardust. Then, in those lonely hours of the night, he scatters them across the floor and works them into constellations to which he assigns stories. Some he writes down; others, he forgets before the next day. It’s not a financially savvy task, but it’s his favorite, and it passes the time as well as anything else.
Courtney Lux is a Minnesotan-turned-New Yorker whose love for the city is rivaled only by her love for wide, open spaces. She is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison and a soon-to-be graduate of New York University. When not playing writer, Courtney is an avid reader, constant dreamer, and lover of dogs, wine and being barefoot. Small Wonders is her first novel, and is the recipient of a Publishers Weekly starred review.
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