‘Sparks’ by Nadine Darling

— Reneé Bibby

Tonight, instead of writing my Wilds post, I went to bingo at the Shriner Temple on Tucson Boulevard. I people watched, played a couple of rounds, won nothing, ate a surprisingly tasty hot dog, and came home to read Nadine Darling’s ‘Sparks.’ It was as delightfully off-beat and non-sequitur as my bingo night was. The neighborhood hippy couple, the Sparks, “babysit” sixteen-year-old Jane while her mother is away. The Sparks are creative-types, unafraid to be different, but not so radical they can’t be trusted to watch a kid for the weekend. Therein is the real treat of the Darling’s story: it’s not about upheaval; the Sparks don’t inspire, or transform, or revolutionize Jane. She spends a weird but wonderful weekend with them, and it may not change the course of her life, but it, like many real things that happen to us, is the unexpected fun of living and being open to newness. It’s the reason to read it—for fun, for something fresh and heart-warming, and interesting. It’s the reason you should say yes, if you are ever asked to play bingo at an old community hall at seven on a Wednesday night.