I was a bit skeptical about the premise of The House of Tomorrow, but the story pulled me in fairly quickly. I found the story of how two misfit teenage boys were able to cobble together a friendship under less than traditional circumstances to be an engaging read.
Peter Bognanni opens the story atop the Geodesic Dome home that seventeen year-old Sebastian shares with his Nana on the outskirts of a small town in Iowa. The home is open for tours on weekends, and on a cold winter weekend, the Whitcomb family stops by for a tour. Jared Whitcomb is a sullen skinny teenager who didn’t really want to leave his own home. The fact that his mother dragged him along to tour a strange house just adds to his air of hostility.
As the story progresses you see that these two teenagers might each be considered to be a “bubble boy” in his own right. Sebastian is almost literally a bubble boy. He lives in a big bubble dome. He’s been kept away from having much interaction with other people in the community. He’s been home-schooled by his Nana since his parents died when he was a small child. Nana is a follower of R Buckminster Fuller, and has lived her life trying to follow ‘Bucky’s’ philosophies of life. As a result, Sebastian is more attuned to trying to pick up internal messages from space than having a conversation with a girl on the phone.
Jared has lived his own bubble like existence since his life-threatening heart condition was diagnosed. He’s had a heart transplant, and has to take anti-rejection drugs that have some really horrible side affects. As her marriage fell apart, Janice tried to wrap Jared more and more tightly in bubble wrap to keep him safe from all the possible things that could go jeopardize his new heart.
These two boys end up getting thrown together and form a friendship. Jared exposes Sebastian to Punk music and they hatch a plan to form a Punk band. Through Jared’s sister Meredith we see how a crisis with one family member eventually touches all family members as she buries her fears about her brother in destructive choices she makes about her own personal boundaries. The story culminates at a very unconventional concert at the local Methodist church’s talent show. Through it, all the teenagers in the story learn about the true value of friendship. They learn how exciting it can be to break through the bubble. They also learn the value of family as they each mature through their shared experiences.
I liked The House of Tomorrow. I thought the author creatively weaved Buckminster Fuller’s philosophy throughout the book. I also learned some Punk music history along the way. I was interested in the quirky story, and each of the characters from the opening sentence clear through to the last page of the book.
Krista lives just outside the urban sprawl of Portland, Oregon. Lamentably, her work as a technical writer and business analyst often interferes with her reading which is a true passion.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Amy Einhorn Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.