An unnamed sixteen-year-old is the narrator of this impressionistic and fragmented story of two brothers who learn that the disappearance of their father is only the tip of his mystery and only a sliver of what really happened.
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WHAT HAPPENED begins with an apology. The narrator admits that what he is about to tell may seem "erratic" because that's the way his mind works. Readers will find the tale that follows does wind and weave through past and present, but as a whole it represents the troubled path of the narrator's life.
First, their mother dies, then their father disappears, and now the sixteen-year-old narrator and his brother, Kyle, live with their Aunt Lucy. Life hasn't been easy, and it's about to get even more complicated. There is a hit and run accident that involves the teens, some friends, and a man on a bicycle. Should they call the police or attempt to cover-up their crime?
Facts of the story become twisted and more complex as the brothers discover secrets about their mother's past relationship with the father of a friend. Aunt Lucy admits her knowledge of the past as she tries to help the two answer questions about their mother's death and why their father left. Although some questions are answered, the story mimics real life with its loose ends and untidy conclusions.
Peter Johnson takes his readers into the mind of the narrator for a glimpse into the life of a troubled teen. Life is definitely not a chronological series of events neatly catalogued by date and time. Johnson's story illustrates the crazy, jumbled order that makes up our daily lives.