April 30, 2012
New York. Now. A circle of tolerant, liberal people, prominent in their professions, with a wide, diverse circle of friends. Wesley Bowman, 16, moves from his mother and stepfather’s home to that of his father and his partner for the fall term, hoping to get to know his gay-rights lawyer dad better. But Wesley has more luck connecting with his father’s partner George, a former actor who now runs a restaurant. When Wesley’s friend comes out in a school assembly, the boys find themselves at the center of an act of violence. Tolerant facades crumble as George, suddenly, becomes suspect; Wesley’s mother Lola values and cares for him, but doesn’t she have to worry, as a mother, what might have been going on when her back was turned? Who is Wesley, really? Did she let him go out into the world too early, and easily? These Things Happen is about the assumptions we hold without even knowing it, the received convictions just below the surface that need only the right catalytic event to break out. By the end of the book, all relationships change, as everyone faces the fact that they didn’t know each other or themselves at all.