Fathers and sons--Fiction; Teenagers--Suicidal behavior--Fiction; Mormons--Fiction.
Terry Walker is an even-tempered, successful mathematics professor, comfortable with his world—the order and predictability of it. He likes the kind of life one lives in a quiet Salt Lake City subdivision. At his children's births, he masks his terror with numbers—his wife's contractions and dilations, blood pressure, heart rate. At funerals he absorbs his grief by calculating the cubic feet of earth the coffin and vault will displace.
But control is illusive, something his fifteen-year-old son Blake never lets him forget. A sensitive boy, Blake has refused to eat meat since the time he could walk. Fearing he will hurt his friends' feelings, Blake withdraws from a spelling bee that he could easily win. More importantly, however, Blake harbors a secret that he keeps from Terry.