Everyone’s heard of that cliche setting in books of a boring old town in the middle of nowhere, but then something out of the ordinary or a chain of unusual events will start happening, all of which involve the main character in some way. However, John Corey Whaley, the author of the novel Where Things Come Back, took that storyline and turned it into something you wouldn’t normally read in typical stories (spoiler alert: there are a reappearances of extinct woodpeckers involved). Though Whaley does add his own touch to that predictable plot, the boring old town setting is still the same. So, I thought that it would be interesting to see how the setting would look like through the eyes of the main character, Cullen Witter, except he would be using Snapchat.
Snaps 1 and 2:
These two photos are like an introduction of what Lily, Arkansas, is like to Cullen, which is where he lives. Cullen thinks that this place “…is sometimes like living in the land that time forgot” (9), because of how they “…do have things like Burger King and McDonald’s, and [they] even have a Walmart, but if you are looking for much more than that, you’ll just have to to keep on driving through” (10). As you can probably tell, Cullen has a pretty negative view of this place and thinks it’s extremely dull.
Snaps 3 and 4:
Besides the fact that there’s barely anything in Lily, Arkansas, there’s also barely anyone. “There’s 3,947 people, according to the faded green sign on the side of the road as you drive into town, and most of those people…tried and subsequently failed to leave this place behind” (10). This town has a lot of nature – too much in Cullen’s opinion, “Lily is all trees and dirt sliced into circles by curved roads. Lily is also water, though. The White River runs right along the edge of town and all the way across the state and over to the Mississippi” (10).
Even though Lily, Arkansas has so many bad things about it, “One unique thing about Lily is that, for a small town in the middle of nowhere, it seems to be a very clean, well-kept sort of place. Lily is the kind of place you’d like to move to some short time before you die” (10). And just when I thought Cullen was going to end on something nice and optimistic, he said, “If at any other time in your life you think you need the peace and quiet of Lily, Arkansas, then you should either see a therapist or stay there for a week and try to find anything half-entertaining to do.
Just from reading the exposition of this story, I’ve already gotten a pretty thorough understanding of what Cullen is like and the setting. I think Cullen is such an interesting character, and I wonder what’s going to happen to him in this dreary town later on in the story!
Featured Image: here
Website I used to create the fake snapchats: here