As a small child, Josiah believed that his father’s absence could be explained by the simple fact that he was a high ranking alien official on the planet Parnuckle. It explained so much else, too, like why Josiah should eat nothing but chocolate (Parnucklians eat nothing but chocolate), and why he should be proud of and idolize his father, the Keymaster of Gozer, even though they’d never met.
But as time goes on and the gaps in this mythology widen, Josiah is faced with two possibilities: either it’s all very real or it’s all very pretend. This betrayal comes into sharper focus when, three weeks before his sixteenth birthday, Josiah is released back into his mother’s care after two years in a group home. His mother is about to marry Johnson Davis, and when Josiah, his mother, Johnson Davis, and his daughter Bree Davis—a prematurely mature girl with her own history of parental betrayal—attempt to live together as an all-American nuclear family, the myths underpinning all of their lives come chaotically and absurdly unspooled.
This startling, stylish, hilarious debut novel explores what it means to grow up an alien in your own family and your own life. It’s a story about the secret, solitary lives of kids held hostage by the caprices of their caretakers. In Parnucklian for Chocolate, B.H. James has taken the alien heart of family life and made it recognizable and relatable to all—extraterrestrial or otherwise.