“One of the great child creations of recent literature—a dainty, prepubescent Holden Caulfield with a thing for neckerchiefs. . . Downing has constructed a light-as-air divertimento out of short, quirky episodes that move briskly. . . . The main action adds up to a wry look at a new configuration of the American family. But there is a twist — a near-brilliant one, which pushes the novel’s humor and pathos to the limit: Scot is an 11-year-old Truman Capote or Quentin Crisp, limp wrists and all. The book’s domestic dramas are deftly done and convincing enough to make you wince or laugh, or else to bring a lump to your throat. The novel is not simply a comedy of upside-down manners but also a testament to the joys and foibles of parenting (however you define it) and to the amazing resilience of “different” children in the face of banal, everyday cruelty. The characters are interesting and complex; 30 pages in, it’s easy to forget that they’re fictional, that this isn’t heartfelt testimony from a parent about a real son.”

“Witty, poignant, laugh-out-loud funny, deftly insightful and full of people you wish you knew, plus a few you’re glad you don’t. Breakfast with Scot is a turn-of-the-millennium look at parenthood, families, relationships and who gets to wear eyeliner.”

“A hilariously sweet take on the woes and joys of parenthood. . . Downing explores what it truly means to be a family, compassionately contrasting familial stereotypes with the realities of family life and showing how it feels to be a boy who doesn’t quite fit into the role society has prepared for him.”
Booklist starred review

“Bittersweet and sophisticated . . . The highlight of the book is its poignant attention to the exquisite humiliations that daily afflict all three of its main characters.”
Baltimore Sun

“Downing has a jeweler’s knack for rendering beauty in miniature. This brief, sparkling novel is testament to that skill.”
Boston Phoenix

“The prose in Downing’s fourth novel is melodious and lucid. This heartwarming tale nobly defines and describes a potent, realistic new configuration of contemporary American values.”
Publishers Weekly


For news about the movie adaptation of Breakfast with Scot, click here.