Black Ice is a novel about isolation. The eldest son is handicapped, lost in his own world; none of his family knows how to connect. Joel didn’t throw rocks; he didn’t punch and grab. He just read, mostly in his room, hunched up, hour after hour, at the end of his bed or against the closet door, his tongue half out, fingers tightly at the corners. Michelle worried about his eyes and posture. She had John move the desk beside the window and put in a nice straight-back chair, but Joel wouldn’t use either. Michelle left the ceiling light on to find it off again, Joel in the dark. As frustrating as it was, she knew it was pointless to get upset; she could only sigh when his glasses got thicker. He liked history books the best, stories about real people. White Slaves of the Nootka was about an Englishman held captive by Nootka Indians hundreds of years back. Cam laughed at him, “You mean the Knucklehead people.” Joel liked the Nootka people because they liked being alone. That was like Pesto. Joel said that Pesto was a Nootka. He wrote the name in his Rabbit Book. Pesto wasn’t a rabbit; rabbits were just what Joel drew. The drawings were only at the beginning; it was all writing after that, all about Pesto and where he went.