As a professional storyteller and teacher, Griffin Donnelley has a mesmerizing way with words. In fact, it has enabled him to cut quite a swath through the small towns in California where he teaches in schools and performs in bookstores and town halls. Nonetheless, he just can’t seem to catch a break, and is chugging along in his Camry from gig to gig, heading straight for utter burnout. Is there still time to reroute his faltering existence, or is his future looking decidedly scary? Droll and dead-on in its sizing up of contemporary culture, Scary, Man is author Jeffrey Hickey’s wry and singular story of one man, his wife, and their daughter. Together, they embrace a new normal at the turn of the twenty-first century in America, while trying their hardest in the land of the free, and the home of the afraid. As Griffin shuffles from one appearance to the next as a man working in the world of children, he becomes increasingly vulnerable to the fears and suspicions of others. He also has plenty of his own well-earned, obvious flaws that feed into the small-town gum-flapping. At the same time, his wife Samantha, who runs a home day care, is on the brink of her own existential malaise. This propels her to follow her calling as a teacher, going back to school and creating some distance between herself and her family. To add further complexity to family life, their canny, candid daughter Clare has her own identity crisis that’s ready to emerge.