The adage that those who can't, teach, is here set on its head. Brock Clarke, an assistant professor of creative writing, has assembled the components of a remarkable book about a spectacularly unremarkable young boy. Lamar Kerry, Jr., is a twenty-seven-year-old citizen of a small town, the son of a small town paper editor, and someone with no real plans for the future, no real tools to deal with them even if he did have them, and someone who, during the spell of this book, will come to understand these shortcomings and learn to accept them.
This is a sort of post-coming-of-age odyssey; nearly thirty, our lead character is a little old for self-discovery, but after taking off on a road trip with close friend Andrew to escape the mundane arc of his daily life, he returns to confront the vista of his own unextraordinary existence.
In the end, ordinary becomes something special. Lamar gets engaged, finds previously hidden special qualities in his father, and realizes that no one in the world wants to think he's ordinary. And coming to grips with this scares him speechless. So, he pretends not to be scared, acts as if everything is okay, because, as the novel's closing line says, "After all, this is what us ordinary white boys are supposed to do. Is it not?"