Vincent Van Strunk has always known his father takes pills. When Dad decides to stop, Vincent finds out first hand what "bipolar episode" means.
The arrival of the paint chips means Vincent’s mother will be distracted for weeks. She will be sitting around the house, chewing on the cap of a sharpie, naming paint colors.
Vincent intends to fill his days reading The Two Towers, fishing, building mobiles (a la Alexander Calder) and writing letters to his best friend (and selective mute) Tamara. Vincent is the only person at school that Tamara has chosen to speak with and he feels protective of her and their friendship. He also feels some uncomfortable mushy feelings that he’d rather not discuss.
When Vincent finds a red pill mixed into the gravel of their driveway, he realizes that his father has secretly stopped taking his medication. The family bonds are stretched to the limit as Dad sinks into depression and soars into mania. Vincent is torn between loving his father and protecting his mother.