The tragic Nash family can be best summed up by Camille’s hard-nosed rundown of them:
I was hoping Betsy Nash would disappear. Literally. She was so insubstantial, I could imagine her slowly evaporating, leaving only a sticky spot on the edge of the sofa. But she lingered, eyes darting between me and her husband before we even began speaking. Like she was winding up for the conversation. The children, too, hovered about, little blonde ghosts trapped in a limbo between indolence and stupidity. The pretty girl might do all right. But the piggy middle child, who now waddled dazedly into the room, was destined for needy sex and snack-cake bingeing. The boy was the type who’d end up drinking in gas-station parking lots.(6.72)
To put names with their unfortunate descriptions: Ashleigh is the oldest at 12, and is considered the pretty one. Her little sister Tiffanie is the one destined for obesity, and poor Bobby Jr. “looked stupid and cowed. A boy for the Nashes, but a disappointing one. (2.9)
Bob Nash seems to be the only one keeping it even remotely together ever since Ann’s murder. Camille describes him as “a well-kept man: clipped mustache, receding blond hair held down with gel, a glaring green polo tucked into jeans. I assumed he was the one who maintained the order of this room; it had the unadorned neatness of a bachelor trying very hard” (2.23). He sells ergonomic chairs over the phone for a living, a profession that he admits is less than glamorous.
Ann Nash, of course, is the girl who was killed last fall at the age of nine. She was a willful, tomboyish girl who enjoyed speaking her mind and running a bit feral. Actually, a bit too feral. Ann had a terrible habit of biting people. During her interview, Meredith Wheeler reveals to Camille that Ann had bitten Adora pretty severely:
“Your mom was tutoring her and Ann didn’t understand. She completely lost it, pulled some of your momma’s hair out, and bit into her wrist. Hard. I think there had to be stitches. (10.213)