Opening this novel, one assumes that it will be a love story, possibly a predictable love story. Even the opening scene, that of Abby’s graduation and valedictory address, shows an attendant Chip in the audience. When one learns that Chip is going to review the events leading up to this moment, there is still nothing to reveal how shocking and serious things will become before the novel reaches its conclusion.
Chip’s life is relatively normal for a young man without a father. He does the laundry, cooks, cleans the kitchen, and pays his share of the phone bill. He and some young friends briefly go through a rebellious stage—growing their hair, not taking showers, letting their grades lapse. That changes for Chip in English class with the study of poetry, and possibly because both Pete and Abby can identify Chip blind from his smell alone.
Before Abby, there was Karen, whom Chip got to know through acting in plays. Abby is also a good actress, although not on stage; she has to act in order to survive. Chip is surprised when Abby enters high school and becomes involved in student activities before school, after school, and on weekends. Eventually, he figures out why she stays away from home.
Although Chip is comfortable in his own home, he knows that it is not a “normal” home, especially when he and his mother go on vacation to Colorado and she spends a night dining and dancing with Jake and Chip stays up until she returns at three in the morning. The character of Jake could have been more fully fleshed out. He flies in from Colorado when Abby...
(The entire section is 650 words.)