Study Guide

About David

by Susan Beth Pfeffer

About David Summary

Summary (Essential Studies in Young Adult Literature, Revised Edition)

About David is really the story of Lynn Epstein, who is recording her thoughts in a diary as she tries to sort through all of the feelings that are closing in on her. Not only is her oldest friend—someone who was like a brother—dead at seventeen, but also his death was the result of suicide right after he murdered his adopted parents. Lynn immediately withdraws within herself with all of her pain and grief. She feels guilty for not having stopped David. Lynn is not capable of seeing or feeling anyone else’s pain, and therefore she alienates her best friend, Steffi, who is also suffering because of David’s suicide. Lynn resents Steffi, not only because she was having dinner with her on the night David committed murder and suicide, but also because Steffi talked to the reporter from The New York Times about David. Lynn had always tried to protect David when he was alive, and now that he is dead she cannot stop.

The picture that emerges of David and his parents, as Lynn remembers David’s life, is a very sad and disturbing one. Bob and Lorraine Morris were emotionally abusive parents. They made demands on David that he strived to meet, but his attempts were never good enough. “If he got a 90 they expected a 95. If he got a 95, they expected a 100. And if he got a 100 they wanted to know why he did not get them more often.” He tried harder and spent more time studying than anyone Lynn knew. When David lost the presidency of his junior class—he had only run because Bob and Lorraine wanted him to—his allowance was cut because he had not tried hard enough. The real David, the one Lynn knew, loved science fiction, photography, and playing the guitar, but he had to keep it a secret because Bob and Lorraine would...

(The entire section is 716 words.)