At the beginning of the novel, nineteen-year-old Ed Kennedy is directionless and knows it. He spends most of his time playing cards with his friends and hanging out with his coffee-drinking dog. He says:
I’m typical of many of the young men you see in this suburban outpost of the city—not a whole lot of prospects or possibility.
When Ed receives a playing card in the mail with three addresses scrawled on it, he learns that he has to visit a series of people and help them solve their problems. Acting on the information in the cards not only helps improve the lives of a dozen people; it also helps Ed become the person he is capable of being.
Audrey is Ed’s friend. He is in love with her, and she loves him back but refuses to act on her feelings. Her childhood was “one of those beat-the-crap-out-of-each-other situations,” and now she is afraid of love. As Ed grows through the story, he helps her grow too. By the end, they are beginning a romantic relationship.
Marv, one of Ed’s best friends, is self-centered and unwilling to spend money. He loves nothing so much as his “s***box car,” which he bought several years ago. He intended to use it to track down his high school girlfriend, Suzanne Boyd, who disappeared with her family three years ago—but he never actually left town. At the beginning of the novel, Ed thinks Marv never left because he did not know where to look for Suzanne. Near the end, however, Ed learns that Suzanne’s family left because she got pregnant. Marv has been saving money to help pay the child’s expenses, but he is afraid to face Suzanne and her angry father. Ed helps reunite the couple.
Ritchie is the most directionless of Ed’s friends. He has no job and no ambition until Ed helps him. At the end of the book, Ed has managed to shock Ritchie into action, and for the first time Ritchie starts looking for a job.
Ed’s ma considers him a disappointment and...
(The entire section is 876 words.)