The meaning of A Slipping-Down Life is easily ascertained without being simplistic. It concerns the major conflict of adolescence—the quest for acceptance and identity. In the main character’s journey in coming-of-age, this quest is clearly the central issue, but it is complicated by many other side issues: the pain of being classified as “different” from the peer group, the need for familial closeness, the problems of teen marriage, and even the stigma of physical disfigurement. A Slipping-Down Life is a novel of learning and growth that offers readers hope that, regardless of the level of isolation or the enormity of problems and while perfect happy endings are not reality, strength and a feeling of self-worth can be the by-products of adversity.
One of the two pivotal moments of the story is the revelation that Evie has carved the name “Casey” into her forehead. Prior to this moment, the reader has been introduced to an overweight, lackluster girl who feels awkward with herself and others and is seemingly incapable of making social connections. The carving is representative of the desperate measures to which some adolescents will resort when faced with alienation. It is the ultimate act of seeking identity through others, as well as a taking of power. (It is impossible for Drum to deny her completely with such a visible link between them.) The act is also a complete denial of self in a submersion into the identity of...
(The entire section is 353 words.)
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