Themes and Characters
Davis "Davey" Wexler, who was given her mother's maiden name because there was no one else left to carry on the family name, is a perfect Blume heroine, feisty and feeling, smart and assertive, one not afraid to show emotion, be it sadness, anger, elation, or fear. She has brown hair, eyes like a cat, a swimmer's build (although she does not swim or dive), and a personality that combines toughness and vulnerability with a sense of humor. Her parents are both half Jewish. She is fifteen at the novel's beginning, sixteen at its end.
Those most important to Davey are her immediate family: her father, Adam Wexler, who recently died but who is still very much alive in Davey's thoughts; her mother, Gwendolyn, who falls into the depths of depression following the death of her beloved husband; her seven-year-old brother, Jason, who is young and innocent enough to adjust more easily to the loss and who provides much of the comic relief in the book; and her cat, Minka. Davey's best friends in Atlantic City are Lanaya, a tall, skinny black girl, and her boyfriend, Hugh, who was with her on the night of her father's death.
In Los Alamos, the Wexlers live with Adam Wexler's older sister, Elizabeth "Bitsy" Kronick, and her husband, Walter. Davey has met this couple only once before, when she was five and her grandmother died. The Kronicks have no family of their own, and they soon adopt the Wexlers into their lives. Aunt Bitsy, an enthusiastic club woman...
(The entire section is 1416 words.)
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