When Melanie goes to meet April for the first time, she has heard about April’s abnormal childhood but does not really know what to expect from her. When April opens the door, her appearance—with Dorothea’s old fur around her shoulders, her plastic purse, and her up-do—immediately surprises Melanie. The reader learns that April intends “to make a very definite impression.” Melanie asks if she is April Hall.
“April Dawn,” April corrected with an offhand sort of smile.
Here, April glamorizes her identity to Melanie, which is something she does to cope with her mother’s absence. We can tell she is having a bit of fun creating her identity, but we also know that this is not the real April. She goes on to tell Melanie about her mother, and when Melanie does not recognize her mother’s name, she explains all the things her mother does. It is sort of bragging, but it is more a way for April to construct an identity to herself and come off as memorable and interesting to other kids. Her mother’s frequent absence makes her feel angry and abandoned. Glamorizing herself the way she does when she meets Melanie allows her to feel less like an abandoned kid and more like a mature adult. It also is a strategy to make people intrigued by her, which she feels her mom is not, because she is always gone.