Ten-year-old Bud Caldwell has been through a lot in his short life. He has been in an orphanage and foster homes. He decides this is not the life he wants so he runs away to find his biological father. The theme of this novel is two fold. One theme is Bud's coming of age. His learning how to take care of himself and maturing as he learns and accepts truths about his life and the world. The second major theme is the search for a family. Bud travels to find his biological father but instead finds a family of a different sort.
"As the author of Bud Caldwell's "Rules and Things for a Funner Life and Making a Better Liar Out of Yourself" he establishes his own creed. Some rules are very short: No. 3, If you got to tell a lie, Make sure it's simple and easy to remember. Others take longer to express: No. 8, Whenever an adult tells you to listen carefully and talks to you in a real calm voice, do not listen, run as fast as you can, because something real terrible is just around the corner. Especially if the cops are chasing you."
In finding Herman Caldwell, Bud does not find exactly what he thought he was looking for but he does find a closure and peace in his maturing and looks forward to the "seeds planted" for his future.
Homelessness. Importance of family. Finding one's place in the world.