In Nigel Hinton's novel Buddy, the phrase "like father, like son" is used by his mother. Do Buddy and his dad think this is true?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the beginning of Nigel Hinton's novel Buddy, Buddy's mother insults Buddy after she learns he stole money from her purse in order to go on a school trip he had had to miss out on before due to lack of money. Buddy's mother says, "You're as bad as him. Like father, like son--that's what you are!" (p. 3) Buddy understands that she means to say Buddy is a criminal just like his father, who, when Buddy was nine, spent three months in prison for "breaking and entering" (p. 4).

Buddy feels guilty for having taken the money and for having made his mother cry. He also feels he is to blame for her disappearance the next morning, which prolongs into a disappearance of months. However, despite stealing his mother's money and being guilty of shoplifting, Buddy knows he is not a thief like his father. Buddy's sense of morality shows when he finds out his father has become involved in jewel theft, and Buddy devises a plan to get dad's jewel heist leader, Mr. King, arrested. Unfortunately, though, his plan goes awry, leading to his father's arrest and to the arrest of the innocent Ralph James Campbell, who has learning disabilities.

Buddy's father also shows he sees Buddy as being better than him when he promises Buddy he'll try to stop stealing. In Chapter 16, Buddy learns his father has been stealing jewelry when his father returns home one night with a severely injured hand. Buddy breaks down crying when his father confesses and begs him to stop, saying, "I stopped [shoplifting], you can" (p. 97). At first, Buddy's dad argues that it's too difficult to stop because he is "in too deep," but then says to Buddy, "I'll try, all right?" (p. 97)