Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Abby, My Love trusts its first-person narrator, Chip Martin, to describe everything as truthfully as possible, a difficult job for a young man growing and changing as the book progresses. The novel is a quick read, perhaps because chapters are relatively short, as is the book itself. The presentation is interesting, starting with Abby’s high school graduation and class valedictory address, then flashing back as far as the eighth grade for Chip and the seventh grade for Abby. Time is generally presented in a linear manner after that until near the end of the novel, when flashbacks occur again.

The reader knows from the start that this is a book about families. Chip Martin’s father was a jet pilot shot down over Vietnam and never recovered. Chip has only his mother, who is remarkably self-sufficient. Chip meets Pete Morris in a local park, and slightly afterward her sister, Abby. This is the beginning of a friendship with both sisters that lasts throughout the novel, up to Chip’s return home after his first year in college.

Chip must deal with growing up, with Abby’s “coldness,” with his sudden interest in poetry and plays, with his mother’s romantic interest in Jake (whom he thinks is “almost” old enough to be his grandfather), and finally with Abby’s confession to him about her father’s sexual abuse and her protectiveness of Pete all these years.

Chip’s reactions to events in his life are realistic: He is often confused and angry, and he does not know what to do with what he discovers. Chip placidly accepts his mother’s plans to...

(The entire section is 653 words.)