List of Characters

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 285

Lou “Lucy” Charles Lynch—narrator for much of the novel.

Owen Lynch—son of Lucy Lynch.

Brindy Lynch—wife of Owen Lynch.

Declan “Uncle Dec” Lynch—uncle of Lucy and brother of Big Lou.

Louis “Big Lou”Patrick Lynch—father of Lucy, husband of Tessa.

Teresa “Tessa” Lupino Lynch—mother of Lucy, wife of Big Lou.

Sarah...

(The entire section contains 900 words.)

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Lou “Lucy” Charles Lynch—narrator for much of the novel.

Owen Lynch—son of Lucy Lynch.

Brindy Lynch—wife of Owen Lynch.

Declan “Uncle Dec” Lynch—uncle of Lucy and brother of Big Lou.

Louis “Big Lou”Patrick Lynch—father of Lucy, husband of Tessa.

Teresa “Tessa” Lupino Lynch—mother of Lucy, wife of Big Lou.

Sarah Berg Lynch—girlfriend and later wife of Lucy.

Kayla—young girl Sarah brings back from Long Island.

Miss Rosa—woman who manages apartments on Long Island and takes care of Kayla.

Mr. Berg— Sarah’s”father, a teacher at the high school.

Sarah’s mother—separated from Mr. Berg, living on Long Island, an artist.

Harold—Sundry Apartment owner on Long Island, proposes marriage to Sarah’s mother.

Bobby “Noonan” Marconi—school friend of Lucy’s, an artist.

Mr. Marconi—father of Bobby “Noonan” Marconi.

Deb Noonan Marconi—mother of Bobby Marconi.

David Marconi—Bobby’s brother.

Maxine—woman who has an affair with Mr. Marconi.

Hugh Morgan—Bobby Noonan’s art dealer.

Todd Lichtner—husband of Evangeline.

Evangeline Lichtner—Noonan’s lover, an artist.

Jerzy Quinn—one of the tough boys in Lucy’s youth.

Karen Cirillo—Jerzy’s girlfriend, flirts with Lucy.

Buddy Nurt—boyfriend of Nancy Cirillo, a thief.

Nancy Cirillo—Karen’s mother.

Jack Beverly—head of the tannery.

Nan Beverly—beautiful daughter of Jack Beverly.

Spinnarkles—spinster sisters whose house burns down.

Gabriel Mock Jr.—African American man who falls in love with Tessa.

Gabriel “Mock Three” Mock III—son of Gabriel Mock Jr., goes into a coma after being beaten up for dating Sarah.

Perry Kozlowski—boy who beats up Gabriel Mock III.

David Entleman—young friend of Lucy’s, hangs himself.

Character Analysis

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 615

Lou C. Lynch (called Lucy after his kindergarten teacher calls out his name and it sounds like “Lucy”) is the narrator of this story, at least most of the time. He is a smart but deliberate child. Unfortunately, these qualities make others think he is slow. He is also very sensitive and shy, which makes him a loner. His needs for affection and friendship run high, and this makes him unattractive to his peers. He is often made fun of and at one point even psychologically tortured, making him fragile. People close to him call Lucy a perpetual optimist, which seems to be his strength. Another of his strong points is that he loves his father, almost to the detriment of himself. Lucy is often offended when his mother berates his father, which often turns Lucy to his father’s side and away from his mother. Like his father, Lucy often believes that he can never do enough to make his mother proud of him and, therefore, love him.

One of the relationships Lucy forms to help him cope with his social and familial problems is with Bobby Marconi. As a child, Lucy clings to Bobby, even wondering later in life if he had a homosexual attraction to him. Bobby often tolerates Lucy but is also bothered by Lucy’s needs, which seem to have no end.

Even with Bobby as a buffer, Lucy cannot be at peace with his fears of the future.  Although Lucy loves his father, he worries that he will grow up to be just like Big Lou.  Most people think Big Lou is a very friendly man but they mock him behind his back for being dim-witted and naïve. Fortunately, Sarah falls in love with Lucy. If Sarah can love him, Lucy reasons, there must be something more to him. As far as Sarah is concerned, Lucy’s charm is his ability to truly love her, totally and loyally.

Sarah shares the narrator role and is a fairly straight-forward character. She speaks her mind and acknowledges her emotions without flinching. She is brimming with talent and convictions that are tempered by a strange and challenging life. The mixture of her mother’s undisciplined creativity and her father’s fixated rationality works well for Sarah. She looks at life and figures out the best environment in which to grow and then goes after it, sometimes squelching her basic (and often unreliable) instincts, such as her attraction for Bobby Marconi. This is where her father’s rationality comes in. Sarah can reason out her future, and she knows giving up the security of Lucy for the whimsical nature of Bobby could be deadly.  She represses part of herself, never fully admitting that her feelings for Bobby exist but also never allowing those feelings to control her. She settles into the Lynch family because they make her feel wanted and needed, and Lucy is a part of that deal. Only toward the end of the story, when she must face the fact that she might not have too many years left to live because she has cancer, does she try bring to the surface those suppressed feelings for Bobby. But by then it is too late and she finds a surrogate figure in the young child Kayla, someone who is like an empty vessel in great need of love, even more so than Lucy.

Bobby, in the meantime, the third narrator, has explored his artistic side as far as he can. But Bobby is unable to find someone with whom to share his love. Bobby marries more than once and has several lovers, but his passion is fully poured into his art.

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