Chapter 12 Summary

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The article in the Westfield Gazette spreads the use of the word "frindle" beyond Nick’s school. Junior high and high school kids start using it. It also makes Nick a local celebrity. People notice him wherever he goes and expect him to be funny and clever all the time. This is difficult for him.

After Nick’s mom calms down from her initial anger, Nick’s parents are nice about the problem. Nick says he did not do anything wrong, and they can see this is true. Nick’s parents find it strange to hear people talking about their son, but in some ways they are pleased and proud that Nick has done something so unusual.

A local businessman, Bud Lawrence, sees something more in the word "frindle" than other people do. He sees a business opportunity. He starts selling pens that say "frindle" on them; for a while, they are very popular.

Bud Lawrence is not the only prominent person who notices the word "frindle." Alice Lunderson, who works part time for the TV station in a nearby town, sees the Westfield Gazette article and thinks Nick’s word seems like a fun story. She forwards the article to her boss, who forwards it to his boss, and so on. Eventually, a news team in New York decides that a spot about the word "frindle" will make a perfect ending piece—not just for a local news program but for the nationwide CBS News. For Alice Lunderson, Nick’s little word is a big break.

Alice Lunderson interviews Mrs. Granger first. Mrs. Granger says the same thing she has been saying all along, that children need to respect words and language instead of trying to replace perfectly good words with silly, made-up ones. When Alice Lunderson asks if Mrs. Granger has lost her fight, Mrs. Granger says, “It’s not over yet.”

Nick and his parents also talk to the reporters. Before they arrive, Nick’s mom makes him rehearse what he is and is not allowed to say. She tells Nick she will step on his foot if she thinks he should not answer one of the reporter’s questions.

Alice Lunderson begins the interview by asking Nick why he made up a new word in the first place. Nervously, Nick explains what Mrs. Granger said about how words got into the dictionary. He says he just wanted to make up a word to see if it was true.

Nick’s mom is careful not to let Nick say anything that might make anyone angry. At one point, she steps on Nick’s foot and makes a point to say that Mrs. Granger is a good teacher. Nick answers a question about what is next for the word "frindle":

The funny thing is, even though I invented it, it’s not my word anymore. Frindle belongs to everyone now, and I guess everyone will figure out what happens together.

The next evening, CBS news runs its frindle story, and twenty million people see it. It catches the attention of everyone from talk show hosts to TV and magazine writers. Pretty soon everyone in the whole country hears about the word, and kids all over start saying it.

Bud Lawrence, the businessman in Nick’s town, suddenly gets flooded with orders for his frindles. His lawyer points out that the word really belongs to Nick. Bud Lawrence has to make a deal with Nick’s parents if he wants to keep selling frindle merchandise legally.

One day, Bud Lawrence asks Nick’s dad to come talk to him. As the businessman explains about all his ideas for frindle T-shirts and pens, Nick’s dad gets more and more uncomfortable. To him, it seems like a lot of fuss. More to get back to normal than anything else, he signs a contract that says Nick will receive thirty percent of the profits Bud Lawrence earns from frindle merchandise.

Before Nick’s dad leaves, Bud Lawrence gives him a check for $2,250. This is Nick’s share of the profits for all of the frindle items Bud has sold so far. Nick’s dad is surprised to get so much. He makes Bud promise not to tell Nick about the money. It is important to Nick’s dad that Nick learn to work hard, which he might not do if he knew he was getting a bunch of money for nothing. The two men set up a trust fund for Nick. Nick’s dad goes back to work, wishing everything would get back to normal.

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