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Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

A Kindness portrays the fine relationship which may develop between a single-parent mother and her son. This relationship is explored first as a predictable one built on mutual respect in which the two main characters, Anne Becker and her teenage son Chip, feel they know each other well and maintain a home by complementing the strengths of one another. This relationship disintegrates when Anne finds she is pregnant and refuses to tell Chip the name of the father. Her nearly nonexistent relationship with a married man who has fathered the child is viewed in comparison with Chip's enjoyment of his daily closeness in his relationship with his girlfriend. Ironically, the teenage Chip is living the love his mother, as a mature adult, should have been free to experience. A third type of relationship is represented by Randy, a man who has always been a confidante to both mother and son, and who remains faithful throughout these times. The fragility of human bonds and the strength needed to maintain close relationships of all descriptions becomes an unstated theme.