October 17, 2020 by Aimee Bender
Quick aside: “corduroy knickerbockers”?!! When IS this book happening? This is how I imagine the idea of making “mix tapes” sounds to Gen Z.
“There was enough self-control in that household…” I’ve thought of this line often. How it honors the stepmother and narrator’s gentleness, and also shows Maxwell’s psychological acuity, knowing this can come at a cost, too.
As my Midwestern shrink father wisely says, every quality cuts both ways.
Big moment approaching at the end of the chapter. Big and yet so small. I think of George Saunders’ famous commencement speech: “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.”
It begins with him feeling included, maybe for the first time, at school. And then moves to seeing Cletus. Not saying anything. The last paragraph evoking the walks with the father. “…it might have been the right thing to do.” SO QUIET and so wrenching.