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Chapter Three discussion

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In her first conversation with Tanya, Parker reveals that she was “angry” at sixteen years old. Why do you think Parker might have been angry at sixteen? What sort of things do you imagine her doing to express her anger? Does it seem to contrast at all from the way Parker seems now, as an older version of herself? Can you relate at all to her in this feeling?

More “Food for Thought”: Age appears in a few scenes as a prominent theme. In what instances does Parker seem uncomfortable with age? In what instances does she seem to have ignored age – her own age and the age of others — altogether? Why might Parker be reluctant to acknowledge age or uneasy of age – of those around her and of herself?

Submit your responses to either or both topics below!

For all other comments and feedback, including emerging themes and questions for the author, please visit the general discussion page.

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10 comments

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  1. J

    Great chapter, Abby!

    I’d imagine that Parker, seemingly abandoned by her parents, would have a lot to be angry about at the age of sixteen. That age is such a confusing time, and to be left home alone all the time (from what it sounds like)? Recipe for disaster.

    Somehow, I picture Parker in her Keds getting into all sorts of trouble in the city. Fake IDs. Late late nights in CBGBs. Boy trouble. Maybe even disappointing grades. It’s a large contrast to how we see Parker today. Parker today seems a little depressed, stuck in routine… but since she still wears her Keds, maybe clinging to her former self a little?

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    • Very interesting, J! I love the additional color you give to her teenage years. And your point about her still wearing her Keds is so wonderfully perceptive.

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  2. Greg The Man

    I think Parker was anger at her parents. At 16 a person is changing physically, mentally and hormonally. Her parents weren’t around to help her. Some teenagers to get their parents attention behave badly. That is what Parker did as a teenager. It’s interesting how she doesn’t remember the people’s names but remembers that she tried to cause trouble as a teenager. As Parker matured she realized that her parents weren’t going to be a big part of her life and she accepted that. I cannot relate to her at that time. My friends and I never went out of our way to find trouble.

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    • abby

      I really like that you picked up on the fact that Parker doesn’t remember the names of the friends who helped her cause trouble. This could be a sign of maturity, maybe, or a sign of a guilty conscience…or both. What do you think?

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  3. Greg The Man

    I could be a sign of both. We need to find out more about her personality. From the first three chapters I have noticed that Parker has a difficult time staying focused. For example, when she was at work in the board meeting she was thinking about her meeting with Tanya. For an OT point of view she needs to focus her energy on what she is during at that specific time and not worry about what she has to do later in the day.

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    • abby

      Interesting, Greg. It seems that those around her have trouble staying focused as well, particularly Jimmy and Jill. Maybe this is a possible comment by the author on the (in)ability of this generation of young people to stay focused.

      I’ll also be very curious to hear your thoughts on later chapters, as Parker begins to assume a caregiver role for her grandmother. I wonder, do you think she’ll be able to stay focused and begin to accept the changes in her life? Do you have confidence in her at this point to achieve this, or do you think she has some work to do?

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  4. dave

    Who wasn’t angry about something at 16. Didn’t we all want something that we couldn’t have or have to so something we didn’t want to? Didn’t we all think we ‘knew it all’ at 16? I think its a universal feeling and perhaps unintentional on her part but Parker was very intuitive in connecting with Tanya that way. Very good chapter! By the way comments from J seem very specific in nature. I bet she has some good stories from 16.

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    • Very good point, Dave. There seem to be some common experiences many of us share at specific moments in our lives. I wonder, do you think grandma was angry at 16?

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      • dave

        I’m sure grandma was at times angry at 16. What a different world she lived in though. Her universe may have encompassed one county or borough. No personal phones; a floor standing radio; no tv; one bathroom per family. I remember a story from a particular grandma about not being allowed to go to a movie with boys and girls at 14 but her mother was smart enough to take her to that movie on a school day so she didn’t miss the movie nor was she seen with her mother at a movie theater together.

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        • Good points! And as we know from Chapter Three, much of her grandmother’s childhood was during the Depression, so maybe there were residual effects of that era (poverty, loss, etc.) that impacted her as a teenager?

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