Coming of Age Theme
All four of the Tillerman kids are struggling with friends school, and identity, either because they’re smart (James), timid (Sammy), learning-disabled (Maybeth), or, like our heroine, grouchy about having to take home ec instead of mechanical drawing. If you’re older than thirteen, you’ll probably look back on that time and give thanks it's all over while reading Dicey’s Song. If you’re still in junior high, trust Shmoop: it won’t be this awful and awkward forever.
Questions About Coming of Age
- Why is Dicey so surprised when she finds out Jeff likes her? Did you figure it out right away? And why do you think she doesn't want to go to that dance? Do you agree with her choice?
- Dicey mentions the permanent changes that make her feel "edgy and not like herself." What changes do you think she’s referring to besides the ones going on with her body? How can you tell?
- Dicey's not the only one growing up here. How do the other characters grow up throughout the novel? What about Mr. Lingerle and Gram?
Chew on This
Dicey doesn't want to grow up because she's afraid that in doing so, she'll be betraying the memory of her mother.
Dicey's Song shows us that adults come of age, too. Just look at how far Gram and Mr. Lingerle come by the end of the novel.