by Paul Zindel
Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
Humorous, Descriptive, Honest, Sincere
The tone of this novel is unstable, shifting with the narrator and the events being narrated. John's tone is often humorous, especially when he relates one of his misdemeanors:
Did you ever hear a herd of buffalo stampeding? Thirty-four scrawny, undernourished apples rolling up the aisles sound just like a herd of buffalo stampeding. (1)
John's tone, especially toward the end, can also be sincere. Describing Lorraine, he says, "She lifted her glass, and she was lovely" (11).
As a narrator, Lorraine is usually straightforward and sincere, but she can also come up with inventive descriptions:
Norton has eyes like a mean mouse, and he's the type of kid who thinks everyone's trying to throw rusty beer cans at him. (4)