Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Crazy Cat Ladies are People, Too
Old Mrs. Gilmore is Wade's only real-life friend. She lives in the stacks, in a trailer below Wade's aunt's trailer, and is, in Wade's words, "a total sweetheart" (1.67). She's such a good friend, she gets a whopping seven paragraphs total before she dies in the explosion that rips through the stacks. Wade then spends most of one sentence feeling bad for her death. Guess they weren't that good of friends after all?
She really deserves better. Having been a teenager in the '80s, Mrs. G is a great source of '80s trivia for Wade. Plus she feeds him, and she lets him sleep on her couch when things get rough at his Aunt's house. But for some reason, Wade spends more time talking about how she's "super religious" (1.67) and attends an "online mega-church" (1.67) and how her religion is "a total crock [...] a pleasant fantasy that gave her hope and kept her going" (1.67).
Her death is supposed to make us feel angry at Sorrento, and realize how his actions lead to the deaths of dozens, maybe hundreds, of people. But with Wade being kind of complicit in the bombing, and his almost total lack of remorse or grief, it's hard to feel anything at all.