The Spectacular Now
by Tim Tharp
Mrs. Easley is Sutter and Holly's mom, but no one's going to be bringing home any Mom of the Year mugs for her. She was warm and loving at one point--when his dad was still around—but Sutter hasn't been able to forgive her for kicking out his dad, or for marrying her new husband. She's changed, you see: "She started spending all sorts of money on her hair and make-up. […] I don't think she really even likes him all that much, though. You'll never see her leaning in close to him on the sofa. […] All that disappeared when she kicked Dad to the curb" (18.3).
Let's translate that jealous stepson speech: he thinks she remarried for money, not love - and, bonus! She doesn't care about him at all, either. It doesn't help has some weird phobia when it comes to talking to his teachers: "I know all too well that she doesn't like to get involved with my actual schooling if she can help it. Something must have happened in her childhood to make her afraid of teachers" (24.17).
Okay, so maybe this woman has had a rough life: abused by teachers, cheated on by an alcoholic husband—doesn't she deserve a little luxury? A little Ease-ly? (What, you think that name is a coincidence?)
Maybe. We don't begrudge her a nice husband. But it does add up to a mom who isn't much involved in Sutter's life. She has no idea that Sutter won't graduate on time, and doesn't seem to be aware of the extent of his drinking problem, either. In fact, the only time we really see her is when she's yelling at him for burning up Kevin's suit.
Before we say goodbye to Mrs. Easley, though, remember: we're only getting Sutter's perspective, and he's not the most reliable of narrators. In fact, his sister Holly thinks Sutter is their mom's favorite. So maybe we should keep an open mind.