| Quote #4
"That's the problem with the cities, Tally. Everyone's a kid, pampered and dependent and pretty. Just like they say in school: Big-eyed means vulnerable. Well, like you once told me, you have to grow up sometime." (27.63)
Shay here argues that the people in the cities are all kids, no matter how old they are, which would sort of explain Tally's parents and their lack of good advice (above). As far as Shay is concerned, real growing up requires facing some real challenges, like the kind people face in the Smoke.
| Quote #5
Maddy shrugged. "Of course we did. We were learning how the human body worked, and how to face the huge responsibility of saving lives. But it didn't feel as if our brains were changing. It felt like growing up." (32.21)
Maddy, Az, and Tally are talking about brain lesions and drinking tea (the official drink of uncomfortable conversations about brain lesions). As Maddy explains, when they became doctors and lost the lesions, they still felt like themselves—but more mature versions of themselves. This is one reason why they didn't feel any great shift of identity. They simply felt like they were becoming more responsible and mature.
| Quote #6
Tally took a deep breath, remembering Sol and Ellie's visit. Her parents had been so sure of themselves, and yet in a way so clueless. But they'd always seemed that way: wise and confident, and at the same time disconnected from whatever ugly, real-life problems Tally was having. Was that pretty brain damage? Tally had always thought that was just how parents were supposed to be. (32.25)
Okay, we included this note just because it makes us laugh when Tally has this thought: it's hard to tell between normal parental cluelessness and parental brain damage. But if we could be serious for a moment, it's interesting that, as soon as you come of age (like the parents), it gets harder to remember the problems that you passed through as an ugly. That makes coming of age sound like our historical problem in this book: it's hard to take seriously people in the past, just like it's hard to take kids seriously when you're grown up. Someone should write this paper quickly before we decide to.