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Quotes

Quote #7

It's not easy being a parent. (13.10)

If you had to guess who says this, who would it be? It could be Grace, the troubled mother; Jake, the absent father; Flora or Crow, the grieving mothers; Sandy, the seemingly overextended father. And so forth. Weirdly, it's actually Mr. Hoo. Mr. Hoo is such an uninvolved parent that sometimes we forget about his relationship to Doug. It seems like the only things he ever tells his son are to study more or get back to work. He's right that being a parent is pretty hard, but we think he has a funny way of showing it.

Quote #8

These were her mother's friends and the newly married daughters of her mother's friends--and Turtle, who was leaning against the wall, arms folded, smirking. Lucky Turtle, the neglected child. (16.4)

While Turtle would certainly say her sister's lucky to get such consistent praise and attention from their mother, Angela thinks Turtle's "lucky" to be left alone. There can be an equally damaging harm in the kind of attention Angela receives and, in some respects, Turtle's fortunate that she's been forced to become self-sufficient and savvy without this kind of parental (over)protection.

Quote #9

'Yes ma'am.' Turtle stared down at the carpet, wondering if she had given Angela away.

Judge Ford rose and placed an arm around Turtle's bony shoulders. She had never wished for a sister until this moment. 'Turtle, will you give me your word that you will never play with fireworks again?' (21.64-65)

In some ways, sibling relationships are the strongest familial bonds in this book. Theo watches for Chris and Turtle cares for Angela. Turtle's willing to jeopardize her future, to burn off her hair, and to take the fall, all to protect her beautiful big sister. The judge recognizes this bond between them and it makes her long for a family of her own – the one time in the text we see her be sentimental about having a family or regret the lack of one.

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