Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy Genre

By Ruth White

Genre

Coming of Age; Family Drama

Coming of Age

At the end of Belle Prater's Boy, Woodrow makes a comment about how he and Gypsy are in an "in-between place" as they straddle the line separating childhood and adulthood. The book deals a lot with the pains and rewards of this transition as the best friends leave behind kiddie pursuits and start to understand the real world, unraveling the secrets of the adults in their lives.

Over the course of the book, Woodrow and Gypsy grow up as they figure out Woodrow's mother's motives for leaving him and Gypsy's father's reason for killing himself. They're tough lessons to learn, but doing so brings both Gypsy and Woodrow closer to being real grownups.

Family Drama

There's no end to family struggles and strife for Woodrow and Gypsy in Belle Prater's Boy. Even though they are all one big happy family on the surface, there's a lot of tension underneath the calm waters. For example, Belle and Love have been estranged for decades because Love married Amos, Belle's boyfriend. And now Aunt Belle has disappeared without a trace, leaving her family to deal with the aftermath. Gypsy is also dealing with her own issues, namely the fact that her father committed suicide and she really needs to come to peace with it.

That's a lot of family drama, right? There's hardly any plot without it.

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