Study Guide

Hard Love Chapter 6

By Ellen Wittlinger

Chapter 6

  • That Friday, when John's dad comes to pick him up for the weekend, he parks the car and comes into the house. This is highly unusual. After all, John and his dad have the honk once system down to a tee.
  • Apparently John's dad wants to congratulate Anne on her engagement. And that's not where the weirdness ends either.
  • In the car, his dad announces that they should get Chinese takeout instead of their usual pizza that night. Um, okay.
  • Clearly, his dad wants to have some big talk. Yep, John was right. His dad starts talking about the divorce, and says John is old enough to understand now that he had no choice.
  • After all, the community is so small-minded, what with all the shrub-trimming, little league games, and family activities—he just didn't fit in there.
  • What is the point of this talk? John starts to feel like his dad is just saying he didn't want to raise a kid, which he doesn't need a talk to figure out. Abandoning him when he was ten sent that message loud and clear.
  • John flips out. He tells his dad he'll never be old enough to get running away from your own child. Ever.
  • Okay, okay, this talk didn't exactly go as planned, John's dad admits… and then he leaves again.
  • When John meets up with Marisol, he brings along a piece for her to read. She takes a long time reading, digesting each line of it.
  • After reading it through three times, she announces she's found what she calls the moment of truth. It declares he doesn't want anything to change right now. This line alone makes the piece worth reading.
  • John hates the way that makes him feel. He doesn't want to be vulnerable with her—or anyone else for that matter.
  • Why else write? Marisol asks—you should make your readers feel what you are going through.
  • The subject switches to her writing. She's been trying to write about something for a while now, but it's too personal.
  • Wait a minute… isn't that the point? John's confused why he has to be more personal, but she can't write about something without revealing too much of herself.
  • Marisol gives him the short version: She started hanging out with this gay crowd a while back. Everything was great, especially when she got to know Kelly a little better.
  • She fell head-over-heels for Kelly faster than you can say romantic comedy, and they started hanging out all the time and going out on dates.
  • One day, they're sitting together, when Kelly turns to Marisol and says she doesn't think she is actually gay. Whoops.
  • John feels for Marisol. He can see how much the whole experience upset her, plus he gets how hurtful that would be.
  • He writes a poem about being as reliable as the trees; he guesses it's really about his dad leaving. He doesn't read the poem to Marisol because he decides he can't trust her. After all, she never lies.