Study Guide

Hard Love Abandonment

By Ellen Wittlinger

Abandonment

Abandoned by his father when he was ten years old, John is guarded: He doesn't let anyone in, and he doesn't allow himself to get emotional ever. Enter Marisol. She's just as guarded as he is, but she's never been abandoned by anyone—that is, until she feels deserted by John. Hard Love looks at the aftermath of abandonment, at the baggage people carry after they're left behind. For John, he's got an awful lot of issues to deal with since he's never resolved his anger at his dad, or his feelings toward his mom as a result. As for Marisol? Well, let's say she's a work in progress.

Questions About Abandonment

  1. What is the difference between John's dad's abandonment of him, and his mom's? Which hurts him more? Which do you think would hurt you more?
  2. Do you think John's parents have more going on than they let on? How does John respond to each of them when they try to talk about abandonment with him? 
  3. Why does Marisol leave for New York? How does this make John feel?

Chew on This

John's parents abandoned him, but he doesn't ever give them credit for sticking around when they could have left completely.

Part of why Marisol heads off for New York has to do with her mom, but another part of it has to do with healing from the betrayal she feels from John.

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