Study Guide

Hope Was Here Abandonment

By Joan Bauer

Abandonment

I stood there remembering how Gleason had stolen the money from the cash register one night; how he'd cleared out the business bank account and headed off for parts unknown with Charlene the night waitress and our money. (3)

Hope had loved her job as a waitress at the diner that Addie co-owned with Gleason Beal. She had loved living in Brooklyn, NY, just as much. But it was Gleason's betrayal that forced Hope and Addie to uproot their lives and start over once again. It takes a long time for Hope to get over this one. Who can blame her?

My mother didn't want the responsibility of a baby so she left me with Addie, her older sister, and went off to live her own life. (5)

Pretty selfish, huh? But maybe Deena deserves a little more credit. The way Addie sees it is that Deena missed out on the mothering gene and could have never been the kind of mother Hope would have wanted her to be. Maybe deep down Deena knew this too, and thought Hope would have a better life with someone less deficient in the nurturing department.

Lyla hid me in her attic with root beer and Fritos, but after a while I got scared thinking that Addie might leave me flat like my mom did. (11)

You can run from it, but you still can't hide. The fear of abandonment is what we're talking about here. It lurks in the far corners of Hope's mind and jumps out at her from time to time for the next six years.

She told me she loved me and never came back. (44)

The way Hope handles Deena's mixed-messages says a lot about her character. She's incredibly grounded for someone whose mother toys with her emotions every time she communicates with her. It's probably because she had a strong and consistent attachment figure in Addie during her early childhood, when kids need it most.

I hit and punched and cried at the injustice of being left by my mother with tubes in my nose and monitors on my chest. (58)

Hope takes up boxing when she's 11 years old and literally knocks out the rage she's been carrying around with her ever since Deena walked out on her. She says that "boxing saved her." She was probably too young at the time to realize that it saved her relationship with Addie as well. The woman (and her Buick) had been Hope's personal punching bag up until then.

"His dad walked out on the family. His mom had an operation and didn't have health insurance, and the bills are pretty rough. That's why he hasn't gone to college yet." (94)

Jillian's convinced that there's some kind of "force" between Braverman and Hope that runs deep. Could it be the one thing they've both suffered through—being abandoned by a parent—that's pulling them toward one another?

"Now the best thing you've got going for you is that your mother really cares about you. I know this is true because she's making the rest of us half nuts with all her worrying. My mother couldn't have cared less and I know that affected my eating in the beginning." (130)

Hope identifies with baby Anastasia's trouble drinking from a bottle and works with the infant until she gets the hang of it. Hope has a motherly touch, even if she did learn a thing or two about bottle-feeding by once watching a veterinarian coax Miriam Lahey's dog to eat.

Braverman and I decided to leave for school at the same time. Neither of us wanted to be the one left in the diner waving good-bye. (182)

Can one ever really abandon the fear of abandonment after being abandoned? We'd love to stick around to discuss this one, but we've really got to be going.

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