Study Guide

Edmond in How I Live Now

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The Sweet, Innocent Rebel

Ah, Edmond. Where to begin? When we first meet this fourteen-year-old, he looks like a "mutt, you know the ones you see at the dog shelter who are kind of hopeful and sweet and put their nose straight into your hand when they meet you with a certain kind of dignity and you know from that second you're going to take him home" (1.2.4). But lest you think he's sweet and innocent, he's also smoking a cigarette and running through a Do Not Enter sign across a ditch and onto the highway to avoid parking fees. So yeah, there's a healthy dash of rebel in him, too.

The Romantic Cousin

Anyone a fan of Edward from Twilight? His almost-namesake here does his fair share of Edward-esque creepy staring at Daisy, and like his vampire counterpart, he's also wiser than he looks—as Daisy says, "if this kid turns out to be thirty-five I won't be a bit surprised" (1.4.25). To flesh Edmond out a bit further, though, Daisy also notes that Edmond "did surprise you in about half a million ways each day" (1.8.4), which is at least partially based on his, er, surprising maturity.

But back to that staring habit of Edmond's. His staring seems to imbue him with some sort of superpowers, as he also has the uncanny ability to read Daisy's thoughts. Although we don't see much of him for a big chunk of the book, he and his lady cousin love are thankfully able to communicate telepathically, which helps keep Daisy going during her tough times with Piper.

And yes, we called Daisy his lady cousin love because these two hold no regard for social rules, and readily jump each other's bones. Just another surprising thing about Edmond, we suppose.

Post-War Edmond

While the whole misfit clan was dealt a bad hand during the war, Edmond manages to draw the short straw and ends up in the worst shape of them all. Unable to live with the consequences of abandoning his wartime community on the farm, Edmond returns, knowing that he is putting his own life at risk:

He had worked and lived side by side with every one of those people for months and perhaps he felt that if he could warn them better, make it clearer, force them to listen. (2.5.19)

Edmond's good intentions fail, though, and instead he witnesses their massacre and gets captured by enemy soldiers. When he finally returns to his family, he's mute for over a year, and he continues to punish himself, "as though he hadn't suffered, or been punished enough. And for what? For being alive" (2.5.30). He has some major survivor's guilt to contend with, though as the book ends, he has Daisy by his side once more, determined to help him see his recovery through.

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