Study Guide

Mom (Mrs. McConnell) in My Heartbeat

By Garret Freymann-Weyr

Mom (Mrs. McConnell)

Mom is levelheaded and much more emotionally available than Dad, but she's also incredibly busy. Her interior-decorating job takes up a lot of her time, leaving Link and Ellen pretty much on their own to figure things out for themselves. This hasn't been much of a problem in the past, but we can't help but think if she was able to be around just a bit more during the book, some of Link's crises could have been averted.

When she is around, Mom is a source of unconditional love and support. She may not have all the answers (who does, though?), but she at least takes the time to sit down and discuss things with Ellen when she seems troubled about Link:

"You should always feel free to talk to me, Ellen. About anything. Your father and I love you both. No matter what."

"I know," I say in a pleasant and evasive manner.

They do love us. It's nice. I would rather have them for parents than Mr. and Mrs. Wentworth, but all this has been so very beside the point of the information I am seeking. (5.32-34)

When Link decides to start rebelling, Mom is the only one brave enough to talk to him directly about what's going on. In a family that avoids conflict (and communicating) like the plague, this is an impressive attempt. Talking to Link about serious stuff is like expecting answers from a brick wall, but at least she makes an effort:

"Link, let's start at the beginning. What do you want?"

"To be left alone," he says.

"If that's what you truly wanted, you would never have pulled a stunt like this," she says. "I think you would like our attention. It's safe to say you now have it. Is there something you want to tell us?"

"He didn't need to do this to get our attention," Dad says quickly, as if afraid someone else might speak.

"Colin, he sure didn't do it to be left alone," Mom says. (13.30-34)

Because Mom is much more emotionally motivated than Dad, this is a source of additional conflict when Link's issues become a family matter. They obviously don't see eye to eye about how to handle the whole situation, which only escalates things further. When Link tells her that Dad has been paying him to date Polly Keller, she is shocked and dismayed (to say the least). She even apologizes to Link for his father's bigoted actions, which leaves us wondering why Link doesn't use her more as a valuable ally.