Study Guide

Ordinary People Chapter 16

By Judith Guest

Chapter 16

  • In January, Conrad decides to be like Santa Claus and make a list, check it twice.
  • Here's his list of priorities: 1) Finals 2) Exercise 3) Friends 4) Job 5) Guitar 6) Books 7) Girls.
  • Conrad immediately regrets putting girls on the list. Not because Lena Dunham hasn't been born yet, but because girls, plural, is really stretching it when he can barely talk to one girl.
  • To tackle number four, Conrad asks for a job at the library.
  • They're not hiring.
  • Conrad gives up on finding a job after one try. Perseverance is not his strong suit.
  • But in the library parking lot, a Grade-A slammin' older babe says he is "very good-looking" (16.24), which renews his confidence.
  • In therapy, Conrad says he worries the car is a "bribe" (16.40) to be happy.
  • Conrad's tired of the pressure to be happy all the time.
  • At the end of their sessions, Conrad says he considers Berger to be a friend. There. That's number three on the list accomplished. Easy peasy mac and cheesy.