Study Guide

Punkzilla Family

By Adam Rapp


I haven't grown much since the last time you saw me which was four years ago at Christmas I think. That's when you came out of the closet and the Major made you stay at the Holiday Inn. (1.17)

The Wyckoff boys spend a lot of time exiled to hotels due to the Major's intolerance. We're thinking he should get a rewards card—he could at least get a free night when Edward finally flips.

So you went AWOL, huh? Now two-thirds of Wyckoff boys are official runaways! Congratulations on joining the club! (2.9)

Leaving your parents and becoming estranged from your family stinks, but sometimes it's what you have to do in order to become an authentic human being. At least P dies surrounded by a chosen family that loves him, one of whom is a biological relative.

Even though I know Edward would like to think that he is open-minded, he is so thoroughly following in our father's footsteps that I wouldn't be surprised if they wind up with the same trick knees and arthritic hips. (4.25)

Your state of mind affects your body, and your personality is genetically influenced, too. Edward might very well share a strong dose of the Major's DNA, or he might just be too intimidated to displease him.

I know that garden helps her but it makes me sad and tense when I think about her always sneaking around back there just to get away from the Major so she can just sit in peace or like put her hand on a tree because that's the best she gets. (5.20)

Rather than finding a way to get away from the Major and save her kids, Jamie's mom looks for comfort from inanimate objects. Jamie both feels sorry for her and resents her.

I wanted to yell at them to run away while there was still hope to like get the f*** away from their parents and board a ship to some deserted island or some place where they could create their own society with their own rules but I didn't even open my mouth. (5.62)

Jamie sees the potential kids have if they get away from their families—they might retain their imaginations a bit longer, they might not have hang-ups and guilt. But he knows their parents also provide homes, and he's unable to plant the idea that they should run screaming. Where would they run to?

Do you think it's in our genes? Maybe Mom was some crazy shoplifter in her youth or maybe the Major does weird s*** like steal a pack of breath mints when he's in line at the grocery store? (8.58)

If Edward got the Major's discipline, Jamie thinks he and P must have gotten their mom's genes, and there must be stuff she's not telling them.

[…] you have so much of that, Jamie, so much potential. All three of us do, and even though Peter is squandering his down in Memphis or Athens, Georgia or wherever it is that he is busy being an opinionated homosexual, there is still hope for you. (11.8)

What Edward doesn't see is that P and Jamie's potential to survive in a larger world is what serves them—not sticking around and trying to follow the Major's stringent rules.

By the way, I should tell you that the person I started dating is your brother Edward. I know it must be weird for you to hear that because of your invitation and because of the fact that he's a senior and I'm a freshman, but it's not as strange as it sounds. (16.4)

Cornelia Zenrich, Jamie's hometown crush, writes him and rubs her normalcy in his face by telling Jamie she's dating Edward. In doing so, she deepens the cracks in his already broken heart.

I was like "You don't even know me" and she said "But I'm enjoying GETTING to know you" and then I finally said it P I said "I'm not your son!" and man it was such a relief to say that. (19.74)

Marty's whack, somewhere on the spectrum between seductive and motherly, which is a confusing spectrum indeed. It would seem she's suffering from long-term, untreated postpartum psychosis.

I'm not going to tell you where I am because I don't want anyone to know especially Mom and the Major and Edward too. Not that you would nark on me. I just don't want there to be any evidence. (22.4)

Jamie wants to make a clean break—his running away is not a cry for attention, it's the real deal. He wants to break away from everyone in his family but P.

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