Study Guide

Minor Characters in She's Come Undone

By Wally Lamb

Minor Characters

Frenemies

Dolores has a hard time making female friends. Here are a few she comes into contact with, but they'll never be BFFs, or even BFs. Heck, she isn't even Fs with most of them.

First is Jeanette Nord. They're friends because they like the same TV shows, but when Dolores moves to Grandma's they lose touch, like young friends often do. There's a really awkward moment later when Jeanette shows up at Ma's funeral and laughs, like, a lot (9.60-61). We don't know what's going on there, but it must just be a response to epic discomfort since they really have nothing in common.

Norma French is a schoolmate who has a boyfriend with a bad complexion. Dolores hangs out with her once, but doesn't try to find anything in common with her, even though Norma is the only girl at school who will even give Dolores the time of day.

At college, Dolores often interacts with girls from her dorm. There's Rochelle, the dorm president. Veronica, who has "a noticeable twitch" (13.35), and Naomi, who's "frail and nervous" (13.35) and went to Woodstock. She a sixties radical, trying to turn the dorm Halloween party into "a stand on Cambodia" (14.84). You do you, girl.

As an adult, Dolores tries to make friends with Tandy, thinking "I had no other woman to discuss Dante with, no one to tell me if keeping all my secrets from him was wise or dangerous. I ached for a woman friend" (21.28). But Tandy avoids her. Later, when she goes back to school, Dolores at least warms up to Allyson, a girl in ger class who has a baby named Shiva, which makes Dolores's biological clock start tick tock ticking. Allyson's nice enough, and she lets Dolores hold her baby, who only has two arms, unlike Shiva himself.

Other Adults

There are a few other adults who influence Dolores as well. Geneva Sweet is sweet, just like her name, for taking care of Dolores, even though Dolores isn't nice to her at all. She does it out of memory for her best friend, Dolores's mom, more than she does for Dolores however. Still, without her intervention, Dolores would probably be dead.

Domingos is the cab driver Dolores hires to take her to Cape Cod after killing Dottie's fish. She tells a waitress that she and Domingos are in a relationship even though, duh, they aren't.

One of her cohabitants in the halfway house, Fred Burden, proves that some people are even less well-adjusted than Dolores is. We only see the aptly named Fred Burden in one real scene, but Dolores gives him some of her Etch-a-Sketch masterpieces (recreations of Degas, pictures of Elvis—that sort of thing).

When Dolores gets into her professional stalking career (i.e. moves across the hall from Dante) her landlords are Mrs. Marguerite Wing and Chadley Massey. Massey is an old horndog who tries to talk Dolores into a threeway. She tells him to "Cut it out, you old motherf***er" (20.95) which is one of the first times we see her appropriately directing all the rage she's held onto for so long. Sure, the wrinkled old coot is an easy target, but we're proud of her. Mrs. Wing is a little more supportive, taking her to her abortion and holding her hand.

Finally, there are the Buchbinders, who hire Dolores to work in their store after Grandma dies and Dolores moves into her house. They even give her a discount, and eventually they promote her, even though she lies about having a brain tumor and quits once. Despite her being a terrible employee, they offer to pay for her college. We have no idea why, though—maybe she's the daughter they never had.