Study Guide

Private First Class Bucky Hollister in Shooting the Moon

By Frances O'Roark Dowell

Private First Class Bucky Hollister

He might be a radio repairman and a soldier, but to Jamie, Private Hollister is nothing more than her gin rummy partner. And one she can beat, too. The pair starts playing early on in the summer and end up going head-to-head in a nail-biting tournament. Our money is on Jamie the whole time, though.

We love a game of cards, but even more than that, we love how honest and open Hollister is with Jamie. He's not afraid to tell her how it is—warts and all. Remember when she's trying to get Hollister to look at TJ's photos of the war? He tells her that he's just not that interested in that; no oozy pics for him please. Listen to how he puts it:

I mean, it's definitely a real war. Don't know if I want to look at pictures of the people who are getting killed over there, though. (7.24)

Um, okay. Jamie is surprised that a soldier wouldn't want to gaze at them—the war is what he signed up for, after all. But Hollister doesn't want to relive the painful memories of his brother dying in Vietnam. It did a number on his mom, and we'd wager it's only made the violence of war all the more real to him, too.

Hollister might act tough, but at heart, he's just a softy, like a teddy bear with a uniform. He gets emotional when talking about the war, even if he doesn't know how to express it. Plus, he cares so much about what going to war would do to his mom that he pulls some strings with Jamie to stay home. It's clear that he has a big heart, even it keeps his cards close to his chest. And we're not talking about gin rummy cards either.