Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Shadowing on I-94 - Part 3: No love lost for Nick's Dad?

Colby Sharp & Jen Vincent pretending to fight over my book.
So, here's Sunday #3 in Jen and Colby's series on The Pull of Gravity. You can meet Jen and Colby, and read an introduction to the series, by clicking right here.

During week #1, Jen and Colby discussed Nick's relationship with the Scoot and the general themes of friendship in the story.

During week #2, they talked about Nick and Jaycee's romance.

This week -- oh boy! -- they talk about Nick's Dad.

By far, the Dad is the most controversial character in the book. He's the most obviously flawed -- outwardly and inwardly.
To me, he is also sympathetic. But not all of my readers agree.
For instance, while finding the dad's actions wrong, Colby struggled to relate a little:
"COLBY: If I lost my job as a teacher, I could totally see myself ending up like Nick’s dad. It would be so hard to lose your identity like he did. I’m not sure if I would gain 100 pounds or lose 100 pounds, but it would not be pretty."

 while, we had to, um, delete Jen's cusses:

"JEN: WAIT! I have to clarify something before we go on... (spoiler deleted from here but not from the actual post) . . . Because after that I can only think of him as a really big (use your imagnation). I know people make mistakes but some things are just wrong. I don’t see that as being Nick’s fault..."
And, both are great with me! Really! I love it! That's part of what makes reading so personal. We bring to it our own values, our ideas of what's right and wrong.

We also read things into the text that often aren't there. We make assumptions. We read these assumptions into the story as rote.

And, I love this too: that, as a writer, we don't know what a reader will bring. We take a reader as they come to us, and we must give them room to breathe. But it's an interesting thing to see play out. It makes each reader-writer experience we encounter richer and more unique.

Continued thanks to Jen Vincent at Teach Mentor Texts and Colby Sharp at Sharpread for the tremendous honor of this series.

- gae


  1. Well, I know my students weren't too impressed with Nick's dad, either. What took me by surprise was how many were upset with his mom, too.

  2. Interesting! I think I have a comment or two about that from them for my blog series. :)

  3. This is great! You know you have a winning book when your characters are deep enough where people WANT to have these conversations about them ... and even argue about them ... and HATE them sometimes, as if they're real people! :) Nicely done. I also felt sympathetic towards Nick's dad, until the truth came out at the end and then I was like *growl, growl, growl* :)