62 pages • 2 hours readSarah Dessen
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Divorce and its rippling effects on a family shape the lives of many of the novel’s characters. Victoria and Robert get divorced when Auden is a high school sophomore. Their relationship is tumultuous and competitive, especially regarding their careers. Both professors, their arguments usually began at dinner over offensive remarks that expanded into sharp barbs and banged dishes, then postponed until later at night, when they thought Auden was asleep. At first, Auden found a strategy to stop her parents from arguing: “I left my door open, my light on, took pointed, obvious trips to the bathroom, washing my hands as loudly as possible. And for a while, it worked. Until it didn’t and the fights started up again. But by then my body was used to staying up way late, which meant I was now awake for every single word” (6). When her parents said they were separating, Auden didn’t feel surprised, disappointed, or relieved, but “small, like a child” (7). Thus, Auden’s insomnia and her stoic, grown-up nature develop due to her parents’ chaotic relationship and divorce.
Although Auden doesn’t realize it, enduring her parents’ confrontations caused her to close herself off from others.
By Sarah Dessen