No Goofball in This World
Abstract (Summary)ABSTRACT BOLLES, WHITMAN. No Goofball in This World. (Under the direction of Wilton Barnhardt.) The main character, Wyatt, is fifteen and has been living in upstate New York with his father, Sam Cole, for four years, until Sam?s depression and some bad luck catch up with him and he dies of spinal meningitis after re-injuring an old head wound. Sam was blind, the result of a car accident when Wyatt was a baby. Sam had spent three months in an inpatient psychiatric treatment program, during which Wyatt was largely on his own, and when the program was over he returned home with a new girlfriend, manic-depressive artist Kim. She moved in and lived with the boy and his father for nearly a year, until Sam kicked her out for sleeping with his best friend. The only constant in Wyatt?s life was his Grandmother, Imogene, whose winning attitude despite all she had survived (polio, three husbands, a son) provided moral compass. Wyatt was not attending school much and had started drinking and using drugs, often with Kim. Photography, his father?s former profession, was fast becoming his passion and vehicle for escape. The novel begins with Carol, Wyatt?s mother, showing up in New York for the funeral. Flashback chapters alternate with real-time narrative sections to reveal Wyatt and Sam?s close if not altogether normal relationship over the years. The main story follows Wyatt back to New Mexico for two and a half years, then back to New York. While in NM he contends with his mother?s narcissistic mania and neglect, his step-father?s cruelty, his little sister?s passive self-destruction, and his pathological step-brother Andre. Also, he falls in love with an older woman, the neighbor Sylvia, whom he photographs covertly; he befriends a quasi-guru rug merchant named Dexter; he witnesses the aftermath of a mysterious cattle mutilation; he tries to sabotage his stepfather?s million-dollar real estate deal; he helps his mother pursue her dream of becoming a crime scene investigator; and without even meaning to, he hones his photographic craft into both family weapon and emotional shield. His drinking, however, continues and worsens. When everything collapses around him in Albuquerque, Wyatt moves back to NY, helps his sister into a treatment program for an eating disorder, hurts himself in a car wreck, and then his grandmother suffers a stroke. Meanwhile, Kim reappears, three years now after he?d last seen her, and she?s not what he expects. Her role in his finally coming to terms with his father, his family and his future is profound yet sordid, comical yet tragic.
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:11/06/2007