The Usual Rules
"One thing Wendy had learned from carrying on her own normal-
looking behavior for a month now--pushing her tray along the line in
the cafeteria, working on her geometry proofs, buttering her toast:
you never knew who else was doing exactly the same thing--which people
were really okay, and which ones only looked like it, even though they
could just as easily go jump in front of an oncoming subway train as
step inside it for a ride to the next station."
September 10, 2001 Wendy, protagonist of Joyce Maynard's The
Usual Rules, had an argument with her mother. She had wanted to visit
her father in California; her mom had said school was too important.
Wendy had accused her of hating her father and hating her for her
resemblence to him. Like probably all of us at least once she'd
regretted her words. Just her parents were getting on her nerves so
The next morning Wendy didn't get to speak to her mother before
school. The bell between home room and first class didn't ring on
time. A voice on the loudspeaker said there had been sn accident. A
plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers...where
her mother worked.
At first Wendy and her stepfather, Josh, and very young
stepbrother, Louie, held out hope that her mother got out alive or
would be found on time by emergency rescuers. They put up flyers with
her picture. But days turned into weeks with no sign of hope. Then
on Halloween, with Josh out and Louie asleep, Wendy hears a knock on
the door. Her biological father has flown in to take her back to
Not surprisingly, The Usual Rules made the YALSA 10 Best Books
for Young Adults. This poignant coming of age novel perfectly
portrays a young teen in a situation most adult adults would be hard
pressed to cope with.
On a personal note, I was able to help out at a wonderful outdoor
fiesta at UMaine. There was lots of food, wonderful music,
dancing... I helped to serve food. When I noticed no one was taking
pictures I put my new camera to good use. I saw lots of friends and
found a lucky dime for my grad school fund.
A great big shout out goes out to Silvestre and David and all the
others who planned the event.
Sent from my iPod