The Usual Rules Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Usual Rules

Thirteen year old Wendy is devastated the day her mother does not return from the office. She and her mother have been close ever since her father left before Wendy was born. Wendy lives in New York and the day her mother does not return is September 11, 2001.
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Her stepfather, a nurturing man who makes his living playing the Slap Bass in Jazz Clubs is left to help Wendy and his own son, Louis, through this heartbreaking time. For weeks, the Stepfather and Wendy continue to search the hospitals of New York in case Wendy's mother has amnesia and is still alive somewhere. Five year old Louis has his own way of dealing with this tremendous loss and continues to wear all manner of capes (Superman, the Devil, Pirate) to his first few months of Kindergarten.

Wendy is agonizing through this time of loss when her biological father calls up from California and suggests 'maybe she could come on down to California, and get to know her real father, his girlfriend and her cactus collection.' Torn between staying with her family in New York and finally getting to know her real father, Wendy makes the decision to spend a few months in California.
Though she is registered for the eighth grade in her father's town, Wendy never makes it past the first day. The thread of family life and the loss of a mother is wovenly tenderly and thoughtfully throughout this novel of a young woman struggling through a great personal tragedy.
The review of this Book prepared by Marion Brenner

Chapter Analysis of The Usual Rules

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   search for family/history Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes Loss of...    -   mother

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Diane Mornay Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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