A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Spool of Blue Thread

Plot Summary Part 2

They refuse. Amanda gets them a housekeeper but when she starts a fire she doesn't last long.

When Abby is discovered wandering around on the streets in her nightgown, Stem, her adopted son, decided to move in with her. Stem was adopted when his Dad died and his Mom disappeared. But Abby and Red never formally adopted him, they just kept him around informally and this informal arrangement became his life. His name was really Douglas but Abby called him Stem because you could put your hand around his neck and snap it so easily.

Later, they find Abby wandering outside during a fierce rainstorm. She never noticed the rain.

Meanwhile, Denny stops by. He casually tells them he finished college. This surprises everyone, as they never knew he had gone to college. It's just another indicator how set apart Denny is from the rest of the family. And then we learn, incredibly, that Denny's daughter Susan is not his biological child! His ex-wife Carla must have boned another guy! No wonder their marriage fell apart, with both Denny and Carla being boned by other men.

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Denny wants to stay and take care of Red and Abby but he is angry that Stem has already beaten him to it. Denny does not consider Stem to be his real brother since he did not come out of Abby's v_gina as he and Amanda and Jeannie did. They have a fight and punch each other, to assert their dominant right to take care of their parents. Obviously Denny cares for his parents even if he leaves them for years at a time, even if he will never tell them what is going on in his life.

Abby gets run over by a vehicle and dies. It is then that Stem learns that Abby knew the identity of his real mother (who is now also dead), something Stem would have liked to know. He is angry with Abby for keeping this from him. He even realizes that his real mother was a woman he vaguely knew. Stem feels robbed of his real mother. Denny says, what's the big deal, Abby acted like your mother. But it was not the same for Stem. Denny says that Stem just wanted something he didn't have, and claimed it was some big family theme. This is supposed to be a big theme of the book, that family members want things they don't have, but the book is so poorly written that it doesn't come across very well.

Jeannie and Amanda express relief that Abby, their Mom, died, because her nuttiness was driving them crazy. What mean bitches!

We flashback to the time when Abby was getting ready to spawn. She had a boyfriend named Dane. Dane was not especially likeable. Abby was attracted to him because his mother had left and Dane was upset. She was attracted to upset guys. She was also attracted to the fact that he committed minor acts of petty theft, like the time he stole 57,600 staples.

Things were going well until Dane asked Abby to spread her legs for him. That's when she started getting second thoughts.

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