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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
In the opening of the chapter Brint asks Adam to describe Amy Hertz. Adam remembers how they kissed under the football stands. He describes Amy Hertz as someone who does not take life too seriously and talks like a wise guy. She could be serious too; he remembers how she could read for hours.
Amy and Adam met coming out of a library, running into one another and spilling their books. As Adam picked up the books, Amy commented how it was like a ridiculous Hollywood movie where the hero and heroine meet in a silly way. He fell in love with her right away. She was short with red hair and freckles. She had beautiful blue eyes and breasts that embarrassed her. He told her he wanted to be a writer and she did not laugh. She told him to meet her the next day.
They met the next day after school. As Amy went on about school and such she noticed how quiet Adam was and asked if he was shy and why she never saw him around. He said he was shy. He though about how he never was around because he had to go straight home to his mother, who was usually in her room and never left the house. She got very nervous if he was not home on time. He decided not to tell Amy about his mother.
They went to Amyís house and Adam, whom she called Ace, debated about whether he should call his mother. He had told her he would be late because of a Literary Club meeting, but he felt very guilty. He decided not to call her. Amyís mother ran out the door to a meeting. He listened to Amy in the bathroom and became embarrassed by the sounds he heard. When Amy came out of the bathroom, she told him not to let a few farts bother him. She said that because she was trying to shock him.
Amy took him to the A&P (a grocery store) and told him they had to fill a cart and abandon it. This was a game she played often and changed the rules every time. The best ďNumberĒ(as Amy called her pranks) they pulled off was filling twelve carts and placing them in one row. They watched from outside how puzzled the clerks were and how angry the manager got. Adam kissed her that night. It was his first kiss ever, and he loved her.
The doctor interrupts Adamís story, asking if Amy is one of the clues. Adam thinks that she is, but he wants to keep her separate from the others. He continues his story with a phone call from Amy. She called him one day from the newspaper her father worked at. She said there was a man there from Rawlings, PA--where Adam told her he was from. She said the man knew everyone in the town and did not remember anyone with the name Farmer. Amy asked his motherís maiden name, but the man did not recognize that either. Adam lied to Amy and told her he was not born in Rawlings, and that they only lived there a few months when his father was out of work because he hurt his leg.
The doctor tells him this conversation with Amy, when Adam was fourteen was a landmark. He must try to remember more. Adam is worried he will not and asks to end the conversation.
In this chapter we get a much better sense of Amy Hertz. She is a foil of Adam because her bold nature magnifies his timid nature. However, she also helps him, because she forces him to loosed up. Amyís mother also seems to be the opposite of Adamís mother. Adamís mother is reclusive and watches his every move. Amyís mother appears constantly involved in everything. She seems almost uninterested in meeting Adam. She is always leaving home to participate in committees.
The mystery about Adamís father grows even deeper because it seems that he was not from where he said, or he has a different name.
Adam is riding down route 119 and it is raining. He tries to stay out of the rain under a tree but it does not work. He sees a car pass by; he is upset that it does not stop to pick him up. Them he is happy it does not stop to pick him up. He thinks he will go home, and then he decides to keep going. He ends by singing The Farmer in the Dell
Cormier uses a very clever technique in switching between the present tense account of Adam riding his bike to Vermont and the past tense accounts he gives the doctor. Because his conversations with Brint are in the present tense (although they are taped, so it is not necessarily real time) the reader cannot be sure if the conversations occur before or after his bike ride. When he recalls stories to Brint or in his own mind we are able to understand the people and events of his life much more clearly. Moreover, he is picking out stories that are particularly important to his present situation.