What started as a simple tale of teenage angst and rising to maturity, ended with treachery, bloody fists, and broken hearts. The Minors by Christopher Ludovici took me on a ride that was quite unexpected. At first, his novel may seem conceptually commonplace—a young teenage girl named Sam has to learn to cope with the news of moving across the country to Chicago, all while battling her “evil” mother, trying to pass her driving exam, and crushing on the family’s new handyman, Nick. However, with time I began to learn that this was a truly original tale structured on character development, vulnerability, and relationships.
The Minors is centered around three primary characters—Sam, Liz (her mother), and Nick. After Sam’s father drops the bomb that they will be moving to Chicago, Sam immediately blames her mother feeling she is responsible for the change. How is a young girl supposed to adjust when she is inches away from her senior year?
When Sam’s father moves to Chicago leaving the family in the dust to pack up the house and reclaim stability, Nick’s character becomes significantly more important. Nick, an ex-athlete and well know screw-up becomes entwined in the lives of Sam and Liz despite his efforts to remain emotionally unavailable. He begins confiding in Liz about the turmoil of his relationship as Liz vents about Sam’s attitude, playing catch with her son, and teaching Sam how to drive after he’s finished up around the house. As the story progresses, so too does the relationships of these characters.
I think it is commonly agreeable that if a person can relate to a character, then it is at least, in that aspect alone, successful. I in many ways can relate to Sam. When I was growing up, my mother and I did not get along at all and I thought she was trying to ruin my life because I lacked the ability to see my mother as a person who was doing the best she could to get by. Ludovici shows what I was forgetting to see as a teenager—that although Sam’s mother is in no way perfect, she is truly trying her best and that’s all that matters. When Sam finally humanizes her mother, she rises above her status as an adolescent.
Of course, when things seem like they are about to be wrapped up in a nice little bow, shit really hits the fan. And of course, I am not going to disclose what happens in the end because I would never want to ruin a story worth reading, but let me just say it gets a little bloody and things get ruined.
If you are interested in peeking into the lives of a family that is not as together as they seem from an outsider’s perspective, then look no further than The Minors. 4/5 stars
Favorite Quote: “Your children are your soul mates, like literally. They’re a piece of you. Your body, blood, everything. They are individuals but they’re you too. But the thing about soul mates, you think they’re going to fix you but you have to fix them. Soul mates are a responsibility. And you force yourself to grow up so that you do the best you can for them.”