• At the opening of the novel, Augie March is 9 years old, living without a father, with a tyrannical landlady, Mrs. Lausch, whom Augie is instructed to call "Grandma." Augie's mother is described as "beaten-down and simple-minded," but Augie loves her anyway.
• Augie lives, along with his mother, with his older brother Simon who is extremely motivated in school, and he cares for his younger brother, Georgie, who is declared "an idiot." The family lives in a Polish neighborhood that sometimes gives them grief because they are Jewish.
• At the age of 12, Augie gets a job distributing theater handbills. Later, he moves in with his cousins to help with their paper route. Their house is extremely messy, but they are kind to him. Augie's Aunt Anna is extremely emotional and wants Augie to marry his cousin, Freidl, soon.
• Later, Grandma makes it her prime goal to...
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