One of the Boys Summary & Study Guide

Magariel, Daniel
This Study Guide consists of approximately 69 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of One of the Boys.
This section contains 936 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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One of the Boys Summary & Study Guide Description

One of the Boys Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on One of the Boys by Magariel, Daniel .

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Margariel, Daniel. One of the Boys. Simon & Schuster, 2017.

The narrator of the novel, a 12-year old child of separated parents, finds himself being driven away from his mother’s house by his father after his mother has beaten him for trying to leave the house to go see a movie in the middle of a tornado in their Kansas hometown. The father takes the narrator and his brother back to his house and takes pictures of the narrator to show Child Protective Services so that he can gain full custody of the children in the impending divorce. When the narrator’s wounds do not look serious enough, the father convinces the narrator to hit himself to make them look worse.

The father ends up winning custody of both boys and moves them out to Albuquerque, New Mexico in the hopes of burying the past and creating a new life for himself and his sons. When they first arrive, the father tells the narrator and his brother about a trip he took to New Mexico once before where he witnessed a way of living among the people there that he refers to as The Spirit. By moving them there, he hopes to recapture this spirit and make a fresh start for himself and the boys.

Soon after the move, the narrator finds his father falling into patterns of abusive and self-destructive behavior. The father physically beats him for the first time, treatment he had previously reserved for their mother, and develops an ever-worsening drug addiction. However, the narrator repeatedly excuses the father for his actions because he wants to help and protect him, and it becomes apparent that the father has been psychologically abusing and manipulating both of the boys since they were young in order to ensure their loyalty to him even at the cost of their own wellbeing.

Soon the father settles into a pattern of living that revolves around his drug use where he alternates between periods of binging and sobriety for weeks at a time. Eventually the father’s addiction causes him to fall behind on his work, and the narrator and his brother are forced to help him just to make ends meet. Time passes and the father’s abusive and self-destructive behavior continues to put the narrator and his brother in more and more harmful and dangerous situations. The boys have to get their own jobs to help support the family as the father falls deeper into his drug addiction. At one point the two boys go several weeks in a row without seeing or hearing from their father, and it seems as though he has completely abandoned him.

After an incident with the police, the brother resolves to call the mother for help in the hopes that she will allow them to live with her back in Kansas. The narrator, however, who still is afraid of betraying his father in spite of his reckless and antisocial behavior, tells him not to. The brother does it anyway, and when the father finds out he beats him to near unconsciousness. After this incident, the narrator decides he wants nothing to do with the father anymore and works with his brother to form an escape plan.

The boys formulate a plan to take a bus to their mother’s house during a business trip the father has to take to Kansas. They drop him off at the airport, and the next morning they get on the bus out of Albuquerque. However, at a rest stop, they call their mother only to find out the father has already gone to meet her that morning and told her he wants to get the family back together. Their plan ruined, the boys return to Albuquerque and wait for both of their parents to meet them back in New Mexico. When they go to the airport to pick up their parents days later, only their father is present. It becomes apparent that he and their mother got into another fight and have no intention of getting back together.

In the ensuing weeks, the boys hatch another plan to steal the father’s car and drive themselves back to Kansas. One day while the father is out making a drug deal, the narrator finds the keys to the car and $5,000 in his sock drawer. He informs the brother of this, and they decide to take the keys and the money and escape the next chance they get. However, because the brother has been caught stealing money from the grocery store he works at, police begin to show up at the house every day looking for him, and so the father never leaves the house out of fear that the police are trying to arrest him.

One day soon after, the father makes the narrator go outside and make a drug deal for him. When the narrator returns, the father accuses him of stealing half of the drugs he told him to buy and beats him until he is unconscious. When the narrator wakes up later that night, he finds the brother has not come home yet. The next day the narrator awakens to the police knocking on the door after having finally caught the brother. The father refuses to open the door, and tells the narrator to keep watch through the peephole and while he goes into his bedroom. The narrator agrees, and seeing his opportunity he ignores the father’s orders and opens the door to let the police in.

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This section contains 936 words
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