Date of publication: 2017-08-27 07:43
His driver's license is confiscated at the scene of the accident, and at a hearing, the judge sentences him to probation in a detention center. Brent feels relief, then dissatisfaction, with the judge's ruling. He realizes he wanted a punishment. When he is able to meet with Mrs. Zamora "to apologize, and to understand, and to atone," she tells him she does not believe in retribution.
She tells him about Lea and her love for life, how she loved to make people laugh, and her love for whirligigs. Mrs. Zamora requests, "that [he] make four whirligigs, of a girl that looks like Lea. Put her name on them. Then set them up in Washington, California, Florida, and Maine the corners of the United States. Let people all over the country receive joy from her even though she's gone. You make the smiles that she would have made. It's the only thing you can do for me. That's what I ask."
For example, enter "giraffe" and you'll get back words like "gazellephant" and "gorilldebeest". Enter "south america" and "chess" and you'll get back words like "checkuador". Port Manteaux was created by Doug Beeferman and Sean Gerrish . It uses the Datamuse API to find related words, and then finds combinations of these words that pair well together phonetically.
Port Manteaux churns out silly new words when you feed it an idea or two. Enter a word (or two) above and you'll get back a bunch of portmanteaux created by jamming together words that are conceptually related to your inputs.
Alternating chapters flash forward, in a reverse chronology, to stories within the story about the profound effects the whirligigs have on the lives of others who encounter the whirligigs. They are a too-studious eighth-grader in Maine and her best friend, an immigrant from Puerto Rico sweeping streets in Miami, Florida, an adopted Korean boy in Washington, and a dying grandmother and her teenage granddaughter in San Diego, California.
Sixteen-year-old Brent Bishop, junior at Montfort, a private high school in Chicago, searches for self and acceptance by his peers in the right clothes, the right car, the right school, enough money, alcohol, and the right girl friend. His journey takes him to a party with a friend who neglected to tell him it was a Chess-themed party and everyone was to dress in all white or all black.
He finds a new connectedness to creation, loses his feelings of isolation, and gains a sense of his own worth. He changes from a self-centered, rather unlikeable man, into a more mature and likeable man.
When Brent completes the final whirligig and installs it at the home of an artist in Maine, he feels a sense of change, as if he is oddly buoyant. "The guilt hasn't magically vanished overnight. Four whirligigs wouldn't accomplish that." He does feel ready to return to Chicago and his parents, deliver the photos to Lea's mother, and start in a new school in the fall. "He felt that he was up to it."