An Ocean in Iowa
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In a small town in Iowa, Scotty Ocean has announced that seven is going to be his year. It does turn out to be his year, but not quite the one he had imagined. It is the year his mother abandons the family. At first, Scotty does astonishing things to get her to return. When he realizes she won't be coming back, he decides he must replace her. And when that proves impossible, he takes the dramatic step of trying to remain seven forever.
Funny, sad, and constantly surprising, An Ocean in Iowa explores the fragile contracts between parents and children and what it really means to grow up.
ever seen. Scotty blurted out the first question that came to him. “Does the bird get lonely?” Mrs. Boyden glared at Scotty. Not only did he not raise his hand, but he was still wearing his helmet. Tim and his mother looked around for the person who had spoken. Scotty said it again: “Does the bird get lonely?” Tim Myerly stood motionless. He was stumped by Scotty’s question. He knew his bird’s age, its natural habitat, and favorite foods. He knew every fact imaginable, for his father had
across the street to Shakey’s Pizza, Joan and her children settled into a corner booth. Joan shared a pitcher of Pepsi with the girls. No beer, they would report later to the Judge, no beer. Scotty drank 7-UP. He studied the red-and-white-checkered tablecloth with its blotches of tomato paste and crumbs from previous pizza crusts. Maggie asked if it was okay to order a Suicide pizza (which consisted of every topping Shakey’s offered). Joan said, “It’s your day, Maggie.” Trying to cram weeks of
found her mother slumped over the steering wheel, the car horn blaring. “She pulled her mother off the wheel and felt the limpness.” No one moved as Carole told the sequence of events. That night, during dinner, the Judge explained the medical reasons. “Some people,” he said, “a very small number of people, have what’s called an aneurysm. Doctors have no way of knowing if a person has one. Some aneurysms, such as Mrs. Fowler’s, are on the brain.” And then he said, as if it were good news, “She
Bonanza, and Ernie on My Three Sons—seemed to escape such mixed-up emotions, they did have troubles of their own. Jody broke a vase once, Ernie lost his glasses, and that Sunday night, Scotty watched as Little Joe’s heart broke when the woman he loved turned out to be a liar, a cheat. Little Joe felt like crying but he didn’t cry because he’s not a crier. And when Little Joe gets sad, Scotty noted, he climbs on his horse and rides into town or sits at home at the Ponderosa and eats a good meal,
and waits for everything to work out, which for Little Joe Cartwright, it always did. “So Scotty,” Maggie concluded as they stepped up onto the porch of their house. “What do you think?” “Uhm.” “You didn’t listen, did you?” “Yeah, I…” “I just told you the secret of being popular. And you didn’t listen.” Maggie let the screen door slam. “Do you know how many people want to know the secret of being popular?” Scotty stood on the porch for a moment, then looked back up the street two houses to