Nuzum's personal demons affirm the fragility and ephemeral nature of our relationships to past, present, future, to each other and ourselves. Some parts of life will always remain a mystery: "Because life isn't neat and binary and clean; life is messy, troubled, and leaves ghosts in its wake."
The insecurity and sense of disconnect that is American adolescence comes across strongly in Eric's story. The fact that his experience was more exaggerated and intense than most, his hold on normal routines and assumptions more tenuous, did not detract from the ability to recognize my own teenage feelings of not quite fitting into or even knowing at times what was expected of me.
Nuzum does not dispel or even come to understand clearly all that haunts him. He knows his ghosts will not ever completely go away. And yet this book is both touching and optimistic about the ways in which a friend can impact our lives; how even a few simple gestures and words can resonate and remain to pull us up and keep us moving forward years after the friend has physically disappeared.
"Just think about it for awhile. You'll eventually figure it out."
Nuzum will always carry Laura and her words, as she carried him when he most needed it.