* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: Vada getting accidentally locked in the basement. It comes a little out of nowhere, is played for a moment of drama but Vada is ultimately fine in the next scene and it doesn't get mentioned again. When Shelly speaks to Harry about her concerns, she references an earlier moment but not this scene - rendering it kind of pointless in the overall narrative.
* CrossesTheLineTwice: Vada's grandmother is senile but sometimes occasionally gets up and starts singing spontaneously. One day Vada is supposed to be watching her and she gets up from the living room...and walks right into someone's funeral to start singing. You feel bad for the poor unsuspecting mourners but at the same time it's a ''hilarious'' situation.
* CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming: At least once in every chapter.
* FridgeHorror: [[spoiler: Thomas J's death]] happens in a rather secluded part of the woods. Exactly how long was it before he was found? And how long did his poor mother worry about him.
* HilariousInHindsight: Jamie Lee Curtis is able to act as a surrogate mother/big sister to a young girl. Fast forward to [[Film/FreakyFriday 2003]] where she is completely unable to relate to her own teenage daughter.
* ItWasHisSled: [[spoiler: Thomas J dies.]]
** [[spoiler:Thomas J's death ]].
** [[spoiler: Thomas J's ''funeral.'']]