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Literature / Wicked Good

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Wicked Good is a novel by sisters Joanne Lewis and Amy Lewis Faircloth, originally published chapter by chapter at before being published in book form.

Archer Falcon is a lawyer in a small town in Maine whose adopted fifteen-year-old son Rory has Asperger's syndrome and bipolar disorder. As he begins tenth grade, Rory's problems with delinquency escalate, with him getting drunk at school and stealing a car. Curious about his birth family, Rory takes off with Trish Dooley, another teen, to the town where he was born.

Wicked Good contains examples of:

  • AM/FM Characterization: Rory likes head-banger music that to Archer sounds like a truck grinding its gears in reverse.
  • Baby's First Words: When Rory was one, he spent most of a family vacation on his dying grandfather's lap. His first word was "spin," referring to the wheelchair's wheels.
  • Bedroom Adultery Scene: Archer and her husband Wayne divorced when Rory was eleven, after Archer caught him with a member of his acting troupe.
  • Better with Non-Human Company: Rory is great with machines and cares deeply about animals and plants, but he can't stand most of his own species.
  • Born During a Storm: Rory was born during the Perfect Storm of 1991.
  • Character Tics: Rory paces exactly five steps before he turns around. Archer finds herself pacing the same way while she waits to pick him up from the police station.
  • Commonality Connection: Rory and Trish connect because they're both isolated and unhappy.
  • Creepy Uncle: Trish is pregnant with the child of her uncle (who's really her mother's boyfriend, but she and everyone else calls him her uncle).
  • Cry into Chest: Trish cries into Archer's chest over her pregnancy.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: When Judge Murphy asks Archer where her black eye came from, she says that she slipped on an ice cube and hit her face on the kitchen counter. In fact, Rory hit her, for the first time in his life.
  • Disappeared Dad: After the divorce, Wayne spent two years traveling around New England auditioning, during which time he almost completely cut off contact with Archer and Rory.
    Rory: Why do I have to hang out with Dad? He ignored me for two years. I should ignore him for two years. Let him see what that feels like. He doesn't like me and I don't like him. Why can't he understand that?
  • Dramatic Drop: When Archer introduces herself to Kitty as the adopted mother of her child, Kitty drops a pot full of coffee. Archer jumps out of the way to avoid getting burned.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Wayne asks Archer, "Are you going to make this easy and agree to give me custody or do we have to do this the hard way? Easy or hard? Which do you prefer?"
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: Rory has these when he stays up all night during a suicidal crisis.
  • Faking the Dead: Jib Pero was a sailor on the Andrea Gail who pressured the captain into trying to outrun the Perfect Storm. Everyone aboard was killed except Jib, who washed up in Nova Scotia. Out of shame, he never went home, instead spending the next fifteen years living as Michael Campbell, but he did track down Rory and pretend to befriend Archer.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Trish regularly shoplifts candy.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Inspired by Archer's love for Rory, Trish decides to carry her baby to term instead of aborting it.
  • It's All My Fault: Kitty commits suicide in front of Rory, who blames himself for killing her by not stopping it.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Rory introduces himself to Kitty at her mother's funeral. She tells him, "Go away and never come back."
  • Maternity Crisis: Rory's mother was working through the Perfect Storm when she unexpectedly went into labor and gave birth at the bar.
  • Miranda Rights: When Rory was twelve, he was accused of stealing a lawn mower. A cop Mirandized him from a card. Rory knew his rights by heart and said them right along with the cop.
  • Parental Abuse: Trish has bruises on her back from being beaten by her mom.
  • The Reveal: Michael Campbell's real name is Jib Pero.
  • The Runaway: Trish and Rory steal Trish's uncle's car and take off for Rory's birthplace, with Archer on their tail.
  • Screaming Birth: Rory is the product of one.
  • Security Blanket: As a little boy, Rory wouldn't go to day care without his dump truck, its wheels worn down from spinning.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Rory's biological father Jib Pero shared his obsession with lawnmowers and similar machines. Once he drove a riding lawn mower to school and back, which took hours. He also collected gas globes, the way Rory collects gas cans.
  • Tantrum Throwing: After learning that his biological father was a fisherman on a swordfish boat, meaning he probably trapped and killed birds and turtles, Rory goes into his room and rips apart a black wooden fan, throwing the blades against the wall. Later, Archer becomes so frustrated during an argument with him that she throws her water glass against the wall, shattering it.
  • Title Drop: Rory is fond of using "wicked" as an adverb, and utters the title phrase a number of times.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Archer tells Rory to stop spending time with Trish, who encourages him to break the law. Needless to say, he doesn't listen.
  • Villainous Lineage: Kitty has a distant relative who died in the Salem witch trials. Now she thinks she's a witch, and Rory is from the devil.
  • Wham Line: Archer chokes on her sandwich when she gets a text from Rory saying "Kitty is ded".
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Rory was born on October 28th, 1991, during the Perfect Storm. Since he's starting tenth grade now, it should be fall of 2007, which doesn't stop Archer from wondering if her mother Rose's ability to live comfortably off interest has changed after 2008.
  • You're Not My Father: When Wayne tells Rory, "I'm your father. I know everything about you," Rory answers, "You're not my real dad."