Absolutely Normal Chaos Study Guide

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Absolutely Normal Chaos By Sharon Chreech

Mary Lou Finney, who is also a minor character from another book (Walk Two Moons), is just getting out of seventh grade for the summer. Her teacher assigned her to write a journal about what she did every day during summer vacation, and she does.

First, Mary Lou's cousin Carl Ray, who doesn't talk much, comes to stay with her family so that he can find a job. She regards Carl Ray as a lazy good-for-nothing, primarily because when he first arrives, she has to do all of his daily maintenance. She makes his bed, cleans his room, and generally does just about everything for him. Every day, she records in her journal what she does for him, and how little she thinks of him because of it. Every day, she gets more and more expressive in her journaling.

In Mary Lou's free time, the town pool is her destination of choice. She has a crush on a boy there named Alex Cheevy, who turns out to have a crush on her, too! The two rapidly become boyfriend and girlfriend. At the same time, Mary Lou's best friend Beth Ann has some romantic escapades of her own, and her drivel on the subject makes Mary Lou sick. Then, to everyone's surprise, Beth Ann's boyfriend dumps her, and she starts going out with Carl Ray.

Meanwhile, Carl Ray gets a job at a hardware store owned by Mary Lou's mysterious neighbor, Mr. Furtz, just to have Mr. Furtz die of a heart attack. Carl Ray, set back by this development, is shocked to suddenly receive a $5000 anonymous 'gift', and Mary Lou is intrigued. Carl Ray has never known who his father his, and was trying to find out.

Just as suddenly, Carl Ray is put into a coma following a car accident, and Mary Lou revisits the opening pages of her summer journal, appalled at her own horrible attitude towards Carl Ray. She investigates, and learns that Carl Ray's father was none other than Mr. Furtz himself!

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