I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen. The first of those came as a terrible shock and, like anything else that changes you forever, split my life into halves: Before and After."
Prologue, Page 8
When I was fifteen, an extraordinary and terrible thing happened, and there was only Before and After.
Prologue, Page 18
A falling-down wreck on the edge of town, curtains permanently drawn, that would turn out to have been home to some ancient recluse who'd been surviving on ramen and toenail clippings since time immemorial, though no one realizes it until a property appraiser or an overly ambitious census taker barges in to find the poor soul returning to dust in a La-Z-Boy. People get too old to care for a place, their family writes them off for one reason or another—it's sad, but it happens.
Chapter 3, Page 79
Finally I came upon a pair of rooms missing entire walls, into which a little forest of underbrush and stunted trees had grown. I stood in the sudden breeze wondering what could possibly have done that kind of damage, and began to get the feeling that something terrible had happened here. I couldn't square my grandfather's idyllic stories with this nightmare house, nor the idea that he'd found refuge here with the sense of disaster that pervaded it. There was more left to explore, but suddenly it seemed like a waste of time; it was impossible that anyone could still be living here, even the most misanthropic recluse. I left the house feeling like I was further than ever from the truth.
Chapter 3, Page 81
When someone won't let you in, eventually you stop knocking.
Chapter 4, Page 88
Sometimes you just need to go through a door.
Chapter 4, Page 92
It was true of course, what my dad had said: I did worship my grandfather. There were things about him that I needed to be true, and his being an adulterer was not one of them. When I was a kid, Grandpa Portman's fantastic stories meant it was possible to live a magical life. Even after I stopped believing them, there was still something magical about my grandfather. To have endured all the horrors he did, to have seen the worst of humanity and have your life made unrecognizable by it, to come out of all that the honorable and good and brave person I knew him to be—that was magical. So I couldn't believe he was a liar and a cheater and a bad father. Because if Grandpa Portman wasn't honorable and good, I wasn't sure anyone could be.
Chapter 4, Page 92
It was one thing for a grandparent to withhold something […] from a grandchild, quite another for a father to keep it from his son—and for so long.
Chapter 4, Page 96
I didn't know how to respond. How do you say I'm sorry your father didn't love you enough to your own dad? I couldn't, so instead I just said goodnight and headed upstairs to bed.
Chapter 4, Page 97
Part of me felt like something momentous was about to happen. The other part of me expected to wake up at any moment, to come out of this fever dream or stress episode or whatever it was and wake up with my face in a puddle of drool on the Smart Aid break room table and think, Well, that was strange, and then return to the boring old business of being me. But I didn't wake up.
Chapter 6, Page 139
I'm no expert on girls, but when one tries to pinch you four times, I'm pretty sure that's flirting.
Chapter 7, Page 190
I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.