page 1 of 2
Taylor and Turtle are driving Lucky Buster home to Sand Dune, Arizona. Although Lucky Buster is thirty-eight years old, he has the mental capabilities of a child. He lives with his mother, Angie Buster who is used to having Lucky run away. Although Lucky has a couple minor injuries, he survived amazingly well in his few days in the hole. While Turtle and Lucky sleep in the car, Taylor contemplates her relationship with her boyfriend Jax and the idea of "luck." On reporter has told Taylor that Turtle's and Lucky's futures will forever be linked, according to a Chinese belief that says the person who saves a life is responsible for the person she saves forever.
Angie Buster owns a diner and a hotel, the Casa Suerte, in Sand Dune, and welcomes the three travelers when they arrive. Taylor notices a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe covered with yellow bows, now being taken off since Lucky has returned safely. A local reporter Red is already there to take pictures of Turtle and Lucky. Angie energetically brings food for everyone, including another customer named Collie Bluestone, who is in rooster-fighting business. She also tells stories about Lucky's runaways in the past. In private, Angie tearfully tells Taylor how grateful she is that Taylor brought Lucky home safely.
Finally, Taylor and Turtle return home to Tucson. Jax and Taylor sit up in bed, talking and enjoying each other's company. Jax thinks about how he admires Taylor's lack of self-consciousness about her appearance. Jax loves Taylor, but senses that she does not need him, and worries aloud that she will run away with the garbage man. Then he gives her a long list of phone messages, mostly from reporters, but also from her mother Alice. When Taylor hears Alice is leaving Harland, she wants to call right away, but stops when she realizes how late it is in Kentucky. Finally, Jax tells her that Oprah Winfrey called, hoping that she and Turtle will appear on an episode of her show, "'Children who have Saved Lives.'"
Taylor and Turtle are on the plane to Chicago, where they will appear on the Oprah Winfrey show. Neither mother nor daughter has flown on a plane before, and both are excited. When they arrive in Chicago, they ride in a limousine to the studio. Taylor thinks that the driver must have a funny job, driving around royalty and serial killers and all kinds of people in between.
When they arrive in the studio, the wardrobe woman is helping Turtle get dressed for the cameras. She wants Turtle to change out of her overalls and into a dress instead. The "secret of T.V." is that even though the dress is way too big, they can just pin it up in the back, and no one will know the difference. The other kids on the show include a cub scout who got help when his scoutmaster collapsed on a hike, and a fourth-grade girl who saved her sister from a dog attack by hitting the pit-bull with a Barbie convertible. No one seems to be harassing them about their clothes. After haggling with the wardrobe woman, Taylor finally asks Turtle what she wants to wear. Turtle wants to wear her own overalls, and Taylor refuses to let the woman go against Turtle's choice.
Chapter Four introduces yet another mother-child pair: Angie and Lucky Buster. Like Alice and Taylor, Angie is also a single mom. Taylor is dating Jax, but he is not Turtle's father, and at this point Taylor does not think about him as a permanent part of her life. Single motherhood is already an important theme in the novel. In fact, the book affirms untraditional family structures in its many manifestations. For now, the reader should connect Alice, Taylor, and Angie as three examples of mothers willing to sacrifice anything to give their children a sense of love and security. In the context of this novel, a mother's love is strong to the point of being fierce. The reader may remember in the second chapter when Taylor is holding on to Turtle's hand so tightly it is almost painful, and when Lucky returns to his mother, she "envelop[s]" him like a "starfish." Angie's inability to keep Lucky from running away parallels Taylor's future conflict: she, too, will not always be able to protect her daughter, or keep her from straying from home.
Take a Study Break!