Gary D. Schmidt delivers a poignant, funny, relatable tale of a middle schooler, his falling-apart family, and the old-school butler who unexpectedly comes to the rescue in a purple Bentley. Young characters have to cope with family tragedy, middle school, sibling squabbles, and adults who let them down, but they also have a steadfast, resourceful guide in the butler.
"'Young Master Carter, when you walk Ned for your mother, when you attend Miss Anne's robotics competition without observing that such attendance is, if you'll pardon the expression, "a pain in the glutes"; when you cheer at Miss Charlotte's football match even though she barely had a touch; when you accompany your sister to a Turner art exhibition; when you take your young sisters to buy Dreamsicles; when you appear as exhibit A for Miss Emily's Favorite Person of the Week event; when you attend two ballet exhibitions despite your unfortunate and undiscerning distaste for the art; you are telling them that it ["Remember who you are" and "Remember who loves you"] is exactly the same thing,'
"'Is that what being a gentleman is supposed to be?'
"'We are what we love, young Master Carter.'"