I found the plights of all the underdogs in this novel to be heart-rending, more sharply brought home by the cruelty of seemingly everyone else. Bobby Garfield, Stokely Jones, Carol Gerber, Ted Brautigan-- all lost something. Good people with unfortunate lives are the most inspiring to me in that they remain good people. I've met precious few people like this outside the novels of my favorite authors, and all have touched my lives. I've always had a lot to say in life, and not many opportunities to just say it already, dammit. Even when I'm asked, I'm terrified. Terrified of my family, of my friends, of something greater than me that both awes and terrifies. This novel was inspiring because Stokely Jones, old Rip-Rip with his precious chip on his crutch-hardened shoulder, dragging his legs around campus like it meant something to him, said what he had to say. He said it with black spray-paint, not caring who found him out, not caring if his message was washed from the bricks in the next couple of days anyway. With that sparrow-track on the back of his jacket, he did what most can't-- he spoke his mind. I'm envious.
Re: Stokely Jones
...his characters can be cathartic AND inspiring....