“You’re wrong,” she said. “You’ve always been wrong about that.”
The story of the Wingos is one of humor, grotesquerie, and tragedy. Tragedy predominates.So warns Tom Wingo before beginning to relate that story to Dr. Susan Lowenstein. Lowenstein is Tom's sister's therapist and needs his help to understand Savannah, who recently tried to kill herself for at least the third time. Savannah's now institutionalized until she gets back to a place where she can handle her PTSD (my diagnosis, not Lowenstein's), psychosis, and whatever else they diagnose her with.
. . .parents were put on earth for the sole purpose of making their children miserable. It's one of God's most important laws. Now listen to me. Your job is to make me and Mama believe that you're doing and thinking everything we want you to. But you're really not. You're thinking you own thoughts and going out on secret missions. Because Mama and I are screwing you up. . . I know we're screwing you up a little bit every day. If we knew how we were doing it, we'd stop. We wouldn't do it ever again because we adore you. But we're parents and we can't help it. It's our job to screw you up.That's not the last time Tom will joke about this, but he'll spend far more time showing and telling the reader about how parents go about screwing up their kids -- he, Savannah and their older brother, Luke, are proof of that (there are four exceptions to this in the novel -- but I can't help but think that with some more investigation, they'd be shown as screwed up, too).
"There's a difference between life and art, Savannah," I said as we moved out into the Charleston Harbor.