Of the mothers I have visited in these recent posts, Donna Leversee is the one whose virtually unknown. This is mainly due to the fact that the book she appears in, “He Was Weird,” written by me, has only been out for a couple of months. However, she has been my motivation behind theses series of posts. It came about when someone who read the story fed back to me that in their opinion, the mother was also responsible for her son’s shooting spree at his school. So, like the previous mothers, let us look at whether or not she should be held responsible.
The first thing we learn about Donna as the story opens is that she has just split up with her husband on account of his drinking leading to financial mismanagement and takes her three children to live with her parents. When my proof reader read the first chapter, that reader sensed a great sadness with the mother. It is easy to play the single mother card here especially as the story progresses and we learn that her bullied eldest son has Asperger’s Syndrome. But I don’t think she would have done that herself.
It is the way that she handles her son’s bullying that some may blame her for the outcome. Another reader even stated while the mother wasn’t to blame, she didn’t help either. Throughout the story, she tells Mark to fight back, one of her favourite lines seem to be, “I would have gone up to the kid and socked him.” This is even the case when he is faced with insurmountable odds, she expected him to take on several people himself. On the other hand, there are times when she goes charging in to right the wrongs done to her son. We see this in both instances when bullies destroy Mark’s bike; one time threatening to call the police and actually calling them the next time. Maybe it’s this that sends mixed messages to Mark and causes his mind to overload. Still, is she to blame?
We do read that she does try hard for her son. In spite of school opposition, she has him diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and DAMP and gets him the support he requires. But she also uses it as a stick to beat Mark when his grades don’t improve. Like everyone in the town, she fails to link the bullying he is suffering to the academic failures.
Most would probably agree with the premise that Donna Leversee is trying to do her best for her son although some of the methods may not be the best considering his problems. One suggestion has been that there is little evidence in the story that she doesn’t get the support she requires from her parents. That is something that definitely could be debated, the idea that she had to stand on her on two feet so her children should have to as well.
A further twist in the tail occurs after her son commits the atrocity. Her grief is plane to see but after the family moves out of the town, she reverts back to her maiden name and has her two other children do the same. We also discover that she tells a potential boyfriend that her son was killed by a drunk driver and she isn’t impressed when her daughter says she is going to attend the ten year anniversary service. So what impression do you get of Donna Leversee? Is she a villain or a victim? Or just another parent trying to do her best for her children in an unsympathetic world?
The best way to decide for yourself is to read He Was Weird.