Peekay thinks the Lord is a shithead. We can’t blame him. His born again Christian mother has just told him that his wet nurse turned nanny called Nanny will no longer be associated with their family. Nanny would not convert to Christianity resulting in his mother’s dismissal of her service. We learn that Nanny has gone back to “Zululand”—an improper and slightly derogatory term for the Zulu Empire—and will not be returning to care for Peekay. We can assume his mother believes she can care for him by herself despite the (obvious) reasons she cannot. On the list being her current state of mind (bible thumping mania), and her past state of mind (nervous breakdown central). Nanny is the biggest loss, but not the only permanent loss to be accounted for.
Before the news of Nanny there was the sadness of Hettie. On his way to his new home Big Hettie, a woman who was escorting Peekay to a train station, dies. Her last words to Peekay are instructions. She tells him to remember what she told him about pride. Peekay recites slowly knowing this will be her final moment. “Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.” With Peekay’s recollection, Hettie passes and a tally is set marking the first loss for Peekay.
Peekay is taken aback when his friend Professor Karl von Vollensteen is arrested under the Aliens act of 1939. Vollensteen goes peacefully, but Peekay wakes up in the hospital. After waking from unconsciousness he hears the news of his friend’s arrest. Everyone thinks that Vollensteen is guilty of attempting to murder Peekay, but only Peekay knows the truth—the only thing is, his jaw is wired shut. Over the course of time Peekay volunteers to help Professor Karl with the case and they end up winning after providing a statement. Peekay is instantly recognized as the good kid he actually is. After these events Vollensteen performs a beautiful piano piece for a crowd. We are left with this...
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