That Was Then, This Is Now


Cast of Characters

Bryon: The narrator and protagonist of the novel. Bryon is a sixteen-year-old boy living through a year of intense challenges and the painful process of growing up.

Mark: Bryon’s best friend, who has lived with Bryon and his mother for six years. Mark is handsome, charming, and clever at hustling and stealing.

Charlie: The tough but kind owner of Charlie’s Bar, the pool hall where Mark and Bryon hang out. He lets Bryon borrow his car, and saves Mark and Bryon from getting injured or killed by two men from Texas whom they have just hustled at pool. In the process, Charlie gets shot and dies.

M&M: A sweet, intelligent thirteen-year-old boy who is attracted to the ideals of peace and freedom associated with the hippie counterculture. He is drawn into experimenting with LSD, and is forever changed by a bad acid experience. At the end of the novel he suffers from memory lapses, diminished intelligence, and a general loss of trust and innocence.

Cathy: M&M’s intelligent and mature older sister. She loves M&M dearly and worries about his well-being throughout the novel. She dates Bryon and develops a close relationship with him, which he deliberately sabotages out of self-hatred. At the end of the novel, she is dating Ponyboy Curtis.

Bryon’s mom: The widowed mother of Bryon who has essentially adopted Mark, as well. She generally stays out of the boys’ personal lives, but treats them with love and compassion.

Mike: A teenage boy in the hospital room across from Bryon’s mom. He was badly beaten by a group of black men after he drove a young black woman to her home. Although Mike was trying to help the girl, he tells Bryon that he doesn’t hate black people for what happened; in fact, he “almost” understands it.

Mr. and Mrs. Carlson: The parents of M&M and Cathy. They also have several other children, and a...

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