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"We've always wanted the best for Cole," he said. "His mother and I have devoted our lives to him, but he---"
"That's bull!" Cole shouted suddenly, although he wasn't holding the feather. "You drink until you can't stand up, and you're gone all the time. A devoted parent doesn't whip his kid until a shirt can't hide all the bruises!" (Page 46)
If Cole had different parents, he might not have harbored all the anger resentment, and emotional devastation caused by his father's drinking and abuse, as well as his mother's inattentiveness. He may just have turned out to be a happy kid without a care in the world..... I guess we'll never know.