Why do you think the novel opens with Taylor discussing Newt Hardbine?
While it initially may seem like Taylor's discussion of Newt is mostly important to advancing the plot—it is his father she saw get blown up by a tire, and seeing Newt dead and his wife shot in the hospital has a lasting impact on Taylor—her real reason for spending so much time describing this minor character is as a point of comparison to herself. Newt is an example of the kind of person who grew up in Taylor's hometown and stayed there. Taylor tries to emphasize how similar they really are—she says she and Newt might look like brother and sister—in order to suggest what she fears happening to her if...
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