There is a very large amount of character growth and development in Boy21 by Matthew Quick. In the novel, one of the themes is “coming of age”, and this is shown in protagonist Finley McManus when the reader witnesses him grow as a person. Many things have an effect on Finley, including his friends Erin and Russ, and his city, Belmont. Living in Belmont with Erin and Russ causes Finley to become more mature and responsible in his journey to adulthood in Boy21.
Finley’s girlfriend, Erin, helps him grow on his journey to adulthood by teaching him valuable skills and eventually helping him achieve his life goal. Erin teaches Finley valuable life skills such as prioritization, companionship, effort, decision making, and initiative. Finley and Erin love each other, but they agree to prioritize basketball over their relationship. Erin inspires Finley to work harder at improving his basketball skills. Erin gives Finley someone who actually understands him, the best friend that everyone needs. As Finley says on page 12, “Erin’s one of the few people I know who is okay with silence and, since I don’t like talking, it makes us a perfect match.” When Erin gets hit by a car, Finley is put in a place where he must make a very significant decision: which of the two most important things in his life he should choose: basketball or Erin. He ends up going to visit Erin in the hospital. Since by doing so he skips a basketball game, he gets kicked off the team permanently. Lastly, Erin shows Finley that there is no point of staying and waiting around in Belmont for some miracle to happen. On the contrary, he should take action and find a way to get out of Belmont. That is what Erin does, and she consequently invites Finley to join her. Learning important life skills such prioritization, companionship, effort, decision making, and pre-eminently taking initiative is necessary for one’s “coming of age” and this ultimately helps Finley mature in his journey to adulthood.
Russ helps Finley grow on his journey to adulthood by teaching him the trait of selflessness and by giving him someone to relate to in terms of being an orphan. Russ teaches Finley the importance of looking past your own well-being for other people’s sake. Finley is told by his basketball coach to befriend Russ completely for Russ’s sake. Although it is not easy, Finley, knowing the pain Russ is going through, agrees. On page 42, Finley says to himself, “I remind myself how crazy this whole situation is. He’s absolutely nuts.” Finley puts a lot of time and effort into supporting Russ and being there for him even though he thinks he is weird. On top of that, he tells Russ not to hold back on the basketball court, but to go all out and try his hardest, even though as a result Finley loses his starting position. Learning to altruistically think about others is a key difference between a youth and an adult, and in this way Russ edifies Finley and helps him grow on his journey to adultho...