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Small Steps by Louis Sachar
Transcript of Small Steps by Louis Sachar
The genre is Young Adult Fiction (drama).
The protagonist is Armpit who is trying to make a positive change in his life by setting small goals.
The antagonist is X-ray, a former friend from Camp Green Lake, who is involved in scalping counterfeit tickets and Jerome Paisely/Aileen that wants to kill Kaira and take her money.
The supporting characters includes Ginny, a young girl with cerebral palsy; Kaira DeLeon, a teen-pop singer who is struggling with her celebrity status and entourage, particularly her manager/step-father El Genius; and Cherry Lane, the mayor of Austin Texas - where the story is set - who comes to Armpit's defense against police brutality and violence after recognizing him from landscaping her yard.
The internal/external conflict involves Armpit facing the "rushing river of life" and X-ray who is negatively influencing and distracting him from turning his life around by making bad decisions and taking big steps vs small steps towards a positive direction. On the advise of his guidance counselor, Armpit sets 5 small goals to turn his life around from negative to positive;
Armpit befriends Ginny, a young girl with cerebral palsy, who has a very positive influence on him and loves teen-pop sensation Kaira DeLeon;
Armpit is swayed by his former Camp Green Lake inmate, X-ray, to scalp Kaira DeLeon concert tickets; he takes advantage of Armpit's hard-earned money and cons him into taking a big (illegal) step towards doubling the money he's earned landscaping the Mayor's house;
When Armpit realizes that his tickets are counterfeit and meets Kaira in person, he points out that life is just like crossing a river - if you take a giant step you risk the current knocking you off your feet and carrying you away;
A close friendship is now being formed between Armpit and Kaira
Both Armpit and X-ray are interrogated by police in regards to the counterfeit money-making scheme; knowing that they both have prior offenses, they lie and cover up the truth of their involvement to Det. Newburg. The police realize that X-ray is lying and Armpit is honest.
Kaira and Armpit grow closer together in their relationship as they share their feelings and embarrassments; she invites him to her next concert in San Francisco.
El Genius (Jerome) continues to be cocky and arrogant stating that Kaira is easily replaceable and nothing without him; his girlfriend Aileen has embezzled $3M from Kaira's trust fund and will make-off with the money by double-crossing everyone.
Felix is blackmailing X-ray and Armpit for Kaira's letter; he threatens to talk to the police because X-ray costed him $2,000
Felix's sidekick Moses assaults Armpit over Kaira's letter to Armpit; Kaira's limo driver calls the police and drives Armpit to the airport as he heads to San Fran. Armpit X-ray Although he has a police record and others expect the worst from him, Armpit (the protagonist) is committed to putting the past behind him and is motivated to work towards a better future for himself. He recognizes the importance of taking small steps towards achieving any goal in life. He is loyal to and protective of Ginny. X-ray (the antagonist) devises get-rich-quick schemes. He is not motivated to invest the necessary time and work towards achieving a goal. He knows how to persuade Armpit and lure him off track. Overall, he is dishonest and untrustworthy. Ginny (supporting character) believes in Armpit and in his ability to change his life - she sees the good in others. Although she has a disability, she is strong and confident; she is humorous and is also taking small steps to improve her life, even if her father walked out on her family. Kaira DeLeon (supporting character) is a spoiled, teen-pop idol. She's managed by El Genius - her corrupt, rude, selfish and money-hungry step-father. As a result, most of the time she's lonely and not happy about her celebrity status since she can't be a normal adolescent. Character Profiles Supporting (major/minor) characters
El Genius/Jerome Paisley (Kaira's manager/step-father) who is incredibly arrogant, evil, manipulative and measures intelligence by a person's ability to open the door to opportunities
Aileen (Jerome's girlfriend) who embezzles funds from Kaira's trust fund
Fred (Kaira's bodyguard)
Tatiana (Armpit's class love interest)
Jack Dunlevy (Armpit's landscaping boss)
Armpit's & Ginny's moms TURNING POINT
-Kaira & Armpit ditch Fred to go on a tour of San Fran alone
while Jerome snoops through Armpit's hotel suite in search of some personal belongings that he could use to frame him in some crime since he knows Armpit has a police record
-Kaira is very upset & offended by Armpit's need to have another personal letter written by her that he can hand over to his fellow ticket scalpers for money; Kaira is caught off guard because she thought their relationship was positive/genuine and not based on her celebrity status for profit -Jerome breaks into Kaira's suite and violently assaults her with a baseball bat; her bodyguard, Fred, ends up getting stabbed; Armpit comes to her aid. -Police, ambulance, news reporters and fans come out to the crime scene; Kaira and Fred are hospitalized; Jerome is arrested.
-Armpit is a hero for saving Kaira's life; the ticket scalping investigation against him is dropped; Kaira appreciates/acknowledges Armpit's goodness.
-Jerome confesses to premeditated crime of attempted murder; Aileen is arrested for embezzlement; Kaira needs lawyers and accountants to fight bankruptcy
-X ray humorously contemplates the idea of becoming a lawyer since he is well versed in the art of verbal persuasian -Armpit inspires Kaira to rebuild her singing career by taking "small steps" on her road to recovery as she writes her new song
-Armpit refocuses on his personal goals to change and better his life
-It is unknown whether or not they see each other again I learned that in life get-rich-quick schemes that involve taking advantage of others can land you into plenty of trouble. This is clearly evident with X-ray and particularly with Jerome. Instead, if you set specific goals (actually write them down and refer to them) and work hard towards achieving them, it will result in personal success and satisfaction. Even if you take small steps, as long as you take them in the right direction, it will eventually pay off. If you believe, you will achieve – provided you do the necessary work and maintain a positive attitude. Finally, if you embark on this journey you will discover who you really are and what you’re capable of, as Kaira pointed out at the end in her new song lyrics. Overall, I enjoyed the novel as a sequel to Holes but didn't feel the characters were as engaging. Themes & Final Thoughts