Summary and Analysis
Chapter 17 - Ronnie
For the first time since she arrived in North Carolina, Ronnie is able to sleep in. When she gets up, Jonah is watching television upside down and eating pop tarts. Jonah tells her that Steve is outside with Pastor Harris. Ronnie looks and sees that Officer Pete is just leaving. After Pastor Harris leaves, Ronnie finds out from her father that the shop owner is going to press charges. Ronnie won't be able to return to New York any time soon.
Steve asks about Blaze, and Ronnie tells him about Marcus. Because they are talking, Ronnie asks her father about why he left the family. She mentions that there was somebody else, and Steve admits he could have tried harder to save the marriage. At the end of their conversation, Steve encourages Ronnie to go talk to Will.
Ronnie builds up the courage to tell Will that he is right and apologizes and tells him what a good time she had the other day. After they share a brief kiss. Ronnie leaves, reliving the kiss and enjoying the day. When she returns home, she tells Steve that it went well with Will, and then Steve tells her a bit about his childhood and his early relationship with Pastor Harris. Then he tells her about the night of the fire and the month that Pastor Harris spent in the hospital. They end up agreeing to have lunch together. Steve suggests that Will be invited over to dinner and that the family "do what we used to do." But, as usual, he leaves the decision to Ronnie.
Ronnie continues to mature as she faces up to the reality of the shoplifting situation — including the need for her mother to know. It does not matter that she is innocent; she has to allow the judicial process to run its course. She also shows a more mature side as she gathers the courage to face Will and has a conversation with her father. This chapter also gives more information about Steve's childhood and the fire. Now, the readers know most of the reasons that Steve has for wanting to complete the window. Ronnie is taking the first steps toward getting to know her father, although real change takes time.