10 Things I Think I Think About Wayne Fowler

01/12/11 6:00 AM

One of my favorite sports writers, Peter King, has a weekly column called Monday Morning QB (MMQB) on SportsIllustrated.com, and one of my favorite portions of the column is his “Ten Things I Think I Think” (which I love because it allows room to recant in case further information comes to light).

So hat tip to Mr. King (who loves Starbucks, the Sox, and Bill Belichik — how can I not love this man?); here are Ten Things I Think I Think About Wayne Fowler, one of the main characters from What Happened in Granite Creek.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t read What Happened in Granite Creek, do not proceed any further! You’ve been warned!

  1. Deep down, Wayne’s a decent person. I know this was hard for some of my beta readers to swallow, and I know some readers of the novel will have a hard time accepting this. He does a horrible thing at the end of Part 1. Horrible, unacceptable, and wrong on every possible level. And yet. He loves his girls. He steps up to the proverbial plate and spends the better part of those six years after Koty disappears protecting Iris, getting sober, and becoming the father that I think Koty always knew he was capable of.
  2. He’s not a homophobe, not deep down. He was for many years on the surface and because he listened to his brother Hank.
  3. He doesn’t believe Koty died at the hands of a serial killer. His version of what happened: Iris shot Koty. Koty ran through the woods, in shock, toward Jamie’s house. She climbed to the road (Jamie’s road) only to somehow fall the 20 feet into the culvert below, where she succumbed to her injuries.
  4. He was not surprised to learn Iris was gay.
  5. He cares for Honey Wallace, but he does not love her, nor will he marry her.
  6. He loved Koty throughout their stormy marriage. There were moments he didn’t like her and didn’t like being married. But he loved her, in his own way.
  7. He carries enormous guilt about what he did to Koty on that last night to the point he contemplated suicide in moments but always stopped himself because of his girls.
  8. He hates the fact Rosie works so closely with Jamie.
  9. He’s a Taurus, born on May 15, 1975.
  10. “Ring of Fire” is his favorite Johnny Cash song.

Do you have questions, comments, or observations about Wayne? Leave ’em in the comments.

And if you decide to tweet this post, be sure to include the hash tag #WHIGC.

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6 Comments on “10 Things I Think I Think About Wayne Fowler”

  1. Steve T Says:

    Ugh, Wayne. I get that he’s not the worst person in the world, but even to call him “decent” is debatable. Yes, his good side did show up by the end of the novel, but does that forgive his behavior displayed through the first half of the book? I’m not so sure.

    I’ll say this: In Wayne, you’ve created a character that readers may not like, but it’s hard to read all the way through the novel and not have some empathy for him. I may not like Wayne much, but I appreciate that you have created a character who isn’t one-dimensional.

    Curious what other readers thought about Wayne.

  2. Robyn Says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I think you’re right: “decent” might not be the right word. It’s too kind and forgiving for his behavior for 12 years.

    Thanks for reading…and for commenting!

  3. Don Kelley Says:

    Wayne is an asshole from chapter 1. He gets a teenage girl who works for him at the yogurt shop pregnant. He shows no love for the three kids. He punches Koty in the mouth and gives her a bleeding fap lip. I have a hard time buying the turnaround in part 2.

  4. Robyn Says:

    Ah, well. I tried, Don! It’s interesting: it seems so far (and yes, it’s anecdotal evidence) that my female readers have been a little more forgiving of Wayne and able to buy the turnaround in the second half. The men? Not so much. 🙂

  5. Robin Chapman Says:

    Ok. So here’s the thing. Life is not black and white and neither are people. I think Wayne’s character is realistic and believable. You paint the set up for his part 1 personality (his family/upbringing in combination with being thrust at a very young and immature age into parenthood and marriage). There are enough glimpses, clues throughout part 1 that show his human side underneath. In truth, I think most ‘monsters’ are human underneath. I’m not saying upbringing (or anything) excuses that kind of behavior. Ever. But seeing the root helps see the possibly humanness underneath (no idea if that’s a word).

    There are signs in the 1st part that he loves his daughters, that he perhaps understands something about Iris that even Koty doesn’t. But he never HAS to step up until Koty is gone. As the layers of damage and resentment pile up, the more he buries himself in it and can’t see the way out.

    It is often said that it takes hitting rock bottom or a huge shock for certain people to wake up and change. His wife’s disappearance, and knowing his daughter shot her… well, that’s a significant shock. It’s sink or swim, last possible chance. It gives him a way out.

    If I were to list one more thing about Wayne, I would say that had Iris not shot Koty, had Koty not disappeared, Wayne probably would not have reformed.

  6. Robyn Says:

    @Robin — interesting insight (and you’re supporting my theory that women are a little more understanding of Wayne). Thanks so much for reading and for commenting! And I think you’re right: I don’t think Wayne would have reformed if he hadn’t hit rock bottom, for the reasons you mention.