is really the story of Lynn Epstein, who is recording her thoughts in a diary as she tries to sort through all of the feelings that are closing in on her. Not only is her oldest friend—someone who was like a brother—dead at seventeen, but also his death was the result of suicide right after he murdered his adopted parents. Lynn immediately withdraws within herself with all of her pain and grief. She feels guilty for not having stopped David. Lynn is not capable of seeing or feeling anyone else’s pain, and therefore she alienates her best friend, Steffi, who is also suffering because of David’s suicide. Lynn resents Steffi, not only because she was having dinner with her on the night David committed murder and suicide, but also because Steffi talked to the reporter from The New York Times
about David. Lynn had always tried to protect David when he was alive, and now that he is dead she cannot stop.
The picture that emerges of David and his parents, as Lynn remembers David’s life, is a very sad and disturbing one. Bob and Lorraine Morris were emotionally abusive parents. They made demands on David that he strived to meet, but his attempts were never good enough. "If he got a 90 they expected a 95. If he got a 95, they expected a 100. And if he got a 100 they wanted to know why he did not get them more often." He tried harder and spent more time studying than anyone Lynn knew. When David lost the presidency of his junior class—he had only run because Bob and Lorraine wanted him to—his allowance was cut because he had not tried hard enough. The real David, the one Lynn knew, loved science fiction, photography, and playing the guitar, but he had to keep it a secret because Bob and Lorraine would disapprove. It became quite apparent that no matter how hard David tried, he could not please Bob and Lorraine.
Lynn’s alienation from everyone is having its effect on her. Jeffrey, David’s best friend, loses control in English class, with Lynn watching, and starts screaming that it was not his fault. Jeffrey is sent to a hospital to recover from his breakdown. She is frightened and angry but reflects that this awful combination is one that David felt his whole life.
Lynn does not understand what David meant in his suicide note: "Forgive me, but this is the only way to prevent further tragedy. I take full responsibility for the deaths of both my parents and myself." Lynn has repressed her last conversation with David, and she is sure that if she can remember it, she will understand what further tragedy David thought could happen.
David left Lynn four notebooks that he wanted her to have because she would understand. The last notebook is very recent and difficult for Lynn to finish. David’s last entry is "Lorraine is pregnant." Lynn decides that David murdered his parents because the baby would be another life for them to ruin. That was the further tragedy he was preventing. Lynn understands how David reached this conclusion. When Lynn learns from the police that Lorraine was not pregnant, her understanding of David’s action changes.
Three months after their final conversation, Lynn finally remembers her lunch with David. It had been a very typical lunch and conversation, but what bothers Lynn is the way David had looked. He was at peace with himself. He would not tell Lynn what he had got his mother for her birthday. He said it was a surprise. It had not seemed right to Lynn at the time, but she had not been able to figure out why.
Lynn realizes that he did plan to end all of their lives and that this had given him a sense of contentment. She also realizes that there was no way that she could have known David’s intentions. Now Lynn starts to let out all of the anger, guilt, and sorrow that have been stored inside her. She really cries for the first time. She feels sorry for David, and for Bob and Lorraine. They all made a mess of their lives, but Lynn must go on with hers.