normalized abandonment

Birnbaum: He wasn’t a predator.

Russel Banks: No—a dumb kid. Sexually confused. Alienated. Lots of things. Not angry. Basically an honest kid. Trying to figure out how to be a good person. Not very well equipped to do that. An abandoned kid, essentially. Benignly neglected. The mother takes credit for provided him with shelter, food, and an iguana. He’s a feral child in a way. You have an awful lot of them out there. Latchkey kids we used to call them. One parent—she’s working all day. Comes home then goes out at night, and she’s still a child herself in some ways. It’s a country that has fewer and fewer adults in it.