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One's a Crowd

208 pages3 hours


This is the story of two close friends, Teddy and Jamie, growing up in Winnipeg. Neither are popular, Teddy because he is quiet and unassuming, Jamie because he is not, but each is content with his role. Jamie has always been the precocious, brilliant outsider in the class, and Teddy his unpretentious admirer. Upon graduation from high school, they both leave home to attend university in Hamilton, Ontario and decide to room together. It is then that changes begin: Jamie shows increasing signs of mental illness and Teddy becomes more independent and assertive. He even talks his girl friend, Karen, into going to the same university.

Teddy revels in the critical thinking he is learning at university and begins to disagree more and more with Jamie. Things remain tolerable, however, until Karen becomes pregnant and then inexplicably leaves him. When she has an abortion without consulting him, Teddy begins to decompensate. Even though he is a long-time unbeliever, he seeks an answer in religion but finds it shallow and unhelpful.

Jamie, on the other hand, becomes more isolated and withdrawn, and unable either to appreciate Teddy’s dilemma or to help him. His ability to interact socially deteriorates and eventually even his judgement. Teddy questions Jamie’s sanity and the two eventually stop talking to each other. And when Jamie inadvertently hampers Teddy’s hoped-for reunion with his girl friend, the consequences are devastating for them both.

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