Grew Up… a high school basketball star. Her competitive spirit – and long legs – made Patty into an ideal athlete. The only problem is Patty couldn’t put that endless drive to win to rest after the end of her sports career. She continues to harbor a kind of animal ferocity in her everyday life, which often comes through in scathing sarcasm and bitter diatribes.
Living… at the center of her own sad story. She’s a bored housewife, living in St. Paul, Minn., with a husband she can’t stand, a daughter she can’t connect with, and a son who no longer wants her to dote on him like a little prince. Patty’s love for her son Joey is perhaps her most pure emotion—but her love becomes a little too smothering for Joey to reciprocate. Patty ends up living metaphorically alone in a full house.
Profession… housewife. She probably could’ve made it in professional basketball, at least before the knee injury. But she chose the domestic route, and now her “profession” includes daily bottles of wine and a few gossip sessions with neighbor Marie Paulson.
Interests… self-pity and self-analysis. At the suggestion of her therapist, Patty starts writing a third-person autobiography, in which she analyzes her choices and woes over the years. Although it is in many ways therapeutic to write it all down, Patty wallows in self-pity to an unhealthy level.
Relationship Status… married to Walter. He didn’t exactly sweep her off her feet when they met in college; Patty had her sights set on Walter’s roommate, rock musician Richard Katz. But Walter’s persistence, warmth and boyish devotion won her over just as her basketball career was ending. Nowadays though, what Patty needs is to be taken, sexually. Walter’s good-guy persona isn’t cutting it during her midlife crisis.
Challenge… staying sane. Patty has been losing her mind drink by drink for years now. It’s not that she isn’t cut out for motherhood, or that she doesn’t love Walter or her children—it’s that she doesn’t love herself. And until she can get over that major hurdle, Patty’s sanity will continue to slip.
Personality… sarcastic to the core. Patty uses her own self-pity as an excuse to vent her bitterness in any way possible. For years she was able to hold a façade around the neighborhood as “a resource, a sunny carrier of sociocultural pollen, an affable bee.” But now the coldness and intensity of middle age is bleeding through her once-pleasant exterior, and Patty isn’t smiling anymore.
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