62 pages 2 hours read

Lisa Graff

Absolutely Almost

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2014

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Symbols & Motifs

A-10 Thunderbolt Model Airplane

The A-10 Thunderbolt Model Airplane is a recurring motif that first appears in the chapter “a perfect summer day,” when Albie reminisces about the trip to the Sea, Air, and Space museum where he and Dad bought the model. The airplane later gets its own dedicated chapter in “a real a-10 thunderbolt,” where Albie thinks of how much fun he had that day and how he looks forward to building the model with Dad, who hasn’t had any time since.

The journey of the model airplane throughout the book parallels the trajectory of Albie and Dad’s relationship. Initially the result of a one-off enjoyable day, the plane is now a treasured memory. Dad’s promise to build it with Albie never comes to fruition, although Albie silently and painstakingly works on it by himself. This represents the one-sidedness of the relationship, where Dad is only sporadically emotionally present but otherwise disconnected and preoccupied. Despite this distance, Albie loves and admires Dad, looking to please and spend time with him.

However, when Dad later gives Albie the exact same model for his birthday and, once again, promises to build it together, this is the breaking point for Albie, who has felt increasingly unseen.