In Children of Little Might we learn of the bond between Monty and his father, who’s no longer in his life (it’s only later in the story that we learn why). It’s obvious Monty misses him. His father was one of the people closest to him and the one who could bring a smile on his face, even when he didn’t feel like it.
So, when Monty finds a manuscript that promises to grant his every wish, it makes sense he includes him in his wish. He wants to get rid of his autism – and see his father return home.
Dad and I found the ranch house on my eleventh birthday; a year I have tried to forget ever since. It started with my autism death sentence a few weeks earlier and it didn’t stop with Mark’s ‘help’ with my birthday invitations. He offered to organize a special gift. Everyone abandoned me that year. When Dad made some calls, we learned that Mark had never handed the invitations out. Mark called me mentally retarded and a danger to my friends. To ease the pain, Dad took me on a ride, and we found the ranch house as a result. Another bad idea.
Monty’s Dad is one of the few people he fully trusts, and when he leaves him, something brakes in the eleven year old boy.
There is a picture of his father in his father’s former study. He often goes there to remember how his father looks like. That’s when he realizes he’s all by himself.
I wish he wasn’t here.
“You said Monty got in some trouble with his Principal? Again?” Bill’s familiar voice asks.
Mom answers garbled. It brings a smile to Dad’s picture. He always understood what drove me, unlike Mom. She tried, she said, but I sometimes wonder… I turn to Dad’s desk. The papers there, lie the same way as that day when he… (continue reading in Children of Little Might.)
Monty’s mother tries her best, but they don’t click as well as Monty and his father did. Monty remembers a fourth of July when they went to New York – this memory comes up in Children of Little Might.
But there are other ones, from when Monty was younger. There was a period in his life that certain thoughts scared him. Back then, he had still a bedroom on the second floor – and not on the third as wel discover in the book. He was four or five and he slept in the smaller bedroom next to his parents. He found it hard to sleep.
“What’s bothering you” Dad asked.
“I don’t know what to do when our home catches fire. What if I can’t escape? Will I die?”
His father looked grimly at the window, overlooking the flat roof above the porch.
“You can escape. Want to try it?” Dad asks.
Monty nods, his eyes big.
“Okay. Let’s start with simply lying in your bed,” Dad says. When Monty does that, Dad continues. “Imagine you see smoke come from under the door.”
Monty raises his head, then nods as if he truly sees the smoke.
“Crawl from your bed. If there is a lot of smoke, you best stay as close to the floor as you can. There you find the most breathable air. Now, crawl to the window.”
Monty drops out of bed and crawls on all four toward the window, just as his Dad explained.
“Open the window. Careful.”
Monty opens the window.
“You can now crawl through the window onto the porch. From there you can lower yourself onto the ground and safe yourself.”
“And you and Mom?”
Dad leans out of the window and points at the one beside him.
“That’s our room. We come out the same way. Okay, now?”
Monty nods, relieved.
“We will train this procedure a few times in the coming days. Each evening, just before you go to bed, until you can do this on your own. Okay?”
Monty nods again as he crawls into bed, relief visible on his face.
This is the first reference to Monty’s Dad in Children of Little Might. It comes from the first chapter:
Royal places a heavy folder containing my disciplinary history between us. He adorned it with my official name in red letters. I’m sure he is aware that I hate that color because of what happened to Dad. Another matter I hope to solve once I translate the last sentence.