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Word Count: 1,013
Ordinary People is set in Lake Forest Illinois during the 1970s The action focuses on the Jarrett family--Calvin and Beth and their son Conrad Before the action of the book begins there was a second Jarrett son--Buck--who was killed in a boating accident over a year before the novel begins After the death of Buck Conrad became deeply troubled blaming himself He tried to commit suicide by slashing his wrists his attempt failed when Calvin found him before he died in the bathtub After the attempt Conrad was hospitalized He went through therapy and befriended Karen a girl his age who had also tried to kill herself The action of the book begins a month after Conrad is released from the hospital While he is physically cured he is by no means emotionally cured and at the request of his father he begins to see a psychiatrist Dr Berger He tells Berger that he doesnt think highly of psychiatry but he wants Berger to help him gain more control over others so that he can make his father stop worrying about him Conrad goes back to school where he has experienced a severe academic downturn ever since Bucks death He is a junior and he is a member of the swimming team However he feels he is becoming alienated from even some of his best friends such as Joe Lazenby and ends up becoming more and more isolated He decides to quit the swimming team although he does not tell his parents about the decision until a month later He spends his time instead in the library after school He even goes out for a Coke with his old friend Karen at one point and he sees that she is doing much better As the year progresses he becomes interested in a girl at school named Jeannine Pratt who is new to Lake Forest They go out a couple of times before they start to
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