One of Us is Lying

by

Karen McManus

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One of Us is Lying: Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Tuesday evening, Cooper is eating dinner with his family. When his father asks him what he did with his night off, Cooper imagines what would happen if he told his father the truth about Kris—he pictures his father’s head literally exploding. He knows he can’t tell his father the truth about being gay, despite having realized that he is deeply in love with Kris—the only one who has ever made Cooper feel like a “real person.” Cooper knows, though, that being an openly gay baseball player could wreck his career—and the admission could ruin his relationship with his father.
Cooper knows that the closer he gets to Kris, the further he gets from his family. He literally can’t imagine a scenario in which his parents are okay with who he truly is, and though he hates lying to everyone around him—and risking so much in the process—he can’t put aside his desire for the way he feels about himself when he’s with Kris.
Themes
Stereotypes and Unlikely Connections Theme Icon
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
Cooper’s father reminds him that he has to go in for steroid testing tomorrow—ever since Simon’s posthumous post, Cooper has had to get tested every week, despite the fact that he’s never touched steroids in his life. Cooper reflects on how he was sure that the secret about him on About That would be related to his sexuality, not sports—last spring, he believed Simon had figured out that he was gay, and urged one of Keely’s friends to disinvite Simon from their group’s afterparty. Cooper regrets having acted cruelly because he couldn’t deal with who he really was—and regrets that all this time later, he still can’t.
Cooper knows that his reluctance to come out has affected more people than just himself—he has acted cruelly towards people as a result of it, and now that Simon is dead, Cooper will never have the chance to apologize for his selfish actions or make things right.
Themes
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
The narrative switches to Nate’s perspective; he is eating a meal with his mother at a local diner, and things between them are awkward and tense. His mother tries to make conversation about school and Nate’s hobbies and interests, but Nate shrugs off every attempt she makes to connect. He asks his mother if she’s going to be able to pay for the meal, and his mother informs him she now has a steady remote job. She offers to help Nate and his father out financially, and even help Nate secure a lawyer. As the meal goes on and Nate’s mother talks normally about her life, Nate becomes more and more afraid that she’ll never be able to stay sober, stay employed, and stay sane. He gets up and leaves, unable to deal with his fear and pain.
Despite having taken a major step forward in his relationship with Bronwyn, Nate still can’t get over his issues with his mother and allow her into his life. He can’t believe that she’s here to stay—or that her promises to help him will actually materialize. Nate would rather be on his own than be let down again, and chooses to try and remove himself from his mother’s care entirely.
Themes
Stereotypes and Unlikely Connections Theme Icon
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
In the parking lot, Nate runs into Mikhail Powers, who has been waiting for him outside. Nate brushes Powers off, despite Powers’ offers to help Nate get the public’s opinion on his side. Nate gets on his bike and starts it up, reversing past Mikhail Powers’ crew and out of the lot.
It's not just his mother’s help Nate doesn’t want; Nate doesn’t want to have to rely on anyone to help him, and when faced with Mikhail Powers’ offer, again retreats further into himself.
Themes
Stereotypes and Unlikely Connections Theme Icon
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