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I guess her "grief" serves as a burden for her character. It is, in fact, the most important event in her background that motivates the vast majority of her actions throughout the book. I think there could have been more flashbacks of her time with Zexton, and a more appropriate closure when she finally overcame that guilt to be with Marty.
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It's shown at the beginning but quickly forgotten once Marty comes into the picture, and I think therein lies the issue. It felt less like an actual part of Jennifer and more like a plot device.
"...while a book has got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the reader it's got to be worthwhile from the point of view of the writer as well." - Terry Pratchett on The Last Continent and his writing.
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I felt like it was slightly unrealistic. Yes her grief did come in waves, where things would remind her of her grief. But I felt like the story didn't really do it any justice. The reason for grief was explained as Zexton dying but it seemed like whenever the topic came up, her thoughts were just "oh right, he's dead". I felt like the author could have gone into more detail about his death and not just as something that seemed like an afterthought thrown into the story every once in a while.
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Her grief was not consistent and it was thrown in at random times. It did not seem at all realistic.