Monday, September 26, 2022

Meet the Characters: Tommy Guggenbiller

Sega CD Summer is out! This is the first entry in my Meet the Characters Series

Tommy is the main character in Sega CD Summer and the book is told in first-person from his perspective.

Let's just get this out of the way: yes, Tommy shares a lot of similarities with the author. He lives in the same small town of Williamsburg, Indiana, plays baseball during the summers, loves video games and Star Wars, and has a paper route. He also enjoys hanging out with his friends.

Tommy is a little younger than the author would have been in 1994. He's 12 years old during the events of the summer and his birthday month is left nebulous. My birthday falls in July; I felt a birthday celebration would've unnecessarily derailed the narrative, so let's just say he had his birthday earlier in the year.

Tommy doesn't mind working hard, although he doesn't enjoy baseball as much as the author (or as much as his father). That's one of the most significant differences between the author and the character. I loved playing baseball during the summer and while practices sometimes wore me down, I generally enjoyed taking batting and fielding practice.

I'd say Tommy has above-average intelligence for his age. He's a decent kid at his core, although he's susceptible to the same human foibles as the rest of us. He tends to trust people, which can backfire with anything that comes out of Mr. James Glad's mouth. The poor kid also has an overactive imagination, which is why he's gullible enough to believe some of the things Mr. Glad says, especially those pertaining to a particular outbuilding on this property.

Tommy would appreciate it if everyone got along. He adores his older brother and is constantly seeking the approval of Craig aka Craig the Baseball Prodigy. He doesn't believe he'll ever match his brother's prowess on the baseball field. 

While Tommy loves video games, he isn't a highly skilled player when it comes to action games and fighters. His friends routinely dust him in head-to-head competition, although he can hold his own in any sports-related video game, much to the chagrin of his friends.

Unflinchingly polite, Tommy plays it straight with people and is one of those "sir" and "ma'am" types. He assumes most people are more competent than him when it comes to things he doesn't understand. Loyal to his friends, he's reluctant to make enemies and struggles to let go of his friendship with Ryan Davis, a former best friend with whom he had an inexplicable falling out.

A voracious reader and consumer of pop culture, Tommy lives to discuss TV shows, books, and movies with his friends and family. His brother doesn't share many of these interests, however, and is only interested in sports video games. And while his father loves going to the movies, a disconnect often exists between father and son when it comes to the details of such movies.

You get the sense that Tommy is a good kid who wants to keep his family happy and will do just about anything to convince his parents to get him a Sega CD. He works hard and has a fierce competitive streak that really only comes out during baseball games (or when he's playing video games against his brother). 

Really, he's just a small-town kid trying his best to understand his place in the world.