"Adam Eddington, sixteen, going on seventeen, out of high school and set for Berkeley in the winter.... He had always, with a degree of arrogance, considered himself sophisticated because he had grown up in New York, because his friendships cut across racial and economic barriers, because he could cope with the subway and shuttle at rush hours, because the island of Manhattan (he thought) held no surprises for him."This is the Adam we first meet in The Arm of the Starfish, heading off to get himself involved in far more international intrigue than usually accompanies a summer internship.
Which is actually the first of two times he ends up in the midst of completely unrelated international intrigues. By accident. The kid has a talent for it, even if he doesn't seem to have learned much from the first go-round.
But we're willing to overlook that, generally, because he's pretty awesome otherwise. Also he loves Vicky, and who reads the Austin books without identifying at least a little with her?
As far as I'm concerned, though, the single most endearing thing about Adam is one very subtle line in A Ring of Endless Light: "his trunks were zebra-striped." L'Engle just lets it fall, in the midst of Vicky's thoughts about the rest of his appearance (conclusion: not bad), and she expects the reader to know that the only reason zebra-striped swimming trunks matter is because they are the ones Joshua used.
- Chauvinist. Despite the fact that he's the awesome love interest (and he speaks Spanish), I'm not going to give him a pass on this one. It's particularly egregious in The Arm of the Starfish, where he lets himself get into all sorts of trouble with Kali because "what she was saying was only a soprano twittering in his ears. Most girls' conversation was, in his opinion."
- Scientific. A point he makes over and over. See pull quotes.
- Trustworthy. The first adjective Vicky applies to him, and we're never given any reason to doubt it.
- Easygoing. Maybe that's not the word I'm looking for -- how would you describe someone who's totally comfortable joining in family singalongs with people he's only just met?
- "I'm a scientist, not a poet. Even when I was a kid I read Scientific American, not fairy tales."
- "You can't hindsight that way. When something happens, it happens, and you have to accept it and go on from there."
- "I think that places hold atmospheres, too."