The life of Mason, from early childhood to his arrival at college.
Twelve years in the less than nuclear life of a nuclear Texas family - father Mason, mother Olivia, oldest offspring Samantha, and youngest offspring Mason Jr. - is presented, focusing on the younger Mason's entire public school years, he sometimes referred to as MJ when in the presence of his father. This phase of their story begins in 2002 when Olivia and Mason, who originally married because she was pregnant, are now divorced, the marriage which was destined to dissolve due to these circumstances. Olivia has custody of the two children, and when he is around, Mason has weekend visitation rights, which has not happened in the last year or so as he stated he, an aspiring musician and somewhat irresponsible young adult, was "away somewhere in Alaska" trying to find himself. Olivia wants to eke out a better life for herself and the kids in a way that will also satisfy her own emotional needs. The two parents also try to move on with their sexual and relationship lives in the high probability that they will never reconcile, much against their children's own wants. MJ's growing up is affected by these circumstances and whatever the situation at the time outwardly orchestrated by Olivia (but often manipulated by others), and by his relationship with his family members - who evolve as they each grow up chronologically and emotionally - and others in his ever changing life.
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