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  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: In book 5, when JD arranges to put Tom on trial for being a con man, and Harold Vickers, JD's choice for judge, proceeds to shoot down all of Tom's Insane Troll Logic and finally puts him in his place after 4 books of jerkassery
  • Tear Jerker: Quite a few, particularly one chapter wherein Frankie's toy horse is stolen. The culprit: a dirt farmer who couldn't afford one for his son. The boy is diabetic, which in those days was a death sentence. On learning the reason, Frankie just asks him to take good care of it. The boy died a year later.
  • The Woobie: JD can be one for the readers, since he's the Butt Monkey of the series.
  • Values Dissonance: Seeing as how the books are set over a century ago this is bound to apply to any modern day reader. One particularly egregious example comes in the third book when JD delivers an intense spanking to his adoptive four year old brother Frankie. In the story the spanking ends up being cathartic for Frankie and it helps him to recover from the trauma of his parent's death. Most people today would realize that this is not the way to help a traumatized child.
  • Wangst: JD's almost constant self-deprecation of his Butt Monkey status.
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