The relationship between Sonny and his father is one of the more interesting interactions in the memoir Rocket Boys. Their relationship changes more than any other two character’s relationships in the book.
At first, Homer completely opposes the rocket building. For example, when Sonny’s father first learns that Sonny is going to try to build a rocket, he says that Sonny “doesn’t even know how to put the sprocket chain back on his bike when it slips off” (40). This clearly shows how Homer doesn’t believe Sonny can do anything as difficult as building a rocket, and marks the beginning of Sonny and Homer’s dispute over the rockets.
Additionally, Homer never goes to see Sonny’s rocket launches. When Sonny asks his father to come and see them, he replies, “Well, maybe when I have time-“ (228). This causes Sonny to blurt out “You always have time for Jim” (228). Even though Homer always goes to Sonny’s brother Jim’s football games, he makes excuses to miss Sonny’s rocket launches. The launches are very important to Sonny, and his father’s lack of interest in them causes some animosity.
Later in the memoir, Homer shows some uncharacteristic support of the Rocket Boys. For example, he shows Sonny Cape Coalwood, where Sonny can fire rockets while “nobody in the town can see or hear you” (107). This is a surprising gesture based on Homer’s previous attitude concerning the rockets. Also, it helps lead up to the last scene of the book, when Homer finally comes to see the rockets launched, and Sonny says “There was no mistaking the pure delight I saw spread across his face” (361). This resolves the dispute between Sonny and his father, and ends the memoir on a happy note.