Robert Dennis "Denny" Buchanan was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on February 12, 1997, to Bill and Rhonda Buchanan. Bill was a successful lawyer, and Rhonda focused on the family and "community activities," which consisted mainly of long liquid lunches and visits to the flower shop.
Bill was largely absent, choosing to spend his life locked in his law office. Although a wonderful attitude to have from a work perspective, it was not a good way to raise a family. He usually steeled himself with a large glass of Scotch as soon as he walked in the door, on the rare occasions he came home from the office.
Denny was the youngest of three brothers, and from the moment he came home from the hospital, he was very much the baby of the family.
In kindergarten, Denny often hoarded the blocks or cried whenever he had to give up a toy. Later in life, Denny would joke about how he was the only kid in Mississippi to get kicked out of four different kindergartens. Whenever he got into trouble, Rhonda would dock her big Mercedes in front of the school and march in to demand the principal stop persecuting her son for other people's failures.
Predictably, as Denny progressed through school, he was usually tolerated rather than appreciated. He did just well enough to keep passing through the grades, although most teachers would have given him a social promotion anyway, just to avoid dealing with an irate Rhonda.
At Jackson Prep, a private school, Denny's natural talent for soccer overcame his basic laziness, and he was voted onto the all-city team. Coaches coddled him to avoid Rhonda's now-infamous ability to blame Denny's shortcomings on everyone around him. Once, she even wrote a letter to the governor, complaining that Denny failed his driving test because the administrator "didn't like him."
Denny graduated from high school and attended the University of Mississippi. Freshmen at Ole Miss are required to live in the dorms, but Rhonda thought this was terribly harsh treatment, so they filled out the paperwork and paid the fees for dorm living and then promptly rented Denny a house downtown.
Denny went to work pledging a fraternity and dating. Nominally, he was studying business at Ole Miss, but spent most of his time loading up his convertible BMW with girls and riding out to Sardis Lake. Denny's good looks, family money, and natural charm usually balanced out his less savory personality traits and made him quite popular.
For a while, Denny dated numerous girls at Ole Miss, never getting serious with any one person. But when he met Barbara Dubois, he was infatuated. Here was a woman who didn't seem impressed by his money or his family. She enjoyed riding in the convertible but didn't seem awed by it.
And to top it off, she was gorgeous and was expected to easily win Miss Mississippi and go on to the Miss America pageant. Denny determined that she would be the perfect trophy wife to complement the house his parents would build him in Madison.
In 2019, Denny asked Barbara to marry him, but she declined. He knew she had always been somewhat cool to him—she didn't fawn over him like the other girls, which was part of her allure—but he still believed she would accept his proposal. He was shocked and enraged and ran off to New Orleans for a long weekend of carousing with his fraternity brothers to get over being rebuffed.
After he graduated, Denny began working as a business manager for his father's law firm, although people often joked that he played golf more than he worked.
At the time of the Yoknapatawpha County Literature Festival Pageant, Denny was spotted back in Oxford, hanging out with old friends and visiting various bars on the Square.