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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Books - Grown Up, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 649
1. Retail sabotage.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

As historian Clare Wright tours the country to promote her book about the women of the Eureka Stockade, she often notices "the dick table" - a display at the front of a bookshop of books by and about men, including some about Eureka.

She has been known to move her book from the Australian history shelves to sit with them.

"Retail sabotage," she calls it. "How are you going to know what these books left out unless you're offered the alternative?"

While I understand both the philosophy and the intent here, speaking as a former bookseller who used to witness authors engaging in similar shenanigans on a semi-regular basis, that is SO obnoxious. Like, why not ask the manager to move it? Sure, that might feel pushy, but that way, the employees will A) not move it right back to the Australian History section where it "belongs" when the stealth migration is discovered, and B) ACTUALLY KNOW WHERE THE BOOK IS WHEN SOMEONE ASKS FOR IT.

Does she also move items around in the grocery store so that they are more to her liking? Does she rearrange the tables in restaurants, or her friends' bookshelves? What about library displays? WHERE DOES IT ALL END???

Okay, sorry. A good amount of this outrage clearly stems from My Stuff, but holy entitlement. (And entitlement couched in social justice, which is even more annoying.)

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2. A few morning links!

Sendak hobbit

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3. Today, Eleanor & Park faces off against Doll Bones AND The Lowland...

Eleanor and park...in SLJ's Battle of the Kids' Books and the Tournament of Books, respectively.

Click on through for the results of the match-ups!

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4. Kindle Daily Deal: Lawrence Block.

Ten of Lawrence Block's hilarious Bernie Rhodenbarr books are 99¢ today.

SQUEEEEEEEEE!

[ETA: Oh, wait. The heading says they're 99¢, but the books are listed as $1.99. CONFUSING!]

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5. "[Tove] Jansson put her foot down at sanitary towels and Disney."

Bwahahahahaha. I fell over laughing when I read that sentence.

Anyway, it's from an article at the New Yorker about Tove Jansson.

So click on through if you are so inclined!

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6. Free book: It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.

From Open Culture:

danah boyd (she doesn’t capitalize her name) is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and a Fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, where she looks at how young people use social media as part of their everyday lives. She has a new book out called It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, and she’s made it available as a free PDF. On her website she writes, “I didn’t write this book to make money. I wrote this book to reach as wide of an audience as I possibly could.  This desire to get as many people as engaged as possible drove every decision I made throughout this process. One of the things that drew me to Yale [the publisher] was their willingness to let me put a freely downloadable CC-licensed copy of the book online on the day the book came out.”

Related: NPR interview with the author.

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7. Least shocking headline ever.

From the CBC:

50 Shades of Grey movie will be less explicit than book

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8. Choose Your Own P.G. Wodehouse Adventure.

At the Toast:

4. The girl you love is engaged to the local squire. How many kippers would you like with your breakfast?

If you will have four kippers, select A. If you ask for kidneys, select B.

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9. Petals on the Wind: Dollanganger #2 -- V. C. Andrews

Petals on the windWell, now that the Lifetime movie has aired (man, I hope it's streaming somewhere SOON) and they've already got the sequel in the works, I figure that it's FINALLY time for me to return to the Dollanganger saga.

I can only hope that I'll make it through semi-unscathed... though that seems unlikely, given that it's taken me FIVE YEARS to get over the trauma of reading the first book in the series.

So, let's just dive right in, then.

p3: Cathy's narration continues to amaze. The book begins:

How young we were the day we escaped. How exuberantly alive we should have felt to be freed, at last, from such a grim, lonely and stifling place. [But?] How pitifully delighted we should have been to be riding on a bus that rumbled slowly southward. [BUT?] But if we felt joy, [DID YOU?] we didn't show it. We sat, all three, pale, silent, staring out the windows, very frightened by all we saw.

Okay, yes. Yes, it makes sense that they'd be scared. But I very much hope that Cathy becomes less of a miseryguts in this installment.

Their nerves! Are growing frazzled! Because the bus driver, shockingly enough, occasionally STOPS THE BUS TO PICK UP PASSENGERS, including a "huge black woman" who took lots of time to carry all of her parcels on board! The nerve.

Cathy continues to exhibit unfortunate romantic feelings towards her rapist brother AND her dead father. AT THE SAME TIME, EVEN: His straight and finely shaped nose had just taken on the strength and maturity that promised to make him all that our father had been—the type of man to make every woman's heart flutter when he looked her way, or even when he didn't. HIS NOSE. IT IS MATURE.

That was the first page. I think we're in for a bumpy ride.

p4: Oh, nice. Chris made a point of bringing his guitar with them when they escaped. I look forward to some original love songs dedicated to Cathy. Like this one, sung to the tune of Clementine: "Oh, my Cathy, oh sweet Cathy / I raped you, it's true/ but because you're my sister/ it meant I love you, times two. WOW. I'm... oddly proud of that. Oh, right. Back to the book. I think they're still on the bus.

Oh, dear. Now he's singing Oh, Susannah. I bet all of the other passengers on the bus hate them: We looked at each other and felt sad with the memories the tune brought back. Like one we were, he and I. I couldn't bear to look at him for too long, for fear I would cry. The rhyming just MAKES it, Cathy. Keep it up.

In case anyone cares, it's November 1960. Chris is seventeen, Cathy is fifteen, Carrie is eight (but looks three), Cory is dead, and I'm still on page four.

Petals on the wind 2p5: Carrie just barfed. I'm sure that the bus passengers continue to hate C3. Also, Cathy is dreaming about revenge AND becoming a prima ballerina.

p6: Annnnnd she barfs again. A mean passenger is being a jerk, but then the "huge black woman" comes to the rescue! She is mute, but reassures the kids via pen and paper that LUCKILY, her son is a doctor!

p7: Despite her kindness to them, Cathy continues to describe her body with words like "mammoth" and her movements with words like "waddling". Which is annoying.

The bus driver is hemming and hawing about going off route, but I'm pretty sure that having a little kida little kid who looks like she's threedie on the bus would be worse for the company, publicity-wise, than being late to its destination.

p9: Um. The doctor—Paul Sheffield—TOTALLY checked Cathy out. May I remind you that she is fifteen? Gross.

p10: Cathy is rather happy about getting a rise—SO TO SPEAK, HAR HAR—out of the doctor. Also, she just told him that A) they're runaways and that B) they're planning to "hock stuff" to get by. Because he's a doctor, and therefore trustworthy... and she knows this because CHRIS WANTS TO BE A DOCTOR. Excellent logic, Cathy.

p11: Even though Chris was all disapproving about Cathy being a blabbermouth, he just gave the doctor THEIR REAL NAMES. What is WITH them?

p14-16: And now the floodgates have opened, and we're rehashing the entire plot of the first book. IN DETAIL. 

p17: Despite the ridiculosity of their story—Cathy includes the method of poisoning, even—the doctor is convinced by their "expensive clothes, [their] watches, and [the] sneakers on [their] feet, [their] pale skin and the haunted look in [their] eyes". And so he invites them to live with him. OF COURSE HE DOES.

p19: Chris is concerned that the doctor will suspect the true nature of the relationship he has with Cathy. "There's nothing to suspect. It's over," I answered, but I didn't meet his eyes, guessing, even then, that it would never be over. FORESHADOWING!

p20: Yep. It foreshadowed was was about to happen on the NEXT PAGE. Fast-forward version: Sibling make-out session leads to more THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN declarations and lots of tears. I have a sneaking suspicion that this scene will play out again at some point. And then again, and again, and again some more.

p21: Doctor Sketchy-McLechy is thinking of making the C3 his wards. Won't that make his romantic designs on Cathy problematic?

p22: Chris told me I was silly to think a doctor of forty would get any erotic pleasure from looking at a girl of my age. AHAHAHA, Chris, you moron. Most people would say the same about an older brother looking at his little sister... how's that working out for you, buddy?

The descriptions of Henrietta Beech (the lady from the bus) continue to be terrible: Her smile shone big and wide when I came in, lighting up a moon face with skin as slick as oiled rubber. What. The. Hell. With the apron tied about her middle she resembled nothing more than a rolled up goosedown comforter, waddling about speechless. What. The. Hell. Squared.

p24-25: "I really don't like the way he keeps looking at you, Cathy. His eyes follow you about all the time. Here you are, so available, and men his age find girls your age irresistible." MAKE UP YOUR MIND, CHRIS. Meanwhile, Cathy is developing The Hots for Doctor Paul, but it's more like 90% fascination with having sexual power over him, 10% actual interest.

p26-29: In order to become C3's legal guardian, Doctor Paul has to get permission from their mother. THIS OUGHT TO BE FUN.

p31: Um. Carrie is so small that only toddler clothes fit her, and the Doctor's solution is to BUY A SEWING MACHINE SO THAT CATHY CAN MAKE CLOTHES FOR HER. Nevermind the fact that Cathy doesn't know how to sew. Or that she has no interesting in learning how.

p32-33: In a shocking coincidence, it turns out that Momma's new husband grew up in the next town over. Cathy is now even more determined to ENACT REVENGE UPON HER. And now Henny has her sewing buttons on Doctor Paul's shirts. I FORESEE A SCENE IN WHICH HE WALKS IN ON HER WHILE SHE'S DOING SO, AND HE GETS ALL WEIRD.

p34: Due to years of malnutrition and arsenic poisoning, poor old Carrie has an "overlarge head".

Also, Momma didn't show up at the hearing, and C3 are all sad, because it proves to them how little she cares. Yes, because the years in the attic—not to mention the doughnuts—hadn't already proved that.

p35: Cathy begins planning her revenge: This very Christmas I would send her a card, and sign it with this, "From the four Dresden dolls you didn't want," and I had to change that to "The three alive Dresden dolls you didn't want, plus the dead one you carried away and never brought back." Wow. That Cathy. She's got a way with words.

But wait, THERE'S MORE. She goes off on a tangent in which she parallels her life story to that of Snow White, and wraps up with this: All along I knew who was the witch. And that was the saddest part of being me. At the next Kidlitcon, I feel that we need to do DRAMATIC READINGS from this series. ARE YOU WITH ME?

p36: More making out leads to more NEVER AGAINS. And that's the end of Part One.

p41: Due to Christopher's impassioned speech, Cathy suddenly has an audition with a ballet company. Never mind that she hasn't had formal lessons since Before The Attic, or that Christopher knows jack about ballet.

p43: "You look . . . so divine," I said in a tight voice. "I see candy in your eyes and the crown jewels of England too." BARF. "No—that's what I am seeing in your eyes, Cathy. You're so very beautiful in that white nightgown. I love you in white nightgowns with blue satin ribbons. I love the way your hair spreads like a fan, and you turn your cheek so it rests on a satin pillow." DOUBLE BARF.

p44: "How beautiful your breasts are," he said with a low sigh, leaning to nuzzle them. "I remember when you began to grow. You were so shy about them, always wanting to wear loose sweaters so I couldn't see. Why were you ashamed?" BECAUSE YOU'RE HER BROTHER, YOU TOOL.

p44-46: Errr... they get hot and heavy and head up to Cathy and Carrie's room—because Chris' room is too close to Paul's and Carrie "can sleep through a war"but The Sex is derailed when Chris discovers that Cathy has been hording food under her bed. And then she tells him that there'll be no sex for him unless he gives up his dream of becoming a doctor and stays with her forever and always. Ag. 

p49: She's at her ballet audition, and things are going swimmingly (of course)... and suddenly she's, like, HEMORRHAGING BLOOD and she wakes up in the hospital. 

p50: Of course she's accepted into the ballet company.

p51: But now it looks like Doctor Paul has SUSPICIONS about Chris & Cathy's relationship.

Ugh, Carrie continues to be just horrible. Like, push-her-down-the-stairs horrible. Lots of screaming and tantrums and whatnot. And I'd love to find out where she picked up her fascinating dialect: "Don't want no private ole school for funny lookin' lil' girls!"

p54-57: Now Carrie and Chris are both away at school, leaving Cathy at home alone with Doctor Paul. I WONDER HOW THIS WILL PLAY OUT.

Also, while Cathy's Electra complex has come up a few times, it turns out that Chris has some Oedipal issues to complement it: "Cathy, you're awfully pretty. Maybe too pretty. I look at you and see our mother all over again, the way you move your hands, and the way you tilt your head to the side." Rad.

p57: OKAY, IT HAS LITERALLY TAKEN LESS THEN 24 HOURS FOR CATHY AND DOCTOR PAUL TO GET ALL GRODILY ROMANTIC. LIKE, THEY WENT HOME AND CHANGED INTO SEXY PAJAMAS AND NOW THERE IS CHEEK (FACE, THANKFULLY) STROKING GOING ON.

p58: Oh, good. Now he's going the I-clearly-want-to-bone-but-I'm-going-to-be-a-jerk-to-push-you-away route. Yes, I just said 'bone'. Also, he refers to her sexy pajamas as 'flimsy', and pretty much just called her a trollop, but HE WAS THE ONE WHO PICKED THEM OUT AND BOUGHT THEM FOR HER. Way to send mixed messages, Doctor Paul.

"A fig for respect! I'm not any different than other men. A doctor isn't infallible, Catherine."

"Why are you calling me Catherine?"

"Why shouldn't I call you Catherine? It's your name, and it sounds more grown up than Cathy."

OH MY GOD, DOCTOR PAUL IS TOM CRUISE.

"You're a witch. In a second you change from a naive girl into a seductive, provocative woman—a woman who seems to know what she's doing when she lays her hand on my face." Yep. Blame the fifteen-year-old who you've been eyeballing for months, who's swanning around in the see-through nightie that YOU BOUGHT HER.

And now he's demanding to know what the deal is with her and Chris.

p59: HE JUST GRABBED HER AND PULLED HER INTO HIS LAP.

p60: Man, for a dude who is this girl's legal guardian, who is twenty-five years older than her, and who is currently FORCING HER TO SIT IN HIS LAP, he is being AWFULLY JUDGEMENTAL about some minor incest.

Um. There is breast fondling going on right now, and he's acting like it's her fault. I mean, she DID rip her robe open, but he's the one who stuck his hand up her nightgown. THIS GUY IS SUCH A DIRTBAG. Also, NO WONDER SHE'S SUCH A DISASTER ABOUT SEX AND LOVE AND ROMANCE. BOTH OF THE DUDES SHE'S BEEN INVOLVED WITH HAVE DONE THE THIS-IS-DIRTY-AND-WRONG-BUT-I WANT-IT-BUT-IT'S-YOUR-FAULT-BECAUSE-YOU'RE-SO-HOT THING.

"What the hell are you doing sitting on my lap half naked? Why did you let me do what I did?"

OH MY GOD I HOPE HE DIES BY THE END OF THIS BOOK.

p61: And now Cathy is all, I LOVE YOU, and YOU CAN TAKE ME WHENEVER YOU WANT ME. Ag.

Yes, she's still sitting in his lap.

p63: GAH. KISSING. THEY ARE KISSING. I BARF.

"What kind of little devil are you to let me handle you intimately and kiss you? You are very beautiful, Catherine, but you are only a child."

I love that he doesn't mention the fact that he's the supposed adult in the room. Drop dead, Doctor Paul.

"If I so much as lay a hand on you again, I want you to scream for help. If no one is here, then run to your room, or pick up something and bash me over the head."

Yes, Doctor Paul. You could put all of the responsibility for not hooking up with your fifteen-year-old ward on said ward... OR YOU COULD JUST USE SOME GD SELF-RESTRAINT.

"Don't tempt me too much, Catherine—for your own good."

I hate you.

p64-65: Ballet, blahdiblah. Cathy continues to be AMAZING at it, and I suspect that Julian The Hotshot Ballet Dude is about to become another "love" interest.

Um. As he just grabbed her boob, now I KNOW that he's going to be a love interest. SIGH.

p66: Yikes. Now Cathy is actively flirting with Paul. 

And very deliberately emulating her mother.

p68: In asking why Cathy doesn't want to run away to New York with him, Julian asks: "Why? I won't rape you." No, Julian, IT'S NOT AT ALL SKETCHY THAT THAT WAS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT. All of the guys in this book should be set on fire.

p69: So now, of course, she's going out on a date with him.

He drove to a very elegant restaurant where colored lights churned and rock music played. Yep. Sounds elegant, all right.

p70: Julian puts the moves on her, she rebuffs him, he blames her for being someone who "tantalizes but won't come through". Seeing a trend here? EVERY GUY IN HER LIFE BLAMES HER FOR HIS OWN ATTRACTION TO HER. BLERG.

p71: "Cathy, I don't want to say and do anything wrong with you. I want to make you the best thing that's ever happened to me." UGH. God forbid that someone want to be the best thing that's ever happened to HER.

p73: Less-than-brilliantly, she goes out with Julian again. And then he goes for The Sex, and she rebuffs, and he calls her a "tease", and she cries, and he twists her arm behind her back and gets all ranty. ...and then the scene changes, so I dunno what happened after that. It's a sad state of affairs when the new love interest is so terrible that he makes Doctor Paul look good by comparison. Ag.

p74: Cathy is now planning on breaking up her mother's marriage. Super.

p75-76: And now it's two in the morning and Paul's not in his room (who knows what would have happened if he'd been there when she checked, ag), but then she finds him downstairs and freaks out because he has a job and isn't always at her beck-and-call and over the course of these pages she compares him to BOTH of her parents. Which, as she wants to sex him up, is gross.

p77: Annnnnd more cheek stroking.

p78: Another excellent line for a dramatic reading: "She said nothing to let us know our grandfather had died, and kept right on letting us stay locked up—for nine long, long months—and in those long months we were eating poisoned doughnuts!"

Now she's in his lap again, BUT IT'S OKAY, because he comforts her "as a father would, with little kisses and kind, stroking hands." YEP. TOTALLY NOT SKETCHY.

p79-82: Doctor Paul's backstory. He married his childhood sweetheart. She was scared of The Sex, so he raped her occasionally until she got pregnant. Turns out, she survived sexual abuse at the hands of her cousin when she was a small child. So, like the fine, upstanding man that he was, he stopped raping her and started having affairs instead. One of his ladies got pregnant, but he knew it couldn't be his because A) she was on the pill and B) she was boinking other dudes. (<--I'd like to point out that neither line of reasoning is remotely logical.) So then he told his wife about the affair (that one, anyway), and she flipped out and killed herself and their three-year-old son. The end.

p83: BONUS: His wife got the idea after watching Medea on television.

p86: April, 1961. Cathy turns sixteen.

p90: And then Chris and Julian get in a fight over her at her surprise birthday party and Julian storms out while yelling, "May all your birthdays be hell on earth!" Gosh, Cathy, he's a KEEPER. You should TOTALLY keep dating him.

p93: "...Lorraine DuVal, my best friend..." Yeah, your best friend who we've never heard of before one of your many suitors turned from you to her.

p94-110: A brief rundown of Carrie's short stint at school: Bullying and hazing and a broken leg, OH MY.

p110-111: Cathy has reached Emily Thorne-ish heights in her revenge obsession: she's keeping a scrapbook of every society column that mentions her mother. I'm pretty ready for that storyline to kick in.

Oh, goody, she actually SENT a note to her mother. She signed it:

Not yours anymore,
The doctor doll,
The ballerina doll,
The praying-to-grow-taller doll, [there has been so much about Carrie's overlarge head that I wish she'd gone with that]
And the dead doll.

BUUUUUUUUUURN!

p112: Okay, this make-out-with-Chris-and-then-freak-out-about-it thing is getting old.

Also getting old: Chris' bizarre continuing love for their murderous mother.

On the bright side, Carrie's cast is off, and her legs are still the same length! PHEW! And now she's going to public school.

p113: Shocker, despite her "pretty face and sensational hair", Carrie has no friends. Cathy blames all of Carrie's social problems on the size of her head. I rather suspect it has more to do with her being almost entirely unlikable, though.

p114: Just so you know, I'm not including all of the examples of insanely wooden dialogue, because then I'd end up transcribing the entire book. But I can't pass this one up: "She stared at me with those big blue haunted eyes and I saw her disappointment. I had failed her. I could tell from the way she ambled off with her shoulders drooping and her head hung so low. Her hopes must have ridden high when those cruel kids at her school chided her about finding a 'stretching machine.'" HERE'S A THOUGHT, DOCTOR PAUL: WHY NOT CONTACT THE SCHOOL ABOUT THE BULLYING??

p115: I'd thought once we were free of Foxworth Hall and I was almost an adult, life would lead me down a clear and straight path to fame, fortune and happiness. Holy cow, Cathy. You'd think that with the childhood you had, you'd have revised your expectations about what life is like. Then again, you got taken in by the first rich guy who you talked to after The Escape, and snagged a spot with a premiere ballet company because your brother-lover said you were a good dancer. So, except for the years in that attic and the fact that EVERY SINGLE GUY YOU KNOW IS SOME SHADE OF RAPEY, you do seem to be weirdly charmed.

p116: Cathy is continuing to send hate mail to her mother. I WANT A REUNION. BRING IT ON, ANDREWS.

Apparently Cathy's family was part of the Roanoke disappearance? And so was Bart's (<--Evil Mom's Young Rich Husband, in case you've lost track.) Or something?

p117: HER MOTHER IS IN TOWN. I REPEAT, HER MOTHER IS IN TOWN. CATHY HAS JUST SPOTTED HER ON THE SIDEWALK AND IS DEBATING ABOUT SPITTING IN HER FACE. FURTHER BULLETINS AS EVENTS WARRANT.

BART IS DESCRIBED AS HAVING "VIRILE, PANTHERLIKE HANDSOMENESS". THAT IS ALL.

p118: And, other than going home and throwing a tantrum, Cathy does nothing. How surprising.

p119: Wait, Chris is at DUKE? How the crap did he get in THERE? I guess he must have written one hell of an admissions essay.

p120: Doctor Paul is late coming home ON HIS BIRTHDAY, and Cathy goes full-bore fishwife on him.

p122: "I've got a yearning to walk in the garden by moonlight. Do you ever have yearnings like that?" Oh, gag me, Doctor Paul. Also, he grew a moustache for Cathy. And apparently stands in the doorway of her practice room all of the time and watches her dance. BECAUSE IT WASN'T CREEPY ENOUGH WHEN IT WAS HER BROTHER DOING IT.

p124: "A man likes to take care of the woman he loves and his children. A man likes to be leaned on, looked up to, respected. An aggressive, domineering woman is one of God's most fearsome creatures." I hate you, Doctor Paul.

p125: Happy birthday, Doctor Paul! Forty-two years young, and boinking your seventeen-year-old ward! YOUR FAMILY WOULD BE SO PROUD!

"Hot juices spurted forth..." Ewww.

p128: For Christmas, Cathy asks to go back to Foxworth Hall to find Cory's grave. SEASON'S GREETINGS, Y'ALL!!

p132: After reading the word 'sensational' for what felt like the fifth time, I just did a search using Amazon's Look Inside feature... and it popped up nineteen times. So no, I'm not imagining Andrews' love for it.

p134-138: After her first starring role, Cathy agrees to go to New York with Julian. And he's leching all over her IN FRONT OF CHRIS AND DOCTOR PAUL. Classy moves, all around.

January 1963. Cathy graduates high school and heads off to New York with Julian. Bad idea, Cathy.

p138-150: Five minutes after getting to New York, Cathy is a star.

Post-ballet performance, Cathy and Doctor Paul get All Het Up dancing to a "jungle beat" (no comment), check into a hotel as a married couple, Doctor Paul proposes, she says yes, and then their boink their brains out. Shocker of shocks, they decide to keep the engagement a secret.

p151: Julian puts the moves on Cathy AGAIN, she rebuffs him AGAIN, so he drives like a crazy person all over the city, and then chucks her out of his carbleeding from a head wound, no lessinto the rain. ADDING INSULT TO INJURY, HE STEALS HER PURSE.

p153-154: THEN, she finally gets home and proceeds to have an ACTUAL BRAWL with her roommate Yolanda, who is apparently Doing The Deed with Christopher. Which, of course, sends Cathy off of the deep end.

p155-156: Julianwhile wearing only a towel—throws Cathy on a bed, straddles her, and yells about how he'll kill any man that comes between them, and that he'll kill her, too. And then, to prove what a Good Guy he is, he gives her her purse back. HE'S A KEEPER, CATHY. YOU SHOULD TOTALLY CONTINUE HANGING OUT WITH HIM.

p157: Still sending hate mail.

Seriously, Cathy: WHY WOULD YOU LET JULIAN INTO YOUR APARTMENT?

p158: The company is going to London, she tells him she's engaged, and then he screams, "Goddamn you to hell for leading me on!" Which... yeah. I'm not sure how her rebuffing his advances fifty-seven times equals 'leading him on', but whatever.

p160: Chris wrote Cathy a poem for Christmas, and it is AMAZING:

I give you gold with a diamond you can barely see,
But the gem would be castle-sized if it expressed all I feel for thee.
I give you gold because it endures, and love like the eternal sea.

I THINK I MIGHT NEED A TATTOO OF IT, IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL.

162: CHRIS CATCHES CATHY COMING OUT OF PAUL'S BEDROOM! HE THROWS HER A LOOK OF "OUTRAGED DISGUST"!

p164-165: Cathy finds herself standing next to her mother at a department store. No, there is no confrontation. Just more angry sobbing.

p166-7: Chris tells Cathy he still wants her, blah blah blah. WHERE IS THE REVENGE?? I DEMAND REVENGE! Here's his argument against Doctor Paul: "You want everyone, and everything! Don't ruin Paul's life when already he's suffered enough! He's too old for you—and age does count! He''ll be old and dried up sexually when you're at your peak! Why even Julian would be better!"

p171-174: Doctor Paul's sister shows up after one of Cathy's performances and informs her that A) that time hemorrhaging blood at her audition was due to a miscarriage, and that the baby was two-headed and had three legs AND B) that Doctor Paul's wife IS STILL ALIVE. So that was rather exciting.

p175: CATHY JUST MARRIED JULIAN. WHAT. THE. HELL.

p185: Errr. So, it turns out that Doctor Paul's wife was in a coma for years, but IS dead now. Also, Cathy wasn't ever pregnant. So Cathy married Psycho Julian for no good reason.

p190: Julian's father died. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

p192: Julian's mother's marital advice: "If you have flaws, hide them."

And now that Cathy's married to Julian, Chris flips out and says that if she was going to marry one of them, that it should have been Paul. CHRIS. MAKE UP YOUR MIND. THIRTY PAGES AGO, YOU TOLD HER TO MARRY JULIAN.

p193: Carrie is now vowing to marry Doctor Paul and have six children. 

p197: PART THREE. GOOD LORD, PLEASE LET THE REVENGE HAPPEN NOW.

p200: Julian is now insisting that Cathy and Chris not see each other. I predict that this marriage is headed for HAPPY TIMES INDEED.

p201: It's been three years. Apparently Julian has an eye for EXTREMELY YOUNG GIRLS. Gosh, just when I thought he couldn't be any more dreamy.

p205: Annnnnnd now Cathy wants to go to Chris' med school graduation, so Julian beats the crap out of her AND rapes her. Charming.

p206: So she drugs him and heads back to the US, leaving him in Spain. He can't speak Spanish, ahahahahaha.

p212-213: Back to make-out-freak-out with Chris.

OOO! It looks like Julian threw Cathy over as a dance partner, and has taken up with Yolanda!

p217: Ugh, now Cathy is convinced that she DOES love Julian. AUUUUGH!!

p218: Chris is going with her to New York to make sure that everything is okay before leaving her alone with Julian. I'm sure that'll make Julian's behavior OH SO MUCH BETTER.

p221-223: Cathy shows up at the filming of Giselle just in time to save the day, since Julian is crap at dancing with anyone else... AND HE REPAYS HER BY JUMPING AS HIGH AS HE CAN AND DELIBERATELY LANDING ON HER FEET. So... it looks like her career is over for now, and we can only hope that that goes double for her marriage. I CAN HAZ REVENGE TIME NOW?

p224-225: Post-hospital, Chris brings Cathy back to her apartmentwhy she'd go back there to recuperate, I HAVE NO IDEAand they discover that all of her belongings have been destroyed. It takes a page or two for them to figure out who did it. No comment.

p227-229: Make-out-freak-out. (This time Cathy is drugged up, though, so STAY CLASSY, CHRIS.)

ANNNNNNND SHE'S PREGNANT. And determined to stay with Julian, because THEY LOVE EACH OTHER, and IT'S TOTALLY ALL HER FAULT THAT HE BROKE HER TOES.

So Chris storms out.

And then she has a dream about dancing with her mother's husband and then going up to the swan bed... and the phrase "powerful male shaft" is used and I am now feeling a tad traumatized.

ANNNNNNNNND JULIAN HAS BEEN IN A CAR ACCIDENT. 

p233-234: He's still alive, and tells Cathy to get an abortion. *JAZZ HANDS*

YOLANDA DIED IN THE ACCIDENT.

ANNNNNNND JULIAN COMMITTED SUICIDE BY CUTTING HIS IV TUBE SO THAT A BUBBLE OF AIR REACHED HIS HEART. OR SOMETHING.

p235: The whole gang is back together again at Doctor Paul's house.

p239: Life seemed to me nothing without a man. Cathy really is her mother's daughter.

Chris comes in and finds her on Doctor Paul's lap, so he storms out again. Good times, WHEEEEEEEE.

p242: She has the baby (three hours of labor) and names him Julian Janus Marquet, but in true Bella Swan fashion, will call him Jory, for Cory + Julian. SORRY ABOUT THAT, KID.

p245: PART FOUR.

p247-248: Cathy continues to dream of stealing her mother's husband away from her, but also continues to take no action. Meanwhile, Chris and Paul are vying for her attention while Carrie, like the cheese, stands alone.

p251: Chris makes yet another play for Cathy before he leaves for his residency (at the Mayo Clinic, naturally), but no dice. 

p253: FINALLY. IT IS TIME FOR REVENGE. Cathy writes a blackmail letter to her mother.

p254: But she gets no reply... SO SHE GOES TO BART'S LAW OFFICE...

p255: ...and finds out that he and her mother have attended many of her performances.

p256-257: She intrigues Bart by insulting him while looking sultry. He finds it IRRESISTIBLE. DUDES ARE SO WEIRD. He gets the life insurance company to pay out on Julian's claim, and tells her that there's no charge... except for going to dinner with him while wearing "blue to match your eyes". YECCH.

p258-259: Five seconds later, she gets into a monster-ass fight with Julian's mother and tells her that she'll never see her grandson again. So hopefully THAT storyline is finally over.

p261: Carrie turns twenty, and she, Cathy, and Jory head off to Virginia to GET SOME REVENGE. (Well, Cathy's going to get revenge. The other two are just along for the ride.)

p264-265: Carrie has a beau, FINALLY...

p270: ...and he's proposed but now she's being all tortured about it because he wants to be a minister and she's worried because minister's wives have to be perfect, but she never will be because she's DEVIL SPAWN. (<--See book one for the explanation on THAT ONE.)

p272: AUUUUUUUUGH, APPARENTLY JULIAN MESSED AROUND WITH CARRIE. AUUUUUGH.

p276: BART KNOWS ABOUT THE HATE MAIL!

p277: CARRIE IS SUPER-SICK! RETURN OF THE ARSENIC DOUGHNUTS???

p280: OH MY GOD, I WAS RIGHT?? SHE'S BEEN POISONING HER OWN DOUGHNUTS!!? These books are bananas.

p283: Ah. Carrie ran into Momma on the street and Momma pretended not to know her. THUS, THE DOUGHNUT BINGE.

p284: DEAD! CARRIE IS DEAD! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT.

p285: Despite—because of—her grief and fury, Cathy's showcasing some serious narrative flair: My thoughts were like the dry leaves blowing in the strong wind of hate... WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN.

p286: She sees her mother at the cemetery from afar, and swears she'll see to it that "all of her remaining days on earth will be black. Blacker than the tar put on my hair. Blacker than..." well, you get the idea.

p287: PART FIVE.

p289: Cathy has now dumped Jory with a maid and is running around town, trying to "accidentally" meet up with Bart. Apparently she doesn't see the irony in dumping her child to run around after a man... in pursuit of getting revenge on her mother for doing exactly the same thing. WILL SHE FIGURE IT OUT AND SPIRAL INTO YET MORE SELF-LOATHING AND REGRET? ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

p291: Bart is demanding answers.

p293: So... she lies? I am at a loss as to why. I feel like if she told the truth, everything would all come out and her mother's life would be ruined and YAY HAPPY ENDING. But, no. Cathy, you ass.

p300: Well, Cathy is batting a thousand, guy-wise: Bart ALSO has rapey tendencies... and as usual, said tendencies make her melt. Yick.

p309-312: Bart is over for dinner. And he is from Barf Central.

p313: By way of Rapeville. 

p315: AND THEN HE SENDS HER ROSES. OH MY GOD I HOPE HE DIES.

p317: She runs into him in town, expresses her lack of interest in the roses, so he sends her A DIAMOND ROSE THING.

AND THEN SHOWS UP AGAIN FOR DINNER.

AND SHE LETS HIM IN.

*headdesk*

p318-320: They argue about whether or not he's a chauvinist and/or she's slutty... AND THEN HE PROFESSES HIS LOVE FOR HER AND THEY GO AND HAVE THE SEX. (Consensual this time.)

p320: Part one was done. Part two would begin when my mother knew I had Bart's child [wait, is she pregnant again?]—and then there was the grandmother who had to pay as well. And when I looked I saw that the mountains curved upward into a satisfied smirk. [What?] At last I had responded to their call. Their vengeful, tormenting wail. [I have no idea what she's talking about anymore.]

p321: MAN OH MAN, THERE IS SO MUCH WOMAN-HATE IN THIS BOOK. Cathy—and actually, pretty much every other character—never misses an opportunity to make a sweeping generalization that maligns womankind, and that's on top of the fact that she can't seem to even turn around without getting sexually assaulted. Ag.

p322: Cathy sneaks into Foxworth Hall when all of the servants are in town...

p324-331: ...and tells off The Grandmother (who is immobile due to a stroke) while threatening her with a willow switch. And also while wearing a sheer white leotard and pointe shoes. Because, as you may have noticed, Cathy has a taste for DRAMA.

Good lord, now she's whipping through family history at a rather alarming rate. Apparently Bart is a blabbermouth, because she suddenly knows WAAAAAAY more about The Grandmother's history than she did before. Isn't there a prequel series or something? I AM NOT SAYING THAT I'M PLANNING ON READING IT. I'm just CURIOUS.

Oh, NOW SHE'S ANGRY DANCING. THEY'D BETTER NOT CUT THIS BIT FROM THE MOVIE.

Cathy strips her down, flips her over, and whips her. Just one good one on the butt, though! NO MORE BECAUSE, TRUE TO FORM, SHE IMMEDIATELY STARTS CRYING.

SO OF COURSE THE GRANDMOTHER IS (SILENTLY) SUPER-GLOATY ABOUT IT, WHICH SETS CATHY OFF EVEN MORE: SHE RUNS AND GETS A CANDELABRA, MELTS SOME WAX, AND DRIBBLES IT ON WHAT LITTLE HAIR THE GRANDMOTHER HAS LEFT.

And then she runs away. But her exit loses a bit of the drama when she realizes that she forgot Carrie's hair (as part of her Angry Dance, she did a rhythmic gymnastics ribbon routine with Carrie's braid) and has to go back for it.

p333: ANNNNNNND NOW SHE'S IN LOVE WITH BART. SIGHHHHHHHHHHH.

p335: RUN IN WITH MOMMA AT THE POST OFFICE: "Some women don't deserve to have children." I paid for my roll of stamps and dropped them in my purse. "Some women like you, Mrs. Winslow, would rather have money than the bother of children who might get in the way of good times. Time itself will sooner or later let you know if you made the right decision." Sometimes I really wonder if English was Cathy's first language. Anyway, BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRN.

Annnnnnnd Cathy's pregnant.

p338: Cathy has her hair cut to match her mother's from that Christmas party way back when, and has a dress made to match the same one she wore. MAN, THIS IS LIKE REBECCA, EXCEPT REALLY BAD.

Chris tells her that he won't see her until she breaks it off with Bart.

p342-346: She breaks into Foxworth Hall AGAIN, but before crashing the party, she goes up to her mother's room (she still has the swan bed, gag) and puts on all of her mother's emerald-and-diamond jewelry (to go with the dress).

Then, she goes and revisits the room they lived in PRE-ATTIC.

THEN, SHE HEADS UP TO THE ATTIC.

THEN, SHE CRASHES THE PARTY.

p347: And she introduces herself to the entire party. And tells her story. 

p348-351: Bart puts a stop to it, but now they're dancing, and I rather think she's going to convince him that she's telling the truth. WHAT HE'LL DECIDE TO DO WITH THAT INFORMATION, WHO KNOWS?

p352: OOOO, CORRINE FINALLY FLIPPED AND IS NOW SCREAMING THAT CATHY'S A LIAR.

And now Bart and Corrine and Cathy are off to the library to (hopefully) HAVE IT OUT.

And, yep, The Grandmother is in there.

Cathy brought the birth certificates as proof. Good show, Cathy. (Well, as long as they don't get destroyed somehow.)

Corrine admits it! Well, that Cathy is her daughter.

Turns out that THE GRANDFATHER KNEW ABOUT THE KIDS THE WHOLE TIME.

Corrine is now claiming that she was just trying to make the kids sick enough so she could take them to the hospital and pretend that they died...

...to which Cathy points out that the arsenic doughnuts didn't start until after The Grandfather died.

p361-366: WHAT. WHAAAAAAAAAAAT. CORY'S DEAD BODY HAS BEEN IN THE HOUSE THE WHOLE TIME.

CHRIS JUST SHOWED UP.

AND CORINNE SEEMS TO THINK THAT HE'S HER DEAD HUSBAND, BECAUSE SHE'S ALL, "MY FATHER MADE ME DO IT! ETC., ETC."

AND THEN SHE STARTS SCREAMING AND RUNS AWAY.

AHAHAHAHA, NOW THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE!

AND BART THROWS CATHY AT CHRIS AND HEADS TO THE ATTIC IN SEARCH OF CORRINE! (Is it just me, or was V.C. Andrews going for Jane Eyre in this one? Paul's secret crazy wife? The multiple times that Cathy talks about hearing dudes call to her from fall away? And now Bart running into a raging fire to save a wife he doesn't love? Anyway.)

BART GETS CORRINE OUT, AND THEN GOES BACK IN FOR THE GRANDMOTHER.

CORRINE GETS HAULED AWAY IN A STRAITJACKET.

BART AND THE GRANDMOTHER DIE IN THE FIRE.

MEANWHILE, HENNY HAD A STROKE AND PAUL HAD A HEART ATTACK.

p366: Cathy is now married to Doctor Paul, who is seriously ill...

p368: ...and so he's working on convincing her to go off and be a family with Chris, which he argues won't be "evil" because she can't have any more kids.

p371: Doctor Paul dies...

...and Cathy and Chris and the boys move to California, where siblings can live as man and wife in peace. Or something.

p372: Corrine is in an insane asylum, either ACTUALLY bonkers or just trying to avoid prison and/or the death penalty.

p373: AND CATHY IS NOW WORRIED THAT SHE'S GOING TO LOCK HER KIDS UP IN THE ATTIC.

THE END.

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10. Free: MEGAZORD ANNE SHIRLEY COLLECTION.

Currently free for the Kindle:

Anne of Green Gables Stories: 12 Books, 142 Short Stories, Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne's House of Dreams, Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside, Chronicles and More

So, you know: Even if you have the physical copies at home, now you can BRING THEM EVERYWHERE YOU GO WITHOUT THROWING YOUR BACK OUT.

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11. Teaser trailer: Outlander.

 

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12. Free online: Two Elmore Leonard short stories...

...at Byliner.

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13. Another one for the TBR list.

What the bee knowsWhat the Bee Knows, by P.L. Travers.

From SDSU Children's Literature:

Travers’ other writings are equally impressive, especially her novel Friend Monkey. A good introduction to her and her mythological way of thinking is What the Bee Knows, a collection of her essays that does Joseph Campbell one better and treats the path of women’s lives as seen in fairy tales, the deep meanings of “Humpty Dumpty,” the sacredness of names in aboriginal cultures, and new ways of understanding the story of the Prodigal Son.

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14. Longbourn -- Jo BakerVolume One, Chapter One

LongbournAs mentioned in my 2014 Reading Goals post, I'm trying to add more adult fiction into my diet. And, as I like to chronicle this stuff, here I am, chronicling it.

Right now, I'm (obviously) reading Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective

Feel free to read along! (If you end up posting about it, let me know in the comments and I'll link up.)

Basic rundown:

The life of a housemaid in Regency England—especially a housemaid in a somewhat impoverished household—is not an easy one. We've got Sarah (older) and Polly (younger); Sarah tends to take on extra work because she feels bad for Polly, who really is still a child (it's easy to see parallels between Polly and Lydia, actually); there is some amount of affection between Sarah and Mrs. Hill, though Mr. Hill seems (so far) to be rather useless.

It's laundry day at Longbourn. In a word, laundry day is AWFUL, and there is no romanticizing it. Baker organically integrates loads of interesting details about the process, while also creating a three-dimensional portrait of the personalities at play. I'm rather in love with this book already.

Other thoughts:

  • First line: There could be no wearing of clothes without their laundering, just as surely as there could be no going without clothes, not in Hertfordshire anyway, and not in September. 
  • Less than two pages in, and I'm completely hooked: Baker does a fabulous job of contrasting Sarah's early morning ritual—already outside and pumping water for the laundry at 4:30 in the morning, in weather so cold she can see her breath—while her employers, the Bennets, are still snug in their beds. She dreams of living in a warm place populated with half-clothed men—like Jamaica or Antigua—because there would be "consequently very little in the way of laundry". Heh.
  • In opening with a scene dealing with laundry, Baker is immediately reminding the reader that the Bennets—Lizzy and Jane included—are actual, real people, with actual, real bodily functions. Which sets a very different tone from the original. It's the first Austen fanfiction I've ever read that I'd describe as 'earthy'. Also! While I'd still call this fanfiction, it's already very clear that the focus really is going to be on Baker's own characters, not on Austen's.
  • If Elizabeth had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them. Heh. Makes Lizzy's rambles slightly less romantic, eh?
  • And speaking of the actual, real people thing: It had been that unfortunate time of the month, when all the women in the house had been more than usually short-tempered, clumsy and prone to tears, and then had bled. The napkins now soaked in a separate tub that smelt uneasily of the butcher's shop; they'd be boiled last, in the dregs of the copper, before it was emptied. There's an aspect of Bennet family life that hadn't occurred to me: all of the girls—and the maids—would probably be on the same cycle. Criminy.
  • Souse = pickled brawn = head cheese. Groooooooooss. From Wikipedia: "The parts of the head used varies, but the brain, eyes, and ears are usually removed". USUALLY. There are brains in this one.
  • Although the Bennets aren't portrayed particularly sympathetically—not nasty, just self-absorbed, entitled, clueless, and useless—in this chapter, there is a bit about Mr. Bennet loaning books to Sarah for evening reading. So that's something.
  • While hanging laundry, Sarah spots a Mysterious Stranger from afar. As something disturbs the horses in the barn later on, I have No Doubt that said stranger will come into play very soon.
  • Up and working by 4:30am, only headed to bed by 11pm. Ag. 

Index.

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15. Longbourn -- Jo BakerVolume One, Chapter Two

LongbournAs mentioned in my 2014 Reading Goals post, I'm trying to add more adult fiction into my diet. And, as I like to chronicle this stuff, here I am, chronicling it.

Right now, I'm (obviously) reading Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective

Feel free to read along! (If you end up posting about it, let me know in the comments and I'll link up.)

Basic rundown:

Due to Mr. Hill's aforementioned uselessness (Ha! I called that one!), Mr. Bennet has—without consulting Mrs. Hill—hired on a new manservant, a man who goes by the rather suspiciously generic name of "James Smith".

AND SCENE.

Other thoughts:

  • During this scene, Lydia is the most overtly jackassy—she goes on and on, IN FRONT OF MRS. HILL, about how great it'll be to have a "nice young man" to drive them about, instead of Mr. Hill, who looks like a shaved monkey in a hat—but no one else comes off particularly well, either. Except Kitty, who doesn't even get a line. Poor old Kitty.
  • Mrs. Bennet is excited about it because it's THE THING to have manservants (who, by the way, get higher wages than female employees) and she's looking forward to the neighbors finding out. Credit where credit's due, though: beyond, obviously, the servants, I found her the most likable of the bunch.
  • Although Lizzie and Jane chide Lydia for the spider monkey comment, I got the impression that it was purely because it was impolite, and not because of any real concern for Mrs. Hill's feelings: because, beyond that, the only thing in the scene that makes Lizzie and Jane visibly uncomfortable is the moment when Mrs. Hill forgets herself and dares to speak in their presence without being addressed first.
  • I'm trying to remind myself that although it's told in the third person, much of the narration is colored by Sarah's perception: I get the impression that she's pretty close in age to Lizzie and Jane, and so it makes sense that she'd be the hardest on them. After all, it's purely random chance that they were born into their position in life, and that she was born into hers.

Index.

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16. Longbourn -- Jo BakerVolume One, Chapter Three

LongbournAs mentioned in my 2014 Reading Goals post, I'm trying to add more adult fiction into my diet. And, as I like to chronicle this stuff, here I am, chronicling it.

Right now, I'm (obviously) reading Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective

Feel free to read along! (If you end up posting about it, let me know in the comments and I'll link up.)

Basic rundown:

Sarah is carrying a (full) chamberpot downstairs to be emptied when she overhears Mr. Bennet speaking in his study. That isn't unusual, as he has a habit of talking to himself or to his books—he says it's the only "decent conversation" to be had at Longbourn—but she quickly realizes that he isn't alone: Mrs. Hill is in there with him, and they get into an actual voices-raised FIGHT.

Sarah can't hear any of the words, but it sounds bad. She flees before anyone can catch her eavesdropping.

INTRIGUING.

Other thoughts:

  • Apparently my reading of the last couple of chapters has been less-than-generous towards Jane: Oil on troubled waters, Jane was; a blanket over flames.
  • Then something changed. Three words from Mr. Bennet, like dropped stones: You may go, Sarah guessed. Well, maybe. But there are other, way more interesting three-word sets that I'm leaning towards, especially given Mrs. Hill's reaction.
  • How could she be so angry? How could she dare to be? Well, that's depressing.
  • And I was right about the affection Sarah has towards Mrs. Hill: a poorhouse orphan, she was taken in by the estate when she was six years old, and Mrs. Hill showed her kindness right from the start.

Index.

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17. Longbourn -- Jo BakerVolume One, Chapter Four

LongbournAs mentioned in my 2014 Reading Goals post, I'm trying to add more adult fiction into my diet. And, as I like to chronicle this stuff, here I am, chronicling it.

Right now, I'm (obviously) reading Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective

Feel free to read along! (If you end up posting about it, let me know in the comments and I'll link up.)

Basic rundown:

Sarah thinks about the men in her orbit (unsuitable for various reasons) and considers the different ways that the Bennet sisters (minus Mary, because Mary) charm young gentlemen (none of them work for her). She waits and waits and waits to meet the New Young Man, building the anticipation of the moment up so much that when it happens—and happens disastrously—she pretty much hates his guts on sight.

Other thoughts:

  • It's a nice point that Baker makes about the in-between-ness of Sarah's station—as a housemaid, she's below the gentlefolk, but above the farmhands... and as she works for a semi-impoverished family who live in the country, there isn't much chance of her meeting eligible bachelors.
  • I also really liked the description of Mr. B. being "only really present in the physical sense". Of course, after the last chapter, I'd love to get Mrs. Hill's take on that.
  • Although Sarah was in some distress after her literal run-in with the new manservant—I'm going to have to work "cack-handed lummox" into my vocabulary—her back-and-forth with Mrs. Hill about the possibility of her leg falling off made me laugh out loud.

SO, WAIT. IS THIS GOING TO BE PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, LIKE, WITHIN PRIDE AND PREJUDICE?

If so, RAD!

Index.

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18. Longbourn -- Jo BakerVolume One, Chapter Five

LongbournAs mentioned in my 2014 Reading Goals post, I'm trying to add more adult fiction into my diet. And, as I like to chronicle this stuff, here I am, chronicling it.

Right now, I'm (obviously) reading Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective

Feel free to read along! (If you end up posting about it, let me know in the comments and I'll link up.)

Basic rundown:

Mrs. Hill gives James Smith her patented Orphan Treatment, telling him at Longbourn, he'll always have food, and that "you eat, and then you work" (rather than the other way around) and I rather think that he's hers for life after that. He wins her over as well, as well as Mr. Hill, Polly, and Mrs. B.

Not Sarah, though. Despite him doing all of her most dreaded morning tasks—re-filling the wood and getting the fires going, lugging the water inside, etc.—which gives her an hour reprieve from work and gives Polly the chance for an always-needed catnap, he still makes her bristle.

Also, she realizes that James and the Mysterious Scotchman from the first chapter are one and the same, and that he's lying about where he came from.

Other thoughts:

  • I'm really enjoying the push-pull of Sarah's feelings about James: she wants attention from him, and when she doesn't get it, she wants to kick him. But when he does something thoughtful, like opens a door for her or does all of those chores, she is thrown... which makes her want to kick him some more. I like that she finds him attractive, and that that ALSO makes her want to kick him. 
  • Basically, I like how prickly she is.
  • He's wicked squirrelly about where he's been before, what he's done, who he's worked for, etc. WHAT IS HIS DEAL? IS HE A RUNAWAY OF SOME SORT WHO SECRETLY HAS BUCKETS OF MONEY AND WILL EVENTUALLY SWOOP SARAH AWAY FROM A DULL LIFE FULL OF TOIL?
  • Even if none of that happens, all things considered, the servants at Longbourn have it pretty good (so far). I mean, comparatively. Despite the Bennets' apparent inability to see them as human beings (which makes sense given the era and culture), they aren't MEAN employers, in terms of personality or generosity.
  • Oh! And there's a great Pride and Prejudice parallel moment in this chapter, except James' response is waaaaaaaaay more blunt than Mr. Darcy's:

"I don't know what to make of you at all," she said.
"Please don't trouble yourself to try."

versus the original:

"But if I do not take your likeness now, I may never have another opportunity."
"I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours," he coldly replied.

Index.

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19. Longbourn -- Jo BakerVolume One, Chapter Six

LongbournAs mentioned in my 2014 Reading Goals post, I'm trying to add more adult fiction into my diet. And, as I like to chronicle this stuff, here I am, chronicling it.

Right now, I'm (obviously) reading Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective

Feel free to read along! (If you end up posting about it, let me know in the comments and I'll link up.)

Basic rundown:

Mrs. Bennet asks Mrs. Hill to be her go-between with Mr. Bennet, and to convince him to let her get the girls fitted out with new dresses.

Sarah gets sent to Netherfield to bring Mr. Bingley an invitation to a Family Dinner.

Other thoughts:

  • This is quite a lot more sympathetic towards Mrs. Bennet than any other portrayal I've seen. Like, she has a point about the dresses: the girls are commodities, basically, and they need to look their best if they're going to reel in someone with enough money to allow the rest of the family to live comfortably after Mr. Bennet's death and ownership of Longbourn is transferred to Mr. Collins.
  • I find it somewhat depressing that Mrs. Bennet knows that requests are more likely to be met if she has Mrs. Hill ask than if she asks herself. At the same time, points to her for knowing how to manipulate the situation, I guess.
  • But, of course, the second I feel for her, I think of the other major thing that happened during that scene: she gave Mrs. Hill her yellow silk dress, and in so doing, A) totally dismissed the amount of work the servants had done to clean it after the last time she wore it and B) shows an utter lack of understanding about Mrs. Hill's life. Like, where's she supposed to wear a flouncy yellow silk dress? When she's making dinner?
  • That footman at Netherfield is VERY handsome and VERY flirty, two factors that throw Sarah even more than the fact that he's the first black man she's ever seen in person: So was he what they called a black man, then, even though he was brown?
  • Speaking of being thrown, the conversation about where Bingley's money comes from threw ME. Because, sugar. And sugar = slavery.
  • Polly is reminding me more and more of Lydia.
  • James is quite well educated in re: the sugar trade. Something that Sarah comments on, but then Tempers Flare and Conversation Gets Heated.

Index.

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20. Longbourn -- Jo BakerVolume One, Chapter Seven

LongbournAs mentioned in my 2014 Reading Goals post, I'm trying to add more adult fiction into my diet. And, as I like to chronicle this stuff, here I am, chronicling it.

Right now, I'm (obviously) reading Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective

Feel free to read along! (If you end up posting about it, let me know in the comments and I'll link up.)

Basic rundown:

After Sarah dresses the girls for a ball, Jane and Elizabeth ask her about the dances on the village green, give her pick of their old dresses, and loan her a novel. Later, she tries to express her dissatisfaction with her life to Polly, but is told to "stop moaning" so that Mrs. Hill won't catch them loafing.

Other thoughts:

  • Jane is described as being "as sweet, soothing and undemanding as a baked milk-pudding, and as welcome at the end of an exhausting day". Which would make her an ideal employer, I'd think, though maybe a somewhat boring friend. Then again, when compared to the rest of her family, boring might be occasionally preferable.
  • Elizabeth also comes off quite well in this chapter, warm and bright and good-humored.
  • Oh! And this line—"Lyddie would give anyone anything, just for the asking."—has me quite curious about how she'll be portrayed here. Because that certainly doesn't line up with how she's come across in the past.
  • As Sarah gets a hand-me-down because the girls got new dresses, one can only assume that Mrs. Hill was successful in talking Mr. Bennet into buying them.
  • It's less than a full paragraph long, but the description of the village dance is GREAT. I could see and hear it all.
  • When the Bennet girls leave, it's like they take the light with them, and Sarah is left feeling like she's just a shadow. Which is pretty much this entire book (so far) in a nutshell: her very existence pretty much depends on them, and her life even parallels theirs... but whereas they're meant to be seen and admired, she's meant to stay invisible and hidden.
  • And finally, a major facet of Sarah's discontent: she remembers being part of a family, before she was orphaned, before she was in service, and since she was happy once upon a time, she knows what she's missing.

Index.

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21. Longbourn -- Jo BakerVolume One, Chapter Eight

LongbournAs mentioned in my 2014 Reading Goals post, I'm trying to add more adult fiction into my diet. And, as I like to chronicle this stuff, here I am, chronicling it.

Right now, I'm (obviously) reading Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective

Feel free to read along! (If you end up posting about it, let me know in the comments and I'll link up.)

Basic rundown:

James brings the Bennet women to the assembly in Meryton.

Other thoughts:

  • Below him, the ladies' voices twittered; the carriage was a cage filed with pretty birds. How could he ever show sufficient care? How could he ever repay the trust that that good man had placed in him? Things could change so entirely, in a heartbeat; the world could be made entirely anew, because someone was kind. He would keep his head down, draw no attention to himself. He would not even look at Sarah, for all she was so very good to look at. WELL, THEN. VERY INTERESTING...
  • Also, nice description of the goings-on outside of the dance, as well as the quiet return home.

Index.

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22. The finalists for the 2014 Tournament of Books...

Eleanor and park...have been released.

Token YA title of the year: Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell.

I should probably get around to reading it, eh?

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23. Longbourn -- Jo BakerVolume One, Chapter Nine

LongbournAs mentioned in my 2014 Reading Goals post, I'm trying to add more adult fiction into my diet. And, as I like to chronicle this stuff, here I am, chronicling it.

Right now, I'm (obviously) reading Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective

Feel free to read along! (If you end up posting about it, let me know in the comments and I'll link up.)

Basic rundown:

The Militia marches through town; something gets James all nervous; Sarah pulls a Veronica Mars on James' quarters; the handsome footman from Netherfield comes to Longbourn to bring Jane an invitation to dinner.

 

Other thoughts:

  • Could James be AWOL? WHAT IS HE AFRAID OF/RUNNING FROM?? IT'S DRIVING ME BANANAS!!!
  • I liked the bit about Mr. Bennet being all crabby about the servants being unsupervised while the family is over at Lucas Lodge: because obviously he's not a remotely effective supervisor, he's just cranky that he has TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. Heh.
  • James has a book on abolition (not surprising, given his previous conversation with Sarah) and some seashells: I'm sure that Sherlock Holmes would have figured his whole story out by now, but I'm STILL IN THE DARK.
  • Mrs. Hill exhibits quite a bit of discomfort while the Netherfield footman waits for Jane's reply; Polly is quiet while he's there, but then lets loose a whopper of a cringe-inducing statement (to our modern ears) after he leaves: "Perhaps they couldn't get an ordinary man," said Polly. Ag. Sarah (rather spiritedly), says that she thinks "he's lovely", which seems to get a reaction out of James. IS THIS THE FIRST SIGN OF A THAW BETWEEN THEM??

Index.

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24. Lifetime is so sure that Flowers in the Attic will succeed...

...that they're already working on the sequel:

At the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena on Thursday, Lifetime announced its developing author V.C. Andrew’s second novel in the incest-peppered Dollanganger series, Petals on the Wind. Screenwriter Kayla Alpert describes the sequel as taking place 10 years after the first film, “and I’ll just say its a very juicy and compelling revenge drama.”

"Incest-peppered." AHAHAHAHAHA.

Man, I need to find a friend who gets Lifetime.

LET'S WATCH THAT TRAILER AGAIN, SHALL WE??

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25. Longbourn -- Jo BakerVolume One, Chapter Ten... and then some.

LongbournUm, whoops?

I have no self-control whatsoever, and I accidentally blew through the rest of Longbourn yesterday. I really only meant to read one chapter, but I Just. Couldn't. Stop.

Rather than spoilerize the whole rest of the book for you—if you've found these posts even vaguely interest-piquing, you really, really should just pick it up because it's super in every way—I'll just wind this up with a few comments:

  • Wow, Mr. Bennet. As has been previously discussed in the comments of some of my previous Longbourn posts, Mr. Bennet is... kind of a jerk. More than kind of. Did he marry below himself intellectually? Yes. Does he have anyone to blame for that but himself? No. I can understand being bitter and being unhappy, but the way that he takes it out on his wife—not to mention Mrs. Hill—makes me despise him. I really don't think I'll ever be able to read him with any measure of affection again: Baker added some layers of unlikable behavior to his character and past, sure, but the majority of it came from Austen's original. I just never really looked beyond the entertainment factor of his zingers before to consider the effect they'd have on the target of his "wit".
  • The Hills. I was right about SO MANY THINGS! Due to Mrs. Hill's behavior towards and affection for James, I Had Suspicions about her past, and those Suspicions panned out, and the reveal was so well timed. (In addition to the realism and the period detail and the character development, I was so impressed by Baker's plotting: parallels to Pride and Prejudice abound, but they never feel contrived or obvious or unnatural.) I have such difficulty in understanding how Mrs. Hill didn't despise Mr. Bennet, especially—in addition to the way that he wronged her personally, though much of that is obviously heightened by my modern sensibilities—given her empathy and affection for Mrs. Bennet. The reveal about the comfort and trust behind the Hills' marriage did a lot to soften... well, everything, but especially Mr. Hill's storyline. It's nice that, given the era, he could find at least some measure of happiness.
  • Mrs. Bennet. Oh, laudanum. That makes so much sense. And is so depressing. It's so easy to imagine Lydia eventually going in exactly the same direction, albeit for slightly different reasons.
  • Wickham. Gross. I might need to re-watch Lost in Austen to regain some amount of affection for him.
  • Ptolemy Bingley. He was the only character who got short shrift, which was really too bad: his background and history would make for some super plotting & psychology, and I'd have loved to get to know him better.
  • I can imagine some readers having a hard time with Elizabeth and Darcy's not-exactly-happily-ever-after, but I A) found Lizzy's difficulty acclimating to her new life quite believable, B) reminded myself that this was all being filtered through Sarah's own unhappiness at Pemberley, and C) have confidence that Lizzy will find her footing eventually.
  • POLLY! MARY! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! I loved what Baker did with them. LOVED. Poor old Mary, she deserved some happiness. Of the younger Bennet girls, she's the one I've always felt for.
  • Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine. Oh, Mr. Collins. I do tend to feel bad for him in all of his awkwardness, and he seems so lost here. Lady Catherine, as always, is both hilarious and awful. I loved that Mr. Collins' servants live in just as much fear of her as he does.
  • And finally, James and Sarah. The chapters that finally give us his backstory are BRUTAL. But they're also wonderful, in that they make his showdown with Wickham all the more wonderful: when you realize what James has been through, and then compare that to the cockiness of these young bucks in the Militia... well, no wonder that James has zero regard, time, or respect for them. I loved, too, how James and Sarah's stories paralleled each other, in that they both had to leave home to find it again.

Long story short: LOVED IT.

Man. Now I need a new grown-up book. Suggestions?

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