Read-A-Long

HOW TO BUILD A GIRL READALONG: THE LAST PART

how to build a girl

 

Emily is hosting this lovely readalong of How to Build a Girl (THANKS EMILY!), and if you’d like to pre-order a copy of this you should head on over to Odyssey Bookshop to do that. And if you’re not readalong-ing with us, be aware – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

So here we are, the end of the book!

smile face

  • Rob talks about how all Goth chicks “have a bit of chubble” – what a massive asshole.
  • Johanna plays her father’s horrible music tape for her co-workers, and then tosses it.
  • Johanna decides to do speed.
  • The whole giant catastrophe of Tony Rich… I can’t even. I just can’t.
  • Johanna has a fantastic night with John Kite, passes out, gets upset, then starts cutting herself.
  • I enjoy that she decides to learn some NWA lyrics so she has an excuse for the scars, later on.
  • Johanna states that she is now for things – not against them.” Dude… you can be both. You have to be both.
  • The family’s benefits were cut because Johanna got a job. CALLED IT. And I guess she had been helping out with bills and such, so that’s good.
  • Johanna is moving, Krissi is coming with her (“To make sure you’re okay, and you don’t accidentally write your shopping list on your arm with an ax.”), and she still feels like she has to get her dad famous.

Overall… I don’t know how I feel about this book. I really, really loved the first 2/3 or so, and then my enjoyment kind of decreased from there. I’m kind of bummed that there was no real conflict with her dad, and that there was no big revelation about Krissi being gay. I really ended up liking Krissi the best out of anyone, because it turns out he’s smart and kind of hilarious. I’m curious to see what another Moran novel would be like… one that would be not so closely related to her own life.

I’ll probably sum up my final feels in a non-spoiler-y review later on.

Thanks again to Emily for hosting, and to HarperCollins for making the readalong possible!! And of course to all of the other bloggers participating. You guys make readalong-ing the best.

bye gif

~Sarah

HOW TO BUILD A GIRL READALONG: THE FOURTH PART

how to build a girl

 

Emily is hosting this lovely readalong of How to Build a Girl (THANKS EMILY!), and if you’d like to pre-order a copy of this you should head on over to Odyssey Bookshop to do that. And if you’re not readalong-ing with us, be aware – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

 

“In the long days, the unnerving, violin-like screeching of worry can firmly sat up with the thought, “By nine p.m., I shall be partying.” And besides, I’m drinking for practical reasons. Having spent all my money on my computer, I walk home from gigs, down the A449 to our estate, and the alcohol keeps me warm, and means I do not stint on the top notes when I sing.”

there there

 

I am CONCERNED for this girl. Johanna’s kind of a hot mess, diving fully into her Dolly Wilde persona – drinking too much, walking home drunk and alone, and finally doing things with the boys. She comes home from a gig in which she adorably thinks “I’m in a kiss!” and has a drunk father to drunk daughter heart-to-heart. AGH. But then we get this:

“Whenever Dadda tells me the stories of what it was like when he was young, I shiver again in relief and glee that I am here, now. I do not think I would have been me at any other time. I would not have been allowed.”

And damn it, Caitlin Moran, crap like this is what totally leads me to love Johanna, even when she kind of makes me want to pull my hair out and yell “NOOOOO, BAD DECISION” at some of the many things she does. Like agreeing to try to get her dad an “in” to a music career. Oy. And not writing reviews about bands she likes (DON’T BE A FAN). A tad over-dramatic there, girlie. You can absolutely write about bands that are good – just don’t write a freaking love letter to them and then have it published.

I love that Krissi loves rap.

just doin his thing

just doin his thing

 

Johanna nails how awesome awesome kisses are:

“He’s kissing me in a way that could save the lives of the dying. He has my face in his hands, and there’s a lazy, urgent joy in the way he moves – I’m pretty sure there can’t ever have been any kissing better than this. There can’t ever have been any kissing before. We are inventing it, in these last ten minutes.”

 

 

And then she instantly makes me feel completely sorry for her brand new sex life, in which she talks about how great sex is because you get ALL of a person’s attention, which she used to have to pretend to die to get. And then about how her purpose to to make men come. And then how she writes letters to John Kite vividly describing the sex she’s having.

Clearly, Johanna has some self-esteem issues. This is nothing new, it’s kind of a main theme of the book – that she likes herself, but in general, never thought she would get the kind of attention “pretty” girls get. I just wish that her self-esteem issues weren’t leading her towards such a self-destructive path. Which I guess makes this a good book for teen girls who might be going through that? Sure.

On the one hand, I am totally okay with women having casual sex and good for them, if they’re being healthy and smart about it.

On the other hand, it concerns me that Johanna says she wants to be introduced as a “legendary piece of ass”. And that throughout this relatively descriptive section, she hasn’t mentioned condoms once. Please, please let there have been condoms.

And then she says things like “I’m a Lady Sex Adventuress! I’m a Pirate of Privates! I’m a swashfuckler!” and I think that she’s going to be okay. I hope.

Johanna talks a bit about how only the men come in all the porn she’s scene (jesus, I can only imagine the amount of spam I’m attracting by writing this post), and I know Moran’s written about that before so… snore. I don’t care. And it kind of bugs me that Moran’s non-fiction is overlapping so directly with her fiction yet again.

And then this section ends with the chapter about Al, the apparently hugely endowed guy, and… I don’t even know what to say. It was kind of funny. It also made me uncomfortable, because aside from s/he said jokes, I don’t really talk… like this. And because SERIOUSLY Johanna, please tell me there were condoms involved here. I am WORRIED. Johanna only has one more section to really get her shit together and be safe and more herself.

I enjoyed her calling the cat a vagina-ruiner, though. That was amusing.

 

~Sarah

HOW TO BUILD A GIRL READALONG: THE THIRD PART

how to build a girl

 

Emily is hosting this lovely readalong of How to Build a Girl (THANKS EMILY!), and if you’d like to pre-order a copy of this you should head on over to Odyssey Bookshop to do that. And if you’re not readalong-ing with us, be aware – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

Alright ya’ll, I don’t have too much time to write this, so let’s jump right in -

  • “I don’t want him to see what I look like when I do something for the first time. I don’t want anyone watching me change. I will do all my changing in private. In public I am, always, the finished thing.” –> Seriously Johanna, you have to stop saying things that are so perfect. This is basically me… or basically old me, as new me is not quite as shy about doing new things. But going into a new situation, there’s always a lot of stress and not wanting people to see you not knowing how something works, and yeah.
  • “I am getting incredibly high on a single, astounding fact: that it’s always sunny above the clouds. Always. That every day on earth – every day I have ever had – was secretly sunny, after all.” –> Again, lovely.
  • Johanna meets John Kite and he shows her off on stage before his concert. My eyebrow raised in skepticism here. Not that it couldn’t happen… but it’s just a REALLY big stroke of luck and incredibleness. And of course, Johanna basically falls in love with him. I am cynical on this bit too… but I’ll wait and see if/how their “relationship” actually goes before I go down that path.
  • Her dad doesn’t appreciate the Guinness she thoughtfully and carefully obtained for him. Because he’s kind of a dick.
  • The family’s benefits get cut. By 11%. I have MANY issues with this section, but I don’t want to get into it.

A couple points though…

Seriously, why is it never mentioned why her mom doesn’t work? Why is this not even brought up?

TV is a luxury that should have been cut ages ago.

Johanna should be paying rent now that she has a job.

Krissi is upset because he doesn’t think he’ll get to go to university now. Did he really ever think his parents would be able to pay for that? How about working hard in school to apply for a scholarship, or planning to work to put yourself through college?

Krissi steps up and does a common sense thing – he starts growing plants to help supplement the lack of fresh vegetables in their diet. WHY  HASN’T HIS MOTHER BEEN DOING THIS ANYWAYS. The whole family could pitch in on taking care of a garden.

 

idiot headache

 

weep for humanity

 

Also, it’s been two years – I’m wondering if it was actually the neighbor that said something, or if this came about because of something else. Like maybe that someone in the household was working (Johanna) and so benefits had to be re-evaluated, which would make sense.

Back to the bullets.

  • Johanna’s been wankin’ it to thoughts of the devil.
  • Her dad mentions her helping to get his name out there in music circles, and she kind of agrees, but nothing really happens…
  • After a bit of quiet time since she wrote a kind of ridiculous fangirl of a love letter about John Kite as an article, Johanna’s called back to work and starts getting more to do, which is a good thing.
  • She feels the need to drink in front of her much older co-workers… which, I understand the sentiment… but bad decision.
  • Johanna can get records as a work expense!
  • I enjoyed Johanna’s observations on how useful smoking is. It’s gross and ridiculous, so I don’t understand why people still choose to do it. However, I have noticed the strong social bonds between smokers, especially in work situations.
  • Johanna’s first kiss!

imaginary hat 2

But a bit anti-climactic, no?

  • Johanna starts writing mean reviews, and I LIKE IT. I feel like this might be the point where Johanna gains a bit more of a backbone.

Crap, I really need to go to bed. Overall, I didn’t like this section as much… I feel Johanna regressed a bit, and all the stuff about her family’s benefits being decreased irritated me. It could have been a really touching aspect of the story, but the way Moran did it here does not really rile my sympathies. But, I look hopefully to the next section.

~Sarah

 

HOW TO BUILD A GIRL READALONG: THE SECOND PART

Well, I almost forgot about this today! My bad. I’ve been in a vacation-y, anniversary-y, Borderlands-y vortex and ended up just reading this section today.

 

how to build a girl

 

Emily is hosting this lovely readalong of How to Build a Girl (THANKS EMILY!), and if you’d like to pre-order a copy of this you should head on over to Odyssey Bookshop to do that. And if you’re not readalong-ing with us, be aware – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

I admit – I fell asleep during this section. Partly it’s because dude, I’m tired. But also because there is a LOT of talk about bands that I know nothing about. I think I maybe recognized two band names.

clueless

But, let’s see how Johanna’s faring…

I kind of loved that she tries to adopt a new name, because she realized that she needed to do some work on herself a bit (don’t worry Johanna, you’ll spend the rest of your life knowing there’s things you can improve on – just be happy). There are so many times growing up that I kind of wished I could just not be me for a bit. OH and her putting quotes and song lyrics up on her wall. This was me EXACTLY. Index cards all over the walls, with quotes written on them in Sharpie.

“Some of it I write directly onto the paintwork, so it will never be lost, or blown away. I am collaging myself here, on my wall.”

She also perfectly describes my stress going into any new-to-me place, like a comic book store or a college campus, etc – “In my most paranoid fantasy, when I open the door, all the music will stop, and everyone will look up, like in a Wild West saloon bar when a stranger walks in.” I mean, I do better than Johanna in new situations, but barely.

Johanna’s mom is a BIT of a jerk in this section. I’m assuming she might still be going through her postpartum depression, but calling your teenage daughter who helps out with your younger kids a lot a “big fat crow” is a really crappy thing. I do like that she tries to keep Johanna in school though. She fails, but at least she tries.

So, when Johanna goes into the city to interview for a job writing music reviews and she does the misunderstanding the job offer thing… that scene was directly lifted from Moran’s experience that she recounts in Moranthology. I’ve actually only read two chapters of Moranthology so far – I decided to stop because her voice is very distinctive and I didn’t want to confuse myself by reading two Moran books at the same time. But oh look at that, it happened anyways.

awkward (2)

 

I get the whole write-what-you-know thing, but damn. Some of it was word-for-word, and I guess I’m just a little disappointed that she couldn’t think of an different awkward moment for Johanna to have at her interview. How to Build a Girl seems like it’s turning out to be VERY SUPER autobiographical, from what I can tell, and that’s a bit of a letdown because I was excited to read her FICTION. Sooooo now I hope she writes another novel and that it’s a bit more creative.

I’m all over the place here, but one more thing – her dad ups his level of assholeness. He immediately sees Johanna’s new job as a way to get his ridiculous dream as a musician, and he goes with her to her first work assignment/gig so that he can drink on her company’s dime and then drives home drunk. Brilliant. I know a lot of people here readalonging kind of like her dad, but he more and more is so similar to my own dad that I just can’t stand it. It’s frustrating. I hope she realizes how crappy he is. She can still love him, but hopefully also will see him for what he is.

On a happy note, I love that Johanna mentions this -

“Rock music needs very supportive bras, I note, holding onto my own bosoms as I leap up and down, doggedly. This is something the music press had never mentioned. They have so little guidance for girls.”

high five

 

Stuff like that is why I still really like Johanna and am excited to see where else her story goes. More things like this and less band name-dropping, please. And I apologize to you guys for my brain being scattered in this post. I’ll be more organized next week… probably.

~Sarah

HOW TO BUILD A GIRL READALONG: THE FIRST PART

Howdy there ladies.

how to build a girl

 

It’s Mondaaaayyyy, which means we have finally read some of How to Build a Girl and get to talk about it! Emily is hosting this lovely readalong (THANKS EMILY!), and if you’d like to pre-order a copy of this you should head on over to Odyssey Bookshop to do that. And if you’re not readalong-ing with us, be aware – THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.

 

So we have met our intrepid heroine, Johanna. And what is she doing when we first meet her? Masturbating. Next to her brother.

what are you doing

do you not

 

So, go Johanna for masturbating, I guess? I mean, “If I can’t go on a date with a boy…. then at least I can go on a date with me. A bed-date, i.e., a wank.” is a sentiment I can totally get behind. But dude…. not next to your little brother.

I instantly feel for Johanna, because her dad is a pathetic ass, but she loves him. I get this. I kind of hate her dad, but that makes me sympathize with her. I hope she learns to stand up to him as the book goes on.

Joanna starts peeling potatoes because she’s acting-parent of this household, and this little gem gets dropped on me:

“I carried on peeling potatoes. I love this peeling knife. It fits so snugly in my hand. Together, we must have peeled tons of potatoes. We are a good team. It is my Excalibur.”

And that just might be my favorite passage so far. It’s hard to compete with my love of potatoes.

Her poor mother… I feel super bad for her. I feel like I shouldn’t. She’s married and choosing to stay with a man who has never grown up and learned to take care of his family, and she is absolutely miserable because she has twin infants now and that just sucks. And seriously people, BIRTH CONTROL. And yet, I still feel bad for her. Maybe I’m just feeling particularly nice, because normally this shit would infuriate me. Especially with Johanna being all

“Currently we don’t have a mother. Just a space where one was.”

sad baby

 

I hope that her mom gets her shit together and kicks their good-for-nothing father out of the house.

So ANYWAYS, Johanna accidentally lets the cat out of the bag, in that she expresses to a neighbor that her crappy father is cheating the system and getting assistance, and she’s terrified that she has just caused the downfall of her entire family. This poor girl. Losing their assistance might have been the best thing to ever happen to her family, because her parents would have been forced to try to find jobs, but still. She’s freaked, and starts very nobly trying to make some dough. Which leads to that hilarious but also heartbreaking appearance of her on TV. So first, she comes to the realization that she is not a pretty girl. That in of itself was just sad. This bright, hilarious, brazen girl sees herself in a monitor and sees herself as ugly and fat. And that was just heartbreaking.

crushing my heart

And then she does a Scooby Doo impression on television, which was just hysterical and also a little like watching a train derail. Sadly, it’s her father who has the best response (basically, don’t be a prat), and while I hate to admit that man can say anything of which I approve – I do. It was really the only thing to say.

So all in all, I’m actually really enjoying this and I’m glad because I wasn’t sure I would. This is easily the most I’ve highlighted quotes & made notes on my Kindle. But it’s hard not to like Johanna. She’s weird and funny and passionate, even when she’s not sure what she should be passionate about. She thinks her kisses are going to change the world, and well, this

“I don’t want to die for something. I don’t even want to walk in the rain up a hill in a skirt that’s sticking to my thighs for something. I want to live for something, instead – as men do. I want to have fun.”

 

FABULOUS

 

I’m really glad I get to start the next section now. FINALLY. It’s hard waiting a whole week.

 

~Sarah

 

 

 

How To Build A Girl readalong: The Intro

how to build a girl

 

 

Hi guys!! *waves*

It has been too long since I’ve been able to do a readalong, so when I saw Emily’s post about this pre-pub readalong for Caitlin Moran’s new novel, I begged and pleaded to join in (really, I mentioned that if I spot opened up I’d love to join, and Emily hooked me up with a e-galley, because she’s super awesome).

true story

 

Most of you are familiar enough with me, but for any newbies joining – Hi, I’m Sarah, I read and blog stuff. Take a look around if that strikes your fancy. The only Caitlin Moran book I’ve read before is How to Be a Woman, which I admit I didn’t love. I had some issues with it, BUT I did like Moran’s writing style. She’s funny and sarcastic and angry, and that’s something I can always get on board with. I have been meaning to pick up Moranthology, but never got around to it. (Okay actually I forgot about it, and I just went to Amazon to make sure I had the title right, and it’s only $1.99 on the Kindle, so I’m getting that now and I’ll read it soonish.) Anyways, I was excited to hear that she had a novel coming out and I’m really glad that I’ll get to read it with ya’ll!

Sooo… not much else to ramble on about, I’m afraid. I hope the book is good, I’m sure the conversations and blog posts will be brilliant. I need to go GIF-hunting, because I’ve been MIA for so long and I need to re-stock and that seems like a good way to spend a couple hours. I’d like to thank Emily for getting us together on this readalong, as well as the folks at HarperCollins.

For anyone interested in pre-ordering the hardcover of How to Build a Girl, (it comes out in September), visit Odyssey Bookshop and get it done! I’m off to start reading this now (AKA after work), because I’m impatient.

 

bye bye

 

~Sarah

Fellowship of the Worms! The Rosie Project, a re-read

 

Good evening peeps. I’m running late with this post, because that is just the story of my life right now.

I was SUPER EXCITED when Katie announced that The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was going to be the next Fellowship book club read. I listened to it on audio back in November and loooooved it, and I was looking for a good excuse to read my hardcover copy!

Be warned, there are spoilers here. GO READ THE BOOK, and then come back to discuss.

Katie asked us some questions, and I shall answer:

1. Pop Culture question here. Did anybody else get a SERIOUS Sheldon Cooper vibe out of Don? 

Mostly, no. This might be because I listened to the audio and hence Don had a wonderfully heavy Australian accent. Buuuut I think that Don’s personality was a lot different from Sheldon’s. Sure they both had a lot of the same mannerisms and habits, but basically Don was never intentionally a jerk and Sheldon kind of is. And you know, Don kind of WANTS friends and love, where as Sheldon is more the “screw you guys, I don’t need other humans” type. Of course, I love them both because I love jerks ;-)

2. Don’s social interactions are awkward at best, but his logic and adherence to routine give him some interesting habits. What’s your favorite Don-ism?

HA. Possibly his attention to fitness. I seriously admire all the jogging he did. And I agree with Katie, a somewhat Standardized Meal Plan has some perks to it. Aaaaand Don’s quite a fan of alcohol, and so am I!

3. Don’s “Wife Project” involves an elaborate questionnaire designed to weed out unsuitable matches. Have you ever made a list of qualities that are important to you in a potential partner? Do you think it’s realistic to expect any one person to live up to all of them? 

I have never done this. In all fairness, I’ve only had two major relationships and after the first one, my only real standard was “have a job”. And for the past 5.5 years I’ve been with the Honeyman, who is all sorts of wonderful and amazing and awesome.

 

4. What is it about Rosie that manages to break down Don’s defenses? Do you think that love requires a certain abandonment of logic? 

Well, I think that there was a slight insta-attraction thing there. Don didn’t notice it himself, but after one short 5 minute conversation with her he was already altering his behavior. But besides being attractive, I think Rosie accepted him for who he was. And when he said or did something strange, she was blunt about it instead of just giving him the hairy eyeball and running the other way.

Though I wouldn’t blame her if she ran away from this…

 

5. What was your favorite scene in The Rosie Project?

OH LORD. So many. That’s why I bought the hardcover before I was even finished listening to the audio - because I knew I was going to want to re-visit so many parts of the book over and over again. But I think the argument with the host at the restaurant in the beginning over what constitutes proper jacket attire is still my favorite.

If you’ve read and enjoyed The Rosie Project (and of course you have, because it’s fantastic), you should head on over to the Fellowship of the Worms post and join in on the fun!

~Sarah

Bleak House Readalong – “lawyers lie like maggots in nuts.”

Bleak House

 

 

It’s here, it’s here! I admit, I was super psyched when Alice posted sign-ups for a Bleak House readalong (because these readalongs are the best, duh), and then I was kind of regretting it when I saw how massive Bleak House was. Why did I think it was a measly 400 pages? ANYWAYS. And yes, I put off reading until the weekend which clearly didn’t go well, and I was all whiny about it, but now I’m just kind of loving it. My mouth is open and I’m looking around with just a confused, happy grin on my face.

 

happy endings gif

So there’s some lawsuit called Jarndyce and Jarndyce that’s been dragging on for decades and it involves a ton of people in some way, and any inheritance coming to anybody is just getting gobbled up by the legal fees and such. And no one even remembers the particulars of the case. K. I still have no real clue what’s going on – we know a bit about that Jarndyce guy who killed himself, and that numerous characters are in some way attached to the case, and that’s about it.

Esther is an orphan character (man, Dickens loved him some orphans, didn’t he?) who grew up knowing that her godmother/aunt hated her and wished she’d never been born, and “I knew that I had brought no joy, at any time, to anybody’s heart,” and CHRIST, even I felt sad for her. And you know me, and my general not-giving-a-crap about sad kids. But Esther’s story is definitely a bit depressing, and somehow this Jarndyce guy hears about her and looks out for her. And there are two other young people, Ada and Richard, who are guardians of his, and Esther becomes a chaperone or something for Ada, I guess? All well and good, because she’s kind of obsessed with Ada and they become insta-besties. And while Esther COULD be annoying because she keeps putting herself down and she’s a bit chatty, she’s also just a really sweet girl and she’s just so damn happy and grateful all the time, and I like her.

HOWEVER, my favorite character so far is Mr. Boythorn. He’s probably not a main character in this giant story, but he’s LOUD and talks in superlatives constantly and is all ridiculously angry and threatening to beat people up, ALL WHILST HIS YELLOW CANARY IS PERCHED ON HIS HEAD. And and “It is morally impossible that his name can be Sir Leicester. It must be Sir Lucifer.” I can’t even.

Mrs. Jellyby and Mrs. Pardiggle (Dickens, you’re killing me with these names dude) are both just so ridiculous and I’m not sure who is worse. Mrs. Jellyby for blatantly ignoring her kids while she pretends to be charitable towards Africa, or Mrs. Pardiggle who drags her kids around everywhere while she belittles poor people with her fake, insincere good deeds.

captain hammer gif

Mrs. Pardiggle reincarnated?

 

Mr. Skimpole! GET A JOB, YOU LAZY MOOCH. How can Mr. Jarndyce stand this guy?

Besides the absolute absurdity of everything that’s going on so far, I gotta give it to Dickens – he can write pretty awesomely when he wants to. There have been a few sentences or passages that I highlighted just because I thought they were beautifully written and evoked really strong imagery. So, props to you dude, I guess.

Aaaaand I think that’s all I got for now. I wanted to talk about chapter 11 and how things just all of the sudden got a tiny bit creepy and then that dude died and Krook is acting kind of shifty, but *whispers* I didn’t finish the chapter yet.

look at my wrist i gotta go

 

~Sarah

 

 

The Corrections readalong: THE END, THANK GOD.

2 BROKE GIRLS GIF

We did it! We made it to the end! Major thanks to Alley for bringing us all together to read this awful, awful book. I literally couldn’t have done it if I wasn’t reading it along with you guys. And since we actually read the whole damn thing, you know what we get? Bragging rights. And the right to talk as much shit about Franzen and this book as we want. It’s like the people who read Fifty Shades of Grey just so that they can know what they’re talking about when mocking it.

So, going into this section I just wanted to be done and was all

dont care gif

about the characters because they’re all pieces of crap. And honestly, I’m a bit raged out. So let’s go over the notes I took…

  • page 465 when Al is thinking of his tumble into the ocean and he’s thinking he should have just drowned – YUP.
  • Apparently Enid’s travelled a lot, which makes me wonder how she can possibly be so narrow-minded about things and so whiny about money stuff. Travel is usually good for the soul, isn’t it? But maybe those things were just too much a part of her.
  • Caroline is motherfucking EVIL and lures Jonah into staying with her and his bratty brothers for Christmas, and Jonah is ruined forever. Because Franzen couldn’t just let us keep one decent character.
  • page 499 Gary decides to pee  into some container in the closet. What the fuck is wrong with him and Al that they’d rather be into objects instead of just using the bathroom??? I assume this is another weird glimpse into Franzen’s personality. Does he pee into containers too? Good god, his poor girlfriend (if he has one)…
  • page 504 Denise sleeps with a 17 year-old. Greeeaaaat. If she was a dude, her ass would be freaking arrested. Granted, I do think that a person 17 years old can be is responsible for his/her own decisions (one of the reasons I have issues with her sleeping with that Don guy), but I think there’s something a bit creepy about a 32 year-old going after a 17 year-old, whatever their genders.
  • And THEN Denise gets back together with Robin, just to treat her like shit. Sorry guys, I can’t see that she really loves Robin. Infatuated with her maybe, but you don’t treat someone you love like that. She’s no better than an abusive man.
  • But wait, there’s more – her sleeping with Don is the reason her father quit just before he was able to retire with his pension! I admire Al here for never breathing a word to anyone about it. And she doesn’t even try to apologize or explain – not that Al is mentally present enough anyways to remember or understand, but still. Christ.
  • Gary’s a douchebag.

youre a douche

  • page 547 “She flinched or sighed or shook her head at every spilled bite, every non sequitur.” - Way to be a bitch, Enid.
  • And of COURSE Chip ends up being the great son, the one who’s perfect and helps out his parents and takes care of Al. Because Chip = Franzy and obviously he thinks that highly of himself.

Omg, fuck this book so many times.

breaking bad gif

A whole cast of absolutely obnoxious characters all doing terrible things, and talking poop. That about sums this book up. I’m going to a  non-spoiler review of this book later, and I’m going to have a hard time expanding on that without spoiling everything.

I AM glad I read this, because it’s a popular book and an Oprah pick (what was she thinking) and because Franzen is such a highly praised author, and now I have something to base my own opinions on. Now at least I can join a conversation about Franzy and know a little something, you know? Not that I get into many literary conversations like that in real life, but the point is now I’m prepared.

Thanks to all my fellow readalongers, for making this book suck less by talking about it and using a ton of the best gifs. You guys are hysterical and smart and the best. And again a huge thanks to Alley, for being brave enough to host it and doing a pretty kick-ass job about it.

So, final thoughts? How’d you like the book overall? Are you going to try another Franzy?

~Sarah

The Corrections Readalong: Part 3

alan rickman what the fuck

Oh man. The Book of Horrible People continues. Thank you again to Alley for hosting this, because despite how much I’m loathing the book and Franzen, it sure is fun to bitch about.

So, this section starts off with an intro to a character named Robin, and her husband Brian, and how they know Denise. This part was pretty boring, partly I think because we learn about Robin only through her experiences with all the men in her life, including her absolutely psycho older brother, Billy. And then her husband becomes a millionaire, which is awesome, except she has some stupid guilt over it, and while I appreciate the good that she tries to do… she’s also kind of annoying. She didn’t do a damn thing wrong, but she’s all guilty and blah blah blah. She’s not a bad person (yet), but her weird self-righteous stand here was silly.

ANYHOO. So then we meet Denise! I had such high hopes for Denise… and then we learn that she apparently likes to go after married men. And then she talks a great guy into marrying her, and then decides she doesn’t want to be married anymore. So she kinda sorta decides to be gay, so she doesn’t have to feel guilty about leaving her marriage. And then that doesn’t pan out, so then she doesn’t date for a long time… until she meets Brian and Robin, and she – wait for it – SLEEPS WITH BOTH OF THEM.

awkward (2)

Denise is sneaky. Because otherwise, she seems like a cool person. She’s driven, she works hard, she loves food (I love people who love food!), she kind of tries to get along with all of her family (even douchebag Chip)… but she’s a horrible, horrible person. There’s no hiding that. She purposely tries to entice Brian into sleeping with her, and when Robin shows some jealousy, she spews out this little gem after getting off the phone with her:

“I could have fucked your husband!” she said. “And I chose not to! So how about a little friendliness?”

 

shut your whore mouth

 

Because OF COURSE Robin should be thankful that you made out with her husband but at the last minute decided not to sleep with him. I walk around all day thinking I should be friendly to all the women who decide not to sleep with my boyfriend (although my honeyman is famous for telling women to fall the fuck back when they try to get too flirty – Brian is a monumental asshole here too). *EYEROLL OF THE CENTURY*

Anyways, so because Brian initially turns her down, she decides to seduce Robin, and they have an affair for a while until she feels betrayed because Robin is still having sex with her husband (ohmygod, you hypocritical bitch), and then she finally worms her way into sleeping with Brian. And then they find out she’s been sleeping with them both, and she feels all hurt because Brian fires her after that. Denise is not as blatantly obnoxious as Chip, but she is JUST as horrible of a person as Chip. UGH.

Then things go back to Chip, and he’s living it up in Lithuania until – surprise, surprise – shit starts to hit the fan there. This part was pretty boring, with a couple “You’re such an asshole, Chip” moments. And then a tank shows up and the power goes out at the airport, so maybe Chip will die after all!

 

whaaaa

Maybe things are looking up…

 

I like how I end each section hoping that somebody (all of them) die. I have a feeling I’m probably not going to get that wish, but I could hope.

Let’s list some quotes that I just wrote “I hate you, Franzen” next to, okay?

  • “She was haunted, just as she’d feared, by the afterimage of his dick.”     (Yeah, that’s what we think to ourselves.)
  • “Her surfeit of gifts and opportunities, in comparison to Don Armour’s, manifested itself as a physical botheration – a dissatisfaction that pinching the sensitive parts of herself might address but couldn’t fix.”     (Maybe PINCHING is the problem. Don’t quite know how women work, do ya Franzy?)
  • “She felt positively shoved by Robin into Brian’s arms.”     (*eyeroll*)
  • “She also resented that the college was making her feel guilty about her privileges while granting certain lucky identity groups plenary indulgences from guilt.”    (Yeah, no college makes rich kids feel guilty. They love rich kids.)
  • “Gitanas scratched his scalp and smelled his fingernails,” (Gross, Franzy. Who DOES things like this?)

Anyways, so one more section of The Corrections! Any predictions? I’m thinking that Denise is going to sleep her way through the entire married population of St. Jude, Chip will annoyingly enough make it to Christmas but give everyone dirt for a gift, Gary and Jonah will show up and he might announce his divorce from evil Caroline, and Enid will slowly go crazy taking care of her horrible invalid husband while she tries to feed all of her terrible, selfish children Christmas dinner.

~Sarah