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Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "The Christmas Party"

The Christmas Party - Pages 190- 202 (Kindle) 

Somehow, I managed to miss the last page of the last chapter where Momma tells Christopher and Cathy they can hide and look at the party. Maybe I was too busy thinking about what Corrine could have done, instead of locking her children in an attic, asking the older ones to raise the little ones, and eventually poisoning them with arsenic donuts. When faced with a life changing situation such as being a widow, what would you do? A) ask your mother for a loan. B.) move back into your childhood home and pass your kids off as a staff members so they can go to school. C.) apply for welfare, sell everything you can, get a job, and create a loving but lower class home for your children or D.) lock your kids in the attic and go party. 

If you picked D, you fit right into the world of VC Andrews! 

So anyway, that night, she comes to get them. Cathy describes her mother as "so beautiful my heart swelled with pride and admiration, and with some envy too." Corrine's dress has "a skirt of flowing green chiffon" which is cut low to show off a lot of cleavage. "Her scent reminded me of a musky, perfumed garden on a moonlit night somewhere in the Orient." Chris stares at her (cleavage, probably) while Cathy "sighs wistfully." 

They follow their mother down the hallway and are stuffed into a table with cabinet doors underneath. There's a mesh screen on the back, which allows them to look down at a "mammoth room, brilliantly lit with candles in the five tiers of three gigantic crystal and gold chandeliers suspended from a ceiling so high above we couldn't see it." They have electricity. I'm picturing candle wax dripping on heads and the Hogwarts ceiling that is enchanted to look like the sky. Harry Potter wasn't the best written book ever, but the world was fun. This world is not fun. 

Cathy is enchanted and envious of the party. There are hundreds of people, dozens of "servants" and it's "Fancy, good golly-day!"

She discusses the people with her brother. They talk about hairstyles and their clothing. They mostly watch their mother, though. She is dancing with a tall, handsome man with dark hair and a big moustache. Um, is he Magnum PI? Because I liked him when he was Monica's boyfriend on Friends. She should have married him instead of Chanandler Bong. 

They also look at some food. There are three chefs cooking still (apparently in the party room?) and they are making what I think are crepes and stuffed sausages. Cathy and Christopher's mouths water. Apparently they eat sandwiches, soups, fried chicken, potato salad. Sometimes they find ice on their milk. 

Magnum PI touches Corrine's breast and Cathy wonders why her mother doesn't slap him. Chris doesn't notice the body language like Cathy does. He's thinking about  "when mom inherits all the money, we can have parties like this." He's thinking about sending for his friends in Gladstone. At least he remembers that he once had friends in Pennsylvania. 

The Grandmother's dress is red velvet, tight in the front and flowing in the back, and she's wearing an impressive amount of jewelry. They see their Grandfather (is it Maxwell?) for the first time. He looks like Christopher, their father. (And I suppose also Christopher Junior.)  Oh, yeah, his name is Maxwell. Maxwell Neal Foxworth. 

"You couldn't help whom you fell in love with - cupid's arrows were ill aimed." 

And that's when some random party goers give us some more background by coming into the table room and talking about the Foxworth secrets. Someone named Al, apparently had a thing for Corrine, but she only had eyes for her half-uncle Christopher. He thinks that they have to forgive her, as she's the only one left. The women, ever so classy, says "Three children...and only the despised, regretted one is left to inherit all of this." 

Al: 

Quote

 

But that harridan mother of hers never had any patience with her daughter. Jealous, maybe. But what a luscious, rich plum to fall into the hands of Bartholomew Winslow. Wish it were mine!


 

 I'm pretty sure he just said that to his wife or girlfriend. Rich people problems, am I right? Women are plums and you can just be like "I'd rather have her than you." 

Albert Donne's companion calls him a slob and reminds him that he's stuck with her and that Corrine never looked at him. They wander off. More people come and go and the pre-teens need to leave but there are too many people. Finally they run back to the room, the twins are fine, they both have to pee. Christopher pushes Cathy down and runs into the bathroom first and locks the door. Then they discuss Bartholomew Winslow. Which is the most absurd name. 

Chris mansplains people to Cathy. He also compares his mother to a flame, and men circling her like a moth. My 15 year old boyfriend (when I was 15, not now) once wrote me a poem that he claimed was his original work. It was actually lyrics to a popular hit song. I don't want to share which one. It's embarrassing. It's still less embarrassing than discussing all of the men who want to date your hot mom. 

Chris decides that now is the best time to explore the house. He dresses up in some old clothes from the attic and apparently does a Groucho Marx impression. 

He kisses her on the cheek. 

There is a paragraph about her lovely new nightgown, which is "exquisitely made" and is white with blue ribbons and has smocking. Chris gives her the ole one over, she's pleased that her hair is gleaming. He seems impressed and dazzled. This is not normal, Cathy. You should not be trying to turn on your brother. And he should not be staring at his mother's breasts and your hair like that. Cathy decides that she is princess like. Cathy really needs a feminist mentor and an education. 

The pretend to be a princess and a knight and he's going off to slay some dragons. Cathy climbs in bed with Carrie and thinks about Chris, boys, men, romance, and love. As she falls asleep she goes to touch her ring with the garnet stone given to her by her father, which she has outgrown. She's wearing it on a chain. Where did she get the chain? 

 

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Holidays" Part 2

Holidays: Part 2 (Page 176) 

I forgot to mention a very crucial plot point yesterday. Cathy asks for bananas and Mother refuses because her father doesn't care for them. Yup. Was there no editor at whatever publishing firm took on this mess? 

It is now Christmas Eve and the children have been "living" at Foxworth Hall for 5 months. They still have not seen the entire house. To be fair, I'm certain that the staff hasn't seen the entire house, either. They are still saying grace before every meal, praying before bed, keeping their thoughts pure and innocent (except, you know, when they knowingly disobey the grandmother by sunbathing nude on some old mattresses and inspecting each other genitals.) Cathy believes that the meals they are provided are growing poorer in quality by the day. She doesn't actually address how they are not as great as before. We get pages of details about gifts and the mothers "filmy negligee" but for something like "how are the meals not good anymore" we get "they grow poorer and poorer by the day." Are they less substantial? Are they getting rotten fruit? Do they have to eat gruel and cold mush? 

It doesn't matter because Cathy is upset about not being able to go Christmas Shopping. But she consoles herself by reminding herself that in the future she'll be rich, rich, rich! And then she'll be able to go into a store and buy anything she wants! (Except, you know what, Cathy? The high end stores will realize that their guests have unlimited money and start making ridiculous things like pre-mudded jeans, and you'll buy them and then the poors like me will laugh at you.) 

Chris and Cathy have been making secret gifts for Momma and the twins. She's also secretly knitting a cap for Chris in the bathroom. Chris decides they need to make the grandmother a gift as well. Where are they getting the supplies for secret gifts? Our narrator describes the gift but doesn't actually say what it is, so I don't really know. Something about linen and a "stretcher frame" and me being uncrafty, I have no idea what they are doing. 

Mother brings them a tree. Okay, so now I'm supposed to believe that she's sneaking in a tree and the staff doesn't notice, yet she can't smuggle out a 4 year old for a trip to the hospital? 

They are given false promises of forgetting the time in the attic once they are in their own house in the future. 

The mother sneaks into the room in the middle of the night to fill stockings and put gifts under the tree. They are given candy, and nuts, and fruit, and gum, and chocolate. Which, IIRC, the grandmother said NO CANDY EVER. 

Carrie wants to know how Santa found them, which is, for once, an age appropriate question. 

Cathy points out that Chris's movements remind her of her father (whom she was clearly in love with, making me question VC Andrew's relationship with her own parents) and cries a bit. Then she looks around some more, and cries because she believes that her mom is trying and cares and loves them. Ah, because gifts = love. She's ashamed for thinking mean thoughts. Chris tells her to get up. Shut up, Chris. 

Santa's note told them to hide the candy from the grandmother. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE WRAPPERS? That's how you get ants! 

Cathy sits on the floor wearing a "stunning new robe of green velvet." They all got new robes. Did any of you get excited about new robes and pajamas when you were ... ever? I mean, I'd be happy for a new robe for Christmas, but excited? And to call a robe "stunning?" 

The grandmother comes in. They finally tell us that the gift is a painting which they created a garden. 3D collage style, from materials found in the attic. I wonder what they destroyed to make silk butterflies. 

Grandmother doesn't take the gift. Shocking. A lot of talk about the grandmother's cold eyes, her stone cold eyes. Grandmother's scornful eyes. 

Cathy is hurt and flings it to the ground, and swears and stomps on it. Chris tries to save it and they decide that they tried and Grandmother doesn't try. 

*** 

It's still christmas. Momma comes up to the room next to the attic, and gives them a dollhouse. Well, she gives Cory and Carrie a dollhouse. And the description - Corrine's dialogue - is marvelous. 

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"It is very valuable, too," she gushed. "On the right market, a dollhouse like this would bring a fabulous fortune. Just the miniature porcelain dolls with the moveable joints alone are priceless, their faces all hand-painted. The dolls are made to scale to the house, as is the furniture, the paintings - everything, in fact. The house was handcrafted by an artist who lived in England. Each chair, table, bed, lamp, chandelier -- all are genuine reproductions of antiques. I understand it took the craftsman twelve years to complete this.

"Look at how the little doors open and close, perfectly hung -- which is more than you can say for the house you are living in," she went on. "And all the drawers slide in and out. There's a tiny little key to lock the desk, and look how some of the doors slide into the walls -- pocket doors, they are called. I wish this house had doors like that; I don't know why they went out of fashion. And see the hand-carved moldings near the ceiling, and the wainscoting in the dining room and library - and the teensy books on the shelves. Believe it or not, if you have a microscope, you can read the text!" 

 

I'll let you make your own jokes about 5 year olds and their interest in wainscoting. 

Christopher takes a book and tries to read it, squinting and holding it close. Cathy mentions that there is "a special kind of microscope he hopes to own someday." And how she "hopes to be the one to give it to him." Is it a special microscope so he can see his penis? 

It just keeps going on and on about the stupid dollhouse. I don't care. 

Mother says that it used to belong to her mother (I think that's the grandmother?) It was in a glass display case (which they call a glass box.) Finally, her father smashed the "glass box" and let Corrine play with it, as long as she doesn't break anything. Spoilers: she broke something. She was whipped for breaking a boy doll after she tried to take its clothes off. 

Carrie likes the dollhouse and Cory is interested in it because Carrie is. 

They are given tricycles and roller skates. WTF. 

Oh, and a TV! But no DVD player. How is Comcast going to install their cable service without anyone knowing? Hope they can get a good antenna signal in the attic. Also, imagine all the quality daytime tv they get to watch now! Days of Our Lives, Maury Povich and his paternity testing, Price is Right, Jenny Jones, The People's Court, General Hospital... They are going to learn so much! Oh and maybe Sesame Street, this predates the HBO thing. 

Mother also tells them that her father is having her put back in the will!  Because if there is one thing that 12 year old girls care about, it's contract law! 

And then Mother tells them that there will be a party that night to reintroduce her to society. Ugh. What kind of weird-ass grownup debutante ball will this be? Oh, it's going to be a  "grand affair." Lovely. I'm sure your children look forward to you telling them about it. At least they don't have to perform, ala Sound of Music. 

How the hell did she get the dollhouse upstairs without anyone noticing? Doesn't the staff wonder why she's always hiding in the attic?  I guess she could be putting it into long term storage, but what about the potted tree? Or the TV? TVs used to be a lot heavier. 

 

 

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Holidays" Part 1

Holidays: Part 1 

This chapter opens with two paragraphs of "symbolic" text about the amaryllis. Much like winter, Christmas and Thanksgiving are coming. They've been in the attic for 100 days. I feel claustrophobic just thinking about that. They don't even have a tv yet, much less the internet (not invented for civilian use as of the writing of this novel, nor when it takes place.) They also do not have video games. I mean, I could probably survive 100 days in an attic with relatively little fuss if you gave me electricity, wi-fi, food, water, a shower, and a place to work out. Hell, I'd probably use at least 30 of those days on a single game of Civilization. Add in The Sims v whatever, maybe WoW and reddit/FJ? I'm set. Also, please don't make me share space with my creepy neckbeard brother and some obnoxious twins who hate everything. 

Bella Swan and her handsome brother Edward  Cathy and her "handsome" brother Christopher explain Thanksgiving to the twins in a very 80s way, that's to say, offensive. Cathy sets a table because their terrible mother made a promise (much like the Pilgrims did to the Native Americans, probably) to not murder  come to dinner with Thanksgiving food. She's late. Lots of excuses are given. The food is cold. Cathy and Chris love it anyway. The twins complain. These twins complain about everything. I'm almost rooting for the arsenic at this point. Give them some character other than "picky eaters" and "complainers." Has VC Andrews met a 4 year old? They are terrible but not all the time. Sometimes they fall asleep. Sometimes they fart on you and laugh about it and then you laugh because it's hilarious when they laugh. Sometimes they do cartwheels and hurt themselves or fill the vacuum with shampoo. 

Cathy congratulates herself on setting a table like a good proper housewife and describes the china, which I find quite boring. I suppose if she was real and lived, Cathy would be old enough to be my grandmother, so fair enough that her biggest thrill right now is a china pattern. She is complimented by her mother about the table setting, so she feels bad for mother and all the terrible awful problems she had sneaking away from her nice meal to feed her four children whom she locked in an attic. Poor mother, she has it so hard, she's just not smart enough to realize that she could, in fact, take her children and move to california or new york or back to Pennsylvania. 
 

Quote

 

Good-golly day! We sure did complicate her life, all right!


 

It's not your fault, Cathy. 

The twins don't know what gravy is, and Chris says something about Eskimos loving cold food, which is absurdly weird and offensive. Also that Eskimos are Indians which is also not true. And Indians are a part of Thanksgiving Day traditions, which I guess is true but also Native Americans aren't super cool with that. But whatever, this book is old. Neckbeard continues to lecture his family about "Indians" and how they "trekked over from Asia, and some liked ice and snow so much they stayed on, while others had better sense, and moved on down." Now, we often joke about people staying in the arctic, but the thing is, they had it really good. The winters are harsh, but the summers are mild and full of berry picking and bear hunting and whale hunting and caribou hunting. Food is plentiful in the far north, or it was.  We've got so much fish in our streams that we can fish while bears fish. It's not the hellscape that people make it out to be. I can see why native americans made it their home. We don't have very many natural disasters to worry about, other than volcanos and earthquakes. But whatever, Chris is a judgemental asshole rapist, what can you expect? Also he is shoving food into his mouth and being very gross about it. Closing his eyes and whatnot. 

The twins won't because the food is cold and lumpy. Also they are 4. 

Cathy goes to clear the table and she's super excited when her brother decides to help. He even kisses her on the cheeks. 

Quote

And boy, if good food could do that for a man, I was all for learning gourmet cooking.

He's your 15 year old brother, not a man. And thanksgiving dinner is not gourmet. Any idiot can set their house on fire deep frying a turkey. 

After Turkey Day, the twins get sick with a cold. Cathy is over dramatic about it. Maybe I'm harsh. She's, what, 12? 12 year olds are dramatic. She's mad because she can't get a minute with her mom without the grandmother hanging about. The thermometer read 103.6 and the "mother" want to take them to a doctor/hospital. Grandmother disagrees, saying that children run high fevers. True, but you should do something. IV fluids, alcohol bath, aspirin, something. Christopher believes it's a flu virus, not a cold. Not that there is a huge difference in the treatment of the two afflictions. 

They survive but are not as rambunctious. It's 19 days of being sick, as well. Right in the middle of holiday season, so I'm certain the mother was out at functions, doing the party circuit. Cathy wants her to sneak them out. Instead Mother brings them vitamins. Cathy points out that they  need to get out of that house. 

Chris yells at her for  yelling at the mother. Because he's a giant turd. 

Apparently he's been given a polaroid camera and a watch for his birthday. Two things he probably doesn't need as he's trapped in an attic where time doesn't matter. 

That's it for this entry! 

 

 

 

 

Maggie Mae

To Make a Garden Grow: Chapter 8, Part 2

I'm back. 

It's been two months in the attic. It's almost been two months since I last posted on this blog. This was not intentional. 

Cathy waxes non poetically about love, truth, and faith. Her grandfather is still alive. They watch the summer turn into fall from their window seats in the mansion's attic. Christopher is unreasonably positive while she shares her pessimistic and self-involved thoughts with us. We are treated to a discussion about how boring Christopher and Cathy found American history class but they miss it. Probably because they haven't left the same two rooms in two months. Still, I'm kind of offended by Christopher's dialogue here: "I thought school a bore, too, and history a dull subject, particularly American history." Maybe they had terrible teachers. But I'm thinking that they are just boring people who only care about superficial things like money, makeup, and status. I do wonder how deeply VC Andrews thought about these characters. Is Christopher her idea of an ideal mate? Does she prize beauty and money over intelligence? 

Cathy has decided that she wants to be a prima ballerina. From my seat at my desk in 2017, this seems unlikely as she's missing out on quite a bit of training by being locked into an attic. Christopher tells her she must practice for 5-6 hours a day, and he will attach a barre in the attic. Where he found a barre, I do not know. She runs out of this conversation crying about how she's not smart. Ok, so that might be a believable part of being a teenage girl. Her siblings try to make her feel better as she sobs on a bed. 

Momma comes back and gives her some ballet stuff. Costumes and leotards and toe shoes. (Dear god, I hope her pre-attic instructor had already transitioned her to toe shoes. And how did they fit them?) Do some research, VC. She was also gifted records of "ballet music". She cries. 

Her mother has also ordered her a costume from Swan Lake which has not yet arrived. So she gets three costumes in exchange for freedom. 

Cathy mentions that the record player is hooked up to a dozen extension cords which makes me cringe a bit. Maybe they can escape if the place catches on fire. She also doesn't have a mirror, so on top of not having an instructor, she's not able to self correct except by feel. Cathy is going to have a hard time unlearning bad habits that she's reinforcing in the attic. IMO, of course. My guess is that VC Andrews believes that Cathy will not have any bad habits, because she is perfect and Chris is perfect and everyone is perfect except for the horrible mother & grandmother. I think they are all terrible. 

Cathy dances. Chris watches her with 'the oddest expression on his face' and she remembers that he is turning 15 soon. God, he's so gross and creepy. Someone get him a fedora, mt dew, cheetos, and a laptop already. 

She tries to get him to dance with her, and he refuses saying the most absurd thing. "Ballet dancing is not for me. But I'd like to learn to waltz - if the music is Strauss." Yup. He's 15. Shouldn't he be out LARPING or something? 

So she puts on Strauss - which I guess was a joke because it's the only waltz they have. And they dance. She says he is clumsy. 

Cathy is given the swan lake costume. it's wrapped in "giant-sized slippery-satin white box with a violet ribbon" - what the hell are they doing with all of this trash? Does it just go into the attic? 

Christopher doesn't want to learn the Charleston. He just wants to dance with a girl in his arms. Fair enough. She monologues: 

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Chris, there's one thing you've got to know: you can not waltz your whole life through, or do the foxtrot. Every year brings changes, like in clothes. You've got to keep up with the times, and adapt. Come on, let's jazz it up a bit, so you can limber up your creaky joints that must be going stiff from so much sitting and reading." 


 

 

She somehow has an Elvis record and puts on Hound Dog. She "gyrates her hips" and whines some more, ending with "no one is ever going to love you." And Chris repeats that back "Then no girl is ever going to love me." Which is weird and manipulative and creepy and my god you are in an attic and why is your mother such a bitch? And for some reason, this makes Cathy like him more. GAG. 

 

Same chapter and yet another act. They change the flowers in the attic to go with the season. Chris reads and paints a lot. C&C like to "lay" side-by-side on an old mattress for hours on end, talking and making plans for the future. His plans involve falling in love with the most beautiful, sexy woman, who is brilliant, understanding, charming, witty, and fun. She's also a good devoted wife and mother who is a perfect housekeeper, submissive, and understanding when she loses all of their money on the stock market. Oddly specific for a 15 year old. When I was 15 I just wanted to marry Kurt Cobain. Who'd been dead for several years. As a back up, I hoped to marry any number of generic 90s alternative rock singers and lead guitarists. Never a bassist. 

Cathy wonders why her brothers wife has no flaws and worries that she won't be able to be a wife to someone like Christopher. This is the wrong question, Cathy. Someone needs to tell you that you are more than a future wife and mother. However, this leads to a discussion about how Chris thinks that their mother has no flaws whatsoever. 

I can think of at least one flaw. 

Cathy wants to marry and settle down after being a prima ballerina for years. She doesn't know what kind of man, other than Christopher or her Father. She wants beautiful children. She wants him to be brilliant so she can respect him. She expects to be offered a diamond engagement ring. She will play games before accepting the engagement and if she beats him, she'll say no. 

Yet another act, same chapter that I started in July. 

The twins stop asking to go outside. Chris and Cathy find more old mattresses. They put them in front of the eastern window that they open, taking off their clothes and sunbathing naked. They told the mom, who told them to never tell grandmother. The twins play naked like babies. Cathy reads Wuthering heights. 

Yet another discussion of genitals and how Cathy believes that her parts are much neater than Chris's. I swear, this book gave me a complex when I was a pre-teen about the size of my labia. Someone get these kids some national geographics and the internet, already. Chris doesn't need the internet, though, as he's now bombarding Cathy with Bird Facts. Which she did not subscribe to, yet somehow are being given to her in the 1950s version of text messaging. 

The next act isn't even an entire page. They stop sunbathing as it's cold now. They claim Arctic Cold, but aren't they in Virginia? I guess they in the mountains though, plus adapting to climates is a thing. I'm still going to laugh at them if they ever get to the arctic. I've experienced -60F, it's not fun. (Actually it was kind of fun. I didn't live there and I got to leave after a week with stories.) My guess is that the attic wasn't insulated, so they got really cold and momma suddenly is concerned about a fire so they can't have a space heater. Somehow momma sneaks them more new clothes. Does no one look at the finances for this house? Does the staff not question the extra trash? I'm guessing that there is at least one housekeeper who suspects something but is keeping quiet because she's a single mom and needs this job and her suspicions aren't close to the actual truth. 

In the next act, they play hide-and-seek. Cathy thinks "innovative" is a big word. Cory ends up trapped in a trunk and nearly dies. He wants his mom. They decide that Cathy is his mom now. Chris smashes every lock on every trunk and every wardrobe. They all sit in a chair together and Cathy sees them in the mirror, looking like younger versions of their parents. And i've made it to page 161! 250 pages to go! 

 

Link to previous recap

"To Make a Garden Grow: Chapter 8, Part 1"

Maggie Mae

To Make a Garden Grow: Chapter 8, Part 1. 

I'm on page 127 for those reading along. (I don't recommend it at all.) 

Cathy refers to Christopher as "my cheerful optimist," Which is weird. Christopher also states that "any day could see him gone. That is the way of heart disease. A clot could break free and find its way to his heart or lung and snuff him out like a candle." I stand by my previous assessment that Christopher Jr is a neckbeard. 

Chris Jr orders her to have more determination to placate the twins and themselves, and be more creative and entertaining. 

So they put on plays using the old clothing in the attic, which, for once, is a time honored tradition and age appropriate game. After a page or so of description of the moldy, smelly, old clothing and the play, Cathy trips and falls and Carrie demands to eat. Cory's hair has grown out and he wants to swing in the outside garden again. Poor kid. I know how this ends for him and it's not a happy story. 

Christopher tries to make the best of it (after all, he's Cathy's cheerful optimist!) by using large words to the 5 year old Cory about "bring[ing] about a metamorphosis and turn[ing] the ugly caterpillar into a brilliant soaring butterfly." They decide to decorate the garden and ask the mother for supplies. The "mother" sneaks up mops, pails, brooms (how?), scrub brushes, and boxes of "soap powder" (?) Mother actually helps with the cleaning of the attic! 

Cathy, in fact, is "marveled" that her mother knows how to clean! In Gladstone, they had a maid who came twice a week to "do all the hard, dreary things that would redden Momma's hands and break her fingernails." Oh poor momma! She has to CLEAN like a pauper. 

I'm afraid that if Christopher the Half-brother and Uncle of Corrine had stayed alive in Gladstone, his children would have grown up to be damaged in a different way. Chris would remain as neckbeardy and arrogant, but it would be excused because he's attractive. Cathy would grow up to be just as much as a dingbat as her mother. The twins ... Probably similar. 

Back to the cleaning of the attic! Riveting stuff! They swept up buckets of dead spiders and other insects. They saw droppings of mice and rats. Once it was clean, Momma brought plants and a Christmas amaryllis. Cathy realizes that she doesn't want to be in the attic at Christmas. Momma says they will bring it with them. Don't listen to her! She's a liar! 

Momma also tells her kids who are locked into an attic that she is going to a movie that night but she'll bring them raisins. She's going with a friend she grew up with, who happens to have two brothers. It's a musical. 

Every chapter has this * * * breaking it up into different acts. It's weird and old fashioned. 

In act 2, which is very short, we learn that the mother is bringing them paper, coloring books, and other craft supplies. They use this to make paper flowers for the attic. 

In act 3, Cathy describes her mother. She's still beautiful and radiant and healthy and has lots of shoes and jewelry. She's also unable to type without looking at charts of which key is which. It's really not. that. difficult. Get it together. You have 4 children to take care of. 

We are treated to this: 

Spoiler
Quote

Flowers.PNG.cd186b73979baa1cdb2f24d80b6bb92e.PNG

 

Yes, men take typing. Momma explains that some are journalists, writers, or have some other good reason. She says "good reason." as though there are bad reasons for someone wanting to learn how to type. Anyway, so Mrs Brady is divorced and apparently likes to flirt with the younger men. AND to make this even worse, momma complains about the man that Mrs Brady is interested in as being 'too short' and how she could pick him up and carry him over the threshold. They all laugh because obviously short people are hilarious and no man who is 5'2 is worth anything at all. 

Chris is upset that the idea of remarriage has even occurred to momma. 

Act 4 of this chapter. 

Cathy complains about the quality of art that the twins are turning out. Chris calls it "modern art" because obviously non-traditional art styles are hilarious too. Also they are 5 and still working on coordination. 

Momma comes up and admires their work. She then brings them some sequins and beads. 

Carrie tattles on Cathy for forgetting about lunch on occasion. What 4 year old cares that much about food? 

Cathy wonders why momma needs to wear so much jewelry to secretarial school. Momma says that the kids need to make animals for the garden. Momma introduces Cathy to the concept of books. Is Cathy 12 or 8? I swear I knew all about "how to draw" books by the time I was 8. 

Chris goes for a realism approach, while Cathy decorates her animals with polka dots & plaids.  Cory made a snail that Cathy quickly insults in her head while simultaneously giving him praise. Christopher, being the horrible person that he is, brings down the room by correcting their language and boring them all to death with some information about taxonomy. He's 5, Chris. He doesn't care that it's a member of the mollusc, nor what traits make it a mollusc or how it feeds. I took zoology in college and I don't even care that much. It's a cardboard cutout of a snail. Let him have his moment.  (Actually I do care but only because I find invertebrates to be somewhat fascinating; especially the nautilus which lives in the deep sea. However I wouldn't bore a 5 year old with that knowledge.)

Carrie is working on something, which Cathy describes as a "purple thing" and that her method is "slapdash." Carrie "ruthlessly" stabs at her paper. Apparently it's a worm. Be nice to your bad-at-crafts sister, Cathy. It's not her fault. Crafts are boring. 

Momma, at least, tells Carrie that the worm is gorgeous. She's a little more critical to Cory. Cathy then "ruins it" (come on, Cathy, you didn't ruin it, Your shitty mother has locked you in an attic) by asking her about school. Momma is not doing well at school. Or she quit as she doesn't have answers to "how fast can you type" and how fast can you take "dictation" (?) Cathy is told to be patient. 

Act.. I don't know. It's another act. Just split it up into smaller chapters! 

On Fridays they have to erase their existence from the room,  so Cathy strips the sheets (do they ever wash the sheets?), rolls them up, puts the bedspreads (quilts?) over the mattress covers. Chris puts away the toys. Grandmother brings them food and orders them into the attic. Cathy has wiped way fingerprints and shined the mahogany. Grandmother uses the vacuum bag to make everything dull again. They can hear the maids cleaning up, and are scared that they will be discovered. BE DISCOVERED. What is the worst thing that can happen if you are discovered? OMG YOU WILL BE A POOR. 

I'm seriously wondering what damage this book did to me. Did it affect my psyche in some way? Is it part of the fire that burns in me to eliminate social classes? There is so much classicism in the USA and it's heavily tied into racism, but it's also so easily overlooked. I mean, you can dismiss it all you want, and I know it's not a popular issue around here, but ... ugh. Come on world, get better. 

Carrie was given new ruffled panties and enjoyed showing them off. She decides she also wants to be a ballerina. Stop worrying about skipping lunch, then, Carrie. I know, she's five. But jesus, this kid is annoying. Oh, she falls and hurts herself and changes her mind. 

And yet another * * * 

Where did the grass go? God took it to Heaven. Daddy likes to mow the lawn.  Apparently the Grandmother likes to try and catch them doing something "unholy" or "wicked." The kids are smart enough to realize that while Grandmother likes to open the door as silently as possible and watch them through a crack, she doesn't go up into the attic. 

Momma has a new expensive looking green suit and a new hairstyle. This is VITALLY IMPORTANT INFORMATION. 

Oh, and Grandmother has claustrophobia, which is described as "an emotional affliction" Cathy is surprised to hear that Grandmother was once young and small. Oh, and she probably isn't claustrophobic, because it sounds more like PTSD and small spaces are a trigger, but who's being neckbeard now? 

We get our first "Good Golly" in two chapters! It comes as a criticism from Cathy about how "even the rich had to be stingy." How do you think rich people stay rich? They make their neighbors buy their fine fabrics by the bolt! Or they run for president so they can use their connections to stay in power and have foreign contracts. Or they start a war as president so their friends can sign government contracts to build helicopters. 

Cathy runs into the grandmother while trying to get to the bathroom. Literally. Grandmother yells at her and asks a bunch of strange questions about what she is doing and why. Then it gets really strange. Grandmother wants to know why Cathy is waiting on Christopher; why he can't get his own water for painting. 

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In response, Grandmother smiles sarcastically (I'm picturing a Cersei smirk) and tells her to ask Christopher, as the male of the species is born knowing everything. 

Grandmother brings back a plant for them and gives it to them unwarmly. 

AND YET ANOTHER ACT in this chapter. WILL IT END? 

Spoilers: Not for a really long time. I'm going to leave this non-proof-read blog here and come back to it later. 

Questions to ponder: Will they get out of the attic soon? (no.) Was grandmother showing a softer side? (I honestly don't know / remember.) Is "momma" a crazy bitch? (yes.) If you were trapped in an attic with your siblings, would you be able to hide and not get caught? Or would you all get caught because someone threw a temper tantrum over lunch vs arts & crafts? What would the "servants" do if they did suspect that there were children living in the attic? When will the people of the US wake up and demand Universal Base Income & Universal Health care? Automation IS coming and we are going to lose jobs but be more productive (or something.)

I have actual, non-interesting work to do. I'll try to get the rest of this chapter done this week but it might be a week.  

 

Links to previous recaps 

  1. Prologue and "Good-Bye Daddy"
  2. "The Road to Riches"
  3. "The Grandmother's House"
  4. "The Attic"
  5. "The Wrath of God"
  6. "Momma's Story"
  7. "Minutes Like Hours" 
Maggie Mae

Minutes Like Hours: Page 112 of 411 (Kindle Version) 

Jesus. I'm on page 112. I now understand why Fred Clark's Left Behind Fridays have been going on for years. 

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All the days dragged by. Monotonously. 

Just like this book. 

We get a paragraph of melodramatic teenage thoughts that lead me to believe that I could have been a much better writer had I not ever read such pondering about time. 

Then we get a paragraph of "what Chris thinks" about the same thing she was just thinking about. 

Momma comes to see them. She brings them games. So now they kids have a stack of board games, including the absolute worst game ever invented, Monopoly. Fun fact: Monopoly was originally created to help show how certain economic principles work. Also, the house rule about free parking sucks and should be abolished. 

The twins aren't interested in games, or toys. 

For some reason, the kids wake up at the same time every day, despite not having an alarm clock. They do have wristwatches, though. 

More logistics about how they go to the bathroom and get dressed. I'd wonder if perhaps the "All the days dragged by" was some sort of literary device to help you understand that the book is dragging because the kids are locked into a room with the same routine; but i don't know if VC is that smart. 

The grandmother quizzes them about the bible, they repeat back verses much like an internet atheist. However, you'd think that asking kids to repeat verses from Job is just asking for trouble. If she told me to recite a verse, I think I might go directly to Ezekiel 23:20. Then again, Grandmother has a whip and she's not afraid to use it. 

The mother shows up at 6 pm every evening with gifts, books, games. Does she ever remove broken items, trash, etc? 

Momma worries about how she's getting fat. Because that's what your children who are locked into an attic care about. How you aren't getting your daily run in because you bring food to your imprisoned children. 

The kids go to the attic and break a piano trying to tune it and listen to old records on a Victrola (records are these things we listened to music and audio recordings on before tapes, which came before CDS. You can still find CDs for sale sometimes. It was much less convenient than an MP3 but the sound quality was amazing and it's all probably  nostalgia for me.) 

Carrie is a brat. 

The kids take lots of baths because they are bored. 

They mock the grandmother, which is dangerous because you never know where she might be lurking.  

Cathy starts calling the twins "our twins" which is bizarre and sad. As they are the primary caregiver now, the twins are exhibiting learned helplessness at times with temper tantrums more suited to 3-year-old toddlers rather than 5-year-old children who should be in school,

Carrie will only wear ruffled lace panties, which I'm not sure is information we need, nor does it develop the character in any meaningful way.  

We also get our first glimpse at the reality of living in a room with kids not long out of diapers. Carrie gets diarrhea from fruit, Cory has a temperamental bladder. Cory is frequently peeing in a blue vase and Cathy is washing out lacy ruffled panties. Gross. 

They try to explain why they are imprisoned to the twins and it's just sad. 

Halfway through the chapter Momma didn't show up on a Sunday until the evening. She came in dressed for sailing, tan, bragging about how she's made plans for the afternoon, though she was kind enough to cut them short so she could see her children for five minutes before dinner. Her brothers taught her to sail. Which is pretty contradictory to the original claims that nothing fun was allowed in the Foxworth Ancestral Home. 

Cathy grows a tiny bit of a backbone and pushes back and asks why. Until Chris comes down and tells her to stop shouting at "our mother." He's such an ass. He kisses up to her a bit, complimenting her on her outfit and hugging her. Cathy shouts a bit, tells her she has to tell her father about them, that she wants to go sailing. Momma does the dramatic thing and sinks weakly into a chair. 

And then she confesses that she hasn't been honest. Well, shut the front door, I did NOT see that coming.

The letter that was written before they moved to Foxworth had a note from the grandfather. The grandfather said that he was glad that Christopher the Elder was dead and the only good thing about the marriage was that it hadn't created any Devil's Issue. (WTF?) Mother Olivia made plans for the concealment of the children that Grandfather didn't read. Cathy compares Chris to their father in the middle of this. 

Anyway, it takes over a page for mamma to come out and say that she plans on keeping the kids in the attic until Grandfather dies. Mother of the Year, might as well ship that right off to Foxworth. 

Links to previous recaps 

  1. Prologue and "Good-Bye Daddy"
  2. "The Road to Riches"
  3. "The Grandmother's House"
  4. "The Attic"
  5. "The Wrath of God"
  6. "Momma's Story"
Maggie Mae

Chapter 6: Momma's Story 

The Grandmother (yes, Cathy refers to her captor as "the grandmother" which is somewhat awkward, but I suppose it makes sense.) has left the room. Momma is still half naked and Cathy's "heart fluttered madly" as she watched her mother button up her blouse. Momma, unsurprisingly, downplays the abuse. Momma says that she should have warned the children that the grandparents are fanatically religious. 

"Momma" then details her upbringing. It's all very boilerplate fundie; they (she has two older brothers) were forced to go to church even if sick. Normal pleasure were sinful. No swimming, because bathing suits expose too much. No card games or gambling. No dancing, no fun. Basically, it was Maxhell. Only with violence and money. Lots and lots of money. Apparently grandfather tithed very well, and basically owns the church. 

All that is well and good, and somehow the very bland descriptions of "no fun" has captivated Cathy whose "eyes widened" and is spellbound. Even the twins are "spellbound" while 'momma' talks about religion. Has VC Andrews met a 5 year old? 

Corrine continues to detail her past. "A beautiful young man came to live" His father was Corrine's grandfather, Garland, Christopher Foxworth. His mother, Alicia was only 16 when she married Garland (who was 55, and we are going to gloss right over that, aren't we?) Half of his estate (Garland's estate) should have gone to the three year old son of Alicia. But Malcolm, Corrine's father, contested it and kicked Alicia and her son out. They moved away. She remarried (this is important, why?) and died of breast cancer. Christopher then went to live at Foxworth (he was allowed back, why?) and his real name is Garland Christopher Foxworth the Fourth. 

Corrine grew up with two older brothers. One day she hears that her mysterious half-uncle is coming to live at Foxworth Hall. She wants to make a good impression at 14 and decides to "prepare herself" by primping. She put on her best clothing, bathed, curled her hair. She also claims that 14 is an age when "a girl just begins to feel her power over men." Gross. 

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And I knew I was what most boys and men considered beautiful, and i guess, in a way, I was ripe for falling in love.

As an aside, when I was somewhere between 8 and 14 I was watching Baywatch, and I think the Beach Boys guest starred and for some reason there was a music video of "California Girls" or whatever that song is called. I remember watching it and thinking how gross it is that these old men are fantasizing over stereotypes. I never did figure out if I was a "northern girl" "East Coast Girl" or a "Midwest Farmer's Daughter" ... So I clearly did not get my "power" I just felt objectified. But, I also realized that different people like different things. Just like I didn't find David Hasselhoff to be super attractive, my cousins often argued over which baywatch babe was the best looking. It was not Pamela Anderson, btw. 

Back to VC Andrews. 

Momma is going on about how Christopher was poor and impressed by the great display of wealth and how her home was "exceptional" and how Chris was poor and his eyes lit up and bla bla bla. 

Fortunately she is not going to share the details of her romance with Chris. I mean, she IS talking to her children. NO ONE wants to hear the details of their parents romance. She's shared enough. 

For some reason, her parents sent Chris off to Yale. I mean, earlier, he was cast out of the house so he couldn't challenge their inheritance, but by all means, let's educate him and let him live here. Corrine isn't all concerned about his, though, she's yammering on about how her father thought of her as "his" and she would never get out and no one was good enough. 

They educated him after Corrine's older brothers died tragically in accidents. (Of course.) So basically they decided that Corrine, being female, wasn't fit to inherit and the other heirs were gone, so why not? 

This also leads me to believe that there was no reason for her to lock the kids in the attic (we knew that.) There are no other heirs. Her brothers are dead. Her half-uncle husband is dead. She could have just been a normal human who, when faced with the death of her husband, filed claims on his life insurance, sold the things of value, downsized the house, filed for welfare and social security for the dependents, got a job, and waited out her parents eventual death. 

For some stupid reason, they had to hide the fact that Chris had a master's degree from Yale when they went out in the world. 

And Cathy's take away is: 

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Love at first sight. Oh, that was going to happen to me, I just knew it would and he'd be as beautiful as Daddy had been, radiating beauty, touching my heart. You had to have love or you withered away and died. 

 

Corrine then tries to reassure the kids that they are not "deformed or mentally retarded" (hello, 1980s vocabulary!) It's several paragraphs of how perfect Cathy and Chris Jr are, along with some cheerleading. "Who are you?" "The Dresden Dolls!" 

Momma claims that she will go enroll in business school to learn how to be a secretary. Man, I don't know why anyone needs to go to school to learn how to type and file, but then again, we go through admins like the Duggars go through tater-tot-casserole. 

Corrine: 

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When you are born rich and you're educated in boarding schools only for the daughters of the extremely rich and powerful, and then you're sent to a girls' finishing school, you are taught polite rules of social etiquette, academic subjects, but most of all, you're made ready for the whirl of romance, debutante parties, and how to entertain and be the perfect hostess.I wasn't taught anything practical. I didn't think I'd ever need any business skills. I thought I'd always have a husband to take care of me, and if not a husband, then my father would - and besides, all the time I was in love with your father.


 

You are so dumb, Corrine.

She leaves, going on and on about how she too is a prisoner, only of circumstances. That they need to keep to the rules. She'll bring them toys and games. 

The kids go to bed. It's hot and there is no breeze. Cathy wants to be called "Catherine Doll" as her stage name in the future. 

They discuss how they didn't get the ice cream they were promised as the chapter ends. 

 

 

Links to previous recaps 

  1. Prologue and "Good-Bye Daddy"
  2. "The Road to Riches"
  3. "The Grandmother's House"
  4. "The Attic"
  5. "The Wrath of God"
Maggie Mae

Chapter 5: The Wrath of God

Momma's back! I know it's been, like, an entire week or two since the last chapter.  So I forgive everyone for forgetting that's been an ENTIRE DAY of not seeing their primary caregiver. If you, like me, had forgotten how long it had been, VC Andrews reminds you in the first sentence. "Momma came into our room this first night..." 

"Momma" is tight-limbed and stiff-jointed. She's 33, so she's actually younger than me. I do not have 4 children locked in my hypothetical attic, so I'm winning in that aspect! 

Cathy claims that the twins "thoughtlessly" run to hug Momma. She also goes on and on about her feelings while Momma just cries. Cathy isn't yet aware of how much her mother is an all over terrible human, so she thinks that Momma is crying for her. The twins complain about Cathy and Chris. Carrie is annoying. 

Grandmother yells at Corrine to get Carrie to shut up, as Carrie has melted down into full blown temper tantrum. Grandmother grabs Carrie by the hair, Cory starts kicking Grandmother. There is some delightful description. "Quick as a cat he pounced on the grandmother!" and we get another "Good-golly day!" from Cathy. Seriously, if you can find a copy of this book without paying for it, I highly recommend it, if only for the overly dramatic writing about every minute detail. I thought I could handle extra details. I love A Song of Ice and Fire and even enjoyed reading about who is eating what and where. This, though, is something different. 

Two pages to share that the Grandmother slapped Cory and yelled at Corrie to shut them up and that only Christopher the Elder knew how to handle the meltdowns. 

Eventually something other than whining temper tantrum throwing children and the fallout that ensued happens and we find out that Corrine can't or won't leave Foxworth Hall with them. We also see that Grandmother has whipped Corrine. Thirty-three times, one for each year of her life, then fifteen more for each year of living in sin with Christopher Sr. Grandfather ordered the punishment and Grandmother carried it out. There's some shouting about Children from the Devil! Evil from the moment of conception! 

Cathy "flounders in a maelstrom of uncertainty, aching inside, not know who she is" She wants to whip grandmother back. 

Chris is angry, as he loved his mother best. K. 

Links to previous recaps 

  1. Prologue and "Good-Bye Daddy"
  2. "The Road to Riches"
  3. "The Grandmother's House"
  4. "The Attic"
Maggie Mae

Chapter 4: The Attic

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I realized today that though I remember finishing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for this blog, I may have not actually posted them. If you can find anything after the chapter where Mr. Salt offers to buy his daughter a person, I'd be grateful. Otherwise I'll have to start typing up the end to that as well. I can't have half a dozen books started for the FJ blog, and none of them done. I have a reputation! 

Anyway, so on to the recap of this wonderful book.

Cathy is telling us again about where the servants are in the house. I don't care at all. Also, this book is so dated with it's talk of "servants" vs "staff" and the general use of language. "The morning hour of ten came and went." No one in the current year talks like that. Though I suppose in 30 years, people will be making fun of our current idea of modern. *I* sometimes make fun of our current "modern." 

The kids go upstairs to the attic. As a frequenter of attics, I can identify with the description of the heat, the smells, and the interest in old things. Also the fear of bugs and small critters popping out at you. What I can not identify with is the sheer size of this attic. Furniture, chamber pots, an old bathtub with the claw feet. There are deep dormer windows and dozens of leather-bound trunks. "Big trunks, fit for coffins." They find uniforms for both Union and Confederate soldiers. 

Chris thinks that the Civil War should be renamed to "The War Between the States" as it "sounds better." What do you know, teenage boy? This subject is quickly dropped as he finds some men's suits that are riddled with moths and moth balls. He is so pretentious. 

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Don't be such babies. What you saw where moths, harmless moths. It's the larvae that do the chewing and make the holes. 

He also complains about having to undo buttons to go to the bathroom. I can see him signing up for The Red Pill on Reddit, if this were to be modernized. 

Cathy goes on about "olden-day people" and how they dressed. She thinks the idea of "flouncing around in frilly chemise over pantaloons" and tons of lace and wire hoops sounds fantastic. 

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I'd carry a fan to elegantly cool myself, and my eyelids would flutter and bewitch. Oh, what a beauty I'd be. 

Yeah, so we've got a narcissist in the making, a neckbeard, and two creepy twins, one of whom is a complainer. Carrie is now crying. She'll be doing a lot of it. She doesn't just cry or whine though. She howls. She's 4, so it's not like she's a toddler. 

There are also, supposedly, thousands of books in the attic, ledgers, desks, TWO pianos, and just tons of things that are listed out. I can't imagine how big this attic must be.

Chris and Cathy find a photograph of some relative that looks just like their mother. Chris is turned on by the photo. 

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Now, that is what you call an hourglass figure. See the wasp waist, the ballooning hips, the swelling bosom? Inherit a shape like that, Cathy, and you will make a fortune.  


 

Cathy points out that the woman is wearing a corset. Chris is not at all concerned about that, saying that you can't squeeze out the top what isn't there. Gross. 

Chris decides that their mother is beautiful, but unknown strangers is just pretty. 

Cathy and Chris come across another room. It's a school room. The twins play on some old rocking horse thing. Carrie almost throws a tantrum because Cory got on the horse first. Cathy finds a book, opens it, and a bunch of bugs fall out of it. Christopher: 

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Cathy, you're twelve, and it's time you grew up. Nobody screams to see a few bookworms. Bugs are a part of life. We humans are the masters, the supreme rulers over all. This isn't such a bad room at all.


 

Gag. 

They look out the windows, the twins throw temper tantrums about wanting to go outside, Chris makes some swings in the attic for them. Cathy goes on and on about him risking his life, and the twins only be satisfied for a few minutes. 

Then we are back on to "when we are rich." 

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Golly-day, wow! We'd be able to have everything! Yet, yet, I was terribly troubled. . . that grandmother, something about her, the way she treated us, as if we didn't have a right to be alive. 


 

That's what religious fundamentalism does to a person. 

They wandered around until 2. Chris points out that even if they were to open the drapes, the windows face north. So what, Chris? Even indirect sun is better than no window at all. You are a pretentious jackass, Christopher Foxworth/Dollanganger. 

They bathe Cory and Carrie together, then Christopher talks to Cathy while she bathes. They have a discussion about no doing that again. Chris tells her to remember how much everything will be better when they are rich. 

Also from Chris: 

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I've always wanted to be filthy rich so I can be a playboy for a while, only a little while, for Daddy said everybody should contribute something useful and meaningful to mankind, and I'd like to do that. But until I'm in college, and med school, I could sneak in a little fooling around until I settle down seriously. 


 

Cathy has a very long paragraph about wanting to ride horses and be a ballerina and eat ice cream and cheese all day. 

Oh and Chris doesn't want to be confused with daddy so he demands that Cathy call him Chris instead of Christopher. I think VC Andrews was just tired of typing out Christopher. I can't fault her for that one. 

Cathy gets out of the tub. She claims that her and Chris knew each other's bodies well, as they'd been looking at each other's naked bodies since she could remember. And her's is the best. It's "neater." (Which reminds of how later she goes through puberty and is obsessed with keeping everything "neat." 

After lunch, they twins throw more temper tantrums, these ones are full blown in comparison to the ones in the attic. I say go for it. Stop trying to be quiet and forgotten about. What are they going to do to you anyway? They both miss their momma. Maybe they should be allowed to scream and let the "servants" find them and rescue them. 

The twins take naps, Chris gathers books, Cathy is introspective. She didn't want scientific explanations to everything, she likes the ideas of fairies and witches and ogres. 

At dinner, the food isn't good and it's all lukewarm. The twins didn't like it. Carrie complains some more and that makes Cory eat less food than he would have otherwise. Carrie is really annoying, to be honest. 

Finally, mother arrives. And the room is a mess, Chris and Cathy are on a bed together looking at each other. They broke the rules. 

The next chapter is titled "Wrath of God" so I'm sure there will be punishments for their transgressions. 

Links to previous recaps 

  1. Prologue and "Good-Bye Daddy"
  2. "The Road to Riches"
  3. "The Grandmother's House"
Maggie Mae

Chapter 3: The Grandmother's House

My dad's funeral is tomorrow. I've got my own VC Andrews world going on, with lots of family secrets coming out. No one has been locked into an attic and poisoned with arsenic donuts though. And, instead of a 200 year old house with a name, I'm in the armpit of the midwest in a 100 year old farm house that may or may not burn down at any moment due to bad wiring and 50 years of DIY "upgrades." Think antique tractors in the yard, chickens, several barns full of "stuff" (i think people just move items out there for "storage" and forget about them. lots of rusty metal.) Me and Cathy, we are basically the same. I mean, she has a narcissistic mother, and I have a mother who keeps telling me she loves me. She has several siblings and I once imagined I had a sibling. She's heir to a fortune and I'm allowed to keep my dad's military flag. Alas, on to the recap! 

We find out from Cathy that Cory and Christopher have curly hair. Seriously, the first page is a description of their hair and the room. Cathy also claims that her brother Christopher is "all boy" which is a phrase that makes my eye twitch.  The room is cluttered and dark, with four lamps and an "Oriental red rug." 

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There were three paintings on the walls. Golly-lolly, they did steal your breath away. 

Cathy is talking about a picture of hell, by the way. 

Christopher:

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Ten to one, our angel grandmother hung those reproduction herself just to let us know what we're in for if we dare to disobey. Looks like Goya's work to me.

Because preteen boys know Spanish romantic painters. 

We get a little bit of character development for the twins. Carrie is opinionated. She talks a lot. Cory is a listener. 

Grandmother shows up with a tray of food. She decides that in the future she'll use a picnic basket. She tells the children to make the food last all day. The breakfast food is, surprisingly, for breakfast. The sandwiches and soup are for lunch, and the dinner is for dinner. It's fried chicken, potato salad, and string beans, if you cared. I'm concerned about a mayonnaise based "salad" sitting around all day. Unless they make it differently in Virginia. 

Actually, my mom makes a hot potato salad that she called "german potato salad" that has no mayo and is actually really good. I think it has vinegar and mustard? I have no idea. I'll look for a recipe later.  

The children are told the fruit is for dessert and if they are silent and good the grandmother might bring ice cream and cake or cookies. "No candy, ever." 

Grandmother gives them a list of rules. Before she pulls a literal list out of a "dress pocket," (Which, whaaaaaaaaaaaat??? I have, like, two dresses with pockets. Was this common and then in the 90s the male fashion designers who hate women decided to kill the dress pocket? Assholes.) she reminds them to "be modest in the bathroom." 

Several paragraphs about getting dressed and Cory peeing into a vase later, Christopher says: 

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I admit, in verbosity you females are blessed, just as we males are gifted with the perfect instrument for picnic bathrooming.

 

Carrie complains about the food. She wants cold cereal with raisins, not "no hot, lumpy, bumpy food that's greasy." She did not meet the grandmother the night before, obviously. 

Chris reads the rules. They are typed in all caps, according to Cathy. As follows (paraphrased)

  1. FULLY DRESSED AT ALL TIMES
  2. DO NOT TAKE THE LORDS NAME IN VAIN, ALWAYS SAY GRACE. HE IS WATCHING
  3. NEVER OPEN THE DRAPERIES
  4. NEVER SPEAK TO ME UNLESS I SPEAK FIRST 
  5. YOU WILL KEEP THIS ROOM NEAT AND ORDERLY, ALWAYS WITH THE BEDS MADE
  6. NEVER TO BE IDLE. DEVOTE 5 HOURS EACH DAY TO STUDYING AND USE THE REMAINDER OF YOUR TIME TO DEVELOP YOUR ABILITIES IN SOME MEANINGFUL WAY. IF YOU HAVE ANY SKILLS YOU WILL SEEK TO IMPROVE THEM, IF YOU HAVE NO ABILITIES OR TALENTS OR SKILLS YOU WILL READ THE BIBLE. IF YOU CAN NOT READ YOU WILL SIT AND STARE AT THE BIBLE AND TRY TO ABSORB THROUGH THE PURITY OF YOUR THOUGHTS THE MEANING OF THE LORD AND HIS WAYS. 
  7. YOU WILL CLEAN YOUR TEETH AFTER BREAKFAST EACH DAY AND BEFORE RETIRING EACH NIGHT
  8. IF I CATCH BOYS AND GIRLS USING THE BATHROOM AT THE SAME TIME I WILL, QUITE RELENTLESSLY PEEL THE SKINS FROM YOUR BACKS
  9. YOU WILL BE MODEST AND DISCREET AT ALL TIMES
  10. YOU WILL NOT HANDLE OR PLAY WITH THE PRIVATE PARTS OF YOUR BODIES NOR LOOK AT THEM OR THINK ABOUT THEM
  11. YOU WILL NOT ALLOW WICKED THOUGHTS IN YOUR MID
  12. YOU WILL NOT LOOK AT MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY
  13. THOSE OF YOU WHO CAN READ WILL TAKE TURNS READING ALOUD FROM THE BIBLE DAILY
  14. BATHE DAILY, CLEAN THE TUB
  15. LEARN ONE QUOTE FROM THE BIBLE A DAY
  16. YOU WILL EAT ALL OF THE FOOD 
  17. YOU WILL NOT STRIDE ABOUT IN THE BEDROOM WEARING ONLY NIGHTCLOTHES. AT ALL TIMESS WEAR A ROBE OVER NIGHTCLOTHES
  18. STAND AT ATTENTION WHEN I ENTER YOUR ROOM 
  19. DO NOT LOOK AT ME OR THINK OF ME WITH DISRESPECT
  20. YOU WILL NOT JUMP, YELL, SHOUT, OR SPEAK IN LOUD VOICES. NEVER WEAR HARD SOLED SHOES
  21. YOU WILL NOT WASTE TOILET TISSUE OR SOAP. IF YOU OVERFLOW THE TOILET YOU WILL CLEAN IT. IF YOU BREAK IT, YOU'LL USE THE CHAMBERPOTS AND YOUR MOM WILL EMPTY THEM
  22. THE BOYS WILL WASH THEIR OWN CLOTHES IN THE BATHTUB, AS WILL THE GIRLS. MOTHER WILL TAKE CARE OF THE BED LINENS AND TOWELS. IF YOU SOIL THE BED, YOU WILL BE THRASHED. 

Through out the reading of the rules, the children comfort each other and Cathy sighs and has melodramatic thoughts. At the end, Grandmother gives yet another warning about not deceiving her, mocking her, joking about her, etc. Also they are never to mention their father's name or refer to him. Which seems kind of difficult, considering that Christopher is named after Christopher, but whatever. I really wish VC Andrews had chosen names that weren't so similar. 

They wonder if they will be locked up for a long, long time. If only they knew. 

So this chapter was shorter and more interesting than the previous one, though Cathy is overly dramatic, and the prose is ... not great. I'd forgotten about all the religion, somehow. I mean, I remember the horrible things that were done, because of greed, and fear of incest, but I'd forgotten about the religious motivation. The children are still full of hope - or at least Cathy is. Talking about being free, and their grandfather's love, and how it's going to be better. 

Christopher reminds them that they still have their mother. And then the chapter is over. 

Quote

 

Yes, of course, he was right. Momma was the one to believe in and trust, not that stern old crazy woman with her idiot idea, and her gunshot eyes, and her crooked, knife-slashed mouth. 


 

Links to previous recaps 
Prologue and "Good-Bye Daddy"
"The Road to Riches"

 

Maggie Mae

I'm taking some time from dealing with personal/family drama/stress to recap another chapter of the masterpiece "Flowers in the Attic." 

This chapter is titled "The Road to Riches." When we open, they are still packing. I've always wanted to read about what other people pack in their suitcases. What an exciting bit of prose. Christopher & Cathy "throw" their clothes into two suitcases along with a few toys and one game. So, I'm guessing that the twins have what they are wearing and that's about it. They leave in the middle of the night, not saying good bye to anyone, and taking a train to the train station. Bikes were left in the garage along with other things too large to take. I'd say that the car they are leaving is probably worth more than the bikes, then I remembered what I spent on my bike, and what i've spent on my car and it's about equal. :/ these are kids though, so I'm guessing it's a couple of really nice retro cruiser type bikes that I would love to have right about now. 

Anyway, so they are on the train and they aren't sleeping. They are headed to Virginia and while they travel we are treated to how C&C (I know, everyone is C, but you know who I mean) speculate on what's going to happen next. 

They get off (using the name "Patterson") in the middle of nowhere at 3 a.m. Christopherr is scared of an owl. Momma snaps at them for some reason. We learn that they are in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and it gets warm and snows. Summers will be warmer than when they lived in Gladstone PA. They start walking, as they need to "reach there before dawn, when the servants get up." Servants. That's how "filthy rich" the grandparents are. 

Several paragraphs of logistics later, Momma has another breakdown. She snaps at Chris and Cathy to wake up the twins that they are carrying and force them to walk. She also mumbles "Lord knows, they'd better walk outside while they can." Cathy has a "ripple of apprehension shot down [her] spine" 

We are treated to a paragraph of Cathy's introspection of how she just "knew" that the cantankerous old grandpa would fall in love with them because they were wonderful children and Chris had straight As and how beautiful the twins were. 

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"I had a gift too; the not bright and shining coin that was Christopher's. It was my way to turn over all that glittered and look for the tarnish."


 

More discussion about logistics and the damn suitcases. Cathy is now pulling two twins that are fighting her, Chris and Corinne (Momma) are each carrying one suitcase. This entire chapter could have been edited down to a sentence. 

Foxworth Hall is more than two hundred years old! For a fun US reference, the oldest house in my city is 100 years old, and we've only been a state for 50 years. Christopher says that it's not ski country - too many trees and rocks. K. And Momma points out a lake for swimming and ice-skating. (As though THAT will happen.) 

Finally the five Cs arrive at the house, where they are escorted up some narrow back staircases by an old lady. The lady looks them over and says that they are beautiful. This for some reason "chills" Cathy's "heart." 

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Her nose was an eagle's beak, her shoulders weere wide, and her mouth was like a think, crooked knife slash. Her dress, of gray taffeta, had a diamond brooch at the throat of a high, severe neckline. Nothing about her appeared soft or yielding; even her bosom looked like twin hills of concrete. There would be no funning with her, as we had played with our mother and father. 

Who on earth thinks of their grandmother's bosom in any terms? Much less "twin hills of concrete." Twin. Hills. of. concrete. Does this mean that Grandmother has a really good, supportive, bra, in comparison to the rest of the early 80s when bras were optional? 

Grandmother gives some reasons as to why they all have to stay in the same room. Cathy is upset but not super upset because she didn't want to be alone anyway. Grandma is suspicious of Cathy & Chris's relationship. 

Grandma throws down some rules about where everyone should sleep, cleaning, and being quiet. Ending with "Until the day your grandfather dies, you are here, but you don't really exist." 

Grandmother will bring them food, more logistics about cleaning or something (it goes on forever!) and finally grandmother pushes the mother out the door. Momma promises to visit as soon as possible. Eventually, Cathy falls asleep with Carrie. 

Oh, and Grandma dropped the "That is exactly what your father and I always presumed about and your half-uncle!" bomb. So C&C are questioning what that meant at the end of this chapter. I was going to do two but this one was SO boring, with it's talk of suitcases and who carries who and who is sleeping where. 

Maggie Mae

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I thought I might attempt a reread of the "classic" coming of age/incestfest novel "Flowers in the Attic." Those of us of a certain age remember reading these in secret, learning about horror and sex and rich people's games. I, however, did not read it in secret. Rather my mom checked it out of the library for me. I'm not sure why, or what about it appealed to her or if the librarian suggested it. But somehow I ended up reading this one and a number of other VC Andrews books. 

For those of you who don't know, VC Andrews wrote this book, and a handful of others. Then she died and the publishers hired a ghostwriter to finish off this series, the Casteel Series, and a few others. He later added to this series, rewriting them from Christopher's POV. I have not read that far into it. Too many terrible books by this "author." Flowers in the Attic is a story about a preteen who is literally locked in an attic with her two brothers and sister. By her mother and grandmother. 

Anyway, I paid money for the kindle edition of this book, i'm not sure why. I had forgotten that it's divided up into "parts" and then "chapters." 

We start with the Prologue, which is written from Cathy's POV. It's clear that we are supposed to believe that she is literally writing this novel. She compares herself to Charles Dickens, says she is using false names, and living in fake places. She claims that she thinks of herself and her family as "flowers in the attic." Paper flowers. Brightly colored and then faded and dulled through nightmarish days. K. 

Chapter One: Good-bye Daddy. 

Cathy, our main character, has a brother named Chris. Her father's name is Christopher, her mother's name is Corrine, and her twin brother and sister are called Cory and Carrie. This should be fun. Not at all confusing. She describe at length how great her father was. He was 6'2, 180, tan, "hair was thick and flaxen blond, waved enough to be perfect; his eyes were cerulean blue and sparkled with laughter." He played tennis and golf and ran away all week leaving the kids in the car of their mother. He "warmed their mouths with kisses." 

I thought the incest came later. 

Her mother, on the other hand, would spend half the day in a beauty parlor, come home, bathe, "emerge in a filmy negligee." Because that's exactly how 12-year-old girls describe their parents. Much is made about how her mother is "a creature so ravishingly beautiful she didn't look real." and Momma answers questions with kisses. (Mother kisses father, but father spends a LOT of time kissing Cathy as well.) 

Cathy tells the story of when she and Christopher found out that Mother was pregnant and the twins came; Cathy was upset so father came and talked to her. Beautiful bit of prose: 

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"Come now, open your box, and tell me what you think of what's inside." 

"First I had to smother his face with a dozen kisses and give him bear hugs to make up for the anxiety I'd put in his eyes." 

Then Daddy slips a gold ring on Cathy's finger. 

The twins are born, and we get a bit of foreshadowing with the babysitter remarking that Corrine and Christopher look more like "brother and sister than husband and wife."  

We find out that they are called "Dollanganger" but sometimes people call them the "Dresden dolls" which I'm guessing I don't know about because this book was published before I was born. 

Christopher (Daddy) is killed in a car accident on his 36th birthday. Oy, I can't imagine having a 14 year old right now. Also I probably read these when I was Cathy's age and now I'm almost Christopher's age and ugh I'm going to have a completely different perspective on these books, aren't i? 

It's a sad story about how they were waiting with friends and he's killed and I remember reading about how they found the plushies and clothes on the side of the road when the suitcase was ejected from the car.  Even sadder is this is just the first car accident that VC Andrews wrote and it's probably the best executed. I mean, later there will be another car accident in this series, and I know there is at least one in the Casteel series. That can't be it though! I mean, these books all have the same things going on: incest, deaths, houses that are named, extreme poverty, abuse, extreme wealth, tragic accidents (I believe there is a character in the Casteel series who is thrown from his horse and dies, tragically. Only he's not dead! He is hiding because he loves someone he can't be with!) 

Anyway, the car accident is described through dialogue, which.. well, here: 

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"According to the accounts, which we've recorded, there was a motorist driving a blue Ford weaving in and out of the left hand lane, apparently drunk, and he crashed head-on into your husband's car. But it seems your husband must have seen the accident coming, for he swerved to avoid a head-on collision, but a piece of machinery had fallen from another car, or truck, and this kept him from completing his correct defensive driving maneuver, which would have saved his life. But as it was, your husband's much heavier car turned over several times, and he still might have survived, but an oncoming truck, unable to stop, crashed into his car, and again the Cadillac spun over... and then... it caught on fire." 

 

Brilliant writing. Very realistic dialogue. 

At some point after the funeral Cathy and her Mamma have a talk. Cathy wants to pretend that her daddy will come home, Corinne doesn't want that. And then we find out that Cathy feels envy towards her mother, as she looks like her mother, but comes in second after her. Um. OK. 

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"I'm going to tell you something now, Cathy, that I've never told you before. You look very much as I did at your age, but you are not like me in your personality. You are much more aggressive, and much more determined. Your father used to say that you were like his mother, and he loved his mother." 

"Doesn't everybody love their mother?" 

"No." She said with a queer expression. "There are some mothers you just can't love, for they don't want you to love them." 

IIRC, Christopher and Corinne are half brother/half sister? Or some other sort of relation; either way I guess they don't have the same mother. 

I'm still on the first chapter. Page 26 out of 411. We find out that Christopher and Corinne made most of their purchases on credit; that Corinne is the reason why - she asked for the bigger house, and she would convince him that luxuries were necessities. Everything will be repossessed. It's tragic. Cathy cries about losing her dolls. The mom is talking about hiding the engagement ring. Then she gives Christopher and Cathy the "good news" which is that they will be going to Virginia, where she grew up. And her parents are rich! "Not just middle-class rich, or upper-class rich, but very, very rich! Filthy, unbelievably, sinfully rich!" Because that's what children who just lost their loving father care about. 

They can only bring two suitcases for four kids, as the mom needs two for her things. She's already the most selfish mother I've read about in the last 20 minutes and we haven't even gotten to the part where she locks the kids in the attic yet. 

Also: 

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She paced, her long shapely legs appearing through the front opening of her filmy black negligee. Even in her grief, wearing black, she was beautiful - shadowed, troubled eyes and all. She was so lovely, and I loved her, -- oh how I loved her then!" 

 

That's when "Momma" decides to let them know that their "real" surname is Foxworth. Both of Corinne's older brothers died in "accidents." I vaguely remember one of them driving off of a cliff on his motorcycle. Obviously the lesson learned from VC Andrews is: don't be poor. don't be "filthy rich." don't drive cars or motorcycles or ride horses or go skiing. Also, it's okay to love your brother and marry him. 

Christopher pleads for her to reconsider & find a way. She gives a little rant about how she has no skills and can't support four children. OBVIOUSLY this is the only option. To go back to Foxworth Hall and try to get back into her father's will. Not, you know, go to secretary school and ask the church for a handout or get on food stamps and move into a smaller house and do odd jobs. Nope, this is VC Andrews world, where a father in W. Virginia literally sold his children (one of which ends up mauled by a tiger) and where it's perfectly normal to seduce your stepfather for revenge.  Or to buy a daughter from a shack in the West Virginia Mountains, and proceed to abuse her. I think someone in one of the books was forced to drink castor oil to induce a miscarriage as well. 

Anyway, so Corinne (Momma) needs two suitcases for her things and the four children have to share the other two suitcases. They leave just about everything behind. 

Maggie Mae

The credits tell me this is a Netflix Original, but I thought it was a BBC Show? Whatever. It's probably something they bought and added another season. 

For some reason there is a 50s style car, 70s style architecture, 80s music, and 80s movie fashion. It also appears to be American, and what I'm guessing is the main character is entering into a bar called Tuckers.  Main character girl can be best described as movie star plain. She's tall, thin, dressed in boxy clothing and has glasses and a ponytail. Obviously she just needs Freddie Prince Jr to take out her pony and give her contacts. 

She finds an arcade in the bar (???) and immediately goes to put a quarter in a pac-man knock off called Bubble Bobble. A nerdy guy hits on her. She's like "fuck no." She is drinking coke out of a glass bottle with a straw. I love her. She is me in the 90s. Except for the hair. And I got rid of those glasses in 7th grade. 

An 80s stereo type girl sits down next to her and gets rid of the guy who is hitting on her by pretending they are friends and the main character is dying. They have NAMES! Kelly and Yorkie! Oh, Yorkie sounds like Willow in season 2 of BtVS. They talk about some place called the Quagmire. I bet that will be important later. They are majorly flirting right now. Turns out Yorkie doesn't need the glasses. 

Commentary I've heard a thousand times before about authenticity. Every hipster, every teenager, so much angst about being authentic. This is different for an episode of Black Mirror. So far it's in the past, it's appearing to be a love story. Who is going to die? 

Kelly is a pretty good dancer, for an 80s stereotype. Yorkie appears to be overwhelmed. Is this a gay bar? I just realized there are a million women and like, 4 dudes. Kelly is so bedazzled I love her too. Yurkie runs off the dance floor. Kelly follows her into the rain. They talk. Yurkie is worried about people's reactions. Kelly is like "this is a party town!" The word bodacious is used. They flirt. This is a nice representation of what appears to be a fairly normal relationship. Although Kelly is kind of creeping me out with her forwardness.  She asks Yurkie to go to bed with her. Yurkie claims to be engaged. Kelly doesn't believe it and asks her to to bed. Yurkie says no, reluctantly, and runs off. They shake hands. 

The camera lingers on the moon's reflection in a puddle for a very long time and we cut to "one week later" and an 80s music montage where Yurkie changes music and clothes, like, a thousand times. She's totally not plain, except for movie star plain. Where is Freddie Prince Jr to force her into a makeover. 

Kelly has a dreamcatcher hanging on her rear view mirror. I don't know why that amuses me but it does. She gets out of her car and argues with some guy she had sex with. His name is Wes. He looks like Jean Ralphio's father in the 80s. 

Kelly is wearing a sequined blazer. It's green and sequined. She dances with a guy wearing a globe tee-shirt under a grey suit with an almost mullet. Kelly and Yurkie make eye contact throughout the night. This is so far NOT anything like Black Mirror. Where is the technology? Yurkie and Kelly have a discussion in the public bathroom. They leave the bar and go for a drive. 

My boyfriend distracted me, and I looked up and they are having sex. There are waves crashing. It's the most California of California shows. Kelly apparently has a beach house. Who is this person??? I wonder if she is evil or a robot or what. This is Black Mirror. Is it an illusion? Yurkie tells her that she "deflowered" her. And the fiance is "complicated."  

Kelly was married and always knew she was attracted to girls, coworkers, waitresses. It's pillow talk so I get up to get another drink. At 11:59, Kelly says that "time is nearly up." I miss my rewind button. Clock hits 12 and the screen goes black and the graphic says "one week later" again. There's a guy at Tuckers dancing in a tennis sweater. The hit "lean on me" is playing. Yurkie asks the bar tender for Kelly. He hasn't seen her. She says something I don't hear and now she is walking up a stair case to the other part of the 80s. The part with sterotypical drug use and a girl wearing a snake. The kind with chainlink fence inside. Grrrrl power punk. Mohawks and people fighting in a cage. 

Some guy recognizes Yurkie as Kelly's friend. Wait. That might be Wes. Oh. Now we are getting sci-fi. He says to try a different time. he's seen her in 80s, 90s, and 2002. The stupid graphic says "One Week Later." What are these people doing the rest of the week? 

Walk Like and Egyption is playing again at Tuckers. Yurkie goes into the arcade and talks to the same guy who is now playing actual Pac Man. He looks different. 

One Week later. 

Commercial on TV shows that it is 1979. 

One Week later. 1996; Alanis Morrisette and Scream. Dear God. I think I had her outfit. Oh, nope. I didn't wear mom jeans. Just oversized army green coats. 

One week later. 

2002. Her hair is long. 

DDR!!! 

What is going on? 

She found Kelly in 2002. They sort of fight in the bathroom. a reminder that this is a party town. Kelly punches a mirror, it breaks, camera pans to her non bleeding hand and then back to the mirror which is not broken. WHAT. 

Kelly looks for Yorkie. Finds her on the roof. 

85 people are dead because of Kelly, I think. Something about "full timers." Kelly doesn't "do" feelings. It freaked her out. She doesn't know how long there is, and she's unprepared. I don't know. It seems like she's genuine. But who knows. This is a show where she's probably some sort of killer robot. 

Yurkie is getting married in a week. She "has" to go through with it. What is San Junipero? God I hate this show sometimes. There are still 26 more minutes. Which I am both excited for and stressed out about. 

Kelly says she has 3 months and it spread. But that was before 6 months ago. The cigarette she's smoking doesn't taste like anything. She says when she's done, she's done. She won't stay in San Junipero. Her huband's name is Richard and he died 2 years ago. He had the opportunity to stay in SJ, but he didn't take it. He didn't believe in it. 

Yurkie thinks that if they met somewhere else that Kelly wouldn't like her. 

Oh. Sad. Kelly is from Carson City NV. 

Yurkie is from Santa Rosa. They talk about looking up each other. Yurkie is scared for her to see her. And Kelly is dying. They stare at each other longingly. Cuddles on the beach. Clock turns to 12. 

We cut to an assisted living facility. A woman, who i suspect is Kelly, is elderly and helped into a vehicle. She is helped into some sort of facility. A hospital? It's all white. Kelly is wearing a yellow coat that stands out nicely. 

A white woman in a coma on a ventilator. 

Some guy name Greg tells Yurkies' story. She's a quadriplegic. He's known her 3 years. Sad story. 21 years old, comes out, they don't like it. Fight. She runs her car off the road. That was 40 years ago. So San Junipero ... she gets 5 hours a week. It's there for Immersive nostalgia therapy. Oh, Greg... going to marry her so she can use state euthanasia. Her religious parents are a no, so she is going to marry the orderly on his coffee break. 

Kelli begs Greg to give him 5 minutes in SJ. She proposes. They get married. All systems are suspended. Yurkie dies. 

Then she is on a beach. She's basically Mallory Pike. OH, then she takes off the glasses and puts the min the sand. Kelly is on her way back to Assisted Living. The instrumental music makes me sad as she struggles up the stairs and coughs and either dies or just takes her five hours (I see she has the dot on her head.) They wear wedding dresses. 

Yurke wants Kelly to pass over and stay. Kelly seems hesitant. It's ... sad. I think she wants to be with her husband? They fight. Kelly's husband of 49 years, and she's not going to San Junipero. Oh. Yurke never asked about kids. They had a child. Oh god I might cry. 

Their daughter didn't cross over to San J. 

They fight, Kelly speeds off in a car, hits a barrier. Clock read 11: 59. She is thrown from the vehicle. I think she might be ... nope, she's back in the "real world."  Old lady Kelly is sleeping in a chair. Yurkie is wandering in a brides dress but no glasses. 

Sad music plays in "real world" while old Kelly looks out at the world from a mountain side. She coughs and nurses rub her back. She decides she's ready. She decides she's ready for "the rest of it." 

1980s Yurkie gets in a corvette and "Heaven is a place on earth" close the episode. It also opened the episode. OH KELLY DECIDED TO GO TO SAN J. 

This episode is heart wrenching. So far my favorites are (in order of most to least favorite) 

  1. 15 Million Merits. 
  2. White Bear
  3. Be Right Back
  4. Nosedive
  5. White Christmas
  6. The Waldo Moment
  7. San Junipero
  8. Shut Up and Dance
  9. National Anthem 
  10. The Entire History Of You

 

 

 

 

Maggie Mae

Chapter 15: The Chocolate Room 

Mr Wonka opens the door to The Chocolate room with keys. Like actual keys. I guess the part where Mr Wonka plays a keyboard to enter is movie only. I tried to find it but the only video on youtube ends with a rude sound as a "joke." Also did you know that Mrs TeaVee is wrong when she smugly states " Rachmaninoff" as the composer?    

The kids and grownups push their way into the room and they look "upon a lovely valley" with a brown river. The chocolate room is described in great detail, but we've all seen the movies so I don't need to recap that. The important part is that there is a waterfall, which Mr Wonka claims is the ONLY way to mix chocolate properly. Everything in the room, from the grass to the bushes, is edible and pretty. 

Let me take a moment to point out that I actually live in a town that has a chocolate waterfall. And I've been meaning to go take a photo of it for ages for this blog. I even drove past it last night. Twice, once in car, and once on a bike. Well, twice on the bike. No matter. I found a picture online. 

It's gross. Seriously. I can not even begin to describe the disgust I feel when I look at this monstrosity in person.  It's supposedly "The worlds largest chocolate waterfall." It claims 3,000 pounds of chocolate. It has copper kettles and a sign that reminds you not to taste it. Probably because it's disgusting.

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Back to the book. The kids all sample a blade of grass, except Augustus who takes a handful. I can not wait for this kid to get sucked up into the tunnel. He's just so one dimensional. 

Grandpa Joe mentions that he wants to get on all fours and go around eating like a cow. I don't even know what to say to that. 

Veruca flips out when she sees "a little person" (Spoiler, it's an Oompa Loompa.)

There are bunch of them and the drawing in my nice modern version is completely unoffensive. Unlike the image I just uploaded. The Oompa Loompas point and laugh at the children. Charlie says "They can't be real people" and Mr. Wonka introduces them as Oompa Loompas. a97533ad089e52f79e7fbef3792f681e.jpg

Chapter 16: The Oompa-Loompas

Everyone repeats the phrasing "Oompa-Loompas!" Twice. Mrs. Salt (not Mrs TeaVee) claims there is no such place and she would know because she teaches Geography. 

Mr. Wonka goes on a bit about what a terrible country it is, with hornswogglers and snozzwangers and whangdoodles. Whangdoodles eat Oompa-Loomps! And the Oompa-Loompas were living on green caterpillars and those tasted awful. What Oompa-Loompas REALLY want is the cacao bean. (Guess what chocolate is made from.) So Mr Wonka goes to the 'tree-house' village that the Oompa-Loompas are living in and "pokes his head" into the door of the leader's house. Mr. Wonka offers the tribe unlimited cacao beans and chocolate. He SMUGGLES THEM into his country by packing them into large packing cases with holes in them. I remember this ending differently on The Wire. 

Anyway, so Mr. Wonka smuggles some people into his factory/country and all is well because they now are paid with chocolate, they learned english, and they love dancing and music. Also the people wear the same clothes as in the jungle (so the movie is not accurate in the least). The women wear leaves, the children are naked, and the men wear deerskins. (If they had deer in the jungle, then why are the surviving on caterpillar paste?)

Veruca interrupts Mr. Wonka by screaming about how SHE wants and Oompa-Loompa RIGHT NOW. Don't worry, Veruca. I'm sure your dad is considering finding more of them for a cheap labor source at the peanut factory. Or whatever it is he does. Mr Salt finally promises Veruca a person. He is going to give his spoiled daughter a person. Jesus, take the wheel. This is dark.  When I'm done with this, I think I'll read Peter Pan and continue ruining my childhood. (In a completely weird coincidence, I put "50 Great Musical Numbers" on my phone and "Everybody ought to have a Maid" from "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" just came on. Ugh.)

Augustus is being shouted at by his mom. He's about to fall into the chocolate river. 

Maggie Mae

Thank you to everyone for not wondering where I went for two weeks. I'll be continuing my reread of the beloved children's classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on my normal schedule of "whenever I feel like it" from now until I finish or get bored. JUST KIDDING! I went on vacation. It was lovely. 

Chapter 14: Mr. Willy Wonka 

We, the readers, finally  meet the much described Mr. Wonka. He's wearing a tail coat made of plum-colored velvet, bottle green trousers, grey gloves, and carries a gold-topped walking cane. He has "bright eyes" and goatee. He is described as full of fun and laughter. He is also described as "like a clever old squirrel from the park." 

 

Spoiler

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Not quite right. 

Spoiler

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Nor this. 

Spoiler

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Better, but I don't know what it is from. Is there a stage play I don't know about? 

Spoiler


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Mr Wonka, with a "high and flutey" voice, invites the children and parents to come forward. He shakes their hands and checks their tickets. When he gets to Charlie, he does the same, pointing out that Charlie found his ticket just yesterday. 

Entering the factory, Mr Wonka points out that it is warm because of "the workers" who are used to an "extremely hot climate." The group is led into what appears to be maze that slopes downward. They go this way and that way, and the air is described and it's all very lovely. 

Finally they arrive at what is labeled "The Chocolate Room." 

Maggie Mae

Chapter 13: The Big Day Arrives 

There is a crowd of people in front of Wonka's chocolate factory on February 1. The five ticket holders and their adults are shielded by the police. 

Everyone who isn't Charlie has both of their parents with them. Charlie has Grandpa Joe, the lazy old man who isn't at all interested in helping out his family until free chocolate is put on the table. 

The other children are being children and trying to climb over the gates. 

Charlie hears people in the crowd discussing the children. It's not nice. Augustus is fat, Veruca is spoiled, Charlie is poor and starving and somehow that is a personality flaw, Violet is gross with her three month old gum. 

And then. 

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Very slowly, with a loud creaking of rusty hinges, the great iron gates of the factory began to swing open.

The crowd became suddenly silent. The children stopped jumping about. All eyes were fixed upon the gates. 

"There he is!" somebody shouted. "That's him!"

And so it was!

 

 

Maggie Mae

Chapter 12: What It Said on the Golden Ticket

Charlie (which I pronounce in my head as Chaaaaalie, which I think is a TWOP Lost reference that I should stop doing) bursts into the cat's grandparent's room. They are eating their evening soup. Charlie shouts about finding the Golden Ticket, and finding money in the street. Everyone is silent. They think it's a joke. Charlie shows them the Golden Ticket. 

Grandpa Joe, who is not illiterate, holds the ticket up to his face, so close it's almost touching his nose. The other grandparents wait.

Grandpa Joe is excited. So excited that he jumps out of bed for the first time in 20 years.

Grandpa Joe is 96. My grandpa is 96. My grandpa, sad that my grandmother died a few years ago, found himself a new girlfriend. At 96. He still drives (though he shouldn't.) He still works around the house. Grandpa Joe is content to let people wait on him for 20 years. TWENTY YEARS. That means he took to his bed at 76, when he should have still been able to hold a job.  He let his son's wife take care of bedpans and feeding him daily for 20 years. And the second he gets something interesting in his life, he's up. He's so excited about the prospect of going to the factory that he knocks a bowl of soup into his wife's face. 

Charlie's father comes home and they have to explain the excitement. Mr. Bucket sits down and has Charlie bring him the ticket. The Golden Ticket is described as being a sheet of gold hammered to ALMOST the thinness of paper. The invitation is read to the family by Mr. Bucket. 

The invitation invites the winner to come to the factory and be the guest of Mr Willy Wonka for a whole day. When it is time to leave, the winners will be escorted home by a procession of large trucks which contain "supplies" to feed the winner and his/her household for many years. When they are gone, the winner can go back to the factory, show the ticket, and get more. There are more undescribed surprises in store for the winners. 

The first of February is when the winners must present themselves and the ticket. They can bring one or two members of their own family. 

Turns out that Charlie found the ticket on the last day of January. Good thing he lives in the same city as the Wonka Factory! 

Grandpa Joe decides HE will be the one to take Charlie. Mr Bucket wants to go, but he feels that his father is the one who "deserves to go" ... Whatever. This family is dysfunctional as hell. 

Mrs Bucket then says that Grandpa Joe should go because she can't go and leave the "other three old people all alone in bed for a whole day." She actually says that. In front of them. 

And then the paparazzi show up.  

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Maggie Mae

Chapter 11: The Miracle

Charlie goes to the candy store and buys a Wonka Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight. Maggie Mae tears open a Russell Stover Mini Egg, with Fudge Brownie filling. I think it's pretty similar. 50% off! I put the rest of the bag in the jar with the old Halloween candy, the christmas/Hanukkah candy, and the Valentine's day candy. There is probably candy in there from two Halloweens ago. I know there are New Years Eve Noisemakers from three years ago, also in the same jar. I know this because one was used last night. 

Oh, so in the book, Charlie buys this candy bar from a "fat and well-fed" man. He is described in great detail about how he is fat and his neck bulges out over his shirt collar. This shopkeeper watches as Charlie shoves the candy bar into Charlie's mouth like he was starving. I guess Charlie is starving, though, so it's OK. 

The man tells Charlie to slow down and make sure to chew, to avoid the "gut-ache." 

Charlie decides to buy a second candy bar and bring 80 cents back to his mother. One dollar in 1964 is equivalent to 7.65 today, so I guess it might buy a meal. I've lived in a high cost-of-living area for so long that I don't actually know what 7.65 would buy at a grocery store. Maybe ingredients for a stir-fry? For 4. Or a LOT of almost expiring bananas. 

The second candy bar - same type as the last - has a Golden Ticket! We all knew he would get one, and now it's happened! 

The shopkeeper does not assault Charlie and steal it, he does however, draw more attention that I would be comfortable with to the situation. Did you know the shopkeeper was fat? If you had forgotten, it's helpfully pointed out again. 

A "large boy" is angry because he's been eating 20 chocolate bars a day trying to win this ticket. A girl laughs and says that Charlie will need the free chocolate, as he is a "skinny little shrimp." (What is up with people and making fun of fat and skinny people? Why can't we just not do that?) 

People offer to buy the Golden Ticket from Charlie. Finally the "fat shopkeeper" helps him out of the store, tells him to run home, and don't let anyone have it.  The "fat shopkeeper" mentions that he thinks Charlie needs a break like this. 

So the "fat shopkeeper" isn't a villain, really, although the other adults are. So maybe it's not really fat shaming? It still seemed jarring to read about this man's weight so many times in such a short chapter. The other adults, though, are terrible. $50 and a bicycle? How awful to try and cheat a kid like that! Even $500 is still not even close to what the ticket is worth! How much do you think Veruca's dad spent on chocolate to try and get one ticket? I'm kind of surprised that no one else sold a ticket. If I had gotten one, I'd sell it for sure! A lifetime supply of candy, plus an exclusive look inside the chocolate factory is worth a lot more than $500. If I didn't sell it, I'd for sure bring a secret spy pen camera and take pictures and sell those. Or write a book about what I saw and sell that. And the candy. I don't think I eat that much candy, so I'd be donating that to soup kitchens or something. Or maybe just leave it at the end of a race, when people will eat just about anything. 

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Maggie Mae

Chapter 10 

It is now winter in unnamed city of indeterminate size, in the year of "industrial revolution/Victorian era. Or maybe later. Who knows. It's winter. It's snowing, and the Bucket family + Mrs Bucket's parents are cold, hungry, and still very poor. Soon after the candy bars ran out, Mr Bucket lost his job at the toothpaste factory. So the three meals of cabbage soup a day are halved. Mr Bucket goes out to try and earn money by shoveling, but it doesn't feed the family. Charlie begins to try and eat the chocolate scented air.  Grandpa Joe, stating the obvious, points out that Charlie is growing and has to eat more. Charlie, though, being the Mary-ist of Mary Sues, refuses any extra food. He even made his mom take back an extra slice of bread when she tried to slip him her portion. 

Charlie, as he is starving, starts to move about his life slower. He skips recess, he leaves for school early so he can walk slower. One day, walking home from school, he finds a dollar. (So he's in the states then? Or can I assume that the UK edition has him finding some sort of note or pence or bobbin? :) )

Charlie looks around to see if anyone had dropped it, though it was half buried in the snow. He then thinks "food." But before he takes it home to him mother, he decides to buy a candy bar. 

Maggie Mae

Chapter 7: Charlie's Birthday

Charlie's present is a bar of "Wonka's Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight" and I am not going to lie, it sounds delicious, and my opinion is based only on the name, because it is not described at all.  Charlie's entire family gathers to watch him unwrap this candy bar. They remind him that it's still a candy bar, that it has the same chance as any other candy bar. Finally they tell him to hurry up and get on with it before he's late for school. Charlie opens the bar up all the way to reveal...

a candy bar. 

Charlie tries to share the chocolate with his family, and they won't even dream of it. 

Chapter 8: Two More Golden Tickets Found 

The newspaper announced that two more more winners have been found. The third winner is "Miss Violet Beauregarde." Violet says that she "is a gum chewer, normally. But when she heard about the tickets, she switched to candy bars. Now she's back to gum." She also claims to have been chewing the same piece of gum for three months. She also criticizes her mother, talks about leaving gum on the elevator buttons, and has a frenemy named "Miss Cordelia Prinzmetel." 

The Grandmothers hate her. 

The fourth ticket is found by Mike Teavee. Mike Teavee is nine-years old, and so far the only child who was given an age. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Mike Teavee can't stop watching TV and shooting off toy guns. The Grandmothers are appalled. Grandpa George helpfully points out that there is only one ticket left.  

Chapter 9: Grandpa Joe Takes a Gamble

The day after Violet and Mike are introduced, Charlie goes to see his grandparents. They are all sleeping, with the exception of Grandpa Joe. Grandpa Joe gives Charlie a 10-cent piece, and tells him to go get another Wonka bar. Charlie buys a "Wonka Nutty Crunch Surprise," which would not have been my choice. It is not a winner. This chapter is kind of a cute moment between Charlie and Grandpa Joe. 

 

One of the things I'm noticing on this reread is the lack of real details. I've read this book a LOT. And I've seen the movies. The kids aren't really given nationalities or ages. Slugworth is just a rival candy maker. Grandpa Joe doesn't explain why he has a ten-cent piece. If you had asked me last week, I would have sworn in a court of law that the Buckets had a TV they pushed into the Grandparent's room to watch the announcements on. But, no, they are just reading a newspaper. That makes sense, though, because it seems to be taking place in an unknown industrial city, sometime during the industrial revolution. 

Maggie Mae

Chapter 6: The First Two Finders 

"Mr. Bucket's" evening newspaper (O.M.G. I had forgotten how newspapers used to be delivered twice a day) announces that the first Golden Ticket has been found. The winner, of course, is Augustus Gloop. Augustus is a nine-year-old boy who is "enormously fat" and "looked as though he had been blown up with a powerful pump." His fat is further described in great detail and I'm a little uncomfortable. 

Augustus's mother tells the papers how Augustus eats so many  candy bars that it would be impossible  for him to not find one. Eating is his hobby, it's all he cares about. Mom of Augustus thinks that's better than being a "hooligan." (which, btw, is a type of fish. Supposedly, one can burn them as candles, they are that fatty.) She carries on for a bit about kids these days and how Augustus is getting vitamins or whatever. Grandma Josephine finds her revolting. Quentin Blake's drawing is very happy. I don't remember if there is a creepy racist drawing of this scene in my original 1973 paperback. Grandma Georgina find the boy repulsive as well, although I find that kind of harsh. I mean, it's not his fault he's gluttonous and spoiled and boring. 

We are then treated to a very long paragraph describing what I believe the film calls "wonka-mania" although I could have just made that up right now.  "Gangsters" are robbing banks so they can buy candy. "In far-off Russia" (lol) "Charlotte Russe" made a forgery. (is the clothing store a reference?) Someone in England, a scientist named "Professor Foulbody" made a machine to tell you if the candy bar you have has a golden ticket - without unwrapping it. It had a mechanical arm and a gold detector. Apparently it removed the tooth of a dutchess, and was smashed. 

And then. 

Veruca Salt found the second ticket. 

Veruca Salt's father, Mr. Salt. (CLEVER NAME) is a very rich man, you see. And so he bought all the Wonka candy he could find and had his factory workers unwrap them. It took THREE WHOLE DAYS before they found a Golden Ticket. 

This does not seem like a very good way to run a business. Not even Donald Trump would do that. (It's because the Donald cares about money more than his children. Even Ivanka.)

 Veruca apparently, kicked and screamed and threw temper tantrums until the ticket was purchased for her. The Grandmas decide that she is worse than the "fat boy," and that she needs a real good spanking. I think her problems come from her terrible parents. Who should probably have learned the word "no" at some point. And also, teach her how money works. 

Grandpa Joe thinks the girl is spoiled and nothing good comes from spoiling a child. 

Charlie's birthday is the next day. Spoiler alert: His family bought him a candy bar. 

Earlier we talked about how some of us (most of us?) tried to make our candy last like Charlie. I did that too. Only by day 3? 4? I'd often forget about it. I do remember my mom yelling at me about ants. I sometimes wish I could get my childhood dislike of all foods back. 

Back to the story: Charlie is hoping he gets a golden ticket. So is Grandpa Joe. 

 

Maggie Mae

Chapter 5: The Golden Tickets

Grandpa Joe tells Mr. Bucket to read faster, as he simply must know the big news. He's content to sleep all day until Charlie comes home, but as soon as there is some sort of news about this chocolate factory, he's all about ordering his son (who works on the line at a factory) to read faster. Hey, Grandpa Joe, why don't you just read it yourself? 

The newspaper says that Willy Wonka is a "candy-making genius" whom nobody has seen in 10 years. Willy Wonka is going to allow five children to visit the factory. They will also win a lifetime supply of chocolates and candies. To win, they must find one of five "Golden Tickets" that have been hidden in the wrapping of candy bars. 

Grandma Josephine (of Joe) exclaims that the man is dotty. Grandpa Joe thinks he's brilliant and explains marketing and how using contests is part of many companies strategy. 

Grandpa George is excited because of the free candy. 

Grandma Georgina (of George) uses an exclamation point while remarking that the candy would have to be delivered in a truck. 

 Grandpa Joe tries to get Charlie excited about the possibility of winning. Charlie is sad and tells him he won't win, as he gets one bar of chocolate a year. 

Of George tries to make Charlie feel better by saying he has the same chances, while George points out that other kids are buying candy every day, while Charlie gets one candy bar a year. ONE. Charlie gets ONE. Because he's poor. 

Maggie Mae

Chapter 4: The Secret Workers 

Grandpa Joe tells Charlie how the large factory in their city randomly shut down one day, laying off all of the workers and closing. Mr. Wonka said he was SORRY, and then sent home every single worker. Not an HR professional was left to handle the closeout and/or severance packages. No safety inspector left to ensure the ongoing safety of this large industrial building. Just shut it down. The reason for laying off the local workforce? Supposedly corporate espionage. Spies. Wonka was mad that other chocolatiers had stolen his special candies, such at the non-melting ice cream.*

Then one day, it reopened, only they never rehired the workers. The gate remained locked. Grandpa Joe claims that "the people" could see small dark shadows moving about the factory. And the factory has been making candy and chocolate and they are even better than ever. Once again we are reminded that no one goes in and no one comes out. No one has even seen Mr. Wonka since the closing of the factory. The only things that come out are the chocolates and candies. They are packed and picked up by the Post Office. 

At the end of the chapter, we are left with a cliff hanger! Mr Bucket (Charlie's father, the text helpfully reminds me) runs into the room waving a newspaper about. The Wonka Factory will be opened again to a lucky few! Haha, printed newspapers. 

*he can make non-melting ice creams, but a chocolate mansion melts into a puddle? 

 

Okay, seriously? How many violations is Mr Wonka running here? He's not letting in food and safety inspectors! He's fired the locals and doesn't leave his factory! Does he have foundations and grants for residents of this city? Charitable donations to get the goodwill of the people he's not hiring and poisoning with his factory? He fired a factory worth of people and they still love him? What is in this candy? Nicotine? Heroin? Meth? Ecstasy? Whatever "natural" drug I learned about last night on reddit where you don't even know you are high but you experience intense hallucinations? AND he laid off the locals but brought in immigrants;literal illegal aliens to save costs! Willy Wonka is Mitt Romney. 

 

Maggie Mae

This chapter is awkward. 

Chapter 3: Mr. Wonka and the Indian Prince 

Grandpa Joe tells Charlie the story of "Prince Pondicherry," who had asked Mr. Willy Wonka to "come all the way out to India and build him a colossal palace entirely of chocolate."

Those Indians, amirite? Always with their weird names and schemes to do impractical things. /s

Mr. Wonka, of course, builds the chocolate palace and tells Prince Pondicherry (Which is a cute name but also strikes me as somewhat inappropriate. This book was written in the 1950s, published in the 1960s, so this would be about when the UK was taking in a lot of refugees from the India/Pakistan border area. I am not intimately familiar with the causes of the partition, and being a 30 something American, I am not 100% certain that I'm not talking out my ass right now.) to start eating the castle immediately, as India is hot and the castle will melt. 

The castle, btw, sounds amazing. Both amazingly engineered (hot chocolate comes out of the chocolate pipes, even the chocolate carpet) and amazingly gross. Seriously, you'll just be sticky all the time. 

The story of Prince Pondicherry, btw, has little to no bearing on the rest of the story. It's used to show that Charlie is skeptical of this story, and Grandpa Joe want to "tell him something else that's true." Which is that Willy Wonka's factory doesn't use local workers. At this point in the story, it's just Grandpa Joe, whispering to Charlie that "nobody....ever....comes...out..." and "nobody...ever...goes...in"

And of course we find out how "good" Charlie is. He's a kid, poor as hell, and his supposedly bedridden grandfather is telling him a story, when his mom tells him it's time for bed. And Charlie and Grandpa Joe immediately decide to finish talking about Mr. Wonka's mysterious workers the next night. 

As I mentioned earlier, I grew up with the 1976 paperback with the illustrations by Joseph Schindelman. 

The bottom is the version that was in my book. The top, I believe, was in the UK version, published around the same time. 

Spoiler

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Maggie Mae

Chapter 2: Mr Willy Wonka's Factory

The old people are old. They are not only chronologically old, but they are physically old and described in great detail how very old they are. They are so old they are willing to stay in bed for years, all day, every day. They are so old they are sharing a bed with people who at one time were acquaintances. Grandpa George and Grandpa Joe only know each other because their children married. Mr and Mrs Bucket (who have no first names) must not have siblings. And while I understand this is a children's story and it makes it easier for kids... what are the chances of a "George" marrying a "Georgina" and a "Joe" marrying a "Josephine" ... and then the children of these people married each other. Maybe the reason they don't have names is because Roald Dahl couldn't think of a third form of Joe and George. 

Anyway, so back to the story. Charlie likes to listen to the old people's stories at night. He will spend up to HALF AN HOUR listening to these old people talk. The old people who sleep almost all day and only perk up when Charlie is around. 

This is depressing. 

One night, Charlie (who has a fixation on this chocolate factory) asks the Grandparents about Wonka's Chocolate Factory. It's the biggest in the world. The Grandparents have nothing bad to say about Mr. Willy Wonka. He's just amazing and extraordinary and famous and everyone in the world loves him. And he's got all these amazing chocolate inventions, like a way to make chocolate ice cream that stays cold and doesn't melt. 

He's got gum that doesn't lose it's flavour, and caramels that change color, and a million other things. Charlie and Grandpa Joe talk about this and are kind of sad about not having any money. 

Then Grandpa Joe says he's going to tell Charlie about "that crazy Indian prince" and the chapter ends. DUN DUN DUN. 

 

 

 



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