Secrets and Friends
Chapter 6: A New Friend
Because this is a book, you all knew what was coming. This is how Heather makes friends with Laura Douglas.
We last left off with Laura walking in on Heather, who has just replaced Laura’s diary on the shelf.
Laura is understandably angry that Heather has been messing with her things, and then notices her diary on the shelf. She accuses Heather of reading it.
“I did not,” Heather insisted.
Laura turned the book over in her hands. “Your sticky finger marlks are on it! You’re a liar!”
This is where I almost feel it would have been better to have Laura walk in on Heather while she was holding the diary. It would have somewhat heightened the tension, looked more incriminating, and then we wouldn’t have this weird paragraph here. Laura, once she had calmed down, could then have realized that Heather was standing there holding a closed book, instead of going, “you look honest, so I should have trusted you.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Heather’s blood boiled. “I’m not a liar,” she yelled.
This book has a weird thing with exclamation marks. In my opinion, sentences that don’t need them have them, and this statement up there should have one.
I know it’s a bit nitpicky, but by god I want my exclamation marks in appropriate places dammit.
“I didn’t read your diary. If I had read it, then I would have known that this was your secret corner, too. And I certainly wouldn’t have stayed here, then, because I think you are mean and unfriendly, and I wouldn’t want to be near anything that was yours.”
If Heather is still meant to be yelling here, there should also be an exclamation mark.
Instead of yelling back, Laura bursts into tears. Heather regrets shouting at her, so yes, she was meant to be shouting in the above paragraph. She apologizes to Laura for yelling at her, and I can’t think why. She hasn’t said anything untrue and really, this is quite tame. Definitely a lot cleaner than 8 year old me would have been.
Laura sniffled and dried her tears. “It’s all right,” she said at last and brushed her hair away from her tearstained cheeks. “You seem like the kind of person who would always tell the truth. I should have believed you when you said you didn’t read my diary. I’m sorry, too.”
You hear all the time in SDA circles that someone who is honest will somehow be recognizable. I can tell you, the most honest seeming children are secretly little shits sometimes. So statements like this really bother me. It’s also unnecessary. Laura could have looked through her diary, realized there were no sticky finger prints on the pages, and then believed her.
Heather forgives Laura, and they sit silently for a moment. Laura explains why she has been unfriendly to Heather. Apparently her mom has recently died, and then they moved to Australia. Laura has been afraid to make friends because she doesn’t want someone she loves to die and leave her alone again.
All this seems pretty realistic to me, I could see that. What I can’t see is it coming out in actual conversation. This is a work of fiction, so I’ll ignore it.
Laura decides she’s tired of being lonely, so she and Heather decide that they are friends. They go upstairs and find Aunt Rachel, who scolds Heather for disappearing like that. Laura covers for her, explaining that she has been showing Heather around the hotel. Aunt Rachel raises an eyebrow, but decides not to question this. She tells Heather to check in before she wanders off next time.
There’s a section break, and we cut to the girls racing home after school. They’ve been promised a surprise. Laura’s dad takes Heather’s family to their new house. It’s not 100% completed, but it’s good enough to live in, despite the fact that they still have no floor.
As the Gibson family unpacked, Mrs. Gibson found Heather’s diary. It got stuffed in with the rest of the books on the ship. Mr. Douglas says he also has a surprise for Laura. He’s starting to build a new house, and this time it’s their house. The surprise is that it is right next door to Heather’s house, yay!
Mrs. Gibson says she feels better having gotten out of the crowded hotel room, and I sympathize.
They all gather around to pray, and Heather thanks Jesus for her new friendship with Laura and their new house.
And that’s it. That’s the end of the book. There’s no afterward with historical facts or details about the time period and place. It just wraps up the story neatly and ends.
As far as Adventist literature goes, this isn’t the worst book I’ve ever read. The dialogue is mostly realistic, though a little stilted in places, and it’s kind of simple and very campy.
It’s not great literature, but then, neither are the American Girl books. I would still recommend American Girl books over Adventist Girl books, because for all their faults, American Girl books at least try to portray major issues girls of the time period were going through, and some authors did not shy away from specifics. When reading about Addy (1864-1865), we get a feel for just how bad slavery was. We don’t get all the gory details, but we get enough. Heather isn’t going through anything as major as Addy, so maybe that’s a bad comparison. But I do feel like, with American Girl, I really got a feel for the girl’s worlds, whereas I did not get that at all with Adventist Girl.
I feel like I went through that book really fast. If any of you have suggestions about things I should cover, let me know. These books are really short, so there’s not really much to talk about. If I was better at writing, I could probably do entire books in one post, but my mind works better if I sort them into chapters.