Parable of the Sower Critique: Chapter 2

This was written by me when I was 15 or 16 at an SDA boarding school. It is terrible, and I am having a hard time doing this sober. But, as I am apparently incomprehensible when drunk, this post is brought to you by really strong coffee.

That Monday, I wake up with a soar throat, headache, and stuffy nose. My sister comes in before she goes off to her SDA school (mainly just to make sure I’m not just faking it like I normally do) she gives me a hug, tells me she’s praying for me, and leaves.

Wow, I really need to learn how to spell. Or proofread.

It’s not explicitly mentioned in the text until later, but Holly managed to convince her mom to send her to a public school.

If Holly is actually sick, why is Jaimie giving her a hug? Does she want to get sick too? Oh never mind. Then Holly’s mom comes in to talk to her. What are they talking about? We don’t get to know. Come on teenage!me, don’t do this. Why even have the mom on screen (on page?) if you’re not going to develop the characters?

Sometimes, I feel awful. My mom is so nice, so loving, and I treat her like crap. I feel awful.

“I feel awful” is repeated too many times. Set that aside.

I was about to make a note about teeange!me doing a lot of telling but no showing, but then I read this:

As soon as I hear my mom’s car in the driveway, however, I get out of bed, get dressed in baggy clothes, and head out. First stop: mom’s room. $40 is now missing from her purse. Then I leave the house.

Ok, now teenage!me is showing something. Good job, teenage!self.

As Holly is shoplifting, she runs into her boyfriend, Matt. Please don’t ask me why Holly is shoplifting when she just stole money from her mother. I don’t even know.

At the time I wrote this, I had never even had so much as a desire for a boyfriend. I didn’t really know why people even had them. All I knew is that boyfriends and girlfriends had sex, but that they weren’t supposed to. Oh and they kissed and held hands and generally acted like idiots when they were together.

So it is only natural that this part of the story be completely and utterly cringe worthy. God I wish I could be drinking.

“Wanna come to my house for a while?? My parents aren’t home.” He puts his arm around me and whispers in my ear, “we can do whatever we want!”

This is totally how I thought guys convinced their girlfriends to have sex with them.

Embarrassingly enough, I still have no idea how flirting actually works.

Fun fact: By the time I was a senior in high school, I coerced someone else to write the romantic scenes.

I hesitate, not knowing weather or not I want to do what I know he is asking me to do. Not knowing weather I’m ready for this. I mean, it is a big step…. the bible…

This is badly written. The Bible is not being used as a “big step,” although it could be, it’s thick enough.

then I look into his gorgeous eyes, and remember that he’s the only one who really understands me. The only one who won’t condemn me for what I’ve done.

Um…. ok? We are shown exactly none of that. Ever.

Teenage!me also needed to learn the difference between “weather” and “whether.” Teenage!me didn’t really care.

He slips his hand into mine and says, “don’t worry, I’ll be protected, it’ll be fun. You’ll be alright.” He kisses me on the cheek, “trust me.” He gently pulls me towards his car, and I do not resist.

I kinda wish I had paid someone else to write these scenes. Someone who had actually had a boyfriend. “We’ll use condoms” is totally a good pickup line….right?

There’s a section break, after which we see Holly head home to act like she’s totally been there all day. Her sister’s school must be like, a block away, because it only takes Jaimie ten minutes to walk home. This is unrealistic but sure, whatever.

Jaimie is having none of Holly’s “I’ve been here all day” nonsense. She grills Holly, who refuses to answer.

She sighs, “Holly, I’ll still love you. I’m not gonna yell at you.”

Holly doesn’t believe her, and reading this as an adult, I’m not sure I do either. Even though this is actually something real!Jaimie would have said. Whether or not it was true is something up for debate.

Book!Jaimie tells Holly that she is still praying for her.

Don’t waste your breath you pathetic fool! I want to shout it out so bad, but I can’t because tears are falling out of my eyes and my throat is getting tight. I bury my face in the pillow. I won’t let her see me cry.

Holly realizes that this is Jaimie’s way of reassuring Holly that she still loves her, and Holly accepts it for what it is. She is touched, but doesn’t want Jaimie to see that.

Jaimie gets up and walks out of the room. I feel so dirty, so unclean. So worthless and lost. Yet at the same time, a perverted kind of happiness, a feverish delight. But mainly, I feel like taking a gun and–

This is how I thought all girls who had sex felt like. Was teenage!me actually suicidal? Maybe. I don’t honestly recall. I could go look it up in my journals, but I don’t feel like doing that, so we will move on.

Over the next few weeks, my life grows worse. I continue stealing, skipping school, and hanging out with my boyfriend, though we haven’t been alone together since that one special afternoon!

You know, typical stock stuff rebellious teenagers do. Rebellious teenagers never go to school, and they never get caught for this because….. I don’t know. Oh and they have boyfriends. And they steal things. These are the things rebellious teenagers do.

God, Teenage!me was a rebellious teenager, and she still didn’t know how to write rebellious teenagers.

Teenage!me, what the FUCK is wrong with you?!

One day, my bubble is burst. I wake up, run into the bathroom, and start puking. A horrible thought occurs to me, but I shake it off. No, its the flu. Its been going around school…. but I haven’t been at school enough to… no, I can still catch it.

Sigh. I thought this was so subtle. I was saving the “big reveal” for the end of the chapter. If I roll my eyes any harder, my contacts are gonna fall out.

Every morning for the next week I continue to throw up every morning, and mom no longer believes that I’m sick, and I can see that I’m also beginning to loose her trust, which in itself makes me feel sick, but at the moment theres (sic) nothing I can do about it.

Is the parent in this story dense? If Holly is throwing up every morning, how has her mom not walked in on her at some point? Set that aside. If I thought my teenage daughter was faking an illness for an entire week, it would at least be time to threaten to take the daughter to a doctor in the hopes that she would confess.

At lunchtime, I sneak out of school and run to the nearest drug store. I find what I am looking for and slip it into my coat pocket. Then I buy some cough drops just to make it look like I came in there for something so I don’t look as suspicious.

This is why they keep pregnancy test kits behind the counter. This, right here. Also, totally not plagiarized from Saved.

“NO!!!!! God, no!!!!” I throw down the test strip and kick the wall. I burst into tears. I’m pregnant.

Couldn’t have seen that coming.

 

This chapter is BAD. And not in a good way. This is bad in an “oh god make it stop!” way. This, right here, is why teenage writing is usually not good. Teenagers aren’t really known for having a whole lot of life experience. Teenage!me hadn’t had her first boyfriend, had never had sex, and hadn’t actually been around a pregnant woman. Teenage!me did know how to use google, but wasn’t always even aware that she would need to google things.

Even as an adult, I would have trouble writing about a boyfriend. However, I think I know enough now that I could at least have a man and a woman develop a convincing enough platonic relationship. Which would probably still be shy of the mark, but at least it would be better than this cardboard cutout boyfriend that Holly has. Really, his only function in this story is to impregnate her. Teenage!me didn’t know what else you’d do with a boyfriend, so neither does Matt.

Matt, by the way, is the only character in this story who doesn’t have a real life counterpart. Make of that what you will.

This story makes me want to go to back in time and bash teenage!me’s head into a brick wall.

Up next, tune in to read about one of the most cringe worthy conversion scenes in all of SDA literature. It’s a conversion scene written by someone who’s never actually experienced a conversion, even though by this point I had left God at least twice and come back. So this time, there’s no excuse for the godawful writing we’re about to experience.

 

 

 

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