The Richest Caveman Chapter 1

The drinking game:

1. Every time I agree with something Doug says

2. Every time Doug tells an outrageous story that sounds incredibly unrealistic

3. When the timeline jumps around in ways that don’t make sense


There will likely be more to come, so keep checking the drinking game section.

I’m not entirely sure it was he who wrote this. The cover reads that the story is “as told to Marilyn Tooker.” The copyright date is 1991. I’m not sure why Doug didn’t write this himself. Perhaps he had yet to start writing his own books? Maybe he’s better at non fiction than story writing?

In any case, here’s chapter one.

Chapter One

“I sat on the edge of my bed…and buried my face in my hands. Tears ran down my cheeks and seeped through my fingers.”

Doug Batchelor’s opening line really grabs us. I think Doug (Marilyn?) has the potential to be a good writer. There’s some talent here, but it needs more nurturing and a decent editor.  The opening lines are good because they make us want to know more. Who is crying? Why is he crying? Why is he referring to his apartment as “my mother’s New York apartment” instead of “our New York apartment? Yes, his mom’s the one paying the bills, but most children refer to it as “our house” not “my parents’ house.”

Doug is crying because he is in trouble at school again, and that he “just can’t seem to control his temper.”

I have no idea if this “can’t seem to control his temper” comment is a slight exaggeration, or indicative of an actual condition that, nowadays, one can get help for. But of course, when he was a kid, such things may not have been readily diagnosed.

Doug’s thoughts turn to his mother. His mother was in show business, and at some point wrote songs for Elvis. I decided to Google this one. There’s a Wikipedia page that lists all of Elvis’ song writers, and there is a Ruth Bachelor on the list. I did some further googling, and even though the name is spelled wrong on the wiki, this does appear to be Doug’s mother.

Well, that’s kinda cool. I had no idea Doug B’s mother wrote songs for Elvis. I learn something new every day.

In case anyone was wondering, the songs she wrote are:

1. Cotton Candy Land

2. A Boy Like Me, A Girl Like You

And then I gave up because holy mother of GOD this list is LONG! Did Elvis write ANY of his own songs! Jeez!

Anyway, Adventists have an interesting connection, then, to Elvis.

Doug talks about meeting other movie stars. He name drops a few of them, but I’m too young to get the references. Except for the 3 stooges, I have no idea who these people are.

As I got old enough to understand, I noticed that a frightening number of them [the actors] were homosexuals, and it seemed like many were on drugs, or alcohol, or both, yet they weren’t happy.

Many of the actors were either on drugs or alcohol, or many of the homosexual actors? It isn’t clear in the statement.

Of course the homosexual actors wouldn’t be happy. They were homosexual in a homophobic world. Most of them were probably trying to pretend to be straight just to keep their careers. How could anybody be happy living that kind of life?  If many of the homosexual actors were always drunk or high, I wouldn’t blame them one bit.

Why do they work so hard to achieve fame if it makes them miserable? I wondered.


It wasn’t the fame that made them miserable. It was being homosexual in an accepting world. As to the unhappy heterosexual actors, perhaps it was not the fame itself that made them miserable?

Hang on, isn’t Doug Bachelor famous? Is his fame making him miserable? If not, why does he insist other famous people are miserable?

Anyway, Doug’s mom used to have parties in their apartment all the time. Doug says that all they wanted to do at these parties was sit around and smoke pot. Um, yeah, Doug, that’s kinda what (some peoples’ definition of) a party is. I don’t actually care that Doug’s mom smoked pot. I have no issue with recreational marijuana usage, and think our drug laws need a serious overhaul. But this was written in the 1990s, and for an Adventist audience. For the target audience and in that time period, this was seriously wild stuff. This would have made his mom look, in their eyes, like a terrible mother. I’m not sure if Doug was trying for this effect or if it’s just a side effect.

Doug never comes out and says he thinks she was a terrible mother. I think, however, at least subconsciously, he is demonstrating things that would show that to his target audience.

I’m not going to say one way or another what I think about the subject, mostly because I haven’t decided what to think.

As Doug is sitting on his bed crying, his thoughts turn to how lonely he is. He relives the details of the fight he was in at school that day, the lectures and glares from his teachers, etc.

No, actually, he doesn’t. He tells us he “relives all the details,” without telling us any of it. All we ever get to learn was that he got in a fight at school, his teachers yelled at him, and he feels really low.

Why show when you could tell, right?

He immediately jumps from this to wondering who he is, where he comes from, etc.

I’d been told I was just another step in the process of evolution—an overly developed monkey. If that’s all there is to life, why not just get it over with?

Woe is me. I am evolved and have no creator, therefore I have no worth or purpose. I will now go and kill myself.

Said no atheist, ever.

Also, evolution does not see humans as “overdeveloped monkeys.” Humans did not evolve from monkeys, we share a common ancestor. Monkeys are our cousins, not grandfathers. /tangent.

Doug finds his mother’s sleeping pills and thinks about using them to kill himself. He is unsure which are the sleeping pills, so he freaks out, and thinks:

“What if they were some kind of pills for ladies? What if they just made me really sick?”

I’d like to point out that a small child could eat a whole pack of “pills for ladies” and wind up only mildly nauseous (or so says my doctor, at any rate) but he was right about the pills possibly just making him really sick. He aborts the suicide mission, thank goodness.

Doug states that he was 13 years old at this time. But don’t go getting any ideas about his age and what year it is, because the timeline in this book freakin’ jumps all over the place. In the next chapter, he will be 11. This book does not go in chronological order and it’s kind of confusing.

I’m also not sure why he sticks his age into the suicide attempt #1 scene. Is he trying to go for the shock factor of “I was so young?!” Because, uh, that’s more than twice as old as I was when I first thought about suicide, and I’m not the only one I know who can say that.

Doug jumps back to talking about his mother again. In case you hadn’t noticed, the book is not organized very well. I’m getting whiplash from all the jumping around.

Looking back, I wonder how I could have been so blind to the clues that mom cared. She tried to express her love to me in her own way. She would write a musical for our class, and put me in the starring role. She put a lot of work into it, even conducting the rehearsals herself. This meant more time away from work, and smaller paychecks

I can identify with this. I used to think my mom didn’t love me because she didn’t show love the way I wanted it shown. As an adult, I can’t believe how stupid I was not to see that of course she loved you you IDIOT!

She would write a musical for our class, and put me in the starring role

This isn’t love.* This is putting your child on a pedestal. I wonder if this was why Doug was getting into fights at school?

That Doug! Festus thought to himself angrily. His mother wrote the play, so of course he’s the star. I’ll never get to play Rolfe in The Sound of Music. That cute girl I sit next to is playing Lisel, and he gets to kiss her. I think I’ll go punch Doug’s brains in after school. That’ll teach him.

Another way Doug’s mother showed she cared:  Falcon had cystic fibrosis and couldn’t smoke pot, so his mother would make him cookies. Hashish was very hard to get ahold of, and instead of keeping it for herself, his mother would put it in Falcon’s cookies. I agree with Doug (drink!) that this is an act of selflessness.

I know Marijuana has a lot of medical uses, but is Cystic Fibrosis one of them? If so, did his mother know that? I’m not sure how old Falcon is in this scene, but I’m going to assume Doug is still 13. I do not think I would smoke pot with my 13 year old children. And of course, the target audience would find the idea horrific.

Some time after the big fight at school, Doug gets his grades back. They’re terrible, so he tries to jump off the roof of the apartment building.

I actually do sympathize here. I studied hard in school, very hard. And yet, the best I could do in most subjects was a C. And yeah, it did make me want to kill myself.

I would like to state, for the record, that I am glad Doug didn’t succeed in killing himself. I don’t like the guy, but I wouldn’t want him to kill himself. I may hate him and everything he stands for, but I don’t wish him any harm.

Anyway, back to our story, Doug obviously (he’s still alive) doesn’t throw himself off the roof. He figures that that’s a painful way to die, and realizes there is a small chance he might survive and wind up a quadriplegic.

The nice thing about suicide is that you can always postpone it.

Take a drink, because I agreed with Doug on something. I’ve been postponing my suicide for a little over 20 years now.

Doug then tells us about his father. He owned an airplane company and loved planes so much he named his kids: Falcon and Douglas, after airplanes. Doug thinks he got the better name, and take a drink because I agree with him.

He grew up a Baptist, but religion had been thrust upon him by well meaning family and friends, and he wanted no part of it. …. He lost his first wife and baby son in a plane crash…he lost all his faith and considered himself an agnostic.

I wonder if this is accurate or if Doug just doesn’t believe in Atheists, because we’re all just really agnostics. According to most SDAs, true Atheists don’t really exist, after all.

Instead of learning from his dad, Doug decides to become a celebrity in a world where religion is constantly thrust upon people. I have no doubt Doug does some of the thrusting himself.**

In any case, teenage Doug steps back from the roof, and decides that when he goes, he doesn’t want to go out with a whimper, but a bang. He only gets one life, so he’s going to milk the shit out of it while he still can.

Take a drink, because I agree with this attitude.


*I’m not saying Doug’s mother didn’t love him, I’m saying this is a terrible example.

**I didn’t realize what that sounded like when I wrote it, but I’m not going to edit it because that I’m 12.

Roswell: The Outsider, by Melinda Metz Chapter 2

I’m going to try to get through the whole chapter today, but it is the holidays, so no guarantees.

The chapter opens with Liz being examined by completely incompetant paramedics. Liz and MAx look at each other, and when paramedics block their view, Liz acts as if it’s tragic. Also, we get this.

 Her [Liz] brain felt like it was humming, vibrating at a really low frequency. It was hard to think.

So, Max’s healing mojo makes her feel like she’s on drugs. Got it.

Liz tells the paramedics that she broke a bottle of ketchup. There’s blood under the ketchup, and a lot of it. Sorry, but I’m not buying that the ketchup would hide the blood. It’s not like they’re the same color or texture, and they smell different. Fortunately, the paramedic is an idiot, and tells her that smelling Liz is causing her to get the urge to eat french fries. She shines a light into Liz’s eyes and checks her pulse.

We get a bit of character development about Liz’s dad, who is freaking out about Liz possibly being shot. Apparently he’s so scared to lose Liz because her sister, Rosa, overdosed. He is terrified to lose Liz because she’s the only child he has left.

I’m going to chalk this up to Liz being an unreliable narrator. I don’t think her dad is worried because Liz is the only one he has left, I think he’s worried because he loves Liz.

Anyway, after only looking into her eyes and checking her pulse, not, oh, I dunno, making sure Liz doesn’t have a bullet in her anywhere, or getting out the stethoscope and listening to the actual heartbeat, the paramedic declares that Liz is fine. So the Paramedics just leave.

Mr. Ortecho gives Liz a hug “so tight her ribs hurt.” Which makes sense, but how does he not then get covered in the blood/ketchup combo? At the very least, the ketchup would cling to him and come off of her, revealing the bullet hole in Liz’s uniform.

Liz asks her dad not to tell her mother, and her dad basically laughs at her because Liz’s mother would take one look at them and know something was up.

Um, Roswell is a small town, the type where everyone knows everything about anybody. And Liz thinks they have a prayer of keeping this from her mother? And Liz’s dad thinks Liz’s mom won’t already know about it by the time they walk in the house?

I’m not buying it.

Liz is desperate to talk to Max, but he and Michael wisely pulled a disappearing act. Liz gets worried her story won’t hold up because…oh jeez, are the paramedics BLIND? How did they not see this?

The splatters of blood on the tile floor looked bright red and shiny slick –not tomato red and clumpy.

Oh my god, seriously? These paramedics need to be fired. It doesn’t take a forensic scientist to figure out that a blood stain on the floor is blood and not ketchup. Especially when you’re a paramedic and used to dealing with blood.

Liz decides she’d better mop the floor.

Now, it doesn’t surprise me that the paramedics got there before the police. I think they usually do. However, it does surprise me that the police didn’t appear on the scene shortly after the paramedics. Even in a larger city this would be the case, but this is a small town. Small town police don’t usually have anything like this to deal with, and they would be rushing to the scene, probably with way too many actual responding officers. The fact that the police here are taking their sweet ass time getting here is just not believable.

It is even less believable that they wouldn’t be pissed and suspicious that Liz tried to mop a crime scene. In fact, how has the area not already been roped off with police tape? How are they still in the restaurant?

And what happened to the two men who were fighting? Did they run away when the bullet hit Liz? Did they continue to fight? It seems like they just vanished from the story.

Before Maria can get Liz to the bathroom, sheriff Valenti shows up. The book does a better job at setting up Valenti as a villain than the movie. Even I hate him. The Valenti in the movies you could kinda sympathize with.  Here is the paragraph we get about Valenti as chief of police.

He did a locker search practically every week [at the high school]. He stopped anyone under 18 who was driving even one mile over the speed limit. He showed up at practically every party, checking to see if there was any underage drinking going on.

So, in other words, he is an asshole. But aside from that, this paints Valenti as someone who is a police officer in a small town who has nothing better to do than stop 16 year olds going 26 in a 25. (Which, btw, would get laughed out of court.) So, how the hell does he take so long to get to a real crime scene? As chief of police, he would’ve been notified right away. Tell me that his stupid locker searches were more important.

Anyway, Valenti questions Liz and her dad. Liz repeats the ketchup story, which, since she hasn’t had time to completely mop up the blood stains, shouldn’t hold. Actually, the fact that she is even mopping would trip the BS detector all cops seem to have. Even Liz admits that it’s weird.

Valenti asks questions in a calm voice, but Liz still feels intimidated. Liz wonders why. This takes a whole paragraph.

If she had to pick one word to describe Sheriff Valenti, it would be deliberate. She got the feeling that his every word and gesture were calculated. And if he was so careful about what he did and said, he must scrutinize every detail about other people.

Well, that last one is kind of what people are taught in police school. It might not actually be something Valenti was born with. In any case, we are supposed to believe that someone described as such wouldn’t call out her bullshit ketchup story right then and there?

The two describe in detail what the 2 men looked like. I can’t believe Valenti is taking the descriptions from Liz and Maria at the same time. I would think he would question them separately, to make sure their stories of the incident and the descriptions of the men matched up. Boy, if even I can figure this out, Valenti must be a dumb cop. How’d he get elected sheriff, again?

Valenti then asks where the bullet hole is. It almost feels like he shouldn’t be asking, like this should be done by a team of forensic scientists. Well, maybe he would ask the question, but the area should still be swarming with cops looking for a bullet hole based on Liz’s report of the incident.

Valenti doesn’t see a bullet hole in the wall. Liz says that maybe she just imagined the gun went off because she was so stressed. Valenti says that can happen, however, her father heard the gunshot too, so it definitely went off.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Liz said. “Do you mind if I go clean up? This ketchup is really sticky.”

I have no idea if this would really be allowed or not, but Valenti lets her go. Maria takes Liz to the bathroom. We get very clunky writing about how Liz thinks better with her hair out of her face. Which isn’t a bad characterization in and of itself, but it’s done so clunkily (is that even a word? It is now) that it’s…. ergh.

Maria knows right off the bat that Liz was lying to the sheriff, and I like this part. In the TV series it takes like, 2 episodes for Liz to open up to Maria, and that didn’t make any narrative sense. So I like the fact that Maria finds out right away, because she’d have to be an idiot not to.

Liz explains, and Maria believes it, because it makes more sense than the dumb ketchup story.

The smell of ketchup mixed with dying blood wafted up from Liz’s uniform. She felt a wave of nausea…

Hang on, the paramedic was up close to her, and she didn’t smell the blood? All she smelled was ketchup? This is getting more unbelievable by the second.

There’s a hole in Liz’s uniform where the bullet went through. Liz gets weirded out by the fact a bullet was in her body. I don’t blame her. Then Maria notices that the Liz has a silvery handprint on her stomach that’s glowing.

The perspective switches to Isabelle, who is really upset. You can tell because she’s organizing her makeup drawer, which always calms her down. Apparently the three can feel whenever one of their number uses their powers, which is another way the books differ from the TV series.

And they never use their powers, not even for fun. It’s a rule. In the TV series they used their powers all the time, out in public. I like the strict secrecy better, because it’s more likely to lead to their survival, but this part just rubs me the wrong way.

Max and Michael never used their powers for kicks. And whenever Isabelle did –which was a lot, because using her powers was fun–they both always chewed her out.

I don’t blame Isabelle. I’d at least like to be able to use my powers in private where no one could see me or something. Basically, Max can put all 3 of them in danger by using a huge power in public, but Isabelle can’t even levitate a book from across a room with the door closed and the window curtains shut?

Isabelle is bordering towards hysterical, because someone used a lot of power, like healing or dream walking. She’s not just hysterical because of the power use, but because she feals their emotions, and right now, she feels their terror.

The author goes on to do a bit of world building. Isabelle can feel the others’ feelings, but not read their minds. However, she just tunes them out most of the time, especially when Max is lusting over Liz. (My words, not hers.)

But trying to ignore their terror would be like trying to ignore a volcano.

Finally, Max and Michael come home, and Isabelle is ready to murder them. After going inside and being reassured that their parents aren’t home, Max tells Isabelle what happens, but not without Isabelle having to pry it out of him, which scares her because normally Max loves to take charge and boss Isabelle and Michael.

Finally, Michael puts it this way.

The saint used his powers to heal a gunshot wound –and he did it in front of witnesses.

Isabelle, rightly so, is furious. There’s a few paragraphs about how Isabelle is religious in her avoidance of Valenti (smart girl).

Isabelle then asks if anyone got a good look at Max, and Michael points out that it’s such a small town, witnesses will also be able to give names and addresses.

Isabelle rightfully assumes Valenti now knows about Max and Isabelle. Because if this investigation was happening in an even semi competent universe, he would know, not in 2 seconds, but at least in 2 days he’d know something was up.

Michael thinks they should flee, and frankly, I’m with him.

Then Max takes charge, and says Liz lied to the paramedics, so it’s totally cool, because the EMS and Police are totally incompetent in this universe. The Roswellverse.

Isabelle argues with Max, and she’s in the right.

Michael cuts off the argument by asking what he plans to tell Liz. When Max reveals he’s going to tell Liz the truth, the other 2 freak out. And I agree, if you want to reveal yourself to a girlfriend, wait till your adults and have an actual realistic chance of making it in the real world as a married couple.

Isabelle sees there’s no way to change Max’s mind, which is totally unfair, because Max is making a decision that impacts all of them. He shouldn’t get to do that without a vote, at least. She points out that Max barely knows Maria and Liz, and it’s not like they live in Disney land where everything is perfect.

Michael and Isabelle should take off in the jeep and leave Max behind to get himself killed over his girlfriend.

“You’re the one who made the rule, Max. You made us all swear we would never, tell anyone, remember?” Michael asked.

(Comma placement is hers, not mine, and it looks weird.)

So, basically, Michael gets to make the rules, but they don’t really apply to him. Right.

A car pulls up to the driveway. Who is it? Is it Sheriff Valenti, come to cart them off to a facility? Is it their parents home early from the office? We will find out in the next chapter.

In Which I write About A book

Sigh. Why does wordpress like to eat my posts? No, really, this always happens. I had a LONG post about this and now it’s gone. Swearing would follow if I had promised that this post wouldn’t be positive. I guess it’s my fault for not periodically saving it, but I still feel it’s wordpress’s fault, and wish to start throwing things.

So, as always, I’ve been reading. If I don’t manage to get a job, I will be doing a lot MORE reading. (seriously, pray that I get a job.) Most recently I just finished a book called Pollyanna Grows Up.

For those of you who might not be aware of the book Pollyanna, and have never seen the movie, here is a brief plot summary from wikipedia:

The title character is named Pollyanna Whittier, a young orphan who goes to live in Beldingsville, Vermont, with her wealthy but stern Aunt Polly. Pollyanna’s philosophy of life centers on what she calls “The Glad Game”, an optimistic attitude she learned from her father. The game consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation. It originated in an incident one Christmas when Pollyanna, who was hoping for a doll in the missionary barrel, found only a pair of crutches inside. Making the game up on the spot, Pollyanna’s father taught her to look at the good side of things—in this case, to be glad about the crutches because “we didn’t need to use them!”

With this philosophy, and her own sunny personality and sincere, sympathetic soul, Pollyanna brings so much gladness to her aunt’s dispirited New England town that she transforms it into a pleasant place to live. The Glad Game shields her from her aunt’s stern attitude: when Aunt Polly puts her in a stuffy attic room without carpets or pictures, she exults at the beautiful view from the high window; when she tries to “punish” her niece for being late to dinner by sentencing her to a meal of bread and milk in the kitchen with the servant Nancy, Pollyanna thanks her rapturously because she likes bread and milk, and she likes Nancy.

Soon, Pollyanna teaches some of Beldingsville’s most troubled inhabitants to “play the game” as well, from a querulous invalid named Mrs. Snow to a miserly bachelor, Mr. Pendleton, who lives all alone in a cluttered mansion. Aunt Polly, too—finding herself helpless before Pollyanna’s buoyant refusal to be downcast—gradually begins to thaw, although she resists the glad game longer than anyone else.

Eventually, however, even Pollyanna’s robust optimism is put to the test when she is hit by a car and loses the use of her legs. (In the movie adaptation, she falls off a tree after sneaking out of the house). At first she doesn’t realize the seriousness of her situation, but her spirits plummet when she was told what happend to her. After that, she lies in bed, unable to find anything to be glad about. Then the townspeople begin calling at Aunt Polly’s house, eager to let Pollyanna know how much her encouragement has improved their lives; and Pollyanna decides she can still be glad that she at least has her legs. The novel ends with Aunt Polly marrying her former lover Dr. Chilton and Pollyanna being sent to a hospital where she learns to walk again and is able to appreciate the use of her legs far more as a result of being temporarily disabled.

Sigh. Even Wikipedia is decidedly in favor of Pollyanna’s ways. Let me tell you something: This girl has no tact or manners at all. I think the plot summary also edited out Jimmy Bean. See, Pollyanna loves adopting stray cats. Aunt Polly doesn’t like this but puts up with it because…. I don’t know. Anyway, one day, instead of a stray cat, Pollyanna brings home a stray child. In the book, Aunt Polly is portrayed as mean and nasty for not immediately taking Jimmy under her wing. I personally don’t think Aunt Polly is overreacting –having a child is a huge responsibility, and I believe it is every woman’s right to decide that she doesn’t want that.

So, apart from not liking how Aunt Polly was portrayed, Pollyanna’s lack of tact and manners, and the infantilization of women on the part of the author (even though Pollyanna is supposed to be 10-13 as the book progresses, she comes off as 8-10 throughout.) I enjoyed the book.

Pollyanna Grows Up is the book I actually just finished reading. I only included the above paragraph for backstory so you’d all know what in hades I was talking about. When I first read the title, I was doubtful about the “Grows Up” part. You see, it was common at the time this novel was written (1915) to portray women and girls as much younger than they really were. I don’t blame the author, therefore, for doing this. I blame society at large and patriarchy. And you know what, yes. Yes I do blame the author for this, even though she was influenced by society. Because books like this that portray the stereotype? They encourage the stereotype. But I suppose that is another rant.

What bothered me most about Pollyanna is that she had no manners or tact. I’m sure you all know people like this. You know what I’m talking about, those people who are all roses and cupcakes and sunshine and daisies –even when the situation doesn’t call for it.

I am not trying to condemn positive thinking here. That’s not what I’m doing at all, don’t misunderstand me.

However, there are times when a situation calls for it, and when it doesn’t. This world is sinful and ugly. Bad things happen. It’s unavoidable. And, here’s what to some people is a new revelation: it’s OK to be sad! When something bad happens to you or someone else, it’s ok to be sad about it. In fact, I’d say it’s a GOOD thing to be sad about such things. When Lazarus died, Jesus wept. And this even knowing that Lazarus would be ok in a moment. When Mary and Martha went to Jesus for comfort, Jesus wept. He did not plaster a smile on his face and joyfully exclaim, “oh, but we should be GLAD about it! Because Lazarus’s suffering is over now and the next thing he’ll see is my face when I come again!” (This, by the way, is similar to something Pollyanna actually said.)

Jesus Wept.

People, when they are sad, do not want someone to come up to them and be all happy happy joy joy. It is not merely because, “oh, misery just loves company and they want me to be miserable because they are.” Er, sorry, no. Maybe there are SOME people in the world like this, but, I think they’re a minority. No, the proper way to respond to someone who’s going through a hard time is to be sympathetic. Empathetic, if you can manage it. I’m still working on how to do this, but there are some people who don’t even try.

Especially do I hate those people who insist that I not focus on the negative but rather the positive. I get what they’re trying to do, really, these people may be sincere, but they come across as hard hearted jerks. To put it mildly. Wanna know what these people are really saying? They’re saying that my only value is in my ability to put a smile on my face even if the world is crashing around my shoulders. Even if that’s not the intention, that is what they are implying.

People get sad. And that’s ok. If you take away nothing else from this blog entry, learn that.

So, I was truly surprised to find out that Pollyanna does actually grow up. Mentally. But we’ll get to that.

It is actually quite common (or was at one point, anyway) in children’s literature to have a happy, spunky, talkative orphan (or child) move into a home where the parent is mean/gloomy/strict/whatever. Anne of Green Gables springs to mind, along with Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. In the first book, Pollyanna moves in with “gloomy” aunt Polly. The second book starts out no different than the first. Except that this time, Pollyanna is toted as “the best medicine!eleventy!” Basically Mrs. Carew’s sister, Della, thinks that Mrs. Carew needs some cheering up, and arranges for Pollyanna to stay with her and go to school while Aunt Polly and Uncle Doctor whats-his-name flitter off to Germany. (It’s unclear why they couldn’t just take her with them, as that’s a GREAT opportunity for a child… maybe it was just something so understood back in 1915 that it didn’t bear mentioning.) The started purpose of this is so Pollyanna can go to school.

And that’s another thing that stood out to me in these novels: Even though we’re told Pollyanna goes to school, we never actually see her do it. We never really see her make friends with anyone her own age except Jimmy Bean. Pollyanna is supposed to be a character who loves people. Why, then, do we never see her running around with Children her own age? For the most part, that trend continues into the second book, except for when she meets Jamie, but that doesn’t count because it’s only for a plot device.

Anyway, Mrs. Carew is deeply depressed because her Nephew, Jamie, has been missing for years and she can’t find them. This is a legitimate reason to be depressed. The loss of a child, in any circumstances, is horrific, and does bad things to the child’s parents/guardians. I don’t blame Mrs. Carew for being depressed.

As I read that, I thought, hmm. I wonder if Mrs. Carew’s long lost Jamie is the same person as Jimmy Bean in the last novel? It turned out I’d have to plow through 1,000 pages and ten years (there’s a ten year time skip in the middle of the book) to find out.

Seriously, When I (and 99% of readers, probably) can figure out how the book is going to end in the first chapter, that’s BAD. Even for 1915 it’s bad, I think. And in the 1800s and 1900s, plotlines are always predictable.

So Pollyanna moves in with Mrs. Carew, and we get a repeat of the first few chapters of the first book with Pollyanna being rude and having no tact, all in the name of positive thinking.

Pollyanna meets a boy named Jamie in the park. Jamie is in a wheelchair, and plays the glad game too, only he doesn’t call it that. (Jamie is poor, and yet he shares his food with the squirrels…. which to me was the biggest wtf about the whole book. If you and your loved ones are starving, you DON’T feed the squirrels!) This is really the second time in 2 books where we see her interacting with someone her own age.

Therefore, you know she’s going to marry him. Though I do have to give Ms. Porter credit for having her marry the OTHER Jimmy, because I wasn’t really expecting that one. And, in 1915, in a coming of age novel, you KNOW the girls’ going to be married by the end of it.

Pollyanna then decides that this Jamie is THE Jamie, and rushes off to get Mrs. Carew. Mrs. C isn’t quite convinced, but, 5 chapters later, decides to take him in anyway.

Aunt Polly and uncle doctor whats-his-name flitter off to Germany again, this time taking Pollyanna with them.

Insert ten year time gap.

And… I’m surprised. At the end oft his ten year time gap, Pollyanna actually behaves… how old is she supposed to be now? 23? I’m not sure. The book states she’s either in her 20s or close to it. And she actually behaves like she’s in her 20s. She still plays the glad game, but a much more toned down version thereof. She has tact, manners, and, according to Jimmy, beauty.

But, even though Pollyanna tries to keep happy, aunt Polly doesn’t bother. You see, they returned to America basically because Dr. Chilton, aunt Polly’s husband, died. And the narrative has the nerve to show that Pollyanna is stressed at having to deal with Aunt Polly’s gloom. Um, yes, her husband just died. I might be aromantic and totally don’t understand romance at all, but I do know that when one’s life partner dies, It’s A Big Deal. Some form of depression is natural. Aunt Polly’s In Mourning. (I’m not sure how big a deal that was in America in 1915, but in some time and places, being officially In Mourning was a trial in and of itself completely aside from the death of the actual person. In fact, if I ever had to go into Mourning, I would mourn about having to be in mourning. So I’m not sure if aunt Polly is just mourning, or In Mourning. KWIM?)

It’s ok to be sad if your husband dies, folks. Being depressed afterwards? Is normal.

At least Pollyanna now has enough tact to realize that. But Pollyanna dos not have tact about the financial situation.

See, in addition to losing her husband, Aunt Polly has lost her money. Almost all of it. And I don’t get why Pollyanna is so flippant about this. She grew up dirt poor. She should therefore have more sense than to react like… well, like a Pollyanna.*

Aunt Polly is not just depressed about losing her husband, she is depressed because she has lost her money and doesn’t know how she will live.

I get this part. I sympathize 100% with Aunt Polly. Even though I was never as rich as Aunt Polly, my family was pretty well off during the 90s. Things didn’t really start going downhill until Bin Dumbo (or the government, whichever you believe responsible) knocked down the towers. The Great Recession (which is still ongoing, btw, in case you weren’t aware) didn’t help either.

When I was a kid, I could have things not many girls my age could. I had an American Girl doll (I was the only one in my entire SDA elementary school) I had a laptop (in the 90s, little girls didn’t have those. I only know one other person who did. Most of you are too young to remember those days, I think, but they did exist and very recently.) I used to have my dad telling me not to worry about keeping things, because we were so rich, we could just go out and buy more.

And then there’s now. Now, everything I have is falling apart, and I can’t afford to replace it. Heck, even my DAD can’t afford to buy me a new laptop. That floored me. Things must be a bit worse than he’s letting on, because there has ALWAYS been money for computers. Poor social skills plus bad economy does not lend itself to me getting a job.

As bad as things are for me, though, my family still has income. My dad might not be able to provide me with a new desperately needed laptop, but if something bad happened, I could always go to him for money for things like food, medication, and necessities. Aunt Polly does not even have this. She has no income. Pollyanna is too busy being glad to worry about money, Aunt Polly is too busy worrying about how to get money to eat and pay for the house to be glad. Really, I think the narrative is a little hard on Aunt Polly.

Mrs. Carew and Jamie come to visit. Good time is had by all, until Jimmy thinks that Jamie is in love with Pollyanna. Jimmy leaves Beldingsville to give Jamie a chance (because Jamie is a cripple) I’m going to fast forward through the awkward romance of about 3 couples (no joke) and just say what i thought would happen at the beginning of the novel:

Jimmy discovers he is really Jamie, and marries Pollyanna.

Mr. Pendleton, Jimmy’s adoptive father, marries Mrs. Carew.

Jamie falls in love with and marries other random girl Pollyanna helped out before the ten year time gap.

The end. That’s how it ends.

I think the book could’ve ended better if all this had happened sooner, with the exception of Pollyanna and Jamie and Jimmy marrying. That way, Mr. Pendleton and Mrs. Carew could’ve married while Jimmy and Jamie were still children, and Mrs. Carew wouldn’t have had to have spend 10+ agonizing years wondering if HER Jamie was ok. Even with a replacement Jamie, a mother always wonders. Jimmy and Jamie could’ve grown up as brothers. The time gap could come here instead, and THEN Jimmy could marry Pollyanna.

I think the book was ok. It annoyed me in parts, but it never made me want to throw the ipod against a wall (which is more than I can say for Elsie Dinsmore Dimwit.) So… I guess it was a goodbook, or at least an ok one. I’d give it about 3 stars and recommend it to anyone who likes 1800s/1900s children’s literature.

Boy this post was long. Next time I think we’ll tackle it chapter by chapter. not this book, another book I’m reading.

And that, folks, is this week’s positive post. And it might be the last one in a while because, as noted else where, The Depression is back, and it’s Not Going Away. Woohoo! Yippee! I missed it so much! /sarcasm.

Stay tuned. I promise it’s not all going to be thunderstorms, thorns, and lightening strikes. But, neither are there going to be a while lot of kittens, rainbows, and cupcakes.

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*These novels are so popular that, when someone is being stupidly positive, sometimes they are said to be “acting like a Pollyanna.”

In Which I Read –A Lot

So, now that I’m done with canvassing… there’s not really a whole lot to talk about. I’m not really doing much except reading. Actually, right now I’m procrastinating: I should be packing, and I am so sick of reading. Don’t know if I want to mention why here. But anyway. I actually wanted someone to talk to, but in the chat room I frequent, they are all talking about sex.

Sigh. I don’t get it. What is so great about sex anyway?

Moving on.

This post will probably bore you all to tears. I’d apologize, but it’s my blog.

So, here’s the list of books I’ve either read or finished since James dropped me off on the 10th. (I wonder if he’s opened his present yet? It’s driving me nuts, but, he probably just rolled his eyes and chucked it in the garbage…)

1. The Judas Virus by David Best

Science fiction novel. It’s supposed to be about an epidemic, but only about 5 people get infected, so I don’t think that’s very… epidemical? Whatever. It does get exciting, but it’s just not about the topic I thought it would be about. The sexual assault scene may be triggering to some, though it is honestly the least detailed assault scene I’ve ever read. Started and finished after canvassing.

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Great book at first, gets boring when you can tell that the only thing the author is still writing for is so that all the girls can get married, except for Beth, whom the author kills off. Sigh.

3. Forgotten by Melody Carlson

I can see why this one is free on iBooks. It has been “forgotten” by the target audience. It is not one of her best works. Started and finished after canvassing.

4. The Bible Story Volume 1 by Arthur S Maxwell

Good, but I take issue with some of the stuff. This man needs to read a) Spirit of Prophecy and b) secrets of the lost races. Actually, every single person reading this blog needs to go read the latter. Because of this, I’d hesitate to get it for my future children, though5 I’ll likely inherit my mom’s anyway, so what’s it matter.

5.Christ’s Object Lessons by Ellen White

When she stays on topic, REALLY GOOD. But she tends to go off on tangents that have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic she’s theoretically writing about… I still think everyone reading this should immediately obtain a copy and read it, though.  When she does stay on topic, it is amazing what one learns. (One can learn stuff from the off topic parts too, it’s just, they’re off topic.)

6. The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D.

A fascinating book that all females should read. Which is probably why Kali gave it to Jacq. Who still hasn’t read it yet, because I have been. It is from a secular view point, so evolution is sometimes mentioned, however, if one can ignore those parts, it is still a fascinating book based firmly on science, which isn’t normally something you get out of religious “This is the way the famale brain is” books. Those books have SOME science, this has MORE science. Anyway, it’s a really good read, especially if you’re in a relationship, having or about to have a baby, or going through puberty or menopause.

7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I was babysitting a small child, give me a break. Heh. After a while I changed it to “the very hungry babysitter.” It made him giggle. (NO I did NOT write the story in such a way that the very hungry babysitter ate the whinychild who didn’t want to let her eat lunch, no! What kind of a horrible person do you think I am? GET THAT IMAGE OF ME OUT OF YOUR HEAD.)

8. The Real Mother Goose Board Book published by Scholastic

He’s only a year old, ok, don’t judge.

9. The Great Controversy by Ellen G White

This book too me so many years to read. I tried to read it when I was 12, 14, and other times I can’t remember, but was hindered by the outdated langauge, plus, it gets boring, and I mean REALLY BORING in the middle. I actually started calling it The Awfully Boring Controversy. But, if you can get past the middle (the beginning is interesting) and get to the last 4 chapters, it’s really, really good. I still recommend it.

That’s only 9 books? Sheesh, I better get busy. I want to finish about… 10 more or so of them before I start school and won’t be able to.

Do you guys ever get seriously depressed because there are so many good books to read but you know you’ll never be able to get to them, and then you want to sit there and cry right in the middle of the library/bookstore/person’s bookcase?

I still could use somebody to talk to… but at least the people in the chat room have moved on from sex to shark attacks. This, at least, is a topic I can live with. And I do have an affection for sharks. Poor little midusnderstood fishies!

If you all made it through that, I will make you cookies.

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