Quote #15

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” — C.S. Lewis

Paige’s Pages: A Literary Work #5

Milk

I wasn’t really out buying milk.

            There were still two full jugs behind that little plastic door. You asked where I was going and I didn’t know how to explain it to you. I know you heard us. You always heard us. Daddy can yell pretty loud sometimes, huh? Sometimes parents do things that make each other upset. But it’s not your fault, okay? It was never your fault.

            So, anyway, Mommy just needed to take a little drive. Just like when I used to make you sit on that chair after you threw a fit. It’s for thinking about what you did wrong, remember? Sometimes adults need to think too. So Mommy needed to go think about some things and I told you I was going to get milk because I didn’t want to explain. I needed to calm down before I threw a fit too.

            And before I left, do you remember what you asked me? You wanted to ride that new bike you got for your birthday. You asked us all year for it. The red one with the gold lightning bolt on the tires. You wanted to go fast. And the morning of your birthday, you ran into our room and jumped on our bed in the space between us where you used to sleep at night. We just pretended we forgot it was your birthday. We bought the bike months ago.

            But when you asked me before I left if you could ride your bike that day I said yes without thinking because I needed to get away. And I was already gone before I realized Daddy didn’t know I’d left. I didn’t worry though because I knew he’d figure it out. He tells me he fell asleep. I don’t know if he’s lying. I wish you could tell me.

            You must have gone fast. It’s a steep hill and that corner comes so quickly when you’re six and feel the wind in your hair and you forget that sometimes the breaks stick. But it’s not you, honey. Of course not. That tree is so big. That one in Beth’s yard that you think looks like a Christmas tree. The branches are just so thick. He couldn’t see you. How couldn’t he have seen you?

            When I got back, they wouldn’t let me in. I could see the Christmas tree and that yellow tape you always thought was so pretty and I never had the heart to tell you what it meant. I got out of the car and asked the police officer what happened, and I hit him. Hit him like I told you to never hit anyone until he let me through. And then I saw you. And then I saw Daddy bent over in the grass. And then I saw the car. There was nothing on it. You didn’t even leave a scratch.

            I didn’t leave your room for a few days. I slept in your bed. Well – I didn’t sleep much. Just stared up at the soft little white clouds we painted on your ceiling for you when you were just a tiny baby in our arms. I wouldn’t let go of that rabbit you’d never let me wash. I hope you don’t mind. Daddy broke that model airplane you built together. He broke a lot of things. He spent hours trying to glue it back together though. I tried telling him it wouldn’t fix things.

            I know you probably wish you could have worn your brown cowboy t-shirt, that one that you got at Disneyworld, the one Woody gave you. But we picked your gray suit you hated because you always looked so cute in it even when we couldn’t get your hair to stick straight. We wanted you to look your best when you got there. Maybe we should have just let you wear the t-shirt.

            I hope you went fast. I hope you didn’t feel anything. Just remember how it felt, baby. How it felt to be free. I don’t know if I can ever feel like that again. Not after this. Not after feeling your warm, delicate skin against my chest for six years and getting left with this cold thousand dollar slab of marble that just doesn’t seem like enough because I know there will never be a price high enough for what I did to you.

Quote #8

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” — Sylvia Plath

Book Review: Me and Mr. Darcy

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that, when writing a book review, it is imperative that one does not give away important plot points.

But when the plot of the reviewed novel is a play on the exact same plot of a far more famous and thoroughly studied novel, how could you not?

And like what would have been perhaps a more stimulating review had it not been forced to focus so much on basic storyline, Alexandra Potter’s Me and Mr. Darcy also suffers from an overindulgence in plot.

Just not it’s own plot.

Aimed at Jane Austen fans, this novel tells the tale of one Pride and Prejudice fanatic who travels to England for an Austen-themed tour and ends up having a romance of her own — exactly like the one in Pride and Prejudice. There’s pride, prejudice, and a whole lot of misunderstandings. As main character Emily Albright is swept off into her own fantasy world by Mr. Darcy (literally, he appears out of the book), she is annoyingly ignorant of the fact that Pride and Prejudice is playing out, word for word, in her very own life: She meets a seemingly rude man who insults her behind her back. She loathes him for a while as he attempts to be friendlier with her. There’s a misunderstanding about a man who seemed nice but really isn’t, and the rude man proclaims his love for the girl all so that she can yell at him and then decide she loves him later.

And as a huge P&P fan she couldn’t notice these similarities before the end of the book?

Anyone who’s even remotely familiar with this plot will find Me and Mr. Darcy a tad too predictable. Yet the similarities don’t end there. After a while, the characters even spout the exact same lines from the novel. Really? I knew just by looking at the cover that this was going to be a typical Pride and Prejudice spin-off/parody/homage/fangirl story, so I suppose a little similarity is necessary, but I think the author took it a little too far.

However, this book is not without its redeeming qualities. For instance, it was a very light and enjoyable summer read. I was able to move through the pages quickly once I was able to get into it. A few of the characters were fun, though I would have liked to have seen a little more development, and the dialogue, although at times unbelievable, was current.

But it was during the times in which the dialogue was not so believable that I really cringed. Not only was the speech teetering awkwardly between exaggeratingly-current to I’m-pretty-sure-no-one-talks-like-that-anymore, but it was also mainly coupled with our star character Emily Albright. She too stood oddly between two ends of the spectrum. Initially, we are told that Emily is a bit of a nerd. She works in a bookstore, would rather pack books in her suitcase than clothes, would prefer doing anything other than partying in Mexico with her polar-opposite best friend, and is a hopeless romantic. Yet further along in the book, we soon are met with Emily smoking a joint, thinking about her partying college lifestyle, and, for some unnecessary reason, deciding she now likes fashion more than books. A little unbelievable? I’d say yes.

And while perhaps all this unbelievability stems from a British author trying and failing to write from an American perspective, she does wrap it all up with a nice moral: Ladies, lower your standards a little bit. Your fantasies are lovely and all, but you know what’s great about non-fictional guys? They’re real.

So just like Emily fell in love with Mr. Darcy for all the wrong reasons, I think that readers have fallen in love with Pride and Prejudice for all the wrong reasons as well. Yes, the love story was in there, but Austen’s book said so much more about society, people’s character, and their views at that point in time. I think such updates of the original novel mask what was truly good and important about it in the first place, and I’d be more interested in another adaptation than a plot-twister (kind of?) like this book any day.

Quote #7

“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages, a sick sense of failure falls on me, and I know I can never do it. Then gradually, I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate.” — John Steinbeck

Quote #5

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” — Chuck Palahniuk

Quote #4

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx