Well, call me a glutton for punishment, because I hunted down the series’ very first novel, and read it.
And now I’m hooked.
Dammit! I knew this would happen. I was scared this would happen. Because there’s like 14 books in the series and I MUST READ THEM ALL. But I’m also really particular – a little OCD in fact – so I MUST READ THEM ALL IN ORDER. Needless to say, I have the second novel You Know You Love Me on hold at my local public library. (I just thought of this now – why do they call it a PUBLIC library. Are there private libraries?) I’m so anal, that even when I went to said public library, I saw some of the other novels in the series – all which are song titles, by the way – but I left them on the shelf as they were.
Except for what looks to be the latest novel (only because I consider it a Super Edition, like with Sweet Valley High):
Here’s another version of the novel’s cover (specifically, the TV tie-in):
(HATE IT. Leighton Meester is very pretty, but this particular picture is so not flattering and everything else about this cover is wrong, from the choice of font to the placement of the words to the colour scheme. I definitely prefer the first.) Oh wait – I think this is the “international” version. Never mind!
AND to make matters worse, there’s a spin-off series featuring the amply-bosomed Jenny Humphrey (who, by the way, is a curly-haired brunette in the books):
A few Saturday nights ago, my mother and I went to a party. It was a milestone birthday for our family friend, which took place in a banquet hall. Our friend is very religious, so there was lots of preaching, praying, and even a couple of live gospel singers. Also: no alcohol or secular music. Unlike the party in the room next to ours, where a company Christmas party was in full swing. Both parties occupied one big room split into two smaller rooms with one of those accordion dividers that fold into the wall – and made for poor soundproofing. So when the guest of honour stepped up to the podium to make a speech, its religious content was interspersed with words such as “pussywagon”, “shittin'” and “the chicks’ll cream” courtesy of the Grease Megamix.
But that wasn’t the funniest part of the evening.
That happened when one of the hedonists mistook our wholesome party for the one happening next to us. He stumbled in, then stood on the dance floor right next to the table where my mother and I sat with the rest of our tablemates. He staggered on his feet, smiling as though he knew us; then, slowly, his expression changed as he realized his mistake. And promptly stumbled the hell out from where he came, leaving us to our non-alcoholic wine. Which, by the way, I enjoyed so much that I was NOT tempted to follow the drunk, crash the party, and abuse the (hopefully open) bar. Because God lead me away from it. Geddit? “Lead us not into…”
Yeah, I’ll shut up.
Okay, more like fucking cousins.
They won’t let a minor issue like blood relations stop them from hookin’ up for twelve plus years. Or that his father and her grandmother have been estranged siblings for years.
Sure, the pairing is creepy as hell, but given Milkman’s history:
- his mother’s HUGE Electra complex (aka lying in bed butt nekkid next to her father’s corpse, her mouth full of his fingers)
- being breastfed by this same woman until the age of six – which explains the nickname that follows him into this 40s
this is pretty tame.
But after a while Milk tires of cousin-fucking. After a while he’s just doing it because Hagar’s just there. She’s now become the “third beer.”
…not the first one, which the throat receives with almost tearful gratitude; nor the second, that confirms and extends the pleasure of the first. But the third, the one you drink because it’s there, it can’t hurt, and because what difference does it make?
But when he decides incest is not best, well, to say Hagar handles this rejection well is an understatement.
It’s utterly heartbreaking.
Hagar is driven into a deep depression, refusing to speak at all, until in an attempt to cheer her up, her grandmother gives her a compact mirror as a gift. But instead, upon seeing her reflection, Hagar thinks that she lost Milk because she let herself go, and ventures on a makeover spree in an attempt to get him back. She begins with new clothes, but runs into a roadblock when trying on a dress, which enhances her sense of desperation. “She was convinced that her whole life depended on whether or not those aluminum teeth would meet.” Then, after clothing: “…all she needed was makeup”. She senses salvation in the cosmetic department.
Peachy powders and milky lotions were grouped in front of poster after cardboard poster of gorgeous grinning faces. Faces in ecstasy. Faces somber with achieved seduction. Hagar believed she could spend her life there among the cut glass, shimmering in peaches and cream, in satin. In opulence. In luxe. In love.
Next she ventures into Lilly’s Beauty Parlor. “I have to get my hair done. I have to hurry.” But since she’s made no appointment, she has to wait a while. So armed with the two shopping bags filled with the things she believes will get her man back, she roams the streets, her thoughts full of him.
Which then leads to the saddest scene I’ve ever read.
The premise: heroine’s hubby comes home, blurts out that he’s leaving her for another woman, then packs his shit and leaves…before she has the chance to tell him she’s just won the fifty million dollar jackpot.
Sounds interesting, right?
The school day had ended. It was particularly cold – below zero, at least – and the front lawn on which we were standing was covered in snow. Not enough for a “snow day”, but just enough to make the buses that we were waiting for late.
If I can recall correctly, there were three or four separate lines, dependent on the district or neighborhood in which we lived. My sister and I were lucky enough to be in the one whose bus was the last to show up.
We waited. And waited. And waited.
I was prone to frostbite, more than any other kid I knew, for some reason. My fingers were REALLY starting to hurt. And it seemed like the bus was never going to come.So my sister and I decided we would go to the principal’s office to call our parents so they could pick us up. But when we mentioned our intentions to the teacher who was supervising our line, she refused. With a sharp angry “No!” as though we’d asked to play in traffic.
By then I think I was crying because the frostbite hurt so badly. My sister said as much to the supervisor, making note of my distress, but still, she refused to let us call our parents. The refusal was bad enough, but she was also so indignant and angry about it. You would think anyone in the care of children would be looking out for their best interests, not trying to use their place as a means to wield some sort of perverse power over elementary school students.
Forgive me; that statement comes from a bitter place, because to this day I don’t know why she was so insistent on not letting us call our parents. But how else could I explain her behaviour? In my opinion, it’s either what I just mentioned or she was a flat-out sociopath. (Or it could have been something that starts with an “r”, ends with an “ism” and has “ac” in the middle?)
Guess I’ll never know.
Anyway, I can’t remember if the bus finally came, or my parents, seeing that my sister and I had yet to come home, picked us up. But I do remember screaming and crying because my hands were fully frostbitten; that it was a long, painful while before they warmed up.
Then the next day, my dad went down to the school and cussed the bitch out. She nearly pissed her pants and apologized profusely. (I actually found this out not too long ago, so I didn’t realize he had done so at the time. Unless I had and just forgot.)
Every time I think of this incident, it never fails to boggle my mind, but I don’t spend too much time trying to understand the motivations of people like that supervisor. Instead I focus my energy on appreciating people such as the transit driver from yesterday who stopped for my fellow passengers and I as we stood freezing in snow, ice and a subzero windchill, even though his bus was not in service.
Now people like that, I can get on board with.
Nic sweeps the gloss onto her hand, a shimmery blackberry stain. Perfect. Then she glances at the price tag: $25.
Sighing, she’s about to put it back, then stops and looks: the aisle’s empty. She discreetly slips the tube into her denim pocket.
“Hey, mom!” yells her four-year-old son. “You gonna pay for that?!”