Down With OPB: Why “Nervous” Makes Me Nervous Part 3 1/2: Three’s CompanyPosted: June 4, 2012 | |
This was supposed to be a part of my last post about this book, but
I rambled it went on for so long that I decided to make it a post on its own. Hence the “3 1/2”. Not very clever, at least not as clever as The Naked Gun 33 1/3. God I loved those movies.
What was I saying?
So far, I’ve been drinking a big glass of haterade in regards to Zane’s novel, Nervous, intending to refute several claims on the Internet that she is a “talented writer”. So far I’ve covered how the implausibility of the sex scenes (yes, even for
porn erotic fiction) and poorly plotted romance defy such a theory, as well as the multitude of contrivances throughout the novel. As I explained above, this post is a continuation of the most recent one. It involves Multiple Personality Disorder victim – and our dear protagonist – Jonquinette Pierce. As far as she knows, she has only one other persona, the very promiscuous Jude. But she was wrong.
(Explicit content from here on in. Reader discretion advised.)
Convenient Third Personality
Jonny and her parents are barely into their session with Dr. Marcella (who, by the way, is the one narrating this chapter instead of Jonny) when Jude comes out, thanks to Henry referring to her as a “wench”. He’s rewarded with a slap across the face. “‘I’ve had just about enough of you calling me a wench, you motherfucking bastard!'” So have I. First: while I can understand Henry’s frustration and anger, he has to remember that he’s essentially calling his own daughter a wench. Simmer down, bro, she’s sick. Second: really, wench? What century are you from, anyway?
As Henry and Meredith look on in shock, Jude unleashes on her doctor first, telling her that Marcella will never make her go away. Then she unleashes on her mother, calling her out for being selfish and putting her own needs above Jonquinette’s. Meredith retaliates, insisting that she loves Jonny and calls Jude “sick.” Jude’s response?
‘I’m not sick, you bitch!’ Jude sat down in the middle of the coffee table with her legs spread open facing [her parents]. She lifted her skirt and started fingering herself. ‘Does this make you sick, bitch? I decided to be a whore just like you. The only difference is your golddiggng ass has been fucking men for what they can give you all these years and I fuck them for the hell of it.’
Of course, no man wants to sit around and watch his own daughter masturbate while talking about all the men she’s slept with, so Henry tries leaving, but Jude taunts him: “‘You can’t handle it so you’re going to cut and run out on us like you did all those years ago?'” Henry points out to Jude that he left only because she hired that hooker, which is true, except he does so in a very uncharacteristic way. And uses the ‘W’ word again. “‘This is all your fucking fault, wench!'” What’s up with Henry’s sudden burst of profanity (trust me, “wench” doesn’t count), his going from mild-mannered, loving and remorseful to a foul-mouthed asshole? It can’t be to turn him into an instant villain, so it’ll be easy for readers to hate him when his nasty secret is revealed, rather than let him be seen as a human being who has done an unspeakable thing, so they can feel conflicted. No grey areas here!
Henry continues to berate Jude for causing the ruin of his marriage. “‘You set me up! I never even met that prostitute!'”
Jude started laughing. ‘Okay, fine. Since you’ve figured out already, I confess. I did it and I’m damn proud of it, too You tried to get help for Jon, which meant trying to get rid of me, and I had to do something to stop you.’
Here we go again with the awkward, overly expository dialogue. Anyway, this moves Henry to make a revelation: that Jude had stabbed him. Everyone listening is all “Huh?” Same here, y’all. Henry starts taking off his shirt to prove his point, and as he shows them a scar in his shoulder blade, he admonishes Jude: “‘Don’t get cute with me, you cunt!'” Now, not only is Henry once again using another profanity in an out-of-character manner; not only is he using the worst profanity in the English language; but he’s using it towards his own daughter. Again: I get his anger, but DUDE. Stoppit. If you could control yourself from retaliating when she’d slapped you, you can put a kibosh on the nasty four-letter words. Particularly when (spoiler alert) YOU ARE THE REASON JUDE EXISTS.
Apparently this stabbing happened when Meredith and Henry were married, because Mama Pierce says, “‘That’s where you accidentally cut yourself with a pocket knife. I remember when you came home with it bandaged up.'” Henry explains that he made up the story to cover up from whom he thought was Jonquinette at the time, but “‘now I know it wasn’t her at all.'” He didn’t want to get the cops involved, because given Jonny’s past sins – beating up on those girls when she was seven or eight; poisoning the neighbour’s dog; and putting hair removal cream in those junior high school girls’ shampoo – he feared she’d be put in juvie. Jude insists she had nothing to do with stabbing Henry, but he’s not buying what she’s selling.
‘You showed up at my office one day, stormed in like a hurricane and started talking crazy. Just like you are now, as a matter of fact. I told you that it was time to get you some help. Your solution was to pick up a letter opener off my desk and stab me in the shoulder with it. I bet you were aiming for my heart but I moved away just in time.’
Jude gets hysterical, grabbing her psychiatrist by the shoulders and screaming she didn’t do it. Meredith gets hysterical, grabbing her chest and screaming that “‘her baby'” stabbed someone! “‘Her own daddy!'” I imagine Mama Pierce probably looked like this:
Then she tells Henry that he was right, that they should have gotten help for Jonny when he’d asked, which causes Jude to fly into a further rage. She starts roughing up her parents, telling Meredith that Henry is lying, probably cut himself and put the blame on her to fuck with her, but she’s not going to tolerate it. Marcella tries playing devil’s advocate: “‘But what if he isn’t lying?'” Jude insists that he is, and that Jonny couldn’t have done it, because she didn’t have the balls.
‘Besides, I’ve always been here and I would know if she’d done something like that. Hell, I would’ve been happy about it. I’m telling you, if I’d stabbed the bastard, I would admit it in a heartbeat. In fact, if you have a letter opener, I’ll stab him now. He deserves it for lying on me.’
Just as Jude is stubbornly insistent about Henry lying, Henry is stubbornly insistent about Jude having stabbed him.
‘Look,’ Henry stated angrily. ‘I’m telling you that Jude stabbed me. It’s all water under the bridge now and I still have no intention of pressing charges but this al needs to come out. I’m sick of lying.’
Something changed in Jude’s face. A calmness came over it. Then that was replaced with fury. ‘Sick of lying?’ She faced Henry. ‘You’re sick of lying?’
‘Yes,’ he responded. ‘The truth needs to come out.’
‘I couldn’t agree with you more,’ she said in a voice I didn’t recognize.
Henry didn’t seem to notice the voice change, but Meredith did.
‘What happened to your voice?’ Meredith asked.
Jude smirked at her and didn’t respond.
‘Nothing happened to her voice. ‘I walked up behind her and whispered in her ear, ‘Who are you?’
That’s right. Jonquinette and Jude aren’t alone.
Except the kisses are hers and hers and hers.
I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV, so I don’t know how MPD functions. But it seems awfully convenient that this third personality just pops up all of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere. But there are less than twenty pages left in the novel, so I think that explains it.
Faced with this new personality, Marcella now tries talking to her, asking her if she has a name. At first, Jonny’s third person insists she doesn’t have a name, but then christens herself “Jetta” when Marcella suggests she make one up.
Jetta is willing to accept responsibility for stabbing her father. “‘Damn right I did it.'” Henry asks her why, and that’s when she drops the bombshell of a lifetime.
Jetta ignored him and started staring at Meredith. ‘You thought you knew everything that was going on in your house, didn’t you?’
‘What do you mean?’ Meredith asked. ‘Please tell me what you mean.’
‘Did you ever suspect?’ Jetta kept her eyes fixated on Meredith, but nodded in Henry’s direction. ‘Did you ever realize that he was a pedophile?’
Henry collapsed onto the chaise while Meredith pulled herself up off the floor. She walked over to use and got close enough to smell Jetta’s breath. [Blogger’s Note: How does Marcella know whether or not Meredith could smell Jetta’s breath?] ‘Pedophile?’
‘Yes, you know what that is, right? A person, or a sick fuck as I prefer to call them, who has sexual desires for children.’ Jetta glanced at Henry. ‘Now he’s sitting over there trying to play the pitiful act; probably thinking of a lie to tell, some excuse for why he did it.’
‘What did he do, Jetta?’ I asked, realizing we had finally made progress.
I had always felt that there was at least one more personality living inside of Jonquinette, Jude professed to be all-powerful but something or someone had to be keeping her from taking over Jonquinette’s life completely. Now I knew her as Jetta.’
I don’t know if I buy it. Joquinette had no clue about the existence of this third personality? Even before she was aware of Jude’s presence, she knew something strange was up; as a child, when she’d “transformed” into Jude and attacked her classmates and her neighbours’ dog, she was aware she’d blacked out and there was always evidence of her crimes being left behind – the bottles of hair remover in her locker at school, the rat poison she’d used against the dog under her bed. Then, as an adult, when Jude went on her sexual escapades, she was also aware of blacking out and came out of said blackouts sometimes undressed and, thanks to some odd odours, aware she’d been with a man. Yet she’d done something like attempt to stab her own father and had no clue she’d done such a thing? No blood on her hands or clothes? Even when Jude had hired the prostitute – although Jonquinette had no clue she’d done it at the time, obviously – she’d at least noticed something was off when she found herself two hundred dollars poorer. And now we’re supposed to believe that there’s been a third person there all along? Or is it safe to say that she is brought out to unearth the dirty family secret because she’s the only personality who knows it, and therefore, if she were brought out any earlier, it would be given away too quickly, instead of, like I said, close to the end of the book? With the excess of expository dialogue, Henry’s sudden change of attitude, and the sudden introduction of a new personality, it’s overkill; too much at once.
But if we can believe all of that, I guess you can believe that a traumatic childhood event that’s been locked away for years into one’s subconscious can be revealed in just a few sentences.
‘He molested Jon. What do you think he did?’ she replied. ‘That’s why I allowed Jude to do what she did. I don’t even think she realizes what he did to Jon. She just hated him because he was trying to get rid of us. What she did was actually ingenious.’ Jetta chuckled. ‘Wish I had thought of it. Instead, I tried to stab him to death but that didn’t work and I’m glad it didn’t. After I realized my mistake. I didn’t want Jon to end up in prison, along with Jude and the rest of us in tow, so I’m glad I missed his heart.’
Sure. A new personality emerges and just spills her guts, explaining everything, including the motivations of her soul sisters, based on a five word question posed by her therapist. Maybe Dr. Marcella should just start a drive-thru service. Anyway, Jetta doesn’t even give Henry a chance to respond when Meredith asks her hubby if the accusations are true.
‘Tell her the truth, Henry! Tell her about the bath-time fun when Jon was four years old. Tell her about the fun in the shed in the backyard. That’s what you used to call it, right? Fun?’
Henry cries and admits all is true. He even admits that he went to get help for what he did, which was actually what inspired him to get help for Jonny, which inspired Jude to hire that hooker. Meredith rightfully tries beating the shit out of him until Jetta becomes Jon again and pulls her off of him. I wouldn’t have. I would’ve joined in.
This whole scene just seems so…ingenuine. Why does the big reveal have to occur in a single scene? And why was there no foreshadowing as to how and why Jude – and Jetta – existed? How is it that takes several sessions to bring out Jude, but once Jetta is coerced from within, she just explains everything in one gasp? Given that something so terrible happened to her, wouldn’t she be more scared, more reluctant and ashamed to reveal it? Wouldn’t it have taken just a little more time?
Or, possibly not, because it seems as though Zane plotted her novel according to this diagram.
I’ve also plotted according to this diagram – BACK IN FIFTH GRADE. And even then I thought it was bullshit. Looks like she crammed the climax into one scene. Looks like her plot is a premature ejaculator.
After the Big Reveal and Jonquinette is once again in place as the dominant personality, they fill her in about Jetta, and, of course, Jetta’s accusations against Henry. As the session continues, Jonny explains that she tried defending him, but he openly admitted it, revealing that he had also been molested by his father. So, when that hooker who Jude hired came to Thanksgiving dinner to serve some lies to the table, he quietly went away since he thought he was being punished for what he’d done to Jonny. Apparently, he had “described everything he had been through” during the session, but for some strange reason, Zane has decided to let Jonny tell us about this rather than show it. You’d think that something or such importance, something that’s supposed to be such a turning point in the novel, would get more than a page and a half of a mention, while other things of such non-importance, such Jude waltzing into a strip club and working the pole without so much as a job interview, gets several pages.
Zane was obviously rushing her way through this one; maybe she was close to the deadline for her publishers or something. Actually, I think I just got my answer: for some reason I was skimming through Zane’s acknowledgements and it says that she finishes a book every three months. Case closed.
Understandably, Jonny’s mind is boggled over the fact that her father did something so horrible to her, yet she doesn’t remember. And, apparently, he is more than willing to describe “How he would do things to me when Momma wasn’t around, mostly when she was out spending money on things we didn’t need.” Ew, so he took out his frustration on his TODDLER? Anyway, as disgusting as this is, I would’ve like to hear him actually talk about what he had done rather than hear about it in a vague narration courtesy of Jonny. Also, Henry just admitted to doing something absolutely disgusting, yet he’s willing to discuss it at length, just like that? There’s no discomfort involved whatsoever? But I guess I’ll never know how it really went, since it was basically treated as a debriefing.
The rest of the session – still being described in a quick narration by Jonny (sorry, I know I have said this several times, but that really annoys me) – is a total gong show. Marcella, the best doctor in the world, is able to assess from the one session that:
Jetta had taken the abuse for me and Jude had become my protector, even though Jude never knew about the abuse. She also speculated that while she rarely made an appearance, Jetta was the one who really controlled thins. She prevented Jude from making me completely disappear.
I’ve just had a thought. Perhaps these sessions are narrated to the reader rather than played out because Zane merely skimmed her research about Multiple Personality Disorder and the psychiatric analysis.
Because if this session were to play out, the lack of research would be obvious, perhaps in the way Marcella spoke and interpreted things in an actual scene. My theory would certainly explain Marcella’s incompetency. But maybe I’m being too analytical and over theorizing about this. At the very least, I still think that this rush to resolution is based on the diagram I posted above. Like I said – this book was written in three months. That’s not a lot of time to do in-depth research on such a topic. In my opinion, if Zane wants to write a book about such dense complicated issues – MPD and sexual molestation – she needs to either spend more than ninety days writing about it or not write about it at all.
And the rush continues. Jonny worries about younger half-sister Flower, but Henry claims that while he had urges to do so, he hasn’t touched her – yet. *shudders*
Marcella told him that he had no choice but to come clean with Allison, Flower’s mother. She told him that there was always the chance that he would relapse in a moment of weakness and shatter yet another young life.
Of course, Meredith calls the wedding off and goes home to lie down while Jonny leaves Marcella and Henry to talk some more, so she can go over to Mason’s house and tell him everything, after which they have doggy style sex. Jonny just finds out that she was molested by her father but she’s in the mood to…in the mood to…
The next morning, Henry is banging on Jonny’s door, begging her forgiveness. “‘Jonquinette, I’m so sorry baby. How can I ever make it up to you?'” REALLY DUDE?! You molested your daughter and you’re talking about “making it up to her” like you scratched her car or something? Please see the above meme.
Instead of punching him in the face, Jonny actually tries talking to her father, at least to let him know that she is going to call Flower’s mother and tell her everything. She tells him that she might forgive him in time, but never forget. He actually has the nerve to ask if they can still spend time together, but she tells him “‘We both need to heal separately before we can heal together'” instead of “Fuck off and die” for some reason. Henry mentions that Marcella gave him some contact numbers for further counselling back in North Carolina. Jonny’s all “Hey, that’s great; now can you fuck off and get out of my life?” Actually, she says, “‘That’s a wonderful thing…Daddy, I don’t mean to be rude but I can’t think of anything to say to you right now….I don’t think it would be wise for you to be here when Momma wakes up.'” Almost the same thing. Then, as he’s leaving he asks her for a hug. AND SHE GIVES IT TO HIM. Puke-o-tronic. After that, he’s out of her life, at least for the moment.
Jonny’s next session occurs in her apartment, a session that’s narrated by Marcella. Wait, except the good doctor isn’t speaking to Jonquinette after all, it’s Jude. And, of course, to ensure a happy ending, Jude has decided to go away forever. Of course, she’s all nicey-nice now, realizing that Jon “‘doesn’t need me anymore.'”
‘That doesn’t mean I’m going away completely, though. I might just stop all the bad things I’ve been doing and let Jon make all the bad decisions.’
And suddenly, she just adores the crap of Mason.
‘He’s growing on me, slowly. He’s romantic and that’s a good sign. I believe that he loves Jon and I know for a fact that she loves him. Who am I to interfere with what could be the love affair of the century?’
Bad enough she thinks that stalking and forced affection is romantic, but she thinks that a relationship that’s been going on for ten seconds could be the “love affair of the century”? It’s okay; she lost me when she said she actually liked Mason, so it actually doesn’t matter that she’s said all of this additional bullshit now.
More bullshit ensues, but just not about Mason. “‘I never set out to hurt Jonquinette. I love her.'”
You love Jonquniette? O RLY?
-What kind of boring-ass sista falls asleep at ten-thirty on a Saturday night?
-As usual, Jon had on some baggy-ass, flannel pajamas that I wouldn’t be caught dead in.
-Jon was always fucking things up for us.
-[Jon] didn’t know jack!
-Jon actually thought she could get rid of me. Never!
-Let Jon try to get closer to Mason. I already had my game in order.
-Jon was actually considering dating that fool. I could tell anyday she would be giving up the drawers. I couldn’t and wouldn’t tolerate it. Something drastic had to be done.
-Fuck Jon and her boring lifestyle.
-I was hoping…that I could really fuck up Jon’s relationship with him.
-“Jon’s not dominating shit!”
-What Jon should have done was kept her damn mouth shut.
-Jon has always been as weak as shit.
Yeah. You love her.
After her bizzare declaration of love, Jude explains that all the sex was an escape, but now she’s going away forever to let Jonny live her life because “‘she deserves it. She’s been through enough.'” She even has mad love for Jetta, even though she doesn’t “‘even know her ass.'” Jude: stop adding ass to everything. We get it – you’re hardcore! But never fear, Marcella tells her that Jetta did what she had to do and will probably be gone forever and ever too. “‘At least that’s the way I view it, but I could always be wrong.'” awewhwiqoehihiIHIHASIibb.adsnd083weua92ue92772q938239!!!^@%!^@!!!! Sorry. Having a little trouble articulating my rage right now.
I mean, OH MY GOD, you are the laziest doctor on the planet. How about actually trying to practice psychiatry instead of guessing, ya quack?! Oh, my bad – there’s like three pages left in the book. “Maybe Jetta will come back. Or maybe not. Or maybe a fourth personality might come out and go on a murderous rampage.” Shrug. “Guess we’ll have to wait and see!” Yeah, she didn’t say that, but she might as well have. Except wait – maybe Jude won’t quite be going away forever and ever. “‘If someone starts fucking with my girl, will be back to handle things.”‘
PleaseletitbeMasonpleaseletitbeMasonpleaseletitbeMason. And while you’re at it, pleaseletitalsobeHenrypleaseletitalsobeHenry.
Of course Dr. Malpractice McQuack says “‘I have no doubt that you will.'” That doesn’t bother you at all? Doesn’t cause you alarm? Of course it doesn’t, because you suck. Then they actually share a hug and Jude says she’s fine now. “‘We all are.'” But you just said that you didn’t even know Jetta’s ass, so how do you know you’re “all fine”? And how can Jonny be fine when she just found out that she’d been molested by her father just yesterday, a man whom she loved and trusted prior to his confession? Memories of which she cannot access without Jetta? Is that how things work? Once secrets are out in the open, because they’re out in the open, everything is fine now? There are no emotional repercussions to follow? WIll I ever be able to stop asking questions? It’s a good thing Marcella is a psychiatrist and not a surgeon. She’d be all. “Okay! We found the source of your stomachaches – it’s a tumor. Let’s take that tumor out. Hooray! Tumor’s out, everything is great, your cancer may come back, but I doubt it. I have a gut feeling everything is going to be okie-dokie. Geddit? Gut feeling? Hahaha! Okay, have a good day! Bye-bye now!”
Jude decides to go lie down and Marcella actually sticks around to see if she’ll be as “fine” as she claims she will be. Then Mason stops by (of course he does) and she chats with him briefly. Surprisingly, she is professional and doesn’t go into detail about what had just transpired between her and Jude/Jonquinette/Jetta/Jehosephat. Of course, she thinks the sun shines out of Mason’s butt and again, is surprisingly professional when she advises him to hold off on any marriage proposals to Jonny. After he leaves, she continues to stick around until Jude wakes up. She muses about some doctor she used to know, to whom she wishes she can reach out so she can get his assistance in continuing to help Jonquinette. Yet another professional decision, Dr.Marcella. I’m starting to think I’ve misjudged you, even though you’ve lost major points by liking Mason. Then, when Jonquinette finally wakes up, it looks like Jude has kept her word on staying away, at least for the long run (can’t be too sure about Jetta, though, despite the fact that Marcella basically spoke for her) and they go to dinner “and talked about the future, her future.” Would have been nice if that had been an acutal scene, too. Why is the reader quickly told about events that are integral to the novel, but non-important things such as Jude stripping at two separate clubs for no good reason other than boredom, and a date with Mason that had nothing to do with the plot but was just literally a description of their outing, get several pages? (More about that date in my next post about this novel).
Finally, mercifully, we’ve reached the end. Jude and Jetta are gone; Jonny figures they had to go away so she could be strong enough on her own to protect her little sister Flower, from Henry, whose mother no longer allows him to see. Good. Jonny decides not to press charges against him because “he has an illness. He’s not a criminal.” Not so good. Be that as it may, pedophilia and sexual assault are still crimes. Let the courts work it out. How can you say you want to protect Flower but allow Henry to roam the streets? What if he moves to another state, has another daughter and starts messing with her? Haven’t you ever heard the saying the only thing worse than evil is seeing it being done and not doing anything to stop it? Here come the questions again. Sorry. Anyway, Mason stays true to his character by proposing to Jonny even though a medical professional advised him not to. But then again that medical professional is Dr. Marcella, so I can’t fault him for not taking her seriously. But I can still fault him for being a complete creepozoid. (I hope there’s a future novel where Jetta comes out and stabs him to death, though it wouldn’t matter because it’ll probably be as painful a read as this book is.) Jonny is still seeing Marcella, who says her alters might come back and that it might take them years to go away forever. YA THINK?! Jonny closes the novel by thanking Jude and Jetta from the bottom of her heart. And I am closing this post so I can go and drink way earlier than its appropriate.
Believe it or not, I have one more post about this book. One more! Then I can stop putting out so much negativity into the universe. Time to push out the jive and bring in the love!