ABC DVD: Arrested Development 2.2

Switch Hitter
Gob goes to work with the Bluth Company’s competitor, although they may or may not be after him to win against the Bluth company in an upcoming softball game.

switchhitter

Queen for a Day
Some Bluth stock is finally unfrozen, but it’s important not to sell so that they retain control of the company. Unfortunately, no one listens, including Michael, who buys a corvette. Tobias buys a gay night club called The Queen Mary and converts a gang into being dancers (really they were the Hot Cops posing as a gang). He ends up getting stabbed after trying this on a real gang. The Bluths do lose control of the company to Lucille 2, who says she bought the stock because she wants to support them, but then decides to maintain control to get back at Lucille 1.

queen

Burning Love
Michael awkwardly tries to get with his childhood crush, Sally Sitwell, daughter of Stan Sitwell, the Bluth company’s main competitor. After finally hearing that her father approves of the match, Michael swaps his corvette with him for the money to buy Sally at the annual bachelorette auction, but she isn’t pysched about having her dad’s approval and turns him down. George Sr. installs a hot tub in the model home’s attic and instantly regrets it.

sallysitwell

Ready, Aim, Marry Me!
Michael is convinced that majority-holder Lucille 2 and Stan Sitwell are colluding against the company (really they are just in love). He calls in his dad’s friend “Uncle Jack” (not really their uncle) to try to bail them out, but his condition is a romantic date with Lindsay. Michael goes on a romantic date with Tobias to keep him from finding out, and Gob and Buster use army training and magic to spy on Lucille 2 because they are both secretly in love with her.

tobias

Out on a Limb
Michael learns that Maggie Lizer, whom he slept with 9 months ago, is 9 months pregnant. He gets Tobias and Lindsay to break into her house, steal her urine, and test it. It comes back positive, so he assumes that 1) she’s telling the truth (she isn’t), and 2) he’s really the father (he’s not, and she tells him he’s not). Buster swims in the ocean before being shipped off to Iraq, and gets his hand bitten off by a seal wearing a bow tie.

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looseseal2
looseseal

Hand to God
Buster deals with losing his hand. Michael discovers that Maggie is NOT pregnant with his baby, but is acting as a surrogate for a gay police couple. They think she might be trying to keep their kid. Surprise! She’s not really pregnant at all. She outsourced it to a local waitress, who is using the pregnancy to pretend to be fat to sue the restaurant where she works. Gay policemen get their baby in the end.

imamonster

Trish’s Review
This bunch is kind of a mix for me: I like the two episodes about Maggie a lot, but I absolutely hate Ready, Aim, Marry Me! because Uncle Jack is gross.
Rating: Three out of five jars of chocolate body paint
Kill/Fuck/Marry: Kill Uncle Jack because he’s disgusting. Fuck Sally Sitwell because I like her hair. Marry either or both of the gay policemen because they seem really sweet and have maybe the healthiest relationship on this entire show.

gaypolicemen

Steven’s Review
Honestly, this run had a lot of iffy episodes for me. I love the Maggie focus, and the Buster hand-loss sequences are fun, but Michael and Tobias in particular kept irritating me and throwing me out of the enjoyment-bubble. Uncle Jack gets a pass out of me because 1) I’m pretty sure it’s a silly sendup of Jack Lalanne, and 2) it’s Martin Short! (How can you not love Martin Short?)
Rating: Three out of five loose seals.
Kill/Fuck/Marry: Kill Michael, like a dozen times. It was a close contest between him and Tobias, as both of them are royal idiots for most of this disc, but I can’t help but expect ridiculous antics out of Tobias. Michael, on the other hand, needs to grow a pair like pronto. Fuck Maggie, because she’s clearly got it going on (hard to choose between her and Sally, admittedly). Marry Stan Sitwell, because this may be the most genuine (and also successful) male figure in the entire series.

Previously:Arrested Development 2.1
Next: Arrested Development 2.3

ABC DVD: Arrested Development 2.1

The One Where Michael Leaves
Michael and George Michael try to leave for Phoenix because Michael is sick of his family but the police want to hold Michael responsible for George Sr.’s crimes now that he has run away. Tobias and Lindsay decide to try an open relationship. Gob becomes president of the Bluth company and finds some incriminating evidence hidden in a wall. Lucille signs Buster up for the army after being ambushed by a Michael Moore look-alike.

itmightwork

The One Where They Build a House
Gob promises to build a model home in only two weeks. Buster volunteers for the crew hoping to get injured to get out of army. Lindsay attempts to date a homeless man who is really a movie star researching a role. Buster ends up seeing his mom making out with Oscar and determines to go to war. The house is empty inside and collapses.

missionaccomplished

Amigos!
Gene Parmesan, the Bluth’s private detective, tracks the stolen stair car down to Mexico. Michael, Lindsay, Maeby, and George Michael head down to see if they can find George Sr. George Michael also brings his girlfriend, Ann, in the hopes that Michael will get to know her and maybe remember her name. Gob thinks Michael is attempting to flee the country and hires a bounty hunter named Ice to track him. Lindsay flirts with Ice badly. Ann gets stranded in Mexico.

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Good Grief
Ice determines that George Sr. was killed by the Mexican police after first being mistaken for his brother Oscar and then being recognized as the inventor of the cornballer (all of the guards have horrific burns from it). The family plans a funeral, but tells Buster it’s a birthday party so he doesn’t lose it. George Michael discovers a very much alive George Sr., who bribed the Mexican police and has returned to try to win Lucille back from Oscar, and hides him in the attic. Michael discovers the deception and fakes his father’s attic escape so that he is the only one who now knows where his father truly is.

funeral

Sad Sack
The prosecution against Michael claim they have found a landscape photo of Iraq complete with bunkers on the Bluth company server, but it turns out to be a close-up of Tobias’ balls (Barry Zuckercorn knows the truth). Michael gets George Michael glasses thinking poor vision might explain his attraction to Ann. Buster needs Gob to motivate him over a wall in boot camp.

balls

Afternoon Delight
At the Bluth company Christmas party, Gob is mad that everyone makes fun of him and fires the entire staff. Michael convinces them to come back for another party the next day in which 1) his high mother drives her car into the banana stand, 2) Buster has to rescue Gob from the banana stand with his claw game skills, 3) both Michael and Maeby AND Lindsay and George Michael have embarrassing karoke renditions of Afternoon Delight.

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Trish’s Review
I feel like these are some of the strongest episodes in one stretch so far! I love Ann, Tobias’ attempts to join the Blue Man Group, and Buster in the army.
Rating: Five out of five fake-corpse pinatas
Kill/Fuck/Marry: Kill Tobias, because when in doubt I always kill Tobias. Fuck Ice, the bounty hunter. Marry Gene Parmesan because we both have a penchant for dressing up.

Steven’s Review
I actually really enjoyed most of this set, but it has the nagging tendency to feature more of Michael screwing up by giving his family opportunities to do it to him. Fix your indecision, man! They should be totally dead to you by now!
Rating: Four out of five cornballer burns
Kill/Fuck/Marry: Kill Michael, because he’s dead to me at this point. Fuck Barry, because everyone else seems to be into it, although he’s probably got every last STD by now. Marry Maeby, because she’s 1) constantly asking you to, and 2) making it big in the movies! Financial security assured!

Previously: Arrested Development 1.3
Next: Arrested Development 2.2

2016 Books: The Bad

This year I rated 11 books 1 star on GoodReads. Here they are:

It was a tough call on Worst Book of 2016. But I’m going with Looking for Alaska, mostly because of how critically and socially acclaimed it is. That raises expectations pretty high (unlike most of the other books here, which I expected to be terrible), so when it sucked it felt worse.

lookingforalaska
Looking for Alaska by John Green
I read this for Banned Books Week. Here’s my full review of why it sucks.

Library Book Sale Trash
warlord
The Warlord by Elizabeth Elliot
A romance novel I got for 20 cents at the library book sale. It’s about a dude in 12th cent. Scotland marrying a girl to save her from her evil step father. And then they find love.

tocatchanheiress
To Catch an Heiress by Julia Quinn
In this crappy romance novel, an English lord/AGENT OF THE CROWN kidnaps the wrong girl because he thinks she’s a Spanish spy. Then they find love.

cosmicsex
Cosmic Sex by Karen Kelley
Library book sale has a strong representation this year! This book is about aliens landing on earth to discover what these earthmen are like.

Proving a Point to Someone
feelinglucky
Feeling Lucky by Kathy Bryson
I read this to prove a friend wrong who thought there weren’t any romance novels about Irish dudes. This is about a woman who “catches” a leprechaun by grabbing his ass and then is entitled to his treasure. He tries to seduce the treasure back. Also in this universe leprechauns are just hot dudes who like money and can dance in mid air because why not.

americanwerechaun
American Werechaun in Dublin by Andy Click
I read this book for the same reason. It’s about a dude who keeps blacking out at the full moon and waking up with gold coins in his pocket. You know, a werechaun. Eventually he learns to control his powers and brings peace to the warring leprechaun and werechaun communities.

kanasquest
Kana’s Quest by Anthony Ray Olheiser
I read this when James Fox challenged me to read a knock-off Lord of the Rings book. It’s about the war between angels and Satan and involves some angel/human romance. It’s completely insane.

passionandponies
Passion and Ponies by Tara Sivec
This book is about a woman deciding she can overlook her Friend With Benefits brony tendencies and upgrade him to Boyfriend status.

Hate Book Club
eatpraylove
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
I read this for Hate Book Club, full review here.

uglyeyes
The Eyes of the Arab Boy by Rod Lamirand
This was another Hate Book Club selection, famous for the author himself volunteering it. Full review here.

Just Randomly Bad
secretswekeep
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
This book was about a dramatic car accident that killed one twin while injuring the other and everyone mistakes the one that lived for the one that died. And now she’s just pretending to be her sister?? Forever?? It’s really dumb.

mercyalbans
The Fate of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb
This book had a promising description: creepy house, family secrets, MURDER. But it was badly written.

Previously: 2016 Books: The Good
Next: 2016 Books: The Ugly

2016 Books: The Good

In total this year, I read 129 books! That’s 38,293 pages! According to GoodReads. I only gave five stars on GoodReads to 27 of them (about 21%). Also 3 of them were recommended to me by other people as part of my Recommended Books project! Good job, friends!

goodreads

This is the one I’m choosing as my Favorite Book of 2016, mostly because I haven’t stopped thinking about it, even though I read it near the beginning of this year. The story was so imaginative and the illustrations were awesome.

prettyencyclopedia
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
This grahpic novel is BEAUTIFUL and so imaginative. It’s a story set thousands of years ago about an explorer from one of the poles, traveling in a canoe to different places, facing monsters and hostile civilizations, to find his True Love, who lives at the other pole. The illustrations are so great.

Other Graphic Novels

lumberjanes
Lumberjanes Volumes 3- 4 by Noelle Stevenson

I can never get enough of these hardcore, more badass girl scouts. This time they fight an ancient demigod monster that lives in the mountain near their camp.

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Princeless Volumes 1-3 by Jeremy Whitley
A princess trapped in a tower makes a deal with the dragon guarding her, and the two go off to rescue all the other trapped princesses! It’s so badass and amazing!!

anyasghost
Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Daaaaang this graphic novel starts subtly creepy and ends TERRIFYING

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Tomboy by Liz Prince
This is a graphic novel memoir about not fitting in to society’s gender roles, so you know I’m there. #tomboysolidarity

YA and children’s fiction

dumplin
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
This book was about a fat girl entering her town’s teen beauty pageant with a bunch of other high school social outcasts to make a statement. I really liked its message and identified with the main character #fatgirlsolidarity

girlfromeverywhere
The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
This book was rad. The main character lives on her dad’s magical ship that can travel to anywhere that’s been mapped. Anywhere. Ancient China. El Dorado. Modern day New York. 1800s Hawaii. It’s nautical time travel fantasy with cool maps.

thewhisper
The Whisper (Riverman Trilogy, #2) by Aaron Starmer

It’s weird that, of this trilogy, this middle one is the only book to get 5 stars. The story is about the worlds you create in your imagination as a child, and those worlds being very much real and connected. This second book is a search through the various interconnected worlds of different imaginations on a hunt for a best friend and a villain.

augie
Augie and the Green Knight by Zach Weiner
This book is an adorable and sassy retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight featuring amazing illustrations!

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The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
A Recommended Book! This one was set in Florida and featured angsty teens, but the narration wasn’t over-the-top and annoying COUGHJohnGreenCOUGH.

Adult Fiction

goldenage
Some Luck, Early Warning, and Golden Age (The Last Hundred Years trilogy) by Jane Smiley
I devoured this series that follows one family through 100 years. Each chapter is about the next year. A little history, a little future speculation, a lot of family drama. It reminded me of Edward Rutherford on a smaller scale.

rejane
Re Jane by Patricia Park
A modern version of Jane Eyre where no one has to marry gross Mr. Rochester! And part of it is set in South Korea!

romeoandorjuliet
Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE ROMEO AND JULIET!!! In one of the endings you team up with Hamlet‘s Ophelia for epic revenge.

wheredyougo
Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
An epistolary novel! That’s pretty silly! It has some PTA drama, some international intrigue, and an epic cruise to Antarctica! And a mystery!

fortunespawn
Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
Another book from my Recommended Books project! This is a sci-fi novel about a badass lady mercenary working as a security guard on an oddly accident-prone cargo ship. It’s cool to see a book from the point of view of one of the ship grunt’s, doubly so because she’s a woman.

Non-fiction

thingsnoone
Things No One Tells Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
I’m really into Health at Every Size and body positivity because my past experience has taught me that weight and health might be correlated but don’t have as clear cut a causal relationship as commonly believed. This book is a series of (funny) essays about self-image, dealing with bullies, and living life.

girlsandsex
Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape by Peggy Orenstein
I really enjoyed Peggy Orenstein’s last book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and this feels very much like a sequel to it, featuring interviews with teens and college-age girls.

anythingbutordinary
Anything but Ordinary Addie: The True Story of Adelaide Hermann, Queen of Magic by Mara Rockliff
Bet you’ve never heard of this awesome lady magician!! Your loss, because she was awesome.

nurses
The Nurses: A Year of Secrets, Drama, and Miracles with the Heroes of the Hospital by Alexandra Robbins
Non-fiction that reads like fiction! I learned a lot of worrying things about healthcare!

savingalex
Saving Alex: When I was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That’s When My Nightmare Began by Alex Cooper
This book is terrifying, more so because it’s very real. Alex Cooper’s account of her time in “gay conversion therapy” reads like an account of kidnapped and abused child victims except her parents willingly put her there and to this day refuse to believe that was a terrible decision.

immortalirishman
The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero by Timothy Egan
This was part of my Recommended Books project this year! It’s a biography of Thomas Francis Meagher, who was exiled to Tasmania for his part in a failed Great Potato Famine-era Irish revolution, escaped imprisonment, and went on to become governor of Montana-territory!! Another non-fiction book that reads like a novel; I learned a lot.

atlasobscura
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer
A non-fiction book about little-known destinations around the world!!

Previously: 2015: The Good
Next: 2016: The Bad

Banned Books: Two Boys Kissing

twoboyskissing

Title: Two Boys Kissing
Author: David Levithan
Challenged in: Fauquier County public high school library, VA
Because: homosexuality, condones public displays of affection

I was wary starting this book given my previous disagreements with David Levithan. Luckily this book was okay. It’s narrated by the collective “we” that is the chorus of gay men two generations ago, who died of AIDs and lived in fear. They’re looking on from the grave at the current generation of gay teens with compassion. It’s a narrative choice that I thought would work really well in a short story but not so much in a novel. Then at the end I found out–surprise! Levithan wrote this book to expand on a short story he’d done, kind of cramming in the plot around the conceit. That’s why it reads so disjointed. The plot itself I enjoyed: it follows different gay teens for a few days, two of whom are trying to break the world record for longest kiss. It showed the variety of experiences, like accepting and supportive parents, angry and denying parents, or parents who are just whatever. One of the boys was also transgender, which was cool. Levithan also doesn’t shy away from the negativity that is a very real part of being a gay teen today. Even if it’s better than when his collective narrator lived, it’s still here: bullying, abuse, isolation, self-hatred, self-harm, eating disorders, and suicide. Even though he includes these aspects, he also doesn’t dwell on them, making the book uplifting and hopeful over all. In the end, this book is expressly not for me, so it doesn’t matter what I thought of the narrative choices.

As to the complaints, homosexuality and public displays of affection are what this book is all about, so if you hate either of those, you probably won’t like this book. But not liking something and trying to save the rest of us who don’t share your beliefs from it are two different things.

Previously: I Am Jazz

Banned Books: I Am Jazz

iamjazz

Title: I Am Jazz
Author: Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Challenged in: Mount Horeb Primary Center, Wisconsin
Because: Inaccurate, sex education, homosexuality, religious viewpoints, unsuited to age group

This is a picture book about Jazz Jennings and her life–how she likes dressing up as a princess or a mermaid, how she has two best friends, how she has always felt that she is a girl even though the people around her didn’t always agree. It explains what being transgender is in a way kids can understand, and shows that Jazz is pretty much like any other girl you would meet, except that sometimes people are mean to her for who she is. The book doesn’t dwell on this, though, and the illustrations are very cute. It’s the perfect book to read to a class, for instance, when one of their classmates is transgender to forestall any bullying that may occur. Which is exactly what was going to happen in Wisconsin until a hate group and some parents complained. It’s a pretty innocuous book, unless you don’t believe that transgenderism is a thing, and then I guess it’s a sadistic attack on everything you hold dear or something. You can tell that from the vague accusations against it.

Inaccurate: Hard to be inaccurate when it’s just one person’s experience. Unless you’re taking issue with the fact that she is a girl.
Sex education: Of course these are the same kinds of people that see sex education as a bad thing. The closest this book comes to it though is the sentence “I have a girl brain in a boy body.”
Homosexuality: This is a children’s picture book, so no sexual preferences are referred to at all.
Religious viewpoints: Religion is never discussed at all.
Unsuited to age group: This is only the case if you think elementary school is too young to know that transgender people exist, a hard argument to pull when one of their classmates is transgender.

Kids seem to freak out about this stuff way less than their parents, and it’s really sad that all of these adults are setting out to bully a child.

Previously: Looking for Alaska
Next: Two Boys Kissing

2016 Goals: Home Stretch!

I’m a little late checking in with my yearly goal progress, since we’re already well into October. I was trying to give myself a little room to catch up on some things, but I’m finally calling it.

1. Cook Every Recipe in Sally’s Baking Addiction: 89%
I have 8 more to go! Unfortunately I haven’t been taking as many pictures, but here’s one:

Chocolate swirl pound cake

Chocolate swirl pound cake

I was really proud that this pound cake turned out because I have a terrible history with quick breads and pound cakes where the middle will be a soupy mess and the sides will be burned. Probably my favorite of the recipes I made this time was Maple Pecan Granola. I was expecting it to just be kind of whatever, which is how I usually feel about granola, but when you home make it and eat it fresh this “kind of whatever” food turns to AWESOME! It’s so much more flavorful and delicious than kinds of bought before.

2. Finish All my 2014 Goals: 95%
The biggest development here is that I finished Brewer’s!!!
2a) Read T-Z in Brewer’s: 100%
For some reason it took me forevs to power through those last 30 pages, so I live-tweeted it a little bit.
livetweets
2b) Make 7 Pies: 100%
Yep, still 100%
2c) Make a new fancy drink every month: 75%
This is the only one I’ve got left, but I think I’ll be fine. Last month I made a punch for my book club from my international cookbook. It’s called Gnamacoudji and is popular in West Africa. You make it by boiling pineapple skins with ginger and lemon grass. It was kind of weird but also kind of good? It received mixed reviews from my book club.
2d) Get everything then on my to-read list off it: 100%
I know I keep repeating the ones I’ve done every time I do these updates, but I like to inflate my own sense of accomplishment, okay?
2e) Update my blog 7 times: 100%
Ditto
3. Finish all my Craftsy classes: 80%
I tackled the Sewing Vintage class. I learned a lot, but apparently not enough, because the bodice part of the dress I constructed ended up being horribly deformed due to my attempts at adjusting the pattern for boobs. So instead I ended up with a nice skirt:
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4. Complete a temperature scarf: 79%
I was behind on this for a while, until one day I binge watched all the Harry Potter Musicals and knit like two months worth. Now that the temperature isn’t the same hot nonsense every day it should be more interesting to knit.

That big orange swath is the summer that wouldn't end

That big orange swath is the summer that wouldn’t end

5. Read at least one book a month someone else recommended: 83%
I had a lot of Shakespeare in my recommended books this time! In July I read:

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson

This was recommended to me by someone on facebook, and I really liked it! A short book about basically everything we know for certain about Shakespeare and then all the different theories people have proposed over time. It’s really interesting to me how little we do know about him–even what everyone “knows” about what he looked like may or may not be right.

In August I read:

The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan

The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary who Became an American Hero by Timothy Egan


Timothy Egan is a really engaging writer–he’s won both a Pulitzer and a National Book Award–so it’s no surprise that this book has a very compelling sense of story despite being non-fiction. It’s about Thomas Francis Meagher who was transported for life to Tasmania for his part in a failed Irish uprising during the potato famine. He eventually escaped to America where he fought in the civil war and became territorial governor of Montana. He was a supremely interesting person who never stopped fighting for what he believed in despite truly insurmountable odds. This book was recommended to me by a coworker at the library and I really enjoyed it!

In September I read:

Juliet by Anne Fortier

Juliet by Anne Fortier

This book is two stories interwoven: the “historical Juliet” and her modern-day descendant trying to uncover the truth about her and escape some bad guys who want to steal her ~buried treasure~. The historical Juliet story was a pretty interesting take on life in Italy in what would have been a plausible setting for the Shakespeare play. The modern Juliet was an idiot bumbling around various historical buildings and falling for a random hot guy who of course turned out to be ~Romeo’s descendant~ blah.

As always, time to check in with Steven about his goals for the year:

1. Cook one vegetarian meal every week
“Yeah that’s fucking lost”
2. Learn a new violin piece every month
“Also lost. Although I suppose some of the stuff for orchestra kind of counts? It’s still not really”
3. Finish all craftsy classes
(laughter)
4. Make at least once case or bag out of leather
“The plan is there I haven’t done it yet. I need to get on that. I’m thinking a knife roll. It’s an extremely simple case but a great piece of practice work.”

Previously: Halfway

Banned Books: Looking For Alaska

lookingforalaska

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Challenged In: Marion County, KY; Sumner County, TN; Lumberton Township, NJ; Waukesha High School, WI; Verona High School, NJ; Knox County High School, TN; Depew High School, NY; probably more
Because: sexual content, “too racy to read”, inappropriate language, it might tempt teens to “experiment with pornography, sex, drugs, alcohol, and profanity”

This book is the second I’ve read by John Green, the first being An Abundance of Katherines. That one was alright. But my previous John Green knowledge allowed me to accurately predict everything about this book because it’s the same but more pretentious and insufferable. Here’s the plot: a scrawny teen boy without any personality besides one twee-as-shit quirk that stands in for one (in this book it was memorizing famous people’s last words; in the last it was math) finds himself in a new place for vague, Eat-Pray-Love style reasons (in this book it was going to a new boarding school to “seek the great perhaps” ugggggh; in the last it was going on a destinationless road trip waiting for a “eureka moment”). His best friend is always short, stocky, and funnier than him, and exists in the text solely to give him succinct but poignant life advice and generally be the common sense brains of the outfit. Bland Nice Guy (TM) falls in love at first sight with the most beautiful and amazing Manic Pixie Dream Girl in the entire world, but she has a boyfriend so he has to pine for her from the friend zone and angst about it in his internal monologue whenever her beautiful perfect elbow chances to brush against his or whatever. She never really has a personality either, besides being fun and random but also ~dark and mysterious~ because all hot girls have a secret sadness that only a bland Nice Guy (TM) can see and understand. Then later he learns lessons about life, usually that he’s not the center of the goddamn universe, which is a tough lesson for an entitled white dude with no personality to learn, so no wonder it takes a whole book. Usually his stupid quirk ends up tying into some Great Gatsby-style smack you in the face symbolism too.

gag

Anyway, despite all those problems, I would never challenge this book, and I can see why teens might be into it. They probably haven’t encountered these stereotypes as often as I have to be frustrated by them, and maybe they might identify with the ~angsty~ protagonist’s unrequited love. Also all the characters are well-read and reference classics in their Deep and Meaningful Life Conversations, which I find tiresome but Teen Me would have found exciting and comforting. And yes, the characters smoke, drink, think about sex, and say “fuck”, but in that regard it’s a somewhat accurate portrayal of high school. Granted, I didn’t smoke or drink in high school, but I knew people who did. Seeing it in a book wouldn’t have opened up A Whole New World of vice to me that wasn’t already available if I wanted it. And if seeing people I knew in real life do those things wouldn’t change my mind about my own choices, random book characters certainly wouldn’t. Luckily, most of the challenges above kept the book in libraries, at least. Maybe next year I’ll challenge a bunch of books for Manic Pixie Dream Girl portrayals of women. Since we can just do that for anything in books we disagree with now.

Previously: Habibi
Next: I Am Jazz

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