When A Willing Victim Who Had Committed No Treachery Was Killed in A Traitor’s Stead, the Table Would Crack and Death Itself Would Start Working Backwards: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Day 30) Seven, Eight, Lay Them Straight: Straight means upright. Choose a book with a moral or strong moral character

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia [Publication Order] #1) by C. S. Lewis

So I know this book comes “second”, after C.S. Lewis wrote The Magician’s Nephew, but technically it was first published, my copy says first; so I’m going with first.

Narnia was such a huge part of my childhood. We grew up reading the books and wanting to visit Narnia.

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I’m not kidding, I used to check any wardrobe I found in a furniture store, hotel, etc; in the hopes I would find it.

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It used to really bother my mother:

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Besides the books we knew the PBS miniseries by heart:

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And could quote it line by line. My favorites were this book, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. As I grew older I realized that this isn’t just a great adventure story, but also supposed teaching about Jesus as Aslan, the Great Lionis a representation of him and follows the same themes of sacrifice, love redemption, mercy, etc.

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The book is set during WWII, and begins with the Pevensie children-Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy, are sent to the country to escape the air raids. They stay with an interesting professor who has a very intriguing house.

The next day they plan to take a look around outside, but it rains.

They decide to explore the house, and Lucy heads to a wardrobe in the spare room. As she goes in she feels cold, continuing farther and discovers she is another land, Narnia.

Narnia

She reaches a lamp post when she is approached by Mr. Tumnus, a fawn. He clears a bit of her confusion up and invites her to tea.

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Lucy goes with Mr. Tumnus and begins to fall asleep when he plays his flute and tells her all kinds of stories.

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She wakes up with a start and sees Mr. Tumnus ccrying. It turns out that Mr. Tumnus is forced to work for the White Witch and keep a look out for any child of Adam or Eve (humans, God’s children). He is supposed to lull them to sleep and nitify her, but now that he has one he is afraid, feels bad, and can’t do it.

He helps her get back to the lamp post, leaving Mr. Tumnus with her hankerchief as a token, and runs back to the wardrobe. She arrives, ready to quell any fear of her disapperance as she was  away for hours, but no one cares.

In fact, to them it has just been a second.

Lucy is adamant that she had been away for hours, and when they all go to see about this wardrobe, nothing happens. No portal, no Narnia, no nothing.

It rains agaim and the siblings put together a game of hide-n-seek. Lucy heads back to the wardrobe with Edmond following behind her.

Now it is time tostop and discuss the personalities of the Pevensies. Peter is the edlest and sees him as the interim man of the house; overseeing the family and caring for them. Susan is the next, and she mothers the others; filling that role until they are home again. Edmond is mean, whiny, and likes to pick on his younger sibling Lucy. He has a very unhappy and rude nature. Lucy is the youngest and is extremely truthful, kind, and sweet.

So Edmond planned to makwe fun of her or scare her when he followed Lucy into the wardrobe, but to his surprise! He discovers that there is another world!

While Lucy heads off tp see Mr. Tumnus, Edmond is approached by a beautiful woman all dressed in white. She reveals herself to be the Queen of Narnia. She is belligereant and rude, until sge discovers that he is a human. Then she becomes kindness and sweet, giving him anything he wishes to eat or drink; all the while pumping him for information.

She is espechially interested in the fact that there are four of them, two girls and two boys. She promises Edmond more Turkisk delight and all sorts of things, if only he will bring his siblings to her house; along with hearing about the faun who was helping his sister.

Edmond does not realize that he has walked into the web of the White Witch, or Satan as she represents. Giving Edmond a taste of Turkish Delight that will make any who taste it desire more and more until they die. Like sin, once you do it grabs hold and hooks onto you.

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She shows him how to get to her home and then send him back to the lamp post. There he runs into Lucy. Lucy is so excited that Mr. Tumnus has been okay, the White Witch hasn’t gotten him, and they both made it to Narnia. She can’t wait until they tell the others.

But Edmond is not happy. He is very upset and sick to his stomach; sulky and deciding to be cruel.

“For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Acts 8: 23

He lies and tells them that he and Lucy were just playing a game, Narnia doesn’t exist. This upsets Lucy and has her treated poorly by Peter and Susan who vecome worried and think something is wrong with her.

They go to the Professor to ask for guidance, and we have one of the best comebacks ever.

“My dear young lady,’ said the professor…’there is one plan which no one has yet suggested and which is well worth trying.’
‘What’s that?’ said Susan.
‘We might all try minding our own business…”

One day the housekeeper has brought a group of people to look over the Professor’s historic house. They aren’t supposed to be seen in this time and hurry to get out of the way.

They stop in the spare room, but then the sightseers approach it. There is only one place left to go:

Narnia prepare yourself spider-man meme

As the enter the wardrobe, they get colder taking coats and discovering that the wardrobe has no back, but does go intoNarnia.

Peter and Susan apologize. Edmund tries to steer them correctly to the lamppost, reveling he lied. He had gone to Narnia before.

Peter appoints Lucy the leader and they hed off to see Mr. Tumnus. They get there and find the place an absolute mess and finding a note saying that Mr. Tumnus has been arrested for treason against Jadis, “the Queen of Narnia”.

They find themselves unsure what to do when they are approached by a robin. It acts as if it wishes them to follow him, and they do. There they run into a beaver, Mr. Beaver, who has the hankerchief given to Mr. Tumnus by Lucy. He was sent to keep an eye out for them and guide them.

They go to the Beavers’ house, getting everything ready for dinner. As they enter the home, Edmund notices one of the markers the White Witch showed him to find the wy to her home.

They discuss what to do about Mr. Tumnus, but Mr. Beaver is firm they can’t o anything; but will have to wait for Aslan to take care of it. He also tells them why the White Witch is after them, if sons and daughters of Adam and Eve sit on the thrones i Cair Paravel she’s done.

“When Adam’s flesh and Adam’s bone

Sits at Cair Paravel in throne,

The evil will be over and done.”

The Witch likes to pretend she is human, but she isn’t. So she will do all she can to destroy them.

While they are talking, they suddenly realize that Edmund is gone. They want to search for him, but the Beavers dissuade them. Edmund has gone to the White Witch, she belongs to him.

They decide to leave immediately for the stone table and hope they make it there before the Witch does.

Edmund headed off to see the White Witch. He isn’t evil and wants his siblings killed or turned into stone; in fact he doesn’t really know about that. He just likes the fact that they are going to be made lower than him, and he will be the High King.

He has to pass through a crepy courtyard full of stone statues (actually real people/animals that had been turned into stone).  He is approaxched by a wolf working for the White Witch. He brings Edmond in and Edmond sees that the Withch is evil. They head out to get the Pevensies.

The group head out an hide in an old beaver cave and the next day hear noises. They think it might be something wrong, so Mr. Beaver goes looking. He comes back joyful that t is Father Christmas! The White Witch’s power is weakening as she has kept him out for years.

And he has brought gifts to all:

“And now,’ said Father Christmas, ‘for your presents. There is a new and better sewing machine for you Mrs. Beaver. I will drop it in your house as I pass…As for you, Mr. Beaver, when you get home you will find your dam finished and mended and all the leaks stopped and a new sluice gate fitted…

‘Peter, Adam’s Son,’ said Father Christmas.

‘Here, Sir,’ said Peter.

‘These are your presents,’ was the answer, ‘and they are not toys. The time to use them is perhaps at hand. Bear them well.’ With these words he handed to Peter a shield and a sword…

‘Susan, Eve’s Daughter,’ said Father  Christmas. ‘These are for you,’ and he handed her a bow and quiver full of arrows and a little ivory horn. ‘You must use this bow only in great need,’ he said, ‘for I do not mean you to fight in the battle. It does not easily miss. And when you put this horn to your lips and blow it, then, wherever you are, I think help of some kind will come to you.’

Last of all he said, ‘Lucy, Eve’s Daughter,’ and Lucy came forward. He gave her a little bottle of what looked like glass…and a small dagger. ‘In this bottle,’ he said, ‘there is a cordial made of the juice of one of the fire-flowers that grow in the mountains of the sun. If you or any of your friends are hurt, a few drops of this will restore you. And the dagger is to defend yourself at great need…”

They are ready for what is coming:

 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13

He then presents them with a delicious breakfast.

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Edmond finds life with the “Queen” absolutely miserable. She treats him poorly annd cruelly, and all he wishes is to be back with his family. They start lagging intheir search as the snow begins to mekt and the power of the Queen starts to crack.

Spring has come and Aslan is on the move.

The children and Beavers arrive at the stone table and meet Aslan.He is a powerful lion; strong, kind, royal, strong, etc.

They tell them their story and about Edmond.

“Please-Aslan,’ said Lucy, ‘can anything be done to save Edmund?’

‘All shall be done,’ said Aslan. ‘But it may be harder than you think.”

Aslan takes Peter aside nd shows bhim the land, along with giving him advice. A wolf comes into the camp and attacks. All come to protect the children, but Aslan allows Peter to fight him.

After Peter kills him, Aslan sends the swiftest creatures to save Edmund.

Edmund had been forced to walk after they abondened the sled and has grown severely weary. The Witch has decided to kill him now as that will stall the prophocey. Theyare about to, when he is saved and spirited away.

The next day, the kids awake and find out that their brother is here and speaking with Aslan.

Aslan presents Edmund to his siblings and tells them to not speak about the past.

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However, the celebration is cut short when the White Witch sends a messanger to speak to Aslan. The Witch comes and demands Edmund, his treachary marks him as her property. Aslan takes her aside and speaks to her privately, offering something in exchange for Edmund. Himself.

Aslan gives Peter advice and goes on his own; followed by Susan and Lucy. He tells them to go hie as he presents himself to the Witch.

They tie him up and shave him. They jeer and mock, putting a muzzle on him. And she kills him.

After they all leave, the kids go to help untie him. They get help from mice that bite and chew at his restraints. They leave as the dawn nears, but as they go away they hear a load noise.

They go back and find Aslan! Alive!!!

“That though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Aslan goes and awakens all the statues; all rushing to help in the battle.

After the battle, in which Edmund fought bravely to help his family. They all go to Cair Paravel and are crowned kings and queens of Narnia.

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They governed Narnia for a long time and were beloved by all the people. Peter grew tall and was a great warrior; King Peter the Magnificent, the High King. Susan grew tall and gracious, being Queen Susan the Gentle. King Edmund remembered everything that happened and grew to be quieter and graver in council and judgement, being King Edmund the Just. And little Lucy grew to be sunny, light, bright, and all wanted her as their queen, Queen Lucy the Valiant.

One day, many, many, many, many years later they go out hunting. They find the lightpost, and he wardrobe and appear back in their world, time, and only a few seconds has past.

They try to go back, but they can’t go that way.

“Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice.”

Nope they will have to wait for another way.

“And that is the very end of the adventures of the wardrobe. But if the Professor was right it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia.”

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There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

Day 29) Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks: Sticks symbolize Power, Strength, or Judicial decisions. Choose a book that revolves around a powerful Ruler or Ruling.

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The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1) by Agatha Christie

I started reading Agatha Christie when my grandma gave me an anthology called Murder at the Manor, which had the books The Seven Dial Mysteries, Ordeal by Innocence, and Crooked House. I thought they were amazing novels and continued to read her books, mostly out of order.

I’m not sure how I was introduced to The Secret of Chimneys. I just remember a few years ago I found it at the library and wanted to check it out but couldn’t.

I immediately requested it, waiting until a copy came in. I started a few pages, but couldn’t stop reading and completely devoured the entire thing.

I thought it was incredible! It is a great mystery, fantastic adventure story, and just full of wit and witticism.

This counts double for this place on the list as the book not only centers on trying to find the next King of a Eastern European country but was written by the Queen of crime.

This book is one of her earlier novels, being the fifth mystery she has ever penned.

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So our tale of intrigue begins in Zimbabwe. Anthony Cade is thirty-two years old, handsome, well educated and traveled; and currently working as a tour guide. He runs into his old friend Jimmy McGrath, who needs help with something.

Before Jimmy can tell him the job, he first gives Anthony a history lesson. The Eastern European country Herzoslovakia has recently had some real civil unrest. King Nicholas IV married a music hall performer, and called her some outrageous name, and later after the marriage crowned her as Queen Varaga. The two were later assassinated and the prime minister, Count Stylpitch, left to France.

I’m getting out of here

Well one day, Jimmy was in Paris on one of his get-rich-quick schemes and saw some French toughs beating up a gentleman. Jimmy got involved and beat them up and the gentleman thanked him taking his name and going on his way.

Later Jimmy was contacted by the man and it turned out to be Count Stylpitch. Count Stylpitch has recently passed away and Jimmy was shocked when he received a package from the man. In the package is Count Stylpitch’s memoirs and a note that if they are delivered on or before October 13, then he will be given £1000. Jimmy unfortunately already has plans in a gold mine and needs someone else to do the job, promising to share £250 with Anthony if he will do it. Anthony agrees.

There isn’t time to change passage name or anything like that, so Anthony will just use Jimmy’s tickets. However, that’s not the only thing Jimmy needs him to do. One time when Jimmy was in Uganda and he saved a Herzoslovakian, strangely called Dutch Pedro. When he died from fever a few weeks later, he gave Jimmy “a gold mine” in papers. When Jimmy checked them out they were love letters from a Mrs. Virginia Revel.

Jimmy was disgusted at this idea of “gold mine”, blackmail and wants to return the items. There is no address on them and Jimmy had no plans or money to head to England, but with this free trip it seems like the best time.

Meanwhile in England, the death of Count Stylpitch has created a black hole in the government. George Lomax is trying to broker a deal with a British oil company and Prince Michael Obolovitch, contender for the Herzoslovakian throne. He wants to use the old historic Chimneys as the perfect meeting place, twisting Lord Caterham’s arm as he wants nothing to do with it.

George is worried about the memoirs as to what might come out, especially the disappearance of the Herzoslovakian treasures. He wants to get his hand at those remembrances and plans to use the feminine persuasion. He has just the right person in mind as well: widow to the Herzoslovakian ambassador so she knows the affairs, charming, intelligent: his cousin is perfect. His cousin Virginia Revel.

George returns home to complete the errand, but his lovesick assistant, Bill Eversleigh, manipulates his way into going to see the woman of his dreams, Virginia. Virginia agrees to go to a meeting with George, Bill also declaring his love for her; but Virginia isn’t interested.

George sends Bill to find out when the ship Granarth Castle is due to arrive. Unfortunately for George, Bill doesn’t pronounce Granarth correctly, and the worker thinks he says Carnfrae Castle instead, which is due next Thursday. Anthony, however, had arrived the previous day. Like they say, you can’t plan for everything.

Anthony has arrived in England under the name Jimmy McGrath and when he arrives at the Blitz Hotel, as per instructions, he is approached by a Herzoslovakian who wants the memoirs, Baron Lolopretjzyl. He wants to protect Prince Obolovitch from any bad press and is willing to pay £2000. When Anthony refuses, Baron Lolopretjzyl promises he will try another way.

Not good

Anthony is on his guard and decides as he has a week to take the work to the printer he will try and deliver the Revel papers instead. There are many Revels, (and she is under her husband’s name even though she is a widow), but he happens to luck onto her picture and discover which one she is.

Before he can journey to her, he is attacked by an Eastern European, a member of the Red Hand and after the memoir. He tries to pull  gun on him, but Anthony Cade is not a pushover, he takes him down lickety-split.

Later he is attacked by an Italian waiter, Giuseppe. He manages to stop Giuseppe from harming him, but Giuseppe takes off with the Revel letters.

Not good

Anthony has only been here a day and has already been approached/attacked by three people. What will the next day hold?

The next day Virginia Revel is approached by a man with letters. At first she doesn’t understand why he is here, but then he shows her the signature on the letters! That is her name!

What?!

The blackmailer wants £1000 for the whole lot, and Virginia tells him she will think on his offer and get back to him if he comes over at six the next day.

Now the weird thing is that first of all, Virginia never loved her husband and has enjoyed widowhood. She doesn’t think of herself as a saint or worry about her reputation to the extent of the woman in the letters. Secondly, she never wrote any such letters or had a lover named Captain O’Neil in Paris. This is all so strange and doesn’t make a bit of sense. But at the same time it is extremely thrilling, and Virginia is having fun being caught up in it all.

George arrives to discuss his meeting with Virginia and she tells him about the blackmail.

“[Forty pounds is] only what I pay for an evening dress. It’s just as exciting to buy a new experience as it is to buy a new dress–more so, in fact.”

George asks for her assistance in charming Jimmy McGrath in order to weasel the memoirs out of him. Virginia agrees, but warns that she can’t promise anything.

“I don’t charm as a profession, you know. Often I like people–and then, well, they like me. But I don’t think I could set out in cold blood to fascinate a helpless stranger.”

George was hoping that Virginia would just be a willing dupe to his plans, but she won’t get involved in anything without getting the whole story. She is smart, sassy, and doesn’t let anyone pull the wool over her eyes.

George changes his mind about Virginia and tries to get her not invited, as she will wreck all his plans, but it is too late. Lady Eileen “Bundle” Brent, Lord Caterham’s daughter, has already invited her.

This is not good

Meanwhile, Anthony has gone to the hotel manager and reported the theft. He decides not to call the police, and uses that as leverage to get the info on Giuseppe. Later he is contacted by Mr. Balderson of Balderson and Hodgkins Publishing, the company contracted to print the memoir. They wish to have the memiors now as there are many out there after them and they will not rest until they have finished the contract. They send a Mr. Holmes who pays him the £1000.

That taken care of, Anthony heads off to see Mrs. Virginia Revel and tell her the bad news. As he is heading out he is given a note sent by George Lomax asking him to wait to give the memoirs until he speaks to him and invites him to come down to Chimneys. Anthony writes a letter informing them that he already sent of the memoirs and cannot attend the function signing Jimmy McGrath. Exit McGrath, Enter Anthony.

Meanwhile, that day Virginia had been playing tennis. When she arrives home she sees a handsome man selling poems. So handsome, she wishes she had a real job for him or reason to have him stick around.

Virginia goes inside and finds the whole household gone!

Apparently they received a telegram from Virginia that she wanted her cottage set up as she decided that she was going to head down there for a party. The only one who remained was her french maid, Élise, as she would be needed to prepare clothing and dress Virginia.

Virginia calms down the maid and has her get things ready for Chimneys while she prepares to call the cottage, to set things right, and police to keep an eye on the house. She goes into the next room and sees the blackmailer! She had completely forgotten all about him. As she approaches him she sees that he is dead!

Virginia is unsure what to do and who to call to help. George? No, he is too stuffy and wouldn’t get caught in anything that could possibly damage his political career.

A stuffed shirt.

BIll?! Yes Bill! Oh darn, he already left for Chimneys.

Hmmm….

So Virginia goes outside and asks the handsome young man. She tells him the story of the blackmailing and coming across the body, and strangely enough he believes her and promises to help her. Who is this amazing young man? Anthony Cade.

It is too bad that Virginia and her maid didn’t find the dead man together, that would make things less complicated. As it is, it is pretty murky.

Anthony recognizes the man as Giuseppe, the waiter that stole the letters. Anthony looks at the pistol that shot Giuseppe and asks if it belongs to Virginia. She says no she has never seen it and never owned one in her life. Well that’s strange as this one is engraved, Virginia.

Not good

Anthony knows there are only two things left to do:

  1. Ring up the police, tell the whole story, and trust your position and blameless life.
  2. Try to dispose of the body.

Anthony starts looking through the body to see if there is anything on him to help with this determination. He lucks out finding a note that was caught in the lining of his coat.

Chimneys 11:45 Thursday

Virginia finds this odd as she was supposed to be there at Chimneys today, Thursday.

Anthony figures out that someone must have been trying to get rid of Virginia and keep her from coming to the party. They decide to go with plan B as calling the police means that they won’t be able to make it to Chimneys.Virginia gets rid of her maid, sending her off on an errand and telling her to meet her afterwards at Chimneys. They then decide to get rid of the body.

As they prepare Virginia asks him why a perfect stranger is being so kind, there’s no time for Anthony’s life story; they must be on their way. Virginia heads to Chimneys as she originally planned. Anthony goes on to hide the pistol in a tree, he then leaves the trunk in Paddington station, continuing onto Chimneys.

When he gets there he waits to see what will occur. At 11:45 he hears a shot!

He tries the windows to go inside, but all are locked. No one rises at the sound either. A light springs up in one of the windows on the first floor but then the whole place goes into darkness.

The next day it turns out that one of the guests was murdered! Count Stanislaus was found this morning by a maid.

Lord Caterham calls the police, but George insists that they must have the best, Inspector Battle of Scotland Yard.

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When he arrives they bring in Anthony Cade as they found his boot tracks through the grass when he was out late that night. He’s brought to Chimneys where he tells his story. He changes a bit to leave out Virginia’s part, and lies saying that when he struggled with Giuseppe in the hotel, Giuseppe dropped a note about Chimneys which brought him there.

It is revealed that Count Stanislaus was not the one murdered but Prince Michael Obolovitch. When Battle has Anthony survey the area to look at where the shot came from, Anthony recognizes the body. But not as Prince Michael Obolovitch, but Mr. Holmes, the man Anthony gave the memoirs to.

So we have a dead prince, espionage, mistaken identity, a secret prince, thief unknown as he has picture perfect disguises, stolen and missing cultural treasures; a mystery and a treasure hunt. Anthony and Virginia team up to discover what the truth is.

I thought it was a fantastic book; it is fun, challenging, and just all around fantastic. I just love it and read it again and again.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

It isn’t anything like her later novels, but just all around a great adventure.

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We Are Starting Over Again. A New Chapter: Faking Grace

Day 28) Three, Four, Shut the Door: Doors symbolize new beginnings. Choose a novel where a character has to start over

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Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh

So I’m not sure when I came across this novel. All I know was that I was going through my Goodreads to-read list,

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picking a random page, random number, and clicked on this book. I then requested it from the library and looked the back over. At first I thought it was going to be bad. I mean the story is pretty cliché sounding, a girl pretending to be a Christian, in order to get a job; lying about who she is. I could se where this was going. I started reading a page, but then was completely shocked!

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I thought it was unbelievaly good and couldn’t stop reading.

100pgs

I hated having to stop for work or school.

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It completely blew me away with the great characters, the writing, everything. I just loved it!

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Maizy Grace Stewart is a twenty-six year old woman with a dog, Woofer, who has had to completely restart her career, relocate, and try to rediscover who she is after a horrible break up.

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She has relocated from liberal Seattle, Washington to the buckle of the bible belt, Nashville Tennessee.

After a blow up at work; when her personal empathy got in the way of her investigative, undercover, reporting; causing her to be scooped and humiliated by her boyfriend (who quickly became an X in her life); the only place she could find work was working as a lifestyles columnist, secured by her college mentor and teacher.

Sadly, the job didn’t turn as quickly as she would have liked into more hours or more pay, and having to pay bills she has decided to take on another job. The job is a lowly editorial assistant and only part time; something she would have moved past except for her trainwreck in Seattle. The only problem? It is for the Christian magazine Side Steeple and Maizy isn’t a Christian.

Well that isn’t exactly true. Maizy’s Grandma Grace was a Christian and raised her son to be one, a walk that went aground when he married a non-Christian woman. The two didn’t raise their two girls as Christians, but when Maizy was twelve, her Grandma Grace sent her to a church camp. There she gave her life to the Lord, but since that experience, she hasn’t done anything with her faith; hasn’t read her bible, doesn’t really know anything about Christianity or “being a Christian,”

So how will she be able to score this interview without revealing her history of working for liberal newspapers and lack of knowledge?

Well, where is the best place to go when you need answers?

library-books

Or bookstore

To help her out, Maizy has picked up The Dumb Blonde’s Guide’s to Christianity to help her learn the ropes. All she has to do is read it…which she hasn’t done yet. Speaking of which, her plan?

Maizy Grace Stewart’s 5 Step Program to Authentic Christian Faith

  • Name:
    • ✔ Grace
      • Nice upstanding Christian name–lucked out on that one. Must remember to answer it.
  • Appearance:
    • ✔ Monochromatic Hair
      • so miss my stripes. But under my present circumstances, it’s not as if I can afford to keep up the multiple-shade “do”.
    • ✔ Minimal Makeup
      • Do I feel naked!
    • ✔ Below-Knee Skirt
    • ✔ Button-Up Collar
    • ✔ One -Inch Heels
    • ✔ Cross Necklace and Earrings
    • ✔ WWJD Bracelet
      • I scrunch up my nose. WWJD? Where would Jesus…? Why would Jesus…? I tap the bracelet. Ah! What would Jesus do!
    • ✔ “Love Waits” Ring
  • Accessories:
    • ✔ Bible
    • ✔ Bible Cover
    • ✔ Twist Pen with Seven Different Scriptures
      • One for every day of the week
    • ✔ “Footprints in the Sand” Bookmark
      • Touching poem. And a surprise ending too!
    • ✔ Fish Emblem
    • ✔ “Jesus is my co-pilot” bumper sticker
    • ✔ Crown of Thorns Air Freshener
      • Stinks, but nicely visible–practically screams, “This is one serious Christian.”
  • Christian Speak:
    • ✔ Jesus is my Savior
    • ✔ Jesus died for my sins.
    • ✔ I’m praying for you.
    • ✔ I need to pray about that.
      • Otherwise known as “No way Jose!” Or, in these parts, as the Nashville no.”
    • ✔ Bless his/her heart.
    • ✔ My brother/sister in Christ.
    • ✔ God’s timing.
    • ✔ Have a blessed day.
    • ✔ Yours in Christ
  • Miscellaneous:
    • ✔ Church
      • The one on West End should do–respectable looking and big enough to allow me to slip in and out undetected should I need to place myself in that setting.
    • ✔ Testimony
      • Testimony…guess I’ll have to think up a testimony on my way to the interview.

Maizy, going by Grace now, goes to the interview and gets the job, but discovers that she has no clue what Christians wear, do, act like, or say. She quickly cracks open her Dumb Blonde’s Guide’s to Christianity.

To further complicate things, Grace’s mentor that rents her her apartment and got her the job, had tried to do a story on Side Steeple in the past but it came to nothing. She is dead set that they are hiding all kinds of things abnd that there is a story of hypocrisy just waiting to be found. She gets the managiing editor to hire Grace on full time investigative reporter, but she has to investigate and write a story exposing Side Steeple.

Grace doresn’t feel too good about it, but with the added money and promise of advancement in her career, she takes it.

So know Grace has to keep both lives seperate and keep track of all the lies she has told and to who.

As she starts investigating she finds herself having a hard time airing the dirty laundry. Her boss’ son is a drug addict and she has changed her schedule to nor only support him in rehab, but ficus on her family. Instead of feeling good at this tip, she feels for the woman, espechially as even facing that her boss is always trying to help her.

One of her coworkers, Jem, is sweet and fun. A bit of a gossip, which Grace thought would help at first, but as she spends time with her really starts to care about her. When she discovers that Jem suffers from an eating disorder, instead of crowing over the fact that she can use it, she instead tries to help her.

To top off those feelings of uncertainty, Grace also has to contend with her warring grandma sudenly deciding to visit for two weeks; and a coworker, Jack, who has seen through her facade. Will everythhing fall apart, or will Grace get the story?

As Grace continues to read her guide on Christian kife, she starts to find herself unhappy with herself. Seeing that she is a “cultural Christian“, makes Grace uncomfortable as she doesn’t want to be labeled as such, but os she willing to take a step toward something more?

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I LOVED this book and highly it as it is just hilarious and well written

The story was fantastic. I don’t mind when the same story is done again; as long as 1) it has its own twists, 2) isn’t a shot for shot/page for page remake, and 3) the characters are relatable and have a life of their own.

Just a fun book.

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Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Day 26) Z is for Zombie: Choose a Zombie Retelling of a Classic Novel

Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies #1) by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

When I saw what Z stood for I knew that this was going to be the book I was going to review for it. First of all I have read very little Zombie themed books as that is just not really what I am in to. And secondly, pass up a chance to talk about Jane Austen?

Like that's happen

So I remember when this book was first released. It was right as the teen book world was moving out of wizards (Harry Potter) and Vampires (Twlight, Vampire Diaries, Vampire Academy, etc.), and was searching for a new thing to fill this niche. They settled on Zombies.

ZombiefilmsTheWalkinDead

But not just Zombies. They decided to take it one step further and pair it with Jane Austen.

AA_KnightleyDisapproved

And not just her. After this book, almost every classic was getting some kind of overhaul. We had Little Vampire Women, Sense & Sensibility & Sea Monsters, Jane Eyre: Vampire Slayers, etc.

Bad Sequels psycho-1960-alfred-hitchcock-janet-leigh-pic-21

It was a pretty bad time.

Ew Yuck Gross

Anyways, back to this book. So when it first came out it was a big hit. Everyone was talking about it. Everyone was reading it. The library was backlogged in holds.

ineedthis

I wasn’t really interested until my friend Elise recommended it to me. She really liked it and told me she would let me borrow her book. I was a bit wary as I didn’t understand why Austen needed any “makeover” or “spin” as her books were amazing the way they are. But I’m a sucker for a free book and borrowed it.

blanceTea&Books

I should have remembered:

notwopersonsreadthesamebook

So I read it. And how did I feel afterwards?

Guy you suck!

You suck!

I HATED this book. I thought it was badly done and the parts inserted by Seth Grahame-Smith were horribly written. And a lot of it made no sense.

Whattheheck

But that was seven years ago. Could I still feel the same way?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

Let’s see!

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13 Days Later

I HATE THIS BOOK!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IT IS HORRIBLE! JUST HORRIBLE? HOW CAN PEOPLE LIKE IT? THEY RUIN AUSTEN. Grahame-Smith IS HORRIBLE! EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE. HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

wordICan't say Toy Story

I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT….I could go on for hours.

immatureHowIfeelBones

But you don’t want to hear that over and over, instead let’s dissect everything I hated about this book.

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

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A) So Seth Grahame-Smith takes Jane Austen’s work and doesn’t really write a new story but just swaps out pieces for zombies.

really?

Really?

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B) Mr. Bennet’s Motivation

So the first biggest problem is Mr. Bennet not wanting his daughters married but “engaged in the deadly arts”. But that doesn’t change that the house and money all revert to their cousin because the estate is entailed.

Lady-Mary-DOWNTONABBEYENTAILMENTSUCKS

So if these girls don’t get married how will they live?

Seriously

Seriously

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C) Mr. Bennet Hates His Children

And the way Mr. Bennet hates his daughters? He didn’t hate them in the original book. He thought they were silly and not worth his time, but he didn’t have an outright hatred for them like in here.

That's not how it was in the book!

That’s not how it was in the book!

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D) The “Warrior” Code

In this world “the warrior code demanded she avenge her honor” for the insult that Darcy gave her when he said she wasn’t handsome enough for her. If they can kill for that why didn’t Darcy just kill Wickham?

ooh!

ooh!

I mean it makes no sense. Yeah, he doesn’t want what happened to his sister to taint her or make her an outcast in society, but in this world you can kill someone for an insult. Why didn’t he just kill Wickham and make up that he said an insult. The rules of this world just don’t work.

uh-no-gifuhno

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E) Elizabeth is a Jerk

Lizzie is so freakin’ cruel. She is incredibly mean to her sisters and everyone around her. Just downright cruel.

you're evil

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F) More “Rules” of Society That Don’t Make Sense

It is “unladylike” to bring more serious weapons than daggers and knives to a ball, but is okay for them to kill, flip around, kicking and showing off their lady parts (no underwear like us), etc. Wow Grahame-Smith you aren’t confusing at all.

confused

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G) No Knowledge of Martial Arts

Does Grahame-Smith know anything about martial arts? He has Elizabeth get into a crane position to attack the zombies, but then does a chop on the thigh. That makes no sense at all. Crane positions are for kicking, kicking! Why would you get ready like that and then chop on the leg? It is completely weird and wasteful of energy.

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H) None of the Characters Have a Heart

Mrs Bennet says all Charlotte Lucas deserves is a “crust of bread washed down with a cup of loneliness.” You see? Grahame-Smith is so cruel. None of these people were that mean. They all had faults but they wren’t downright heartless. How does removing the heart and soul of the characters make them better? Huh, Grahame-Smith? How. Well I’ll tell you, it doesn’t. It makes it horrible.

Or an author

Or an author

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I) Mr. Bennet is Abusive

Seriously, the way Mr. Bennet talks to his wife is downright abusive. Thanks Grahame-Smith for ruining a fantastic book.

I don't like it 11

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J) You Need to Reevaluate Your Career Choices

All the girls say that they could make great lives as assassins, bodyguards, or mercenaries. Really? Really? You think with all those in the military eventually coming out of the service that won’t be a problem? And how many people need a bodyguard or assassin? And if they are rich enough to hire assassins, bodyguards or mercenaries, why wouldn’t they just get ninjas from Japan or something? And to top it all off you are really only trained to kill zombies, not people. Slow moving, barely threatening zombies. Not the same thing at all. You don’t have the same training for the others.

Night of the living dead zombie

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K) You Can Pretty Much Kill Anyone for Anything

Mary almost kills Mr. Collins when he insinuates that one of them did the cooking. Now, don’t get me wrong, that is a serious insult. He implies that they are so poor they have to take on the role of a servant putting them on the same level of a domestic. But hey, if that is open for murder why didn’t Darcy just kill Wickham? I mean seriously, I just keep circling back to that.

Why?

Eh?

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L) People Do Not Understand the Levels of Class

I hate how everyone praises that Mr. Bennet says the girls aren’t trained in the kitchen but are trained as warriors. Only one problem, they were never trained for the kitchen. They were too wealthy for that. I blame the Pride & Prejudice (2005), in which they are made to look really dirty,  muddy, with animals running all over the place. They made them look really poor, but the Bennet family wasn’t. They were well-off; the only problem was the estate was entailed and the wealth they had wasn’t theirs to keep, like in Sense & Sensibility. And the reason there is an issue with marrying Mr. Darcy is that his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, is in line for the throne. I mean a lot of people would have to die, but still hypothetically she could become the next queen of England. That means it would eventually come down to him, so who he marries is a big deal.

Get it right!!!!!

Get it right!!!!!

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M) Why Wasn’t There a Duel?

So we have Wickham’s big pack of lies about Darcy and how he dishonored himself and Wickham by not giving him the legacy that was originally promised. One issue with that, if in this world you can kill someone for insults why didn’t Wickham do a duel with Darcy or kill him? Why doesn’t Elizabeth think of that?

BraveheartVictorySwordinAir

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N) All the Innuendo

The sexual innuendo. Come on Grahame-Smith, is sex all you think about. I feel like the girls in Grease 2, refocus your mind.

And that’s what makes Austen so great. She didn’t need cheap paltry things. She created a fantastic novel full of great wit and amazing work. Every sentience piece of art, delightful storytelling, Grahame-Smith not so much.

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O) Front Lines? You Mean No Lines

Elizabeth writes to her aunt that she is on the front lines of battle and prefers it to marriage, love, and family. Only one issue she’s on the front lines of nothing. She’s just hanging out in the country. Front lines would be the battlefield with the soldiers, but Elizabeth isn’t a soldier! She talks as if hired by crown but why isn’t she paid? And she’s only battling the village zombies she’s not even out there fighting where the hordes are coming from. Get off your high horse.

Seriously

Seriously

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P) Why/Where Did the Zombies Come From?

And that’s another thing that bothers me. Why did this happen? How? Why don;t they ever explain?

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Q) Grahame-Smith is a Child

Grahame-Smith is a ten-year old boy. I mean think about it. His obsession with body fluids (poop, pee, vomit, farts, etc.) and likes saying balls as much as he can. It’s the only explanation.

Seriously

Seriously

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R) Charlotte a Zombie?

I hated how they turned Charlotte into a zombie. I thought that was a dumb decision. How can no one notice but Elizabeth? Really?!

stupidmoranhmm_yes_i_see_youre_a_moron_trollcat

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S) Fifty-Five? Schfifty-Five

Fifty-Five years of zombie attacks? How are there that many zombies in existence to keep living? Why did zombies even start? Explain!!!!

totalrecallmachinedestroyargh

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T) The Battle Scenes are the Worse

Let’s talk about my least favorite part-when Elizabeth fights the ninjas. First the way that Lady Catherine talks about being taught by Ninjas. False, ninjutsu wasn’t something you were taught, but passed through families as they were assassins.

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Second Elizabeth fights at least three of them according to the illustration, but when she takes the time to strangle one with its own intestine why didn’t the other ninjas kill her?

Really?

Really?

The second ninja she blocks the throwing stars, and then grabs the last one midair and throws it back unharmed. You grab something moving that fast that sharp, no way. She would have cut her hand. And hands bleed like crazy.

ouch Hermione

The third ninja she just throws her katana and kills him. That easy?! Really Catherine with all her money and fame, that’s the best she could hire.

I don't think so

Oh, and I forgot. Elizabeth did that all blindfolded. Hmm, maybe she was hit by the same radioactive stuff that Daredevil was hit with because I don’t think she could have done that.

uh-no-gifuhno

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U) Elizabeth is a Cannibal?

She rips the heart out of the ninja and starts eating it. First that is serious zombie signs right there, I would have killed her. And second, eating human parts, i.e. a cannibal, makes you go crazy and get extremely sick. She should be totally insane right now.

I'm crazy

I’m crazy

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V) Grahame-Smith’s Mind

Ball joke after ball joke and now fingering? Austen is rolling over in her grave. If she became a zombie and hunted Grahame-Smith down, I wouldn’t mind at all.

immatureHowIfeelBones

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W) Why Won’t They Explain About the Zombies?

They travel to the Orient multiple times? Is the zombie plague just in Europe? Western Europe? In America as well? It would be nice if Grahame-Smith gave a moment to EXPLAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fliptablesangrysurprised

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X) Who?

On pg. 169 Jane and Elizabeth punish Catherine? Catherine who? Do they mean Kitty? Why call her Catherine suddenly? Strange.

SayWhat?BuffyVampireSlayernosense

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Y) Grahame-Smith Does Not Understand Women or Sisters

Elizabeth dreams of cutting off Lydia’s head? Really? Grahame-Smith doesn’t really know how to write female characters or sisters. First he has Elizabeth being mean to Jane, then Mary, and then Lydia. So completely cruel. And that is one of my biggest problems with this book. I hate Elizabeth! She is mean, cruel, harsh, rude, judgmental, and just downright nasty. I dislike her and don’t want to read more about her as I just can’t stand her. Yes Grahame-Smith, you actually took a character I lived and made me hate her. Good job.

dialMforMurder Killer Hate

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Z) Not Hatred, Circumstances

In this book Grahame-Smith makes Mr. Bennet hate Mrs. Bennet as he finds her stupid and dumb. That’s not how it was in the real book. Mr. Bennet married Mrs. Bennet and didn’t realize that they werent well suited until much later on. They lived well together, spending all the money as no need to save, they will have sons. When no sons came each went to the opposite extreme. Mrs. Bennet became so worried and crazed over her “failure” that she threw all her efforts into trying to catch husbands. That’s why she puts the girls “out” all at once, she wants them settled as soon as possible or they will be worse off then the Dashwood sisters. Mr. Bennet took the failure of no male heir and money a different way, he isolated himself in his library and books, trying to escape reality. They didn’t hate each other, they just didn’t really suit each other, drawing farther and farther apart.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

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AA) Elizabeth is a Freak

Elizabeth enjoys listening to the screams of burning zombies. What a sadist and creep.

Gilmore girls creep

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BB) Return of the Bad Fight Scenes

The fight between Lady Catherine and Elizabeth is horrible as well. Leaping all over the place like they are taking part in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or something, The way Lady Catherine attacks, Elizabeth should be dead. Elizabeth stabs Lady Catherine in the stomach but Lady Catherine survives? What, that isn’t even possible. She’s dead, end of story.

stupidestThingeverheard

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CC) Ew, Yuck, and Gross

Words some Catherine’s lips “After I behead her, ninjas you can do what you want with the body”, Grahame-Smith has some serious issues.

Certified Creepo Ribbon

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So yeah I hated it.

Hate YOu

Grahame-Smith just plagiarized someone else’s work changing a few words here and there and making it horrible. Grahame-Smith offends me to my very core. Destroying talented writing with his scribbles.

This is what I would like to do to him

This is what I would like to do to him

Grahame-Smith doesn’t even know how to write. His characters are unlikeable, story underdeveloped, and just all around bad, bad, bad.  Only one thing left to do:

DissedP&P

This is one book you should defintely skip!

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Why I Still Love My Fair Godmother

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For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Austenland

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Is Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade Really Just Pride & Prejudice?

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more Zombies, go to No Mere Mortal Can Resist the Evil of the Thriller: Thriller (1983)

Why I Still Love My Fair Godmother

Day 25) Y is for Young: Choose a junior or Young adult book

my-fair-godmother

My Fair Godmother (My Fair Godmother #1) by Janette Rallison

I first came upon Janette Rallison when I stumbled upon her book, All’s Fair in Love, War, and High School (Pullman High #2). I thought the story was hilarious, fun, the characters were fun; i.e. I just LOVED it!

Iloveit love

I then went on to stalk her work and reading anything published that I could get my hands on: Just One Wish; My Double Life; It’s a Mall World After All; My Unfair Godmother; How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend; Fame, Glory, and Other Things On My To-Do List; Revenge of the Cheerleaders; Playing the Field; and Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Free Throws. 

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But out of all of these, my favorite was and still is My Fair Godmother.

my-fair-godmother

Now you all know I like fairy tales,

FairyTales

I mean I have already reviewed I think four retellings. And this book is the ultimate: you get a combo of two fairy tales, magical creatures, princes, funny situations, and just all around a fantastic book.

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

Yes, even though I’m heading into adulthood more than “young adult”; I still read this book like every three months. I just can’t get enough.

RealLifeVSBookBookedreading

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Chrysanthemum “Chrissy” Everstar wants to attend Godmother University and go from “fair” to full. For extra credit she was sent to the Delano family in Herndon, Virginia the 21st century. There she is to figure out which Delano sister is in need of her services and assist them.

She starts with no-nonsense, older sister Jane. Jane is logical, intelligent, and doesn’t care about clothes, looks, or boys.

the mentalist NoNonsense

She is interested in one boy, Hunter, and he approaches her one day, but it turns out that he is dating her younger sister, Savannah.

What?!

What?!

Jane is upset but then begins to believe that Hunter does like her and rationalize that everything he does means he really loves her.

completelydelusional

But when that moment is shattered she begins an attack on him for hurting him. She gets a makeover, flirts, and does all she can to get other boy’s attentions.

yourlossbabybrokenheartoberyoutoobadsucker

She succeeds in getting his attention and the two date, even though he hasn’t broken up with Savannah.

What jerks

What jerks

I mean seriously, you are her sister!!! You should know better.

jerk_alert32

Anyways, after that heartbreak, Chrissy turned her attentions towards Savannah using her magic to give both sister a happily ever after full of handsome princes, beautiful gowns, and a renewed bond.

TheEnd_Title_2

uh-no-gifuhno

Yes, in the words of my algerbra II math teacher: “You are not passing this class unless you show you work. Even of the answer is correct I need to see how you came to the answer or you will fail.”

do-you-think-im-stupid-do-you-not-see-the-glasses

Professor Goldengill, admissions, is not taking that for the full answer. Before they let Chrissy in, they want the whole story, not part of it. They ask the leprechaun who was assigned to assist her, Clover T. Bloomsbottle, but he isn’t helpful in his information either. Only one thing left to do, call in the memory elves.

I-got-this-reaction-gif

They go in and get the real story.

startrekletsgetstarted

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Savannah Delano

After Savannah Delano blew her money on the perfect prom dress and spent all that time bringing out Jane’s beauty; her boyfriend dumps her.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

And not just dump her, but dump her for her older sister!

yellangrybeastbeautyandthebeast

Understandably, Savannah is upset and doesn’t make the best decisions. She starts with the normal post-boyfriend phases. Eating sugar:

Sugarheartbreakbrokensweet

Getting back and her sister by hiding her stuff

HurtMeHurtYouBack

And by buying a bikini (something her parents have forbidden her to wear) to wear to the big pool party. She hopes to capture the interest of someone else and maybe get Hunter back in the process.

I don't need you

To rub the salt in the wound, Hunter and Jane are trying to fix her up with Hunter’s friend Tristan.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Tristan is nice, but having your ex who dumped you for your sister and then try to fix you up is just too painful and embarrassing.

So embarressed

At the pool party, Savannah removes her contacts for fear of losing them or ruining them with chlorine getting in her eyes. She goes swimming and has the most mortifying night; losing her top, going in the men’s room on accident, etc. After that she is done with life and everything.

Reality Sucks

Enter Chrissy, Savannah’s fair godmother, here to grant her three wishes. Chrissy a gum chewing, bubble headed, heel wearing godmother. Not your usual grade.

Not good

Not good

Savannah is given a contract to sign and told that until her wishes are fulfilled she will be cursed with having to tell the truth or else snakes and toads and such will come sliding out of her mouth.

ew! Gross Yuck

Savannah agrees and tries to figure out what to wish for, this popping out of her mouth:

“I just wish that somehow my life could be like a fairy tale. You know, with a handsome prince waiting for me at the ball, and that somehow when I meet him, everything will work out happily ever after.”

wandstar

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Wish #1: Cinderella

cinderella_shoe_gif

Savannah finds herself sent back to a medieval time and as Cinderella. There she has to serve two evil stepsisters and a stepmother.

Crap

Forced to do backbreaking labor for months that she has no skills or knowledge of doing before. Everyday she calls for Chrissy, but gets no answer.

Ugh great gatsby

Then Prince Edmond, Prince Hugh, and their sister stop by the house when passing through and in need of lodging for the night. There Savannah sees the handsome prince destined for her, is actually nothing but a big jerk.

jerk

She continues to call and call with Chrissy finally answering. Chrissy has sent Savannah long before the ball to learn her lesson. Savannah, however, doesn’t want this and makes a new wish.

“I just…um…I want to feel beautiful and loved, and although I like the idea of having a prince, he has to be more than just handsome and rich. He has to be nice and kind…”

wandstar

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Wish #2: Snow White

snowhite

Savannah now finds herself as Snow White living with seven dwarves. Apparently Snow White isn’t the brightest bulb of the bunch as the dwarves treat her like an imbecile.

galaxyquestrollseyesugh

And Savannah can’t do anything to show she is intelligent as she doesn’t know their names, doesn’t know how to make bread, doesn’t know how to make soup, and doesn’t know the people in the town.

I don't know what to do

After a truly embarrassing scene where she tries to outwit the tale of her poisoning to only confusing a harmless widow with the witch’s change of appearance:

EvilQueenSnowWhite

She then tries to convince the group she is from another time as Chrissy won’t return her calling her and she doesn’t know what else to do. They don’t believe her and plan to do some bloodletting to remove the crazy.

Run Away

Chrissy finally comes and Savannah makes her third wish.

“I don’t want to be in some medieval fairy tale. I want to live back home with my family. When I said I wanted a prince, I didn’t mean somebody from history or the pages of a storybook. I meant that I wanted that type of guy, but I wanted him from my own day and age. I want a boyfriend who is nice, kind-and handsome too, but that’s not the most important thing. As I’ve thought about Jane and Hunter during my time here, I realized that the problem was that he never liked me, he just liked what I looked like. He always wanted someone who was more like Jane and when they met, well, it was just bound to turn out that way. So I want someone who is loyal and has integrity-but most important I want a guy who likes my personality…And okay, I admit that in the past I haven’t applied myself in school like I should have, but I’m turning over a new leaf, so I want a guy who is smart too. And I want this guy to go to prom with me.”

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Back Home

Savannah is thrilled to be home again, to her it has been months (one week there equals one hour in our time) but the family thinks she has just been in her room for hours; Chrissy’s magic not perfect as it should be as if no time has passed like in Narnia. And after being forced to eat medieval food, she pigs out and enjoys modern living.

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But then Savannah goes to school and hears Tristan is missing.

Not good

Not good

She starts to suspect what might have happened, with Chrissy confirming it. Chrissy has sent him back to the medieval time that Savannah was in. He has to become a prince or else he can’t come home again. Savannah tries to wish him out, but can’t as she has used up all her wishes already.

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She tries to get help from Clover, setting up a leprechaun trap, but he will only help is she promises to send him and his gold back to Ireland.

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Ugh! My life!

She agrees, and Clover points out that in the contract she can oversee her wishes. Therefore Chrissy can send her back to that time so she can aid Tristan. Savannah returns her prom dress and uses the money to buy a costume dress to wear, along with paying the postage to send Clover back. But before leaving she uses all her knowledge of the times to pack items that she can use to barter and will help them: aspirin, spices, costume jewelry of glass, silverware, etc.

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She also makes Jane promise to mail the package for her as she has no time to waste.Eventually Chrissy answers her and Savannah finds herself back in time.

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Wish #3: Turn Tristan into a Prince

When Tristan meets her he is less than happy, having spent about five months in medieval times due to her wish. Savannah explains she didn’t mean it, and she had just gotten cheated on and dumped for her older sister. This softens Tristan.

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

She shows Tristan the items she brought and he explains what must be done in order for him to become a prince. He needs to kill a cyclops, a dragon, and defeat a mysterious black knight.

ouch Hermione

The next day he goes to get fitted for armor, while Savannah runs into a wizard. There she trades some items to get a potion switching elixir. If she kisses anyone or is kissed (or licked by an enchanted animal) she will find herself trading enchantments with that person (or animal). This becomes increasingly hard as she finds herself falling for Tristan, but unable to share about her curse or show her feelings as she can’t get the enchantment to become a prince. She’ll never be able to go home!

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Savannah calls for the black knight, and ends up getting him to kiss her, swapping his invincibility for her only being able to tell the truth. She then tries to help Tristan fight the cyclops, making a mess and having to be rescued.

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Not in this case.

However things get even more complicated when Jane and Hunter arrive (having opened the box and striking a deal with Clover), the Princess wants to get rid of Savannah, both Princes appear to be fighting over her, and it turns out that she is still living out her Cinderella and Snow White wishes. This means not only does she have to go to the ball, where Edmond will fall for her, but Snow White’s stepmom is still trying to kill her.

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Will Savannah be able to save Tristan and get back home? Or will she be doomed to spend the rest of her days in Medieval Times?

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I love this book so much and think it is the penultimate for any fairy tale fan. I also just love Tristan, he is beyond the perfect guy.

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If only he were real:Dateficchar

So yes, go to your local library or bookstore and pick up your copy today!

SeizetheBook

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Xactly Why I Think Beastly is An Xcellent Story

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For more fairy tales, go to At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

For more on Cinderella, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more on Snow White, go to Snow White of A Day

For more sisterly rivalry, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more Audrey Hepburn, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen
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And once again:

Merry Christmas

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“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)

Xactly Why I Think Beastly is An Xcellent Story

Day 24) X is for X: Choose a book whose author has an X in their name

Say What

An X?

Wow

I couldn’t think of anything, of any name that had an X in it. I decided that I would just shelve it for now and come back to it later.

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But then the days passed and we grew closer and closer to the 24th and I had no idea what to pick.

I don't know what to do

But then my friend returned my book Beastly, by AleFlinn, that I had let her borrow. I looked at it and I knew!

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This was the book I was going to use for my X.

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Beastly (Kendra Chronicles #1) by Alex Flinn

So I don’t know exactly how I stumbled onto this book. But I read it, loved it, and then went on to read everything else Flinn wrote.

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Flinn is a master teller at taking fairy tales and rewriting them in modern times with youth audiences and characters.

FairyTales

Now I read this years ago, a few years after it was published and just absolutely loved it. Then I heard the movie was coming out based on it, and tracked that film; so excited to see it on the screen and dragging two of my friends with me. But then I saw it:

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It was horrible. I did not like it one bit. They just cut the heart and soul of the book leaving a shadow of what it was. The book was much better.

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Now when I first read the book I had only previously seen Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and read the tale it was based on. Since then, I have seen a few other things and I have noticed that Flinn pulls from both La Belle et la Bête

And the Beauty and the Beast TV show from the ’80s.

In fact one of the characters is called Lindy in the book and Linda Hamilton played “Belle” in the TV show. Coincidence? I think not. Plus the way he looks, the way he protect Lindy, havoc on the subway, etc.

Well that’s enough of that, let’s check out the book.

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So we start in a way I have never seen a retelling of a fairy tale start before. With IMing between a bunch of different fairy tale characters. We have the little mermaid from The Little Mermaid, the Bear from Snow White and Rose Red, the frog prince from The Frog Prince, and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast,  And who is the chat room run by? Mr. Anderson.

No, not that Mr. Anderson. Anderson as in Hans Christian Andersen.

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So then we flashback to how our Beast, became a beast.

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Part 1: A Prince and a Witch

Kyle Kingsbury is a freshman at a private school, Tuttle, and the son of the very wealthy news anchor, Rob Kingsbury. Kyle is a perfect dreamboat, utter perfection in height, looks, etc.

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But while the outside is a treat, how he acts is the exact opposite.

Jerk

All he cares about is his looks and popularity, hurting and being cruel to others around him. This year they are getting ready for homecoming and have their election for freshman Prince, of which Kyle is nominated. As they start voting, one person speaks out.

I don't think so

Kendra Hilferty is not what most would call beautiful. She has a strange green hair, is rather plain, and dresses in black “gothish” type clothing. She is upset about how this contest is all about looks instead of who they are, telling Kyle he is ugly where it really counts.

Ugly

Kyle is angry over what Kendra said so he decides to play a trick on her. He invites her to the Homecoming dance, all the while planning on going with his real girlfriend, Sloane, and roasting Kendra.

She'll get what's coming to her.

She’ll get what’s coming to her.

When Sloane hears that Kyle will be going with Kendra, she is livid, but Kyle calms her down when he tells her about his “joke”. Kyle doesn’t really like Sloane, she’s really annoying and bratty, but she is the hottest girl and after tonight is going to let him come to her house while her parents are out…well as long as he brings an orchid.

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Kyle goes home and tries to talk to his dad, but he doesn’t care. Kyle doesn’t have a mom as she left years ago and has never tried to contact him. His dad is super shallow and only cares about himself and his needs, never thinking of his child or the example he is setting.

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That night Kyle is ready to go to the ball, dance I mean (I’m reading too many fairy tales), when it turns out his maid Madga didn’t buy the orchid but bought a single, white rose. Sloane is furious about there being no orchid and refuses to have the rose. However, there is a scholarship student taking the tickets who exclaims over its beauty. Kyle gives it to her, the only genuine, nice thing he has ever done.

How sweet!

How sweet!

When Kendra arrives and discovers what he has done she tells him he will pay for what he has done and will be as ugly on the outside as he truly is on the inside.

She'll get what's coming to her.

She’ll get what’s coming to her.

Kyle is upset, and scared, but continues to do what is expected as Prince of Homecoming. But at twelve o’clock that night Kendra appears to him and reveals she is a witch, and Kyle is turned into a beast.

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NOOOOOOO!

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Part 2: The Beast

When Kyle’s father discovers the transformation, he carts him all over the United States to see what they can do. But nothing can change him.

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He cuts his hair, it grows back. He slices his skin, it instantly heals. Kendra gives him a magic mirror that allows him to see anyone he wants, and she uses it to “call” him throughout the book. Nothing can destroy him, and nothing can change him back except if he could find someone to love him in this bestial form. And he has two years, because of his gift of the rose, to find it or be stuck as a beast forever!

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And this is what I don’t like about the film. They just give him a bunch of tattoos, but that isn’t as hard to love as something that doesn’t even look human. Plus they cut out how long he has to be a beast, removing his first year of angst, anxiety, and depression and being pushed apart from the rest of the world.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

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Part 3: The Castle

Yes, Kyle’s father can’t stand the sight of him and ships him off to an old brownstone in Brooklyn which has old windows that can’t open and no one can come in and see him. He sends Magda to take care of him and things to amuse him.

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Kyle decides that he is no longer Kyle. After careful consideration, he chooses Adrian as it speaks of his new nature. He tries to find love online, but Kendra warns him that won’t work.

I don't think so

After deciding he will spend the rest of his life alone, he blackmails his father into providing him a tutor. The father complies, but selects a blind tutor, that way no one will hear of what his son is.

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Will, the tutor, comes into Adrian’s life and he and Magda become his only friend, besides those who also have been transformed that he IMs. This is really interesting as they follow what occurs in those stories too.

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Adrian discovers that Will used to have sight, but lost it as he aged. Magda had a family, but they weren’t allowed into the country so she is alone now. Adrian calls Kendra and works a deal that if he finds his love to break the spell, Kendra will grant the wishes of the others.

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Adrian begins to read and study as he has nothing else in his life.

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Something else he does with his time is watch people from his former life and school. One day he looks up the girl he gave the rose to, Lindy. Lindy is from a poor neighborhood and is a scholarship student. Her father is a drug addict and pusher, and she tries as hard as she can to take care of him. She spends as much time as she can reading, the library being her refuge.

LibraryOK

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Part 4: The Intruder in the Garden

One night everything changes. Adrian hears a crash and discovers that someone is trying to break into the house.

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He goes to protect it and threatens the man with police. The man, in fear for his life, offers to trade his daughter for his life. He shows Adrian a picture and it is Lindy.

Whattheheck

Adrian is horrified that he would do such a thing, but accepts as he wants to protect her and has hope that maybe she is the one to break the spell.

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Lindy moves in, and things do not go according to Adrian’s plan. Lindy is furious and wants to leave. Will at first feels the same way, but after meeting her father agrees with Adrian’s solution.

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After giving him a lot of time, Lindy starts to come around as she is just as lonely. At first she is weirded out by Adrian’s appearance, but as their friendship grows she begins to enjoy being around him.

Beauty&theBeastLibrary

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Part 5: Time Lapses, Autumn and Winter

Adrian begins to care more about Lindy’s feelings than his own desires to have the curse broken and gets his dad to rent them a place in the country where they are freer to roam and hangout. He also decides to release Lindy from her commitment to stay with him, and she decides to remain there.

How sweet!

How sweet!

However, one night Lindy says how she is worried about her father and Adrian shows her the mirror. When she looks into it, she sees her father, sick and shaking. She leaves to go take care of him and promises to return.

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Months pass and no Lindy.

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Adrian starts to become depressed and decides that he will be a beast forever.

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They move back to the brownstone and still no Lindy.

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Adrian watches her in the mirror but she never comes to him. All have given up hope except Magda, who keeps encouraging Adrian. It comes down to the final day and still no Lindy.

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Then at night Adrian hears Lindy scream and looks her up in the mirror. She is being held up for money owed by her dad. Adrian takes off in the subway, not caring who sees him, but going to her aid.

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When he arrives, the other pusher is so freaked at his appearance he shoots Adrian, who continues to run at him tossing the gun aside and saving Lindy. As Adrian starts bleeding, Lindy says the words he has always desperately wanted to hear:

Beauty and the Beast

Instantly, he is transformed into Kyle again.

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Part 6: Happily Ever After

The police come and after they deal with that mess they return to the brownstone. When they get there it is revealed that Magda is really Kendra.

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She too had to serve a sentence and Kyle’s breaking of his spell has allowed her to return home to her family. Will’s eyes are healed and three pick up their lives; Will teaching at Tuttle and Lindy and Kyle attending. They continue to live at the brownstone, a happy family, with Kyle being a better person.

Carl and her married!!!

In the end we hear from the chat group how each has completed their own journey, some with happy endings and others with ones that were not quite what they expected.

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It was a great book and I just LOVE it.

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I highly recommend it for any fairy tale fan.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previos post, go to There’s a Cyclone Coming: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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For more Alex Flinn, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

For more on Beauty and the Beast, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more fairy tales, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days

For more Audrey Hepburn quotes, go to At Midnight, Your Coach Will Become a Pumpkin Again, and the Animals Will Regain Their Original Shape Until Your Next Ball: Ella Enchanted

For more on Hans Christian Anderson, go to I Will Not Bend, I Will Not Break

For more G. K. Chesterton, go to A Book Only a Reader Could Write

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Let me just start with this, George you will be missed.

So as this book is about true and false love, I decided to go with the song that has been on the radio nonstop, Last Christmas by Wham!

I love Wham! I’ve been obsessed with them for a looong time. This isn’t my favorite by them, for the longest time I didn’t even like this song; but after hearing it on the radio constantly I grew to really love it.

It was written by the late, great George Michael and tells the tale of someone giving their heart to someone, only to have it broken as they were unfaithful.

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But luckily they find someone to give their heart to that will protect it.

It has been extremely popular and been constantly redone by other artists. Wham! is my favorite, not just because I love the band, but because it is nice to hear the broken heart from a guy’s point of view instead of always a woman.

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For more ’80s music, go to No Mere Mortal Can Resist the Evil of the Thriller: Thriller (1983)

For more Christmas Carols, go to It Looks…as Though We are Being Kidnapped: Five Were Missing

There’s a Cyclone Coming: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Day 23) W is for Weather: Choose a book where the Weather plays a major role

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Oz #1) by L. Frank Baum

I was first introduced to The Wizard of Oz because of the film. It was one of my mom’s favorites and we would watch it over and over again.

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I first read the book when I was first in my early teens, and was surprised how much of her journeys and the things she had to go through were taken out of the final production.

Say What

I then went on to read the whole entire series, 14 books. Out of all of them, the best of course is the first: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

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I love this book and have read it over and over again.

Overandoverreadabookoscarwilde

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The story of The Wizard of Oz follows the adventure’s of Dorothy Gale as she, and her dog, Toto, are accidentally transported by tornado from her uncle and aunt’s home in Kansas to the magical land of Oz.

When she arrives, it turns out that she has crushed the Wicked Witch of the East with her house. The Munckins and the Good Witch of the North (not Glinda) are so thankful for her help in stopping the evil witches control of their land, they give her a banquet, but all Dorothy wants is to go home.

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They tell her to follow the yellow brick road to the Wizard and ask him for help. The Good Witch of the North gives Dorothy a kiss on the forehead to protect her and gives her the silver shoes the Witch of the East was wearing. Yes silver. They changed the color in the film as they wanted them to stand out.

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Dorothy continues her way to the Wizard when she comes across the Scarecrow who has just been made that morning. He comes along with her as he hopes to get a brain.

They later find a woodsman made out of tin, rusted in place. The tin man used to be a real man and feel in love with a munchkin girl. She lived with a witch who cursed his ax, so when he tried to cut down a tree, he cut a limb. He had one made out of tin, and this continued until he was completely made out of tin and no longer wanted to marry the girl as he has no heart. He joins the group in the hopes of getting a heart and they continue on.

They run into a Lion who knocks them all aside and out of the way. He tries to get Toto, and Dorothy comes up and smacks him on the nose. It turns out that the lion is just a coward, trying to be tougher than he is. He comes along with the group to try to get some courage.

They continue on their trip and run into a poppy field. As they journey through it, all but the Tin Man and Scarecrow fall asleep.

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They save Dorothy, but can’t carry the Lion out. However, when they reach the other side the Tin Man saves a mouse who turns out to be a Queen. She helps them by getting her mice to carry the remaining group out.

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They continue to the Wizard, where they are forced to wear green glasses; entering the Emerald city of Oz. They each go see the Wizard, but he appears in different forms: a beautiful woman, fireball, giant head, a horrible beast. He tells them he cannot grant them anything, until they kill the Wicked Witch of the West.

Not good

They head out to get her, although they don’t really want to kill anyone, but here we go. When they leave, the glasses are removed and it turns out that the things they thought they were wearing that were “green” were actually white.

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They head out to find the witch, but she spots them with her telescopic eye. She sends wolves to kill them, but the Tin Man stops them all. She then sends out crows out to kill them, and peck them up; but the scarecrow stops them. Then she tries to send bees, but the Tin Man destroys them. Next are the Winkies, but the Lion’s roar, scares them off. She then uses the golden cap to send for the Winged Monkeys.

The monkeys destroy the scarecrow and the tin man; carrying off the lion, Toto, and Dorothy. Dorothy becomes her slave, and the Lion is put in a cage.

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The Witch wants the shoes, but can’t do anything to Dorothy while she is wearing them. The only time Dorothy takes them off is when she bathes and sleeps, water and the dark being the two things that frighten the Witch the most.

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The witch tricks Dorothy out of one of her shoes, and Dorothy, so angry, throws water on her. She melts.

The Winkies are so excited to be free they help repair the scarecrow and the Tin Man. They are extremely good at metalwork and ask the Tin Man to return to rule them.

The group now face the problem that they don’t know how to get back to the Emerald City as they were carried by the monkeys. They call the Queen of the Mice, but she tells them to use the Golden Cap to call the Winged Monkeys.

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Dorothy now controls the monkeys, and they take them to the Wizard. The King of the Monkeys reveals they were put under enchantment by the sorceress, Gayelette, when they played a prank on her and her fiancé. Dorothy can use them two more times.

They return to Oz, only to discover that there is no great Wizard.He tells them his story about how he came in a balloon and everyone thought he was a Wizard, and he just continued with it; having no one see him as he didn’t want them to know he was a fraud.

He thinks about how to grant everyone’s request and has them each return the next day to help them. First he makes a brain for the Scarecrow out of bran, oats, etc. He mixes it with water, and using pins puts it in his head.Then he makes a pillow heart, and cuts the tin man placing it in; re-soldering the body. For the Lion he makes a disgusting mixture and has him drink it. All that is left is Dorothy.

suspicious Hmm

The Wizard decides to make a hot air balloon for him and Dorothy, leaving the Scarecrow to rule in his place. They then decide to set out, but Toto chases a cat and Dorothy takes off after him. The balloon goes off as the Wizard can’t go back down, he doesn’t know how to really work the balloon. He flies off….but don’t worry he comes back in book 4, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.

They use the cap to call the Monkeys, but they can’t travel out of Oz. They then are told by one of the Emerald City’s soldiers that the only thing left to do, is see Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. They head out having to pass a forest of fighting trees.

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They then pass through a china town, that is a town made purely out of China figures. Dorothy tries to take one with her, but she begs to remain in her town where she can stay alive.

Then they pass through a jungle ruled by a horrible spider beast. The Lion destroys him, and they ask him to return and rule them.

Afterwards they see an impossible mountain to cross, and use the last call to the Monkeys to see Glinda. Glinda sees the shoes that Dorothy is wearing and tells them that they can take her anywhere. Glinda asks for the cap and uses her first call to send the Scarecrow back to Oz, the second to send the Tin Man back to the Witches castle in the Winkies’, and the Lion back to the Jungle. She then frees the monkeys.

She tells Dorothy all she needs to do is click her heels three times and she will be home again.

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As she travels, Dorothy loses her shoes. She runs home to Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, glad to finally be home.

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Here are a few things I noticed this time that I hadn’t really thought of before.

  • Even though the scarecrow is “brainless” he is the smartest in the bunch always coming up with the ideas of what to do next. Whether getting himself off the pole, outwitting the Kalidahs, crossing a river, etc.
  • Brains are the only things worth having in this world, no matter whether one is a crow or a man.” Pg. 26 How true.
  • The Tin Man says he is “heartless”, but he is careful not to even step on a bug, and cries at the idea of hurting or killing anyone.
  • Dorothy is just a little girl, but is incredibly brave and strong. She faces all kinds of trials to get home, when she sees the Lion attacking her dog, she immediately goes to protect him, etc. That’s a lot for a child to go through and not give up and hardly ever cry. She even defies the Witch by feeding the Lion secretly at night.
  • The Lion is a “coward”, but the first to go and help his friends.
  • Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on the Earth the more experience you are sure to get.” Pg. 123
  • True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid…” Pg. 123

A fantastic book and one that I just love to read many, many times. Don’t try and take it away.
TakeMyBooks

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Earlier this month, we had a tea party and each had to create our own table. The theme was shoes to represent the journey we had been on through the year. My friend and I decided to do The Wizard of Oz.

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This is our table. For cups we did Mason jars in Gingham ribbon as people in the Midwest don’t use glasses, but mason jars. Each person who came got a poppy hair piece and red sparkly heart ornament. I put two black and white straws in each cup, with red shoes made out of Swedish fish. In the center we have a runner that is decorated like the yellow brick road. In the middle I put books for height and color, with the one standing up being none other than my copy of The Wizard of Oz. We had sparkly shoes, but they weren’t ready yet so I substituted my own to place everything on the table.

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My friend then painted a scene of the Emerald city, the glasses we choose being similar to the design of the city in the book illustrations.

And lastly, King Monkey

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I choose to make the monkey out of black and white striped socks as those are what the Wicked Witch of the West wears in the film. I don’t make monkeys really that much as I am rather slow sewer, but if you are interested I learned from this video and she sells Sock Monkeys. She might make you a winged one of your own if you request it.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to It Looks…as Though We are Being Kidnapped: Five Were Missing

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For more on The Wizard of Oz go to A Little Monkey Business: Chinese New Year

For more tea parties, go to It’s Always Tea Time

For more on Llyod Alexander, go to She’s Still Preoccupied With 1985

For more Jane Austen Quotes, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

For more Oscar Wilde, go to Austenland

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So as Dorothy really wants to go home throughout the book:

“I cannot understand why you would wish to leave this beautiful county and go back to the dry, gray, place you call Kansas.’

‘That is because you have no brains,’ answered the girl. ‘No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.”

Leaving me to choose the song: Home For the Holidays. The music was composed by Robert Allen, while the lyrics were written by Al Stillman.

I choose the version by Karen Carpenter as I think it is one of the best.

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For more Karen Carpenter, go to The Unknown Princess Nevermore

For more Christmas Carols, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

It Looks…as Though We are Being Kidnapped: Five Were Missing

Day 22) V is for Vanished: Choose a book with a missing person

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Five Were Missing (originally published as Ransom) by Lois Duncan

So I have just discovered that Lois Duncan past away in June of this year. I would like to dedicate this post to her amazing style and storytelling.

And I truly mean it

And I truly mean it

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So as I have said before, I love libraries:

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I have always thought the library was the best place to be:

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I used to just roam the stacks looking for the next thing to read and become emotionally invested in.

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One day as I was looking, I found this book Ransom by Lois Duncan. I had never heard of Duncan before and had never read her books, so boy was I in for a surprise.

Wow

Wow

She has written all kinds of novels but is most known for her teenage suspense books. She is an amazing writer in how she crafts her characters. Just fantastic.

Iloveit love

After this I read Killing Mr. Griffen, and there are the rest of her books I am planning on reading and haven’t gotten to yet.

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Another reason why this book is so perfect to review is not only do I give you not one but FIVE missing people, and this year marks the book’s 50th anniversary!

Carl and her married!!!

Carl and her married!!!

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The day started off normal for the group of kids taking the bus from school to their neighborhoods. So as the bus takes the children to all their destinations, the driver makes a lot of mistakes.

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Bruce Kirtland offers to help the new bus driver, directing him to every stop.

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After that five kids remain, all headed for the housing development called Valley Gardens, the “rich” part of town. Even with Bruce, the new bus driver passes right by. He goes way past it and then heads off to pick up “a friend.”

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His friend turns out to be the muscle.

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And they are being kidnapped.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes these five will have to work together to figure a way out of this.

Not good

First we have Marianne Paget. Her father and mother divorced a few years ago, leaving her mother with nothing but the house. Her mother remarried, a boring newspaper writer, Rod Donovan, who is nothing like her father. Rod actually tried to pick her up from school, but she defiantly refused. The only bright spot in being kidnapped is that her mother will have to call her father to ask for money. This might cause them to be reunited, the Paget family again! That is, if she survives. But tough little Marianne will learn some family secrets during this trial.

Crap

Glenn Kirtland was taking the bus because his car was at the shop being worked on. If he had had it, him and Marianne would have been out of there. He’s not that upset about being kidnapped or the money; but the fact that he superjock and most popular guy is being kidnapped, like a wimp or loser. Glenn is set on getting out of there, no matter what, even though his parents have enough money.

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Bruce Kirtland, Glenn’s little brother, is a freshman and in most eyes; a “nobody”. He doesn’t care as he loves his brother and doesn’t mind being in his shadow. He pulls his strength from Glenn, but before this over he will learn a lot about his brother and himself.

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Jesse French is an army brat and has been all over the world. She has grown up mostly home-schooled and spending a lot of time by herself. Her mother wants her to have a normal life and friends, so they rent a house in Valley Gardens. Her mother is disappointed as nothing seems to have changed with Jesse.  But now Jesse will have to draw on all her inner strength, army training, to get through this ordeal. Especially as her family has no money to pay a ransom.

Wecandoit

Dexter Barton is from New York and also a recent transplant to the area. Having suffered from polio as a child, he cannot use his right side as well, the most trouble being in his arm. He fell in love with a girl, but when he overheard her cruel words about his body, it created a chip on his shoulder as he isolates himself from everyone. When his parents die in an accident, he is sent to live with his uncle in New Mexico, residing in Valley Gardens. His uncle is rich, but never around, something that doesn’t bother Dexter as he prefers being alone. But now, with his uncle being unreachable, how will he get out of here?

Suspense have to know

Will these kids make it out okay? Or will this be their last bus ride?

answerabook

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Just fantastic! I loved it so much that when I came across an old copy I bought it instantly and read it thoroughly. I highly recommend that you all read it and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

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For more on kidnapping, go to But the Book, It Will Never Close…: Along Came a Spider (2001)

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As we are talking about kidnapping and trying to get away, what better song than Run, Rudolph, Run also known as Run, Run, Rudolph.

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This song was written by Johnny Marks, the one who wrote Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Marvin Brodie. It was sung by Chuck Berry in 1958 and was #69 in the top 100 of 1958 and peaking on #36 on the UK list of 1963.

It has been in ton of Christmas films, like my favorites Home Alone:

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And Jingle All the Way:

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A great and fun, fast paced, rockin’ song.

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For more on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, go to I Hate Those Kinds of People

For more Christmas carols, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

People Have to Snatch at Happiness When They Can in This World. It is Always Easier to Lose Than to Find: O Pioneers!

Day 21): U is for Unhappy: Choose a book with an Unhappy ending

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O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy #1) by Willa Cather

I was first introduced to the work of Willa Cather when one summer I was trying to read through a list of classics provided by Barnes and Noble. (The same list that lead me to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin.) Of course I never finished it:

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However, two of the book I read during that time were My Antonia and O Pioneers!. I read O Pioneers! second, not knowing it was the first book and while I enjoyed My Antonia I loved O Pioneers! more.

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And it makes me really upset that no one knows about this book.

Say What

I KNOW! It is a fantastic book but no one knows about it. It is hard to even purchase as I wanted to buy a copy for my friend, but amazon didn’t have it or Barnes & Nobles. Crazy! So why is this book fantastic? Let’s take a look.

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So the book is just under 200 pages and divided into three parts.

PART I: THE WILD LAND

The story takes place in Nebraska, the Bergsons are a  Swedish family of seven who immigrated to America for a better life, but found the prairie not as promised. The father, John, went into serious debt, but was finally able to pay it off. He owns six hundred and forty acres of the original homestead, and three hundred and twenty acres given to him by his brother when he pulled out. Just as it seemed he might be able to tame the land, he becomes ill and at age 46, is going to die.

Why?

Why?

For weeks he has been thinking what to do next, when he decides that everything must be left to his daughter Alexandra to control.

Whattheheck

This book was published in 1913, but takes place in 1883. And even though he has two sons who come before Alexandra he recognizes in her his own spirit. While his sons Lou and Oscar are hardworking they just don’t have the business acumen.

“It was Alexandra who read the papers and followed the markets, and who learned by the mistakes of their neighbors. It was Alexandra who could always tell about what it cost to fatten each steer, and who could guess the weight of a hog before it went on the scales closer than John Bergson himself. Lou and Oscar were industrious, but he could never teach them to use their heads about their work.” pg. 15

On his deathbed, John calls all the kids together and makes them promise to keep the land and listen to Alexandra, there will be no quarreling. When each wishes to marry they can divide the land, but until then they must follow Alexandra.

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Even though the boys do not like being put under their sister, they agree to their father’s wishes.

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Six months later, the Bergsons invite their friend and neighbor Carl Linstrum to visit “Crazy” Ivar. Lou and Oscar make fun of him,

I'm crazy

He’s crazy

But Alexandra values his advice and knowledge of animals.

Topthorn War HOrse

Ivar suffers from some kind of mental affliction, one not stated as most likely at that time they had no name for it. Sometimes he spouts wisdom, other days nonsense. He likes to live as far away from people as he can. While he suffers from these eccentricities his knowledge of animals is without competition. He has a pond where all kinds of birds come to visit, as they know he will not shoot them, as he has an aversion to guns.

Now one of the reasons this book is so good is the character of Alexandra. While others see the craziness of Ivan and brush him off, she listens to his advice and follows it, it turning out very well. What a person looks like, or acts like doesn’t matter to her; she values their hard work, their wisdom, and their heart. And she doesn’t care what others think of her.

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After their father’s death, the Bergsons clan did well.

Double double yay

But then the drought came, an with it three years of nothing but failure.

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It is at this time we see a divided family as to what to do next. Many people have left the “promises” of the prairie to follow the “promises” of St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco, Alaska, etc.

Good-bye

Good-bye

Carl Limstrom comes to tell Alexandra that his family is leaving to St. Louis. This is heartbreaking, as Alexandra and him have fallen in love. Alexandra doesn’t want him to go, but Carl won’t have him and his family be a drag on their finances, after all, Carl is no farmer. But Carl promises that he won’t forget her but will work hard for her.

“I’ll write as long as I live…And I’ll be working for you as much as for myself, Alexandra. I want to do something you’ll like and be proud of. I’m a fool here, but I know I can do something!” pg. 34

you deserve better

This is the first part of what makes this book so sad. Alexandra doesn’t care about that Carl, she just wants you! But Alexandra understands how you feel and how you don’t want to enter a marriage being a drain on your wife, you want to be equal.

And even though you really want Carl to stay with Alexandra, you respect him for not wanting to use her inheritance and enter the relationship having her take care of him. He knows Alexandra is the greatest thing in the world and wants to show her he is worthy of her love.

Fredrick Wentworth

But poor Alexandra

[To Carl’s retreating form] Since you have been here, ten years now, I have never really been lonely.” pg 35

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

The boys are worried about what will happen next with the sweet potatoes seeming to be the only thing really living on. They want to sell out and move to the cities, where opportunity really is. Or trade their land for the river as that land is much better than the kind they have.

We need to get out of here

We need to get out of here

Alexandra of course doesn’t go on feelings, whispers, or what others tell her to do. She thinks on it long and hard, researching into what would be the best decision.

Thinking Hmm

She and her younger brother Emil travel to the river to examine the land. After reviewing everything and thinking on it; she decides that the thing to do is to mortgage their land with the bank and buy up as much land as they can. The boys of course are skeptical of this plan. Six more years of working off a loan? And what if the land prices don’t soar, what if the drought continues on, what if, what if?

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But Alexandra sees the way to go:

“The men in town who are buying up other people’s land don’t try to farm it. They are the men to watch, in a new country. Let’s try to do it like the shrewd ones and not like the stupid fellows.” pg. 43

The boys know this will be going against all the others and they don’t want to be viewed by others as crazy.

But Alexandra is certain, and they follow her. Alexandra is pleased as she watches the land knowing that the future is stirring.

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PART II: NEIGHBORING FIELDS

It has been sixteen years since the death of John Bergson, now being 1899. In the years that have passed, his wife has passed on as well. The land is producing much, telephone wires zig zag the prairie, and the area is thickly populated as more have arrived to stake their home there too.

Emil has achieved Alexandra’s dream and gone on to attending the university and doing well in sports. He is tall, handsome, charming and all the girls in the area wish for a moment with him, as brief as it could be.

swoon dreamy

But he isn’t interested in any of them.

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Their old friend Marie Tovesky, now Mrs. Shabata, a Bohemian, has moved back to the prairie she used to visit as a young girl now a neighbor to the Bergsons.

And how are the Bergson’s doing? Any one could tell you that they have the richest farm on the Divide, and that was all due to the woman farmer, Alexandra.

Alexandra

Alexandra, that is.

One of the things I like about Alexandra is that Cather created a character that is intelligent, strategical, yet still feminine. With today’s modern works it always feels like an either/or situation. Either they are pretty or smart. They are intelligent and masculine or an airhead and feminine. Alexandra has extreme intelligence but also enjoys doing housework, baking, and as beautiful as she is brainy.

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The older brothers are married and have their own sections of land as they began families, but Alexandra has the most of land and wealth. Emil comes back and forth between Alexandra’s home and school; and there is one more addition.

Carl and her married!!!

Carl and her married!!!

No not Carl.

Oh darn!

Oh darn!

He is still out trying to make his fortune. No, when Ivar lost his land, Alexandra opened her home to him. Such a compassionate person, not caring what others think of him or her for having him live in the home; all that matters that there is a soul in need.

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Ivar comes to Alexandra one day, afraid that people will send him to the asylum for being different, but Alexandra doesn’t care. She knows what it is like to be talked about because you do things differently.

“Don’t come to me again telling me what people say. Let people go on talking as they like, and we will go on living as we think best. ” pg. 60

A lot has changed in the sixteen years with modernity. A lot of the old ways of living and being are no longer accepted. In the family, Oscar’s wife will not allow any Swedish to be spoken in the house, so when they visit the relatives only English can be spoken.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Alexandra has not married, her heart still pining after the only one who ever truly understood her, but enjoys being an aunt and looking after her brother’s children. But as she is the wealthiest of the whole clan, she often becomes caught in a game between her scheming brothers and sister-in-laws, as they all desire different things.

One day she is with her nieces in the flower garden when a tall, handsome stranger comes on the prairie. It is Carl!

Carl and her married!!!

Carl is on his way to Seattle and then to Alaska to go gold prospecting. He stopped by to say hi and Alexandra is thrilled as she has missed him so much. The brothers aren’t as they are worried that instead of a gold prospector he might be a gold digger and after Alexandra’s wealth.

money money money

Carl admits that he had hoped to present himself as better, worthy of Alexandra, but he has nothing.

“You see…measured by your standards I’m a failure. I couldn’t buy even one of your cornfields. I’ve enjoyed a great many things, but I’ve nothing to show for it all.” pg. 77

That doesn’t matter to Alexandra of course, but Carl must prove himself.

I think Carl and Alexandra are just the cutest couple. Carl is so sweet to her and pretty much understands her (except for the having to prove himself thing because she does not care) and doesn’t find any measure of her odd or not right.

“I wonder whether I should ever be able to tell you all that I was thinking up there. It’s a strange thing, Alexandra; I find it easy to be frank with you about everything under the sun-except yourself!’

‘You are afraid of hurting my feelings, perhaps.’ Alexandra looked at him thoughtfully.

‘No, I’m afraid it would give you a shock. You’ve seen yourself for so long in the dull minds of the people around you, that if I were to tell you how you seem to me, it would startle you. But you must see that you astonish me.” pg. 83

How sweet!

How sweet!

Carl and Alexandra are just perfect:

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I want them to get together!!!!!

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Carl and Alexandra go to Marie’s and spend time with her being interrupted by her husband. No two people could be more horribly matched.  Marie is light and fun, while her husband Frank is jealous, depressing, and unfriendly.

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They meet when Marie was at school and she thought Frank was handsome, brooding, and romantic. Her father did not want them to marry, and nothing makes two people “fall in love” faster than when they are forbidden to.

Not good

Not good

She was sent to a convent, but as soon as she turned 18 left it and married Frank. Her father bought them the farm and they’ve been unhappy ever since. Marie realized that the Frank she thought she loved was one that was not real, but created in her mind.

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Emil and Marie spend lots of time together, as he often helps out with the farm, taking care of things that Frank is too lazy to. But that friendship must end. Emil can’t pretend anymore. He is in love with Marie and wants to be with her, but of course she is married.

Darcy P&P OMG Can't Even

Carl and Emil head off to a Catholic fair, where Emil runs into his newly married friend, Amédéé. While they are gone the brothers come to talk to Alexandra about Carl. They wanted Alexandra’s land to be willed to their children when she dies, but Alexandra will not be bullied and will do what she wants with her land.

I don't think so

You have to read what they try and use to talk her out of it. They tell her things like she’s just a woman, she didn’t really do the work “even though she had the ideas”, the property always belongs too the men, she is too old at 40 to think of marrying, Carl is four years younger than her too young.

Those guys

Those guys

But Alexandra holds her ground. She tells them that she owns her land and, she was the driving force that created their wealth, and they can stuff it or go to their lawyers but nothing will come of it.

MysteryMenDon'tMessWithMe

Alexandra tries to talk to Emil about it, but he is too heartsick he begs her to send home far away, to Mexico.

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She agrees and is sad that no one really understands her. She has no one, Marie and Carl being her only friends.

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Meanwhile Lou and Oscar go to talk to Carl and convince him he is worthless.

“What a hopeless position you are in, Alexandra!’ [Carl] exclaimed feverishly. ‘It is your fate to be always surrounded by little men. And I am no better than the rest. I am too little to face the criticism of even such men as Lou and Oscar. Yes, I am going away; to-morrow. I cannot even ask you to give me a promise until I have something to offer you. I thought, perhaps, I could do that; but I find I can’t.’

‘What good comes of offering people things they don’t need?’ Alexandra asked sadly. ‘I don’t need money. But I have needed you for a great many years. I wonder why I have been permitted to prosper, if only to take my friends away from me.

‘I don’t deceive myself,’ Carl said frankly. ‘I know that I am going away on my own account. I must make the usual effort. I must have something to show for myself. To take what you would give me, I should have to be a very large man or a very small one, and I am only in the middle class.’

Alexandra sighed. ‘I have a feeling that if you go away, you will not come back. Something will happen to one of us, or to both. People have to snatch at happiness when they can in this world. It is always easier to lose than to find.” pg. 114-115

In one day she loses all the men she cares about.

right in the feels broken heart

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PART III: WINTER MEMORIES

Winter never feels as cold as when you no longer have those you care about. No longer will Alexandra see Oscar or Lou because of how they treated Carl. She gets letters from Emil and Carl, but it is not the same as having them near.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Mrs. Lee, Lou’s mother-in-law and one of the old timers, loves to visit Alexandra where she can follow in the old ways of living and not be judged. Even though the brothers are no longer welcome, Alexandra still opens her home to the rest of the relatives.

Alexandra brings Emil’s letter for Marie to read, never knowing what interest lies in Marie’s light and happy heart. Marie also gifts Alexandra with a scarf she made for Emil. Little does Alexandra know how Marie really feels on the inside.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

Marie’s life has grown exceedingly unhappy. She realizes that she and Frank are not suited for each other at all. She becomes more and more unhappy and folds into herself.

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PART IV: THE WHITE MULBERRY TREE

Emil has returned from Mexico at last, and just in time for a big carnival at the Catholic church. Emil runs into his old friend Amédéé, now a father. All the girls flutter around Emil, and when he gives one of his turquoise stones to auctioned it starts an even greater flummox.

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Marie is just as crazy about Emil, but he smartly keeps his distance from her.

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Frank is angry as he is jealous and wants someone to blame for Marie not caring for him any longer. But the only one who drove the wedge was him and his cruel nature.

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When the lights go out, every girl is kissed by their sweetheart and Emil does the one thing he has wished for so long, kisses Marie.

OMG gasp

Emil is heartsick  and finally asks Marie what has been on his mind for so long, why would you marry Frank? Marie tells him she loved him. Frank was the same now as then, but as a young girl she saw him differently. And now she pays for her heedlessness, stubbornness, and naivety.  She begs Emil to leave as she doesn’t want them to sin and she can’t go.

TimingWrong

Emil is preparing to leave for Omaha to train as a lawyer, then going on to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Before he departs, he stops by to see his friend Amédéé. Amédéé. is in awful pain, completely sick with appendicitis. The doctor tries to take care of him, but it is to late, Amédéé is gone.

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Emil stays on for the service and is to set off, but goes back to Marie’s to get one thing of hers to hold on to. When he gets there he discovers her lying in the grass.

Frank comes home and sees Emil’s horse in the barn. He then goes into the field and hears something. As he comes closer he sees two figures in the field and shoots. And then streaks off.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Ivar finds Emil’s mare the next morning all worn out and not taken care of. He knows Emil would never do anything like that unless he was hurt or injured. He goes next door to get help and finds the bodies.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

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PART V: ALEXANDRA

Alexandra has become so sick with grief she cannot do anything without being instructed. Her boy, her best friend…gone.

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

She feels horrible for always throwing them together, never thinking what would happen. She feels so cold and alone.

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Alexandra goes to see Frank Shabata, but feels no anger at him. Only pity.

Strange Sad Have My Pity Toy Story

But one bright spot arrives, as soon as Carl gets Alexandra’s note on the death he hurries over.

He isn’t as important as he would have wished, but he does have a good buisness starting in the West. The two plan to marry, going West but eventually returning home to the prairie. At last, Alexandra will no longer be alone. A bittersweet ending

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I love this book but it is sooo sad. Just full of feelings:

CantWork_emotions

But I love it anyway and read it over and over.

bookhumor

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

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For more on Sarah Dessen, go to I’d Spent Some Time As a Kid Wishing My Name Were Ashley or Katherine, if Only Because It Would Have Made Life Simpler, But My Mom Liked to Tell Me That My Name Was a Litmus Test: Along for the Ride

For more on An Affair to Remember, go to Anything Can Happen: An Affair to Remember (1957)

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For the Christmas Carol I choose Silent Night otherwise known in Bohemian as Tichá noc. This song was written in 1816 by Father Joseph Mohr when he was visiting Mariapfarr, Austria.

Two years later, Father Mohr approaches Franz Xaver Gruber, a schoolmaster and organist, and asked him to set it to music. Together they performed it during Christmas Eve’s mass.

In 1859, Pastor John Freeman Young translated the song from German to English. Since then the song has been translated into over 140 different languages.

I chose the version by Celtic Woman as I really enjoy that group.

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For more on Celtic Woman, go to I Finally Read Moby-Dick

For more Christmas Carols, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

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Day 20) T is for Translated: Choose a book that was Translated from one language to English

PhantomoftheOpera

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Yes, I know I said I wouldn’t talk about this book. However, as I was trying to think of books I like that were originally in another language, I couldn’t think of anything but this book and Jules Verne’s novels.

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I already reviewed two Verne books, so with nothing else coming to mind, I decided to review The Phantom of the Opera.

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Gaston Leroux studied to be a lawyer, but when his father died, he found himself a millionaire. He immediately quit school and went on a big spending/gambling spree losing everything.

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Afterwards, he began to work for a newspaper, doubling as a court reporter and a drama critic. As he toured the opera, ballets, plays, etc.; and heard different stories about what went on in the theaters, it gave him an idea.

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With that he published The Phantom of the Opera as a serial from 1909-1910, being translated and published in English in 1911. The story is told from the viewpoint of an interviewer as he researches his subject and tries to tell the history of this Phantom.

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Growing up I just loved this book so much. I used to check out the children’s version again and again; graduating to the unabridged when I grew older.

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So here I am going to do a slightly different post, I am going to focus on one character: the Phantom.

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I just love him:

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Erik is a wanderer. After being hurt by so many he no longer considers him as having an nationality or family.

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His pain originates from when he was a child and his own parents were too disgusted to see his “true form.”

“When my own father never saw me and when my mother, so as not to see me, made me a present of my first mask.” (pg. 130)

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

He is so often used to being considered as death, that he has even prepared him room as such. All in black and even sleeps in a coffin. How sad is that? Poor guy!

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But even in that ugliness and sadness there is beauty. He is a musical genius with a voice like no other.

“He heard a very captivating voice…Raoul had never heard anything more absolutely and heroically sweet, more gloriously insidious, more delicate, more powerful, in short, more irresistibly triumphant…nothing could describe the passion with which the voice sang…” (pg. 98)

Erik is very intelligent and has done many things before coming to the opera house and meeting Christine.

“You must not think, Raoul, that he [Erik] is simply a man who amuses himself by living underground. He does things that no man could do; he knows things which nobody in the world knows.” (pg. 135)

I mean he built THAT opera house and created numerous trap doors, spring sets, his own secret underground home. And that’s not the only thing he has created. He built palaces for Sultans and Kings; but always being betrayed by them as they want him dead so that they alone can posses his genius.

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One day the Phantom comes upon Christine and decides to help assist her to become a fantastic singer.

“From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.” (pg. 116)

They spend years together as the Phantom puts his all into teaching her and helping her. Then one day Christine spots Raoul and tells the phantom all about seeing him. And the voice disappears. Christine is anxious and scared. She knows she is nothing without him, she will shrivel up into a has-been.

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The next day the Phantom comes and tells her he has to leave her.

“The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice to do but go back to heaven.” (pg. 117)

You see, no threats. No harsh words. The Phantom would have simply backed off if she loved another. He would be heartbroken, but that would be the end of it. Except…

“I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.” (pg. 117)

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You see that!!!! You see that!!! She purposely leads on the Phantom because she just wants to use him. She doesn’t love him, she doesn’t care for him, as she has stated before:

“[to Raoul] And that, dear, first revealed to me that I loved you.” (pg. 117)

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She knew, but she had a good thing and didn’t want to see it disappear. Now she tells Raoul that she “lied only because she thought she had no chance with Raoul.” But is that even the truth? She already admitted to playing the Phantom, she’s probably playing Raoul too. He’s rich and interested, and now she’s going to play the little helpless victim to catch him.

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So you know what, I never feel sorry for her. She created this whole mess as she only cared about herself and not what her false declarations did to people. She almost kills hundreds because of her selfishness. I feel bad for the Phantom. Poor guy, who is completely crushed by her. He picked the wrong woman.

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Then the Phantom carries her off underground into his home.

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Now I admit, his carrying her off wasn’t the right thing to do. He should have asked her instead of just carrying her like that. But what does he do next? He confesses that he isn’t an angel or teacher but that he is the Phantom of the Opera, its architect, etc.

“He [Erik] feels me with horror and I do not hate him. How can I hate him Raoul? Think of Erik at my feet…he accuses himself, he curses himself, he implores my forgiveness!…He loves me! He lays at my feet an immense and tragic love…He has carried me off for love!” (pg. 125)

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He treats her wonderfully. He respects her as a thing of beauty and doesn’t harm her or touch her. And when she is upset and wants to leave?

“And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there, give me my liberty…he offered it…” (pg. 125)

See he isn’t a crazy killer or psychotic (yet). He loves her and respects her wishes. She’s the viper, she’s evil as she chooses to stay there even though she doesn’t love him, she just wants to use him.

“For he sang. And I listened…and stayed!” (pg. 125)

She falls asleep and then wakes up in a whole different room, properly freaked. BUT then spots a note left to her by the Phantom.

“My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate. You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.” (pg. 126)

He just let her alone, as he sees her as the kindest and most divine woman; respecting her. He also purchases tons of things for her in order to make the place truly home.

How sweet!

How sweet!

But Christine is not happy. She wants out. She is angry with the Phantom, even though he has given her everything! All she wants is to see his face as “no honest man would wear a mask.” But that is the one place Erik won’t give.

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Then Erik mentions how most of her time with him will be musical practice. She is angry as he wants her to stay five days, then he will let her go again as she will either love him (hope) or pity him. But Christine is now upset that he won’t let her go now, but hey he offered you before.

She cannot make up her mind.

She cannot make up her mind.

The real issue Christine has with the Phantom is his skull-like face. This is what breaks her and makes her horrified and disgusted. She can’t leave well enough alone, and asks him to play for her, plotting her deception. When he is too worked up in the music she snatches the mask off.

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Now she thinks he is disgusting, and here is where he makes his first incredibly bad decision.

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He tells Christine that he can’t let her go. He knows that she sees him only as a monster, and if returned to the surface would tell others of the “monster”, causing them to be riled up, create a mob, and set out to kill him.

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Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

Christine, the little actress she is, starts playing to the areas he has been insecure. She tells him that he is genius, his music causes her to forget his looks. She even burns his mask to symbolize that she is “above” such things. In reality she is playing him  from every angle, earning his trust so that he is willing to believe she actually loves him and won’t harm him. Letting her go.

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Christine acts as if he is a true monster, but the Phantom has a compassionate heart. She asks if she can pretend to “be engaged”, playacting, with Raoul and the Phantom agrees.

“He said, ‘I trust you, Christine. M. de Chagny [Raoul] is in love with you and going abroad. Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.” (pg. 134)

How can someone be unfeeling when they consider what their arch rival’s feelings?

How sweet!

How sweet!

Eventually, the Phantom figures out the truth, that this was all a set up and steals Christine away; that final act of betrayal being the straw that broke the camels back.

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I mean he really believed that someone had fallen in love with him.

“It is my wish…my wish to let her go; and she will come again…for she loves me!…All this will end in marriage…” (pg. 206)

He thinks his dream and true love is in his grasp!

“…Now I want to live like everybody else. I want a wife like everybody else and to take her out on Sundays. I have invented a mask that makes me look like anybody…All I have ever wanted was to be loved for myself…” (214)

The thing I really hate about the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is how the changed the relationship between Christine and the Phantom with her thinking if him as her father and making Raoul less of the pansy he was. But most of all they make the Phantom a total psychi and murderer. He doesn’t really kill people in the book, unless it is for self-preservation. We only witness three: two were out trying to get him, and the third he accidentally kills Raoul’s brother, who when searching for him falls into a trap. The Phantom really regrets having killed him. And he also does bring the chandelier down, which injures and kills. How many, we don’t know.

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He then gives Christina an option. She can choose Raoul and the Opera house will be blown up (as Erik has hidden dynamite under the floor when he built it) or she can choose him and save everyone. I have to admit that forcing her to choose marrying him was not right or what she should do, but people who have been betrayed often do not think logically but just want to heart the person who hurt them.

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But in the end he let’s Christine go, because she finally gave him the one thing he has most wanted: companionship and love:

“I tell you I kissed her just like that, on her forehead…and she did not draw back her forehead from my lips! (pg. 247)

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Poor Erik!

“Poor, unhappy Erik! Shall we pity him? Shall we curse him? He asked only to be “some one,” like everybody else. But he was too ugly! And he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must pity the opera ghost.” (pg. 259)

Leave me alone so I can cry over the death of my fictional characters

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 I think what resonates the most with this story is how relatable the Phantom was. Who of us hasn’t at one time hated how we looked?

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Had our heart broken:

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Been betrayed by someone we thought cared about us?

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Or felt we hadn’t received the recognition we deserved?

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What else can I say?

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Why yes I do!

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Starting in 2015, I decided to dress up “Jane Austen” in Halloween costumes. Check her out as the Bride of Frankenstein.

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Stupid Not to Read Jane Austen Quote

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451

For the previous post, go to Each Illustration is a Little Story. If You Watch Them, In a Few Minutes They Tell You a Tale: The Illustrated Man

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For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to How to Meet the Perfect Guy

For more on Gaston Leroux, go to Fantom of the Opera

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more Silverstein, go to The End by Silverstein

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Today’s carol is The First White Christmas from the claymation, The First Christmas:The Story of the First Christmas Snow.

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I couldn’t find any info on the song, but they play it in the opening and ending credits. I always thought it was cute, and it tends to get stuck in my head.

I couldn’t find a video unfortunately, or a good link to watch the film (as they took down the best one).

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For more on The First Christmas:The Story of the First Christmas Snow, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more Christmas Carols, go to She Struck Him as a Fixer-Upper, a Block of Clay Ready for Pygmalion’s Chisel: The Overnight Socialite