Dull Times Breed Disaster

So back in 2015 I started going through Emma to celebrate her 200th anniversary.

I paused her to go through Northanger Abbey and Persuasion for their anniversary years, but have decided to throw her back into the mix with the others.

Alright!

So as I was reading, I was thinking what a boring life Emma must have been living at the time “her story” starts.

So Emma and her sister were raised by a father who doted on them and the governess Miss Taylor. Miss Taylor was more a sister than an elder, so I imagine the girls must have had a lot of fun together.

Girls night!

But then Isabella married John Knightley and there was just the two girls.

And then Miss Taylor married…leaving Emma alone with a hypochondriac father.

And who did her father have for constant companions?

Besides her father, Miss and Mrs. Bates. Now Mrs. Bates is very old and Miss Bates is a kind, sweet woman but to Emma she is also dull, older, and not one Emma could have interesting conversation with.

And who else? Mrs. Goddard, the woman who owns and runs a boarding house. Also kind, caring, but much older than Emma and another she would find dreadfully dull.

Ugh!

Yes these were the ones that Emma spent most of her days with after the marriage of Miss Taylor to Mr. Weston.

Now what about Mr. Knightley, you may ask? Yes, it is true that he and Mr. Elton visited but…

“…Mrs. and Miss Bates, and Mrs. Goddard, three ladies [were] almost always at the service of an invitation from Hartfield, and who were fetched and carried home so often…” –Emma, pg 17

“These were the ladies that whom Emma found herself very frequently able to collect…She was delighted to see her father look comfortable…but the quiet prosings of three such women made her feel that every evening so spent was indeed one of the long evenings she had fearfully anticipated.” –Emma, pg 18-19

Ugh, I’m so bored!

No wonder she plunges herself heart and soul into breaking up Harriet and Robert and matching up Harriet and Mr. Elton. She bored out of her socks! Can you imagine spending every day for long periods of time with Miss Bates?

And then triple that with Mrs. Bates and Mrs. Goddard.

I think I’d be going mad for anything else to bring “excitement” into my life.

This made me think of when I was a child and mother brought me to all kinds of adult functions. She is a pastor and we had to go to everything, and I remember being bored out of my skull and wishing there was another kid there to do things with.

Good thing I had my books-

As I grew older I learned to take part in the conversation and grew less bored with being with people not in my years-but then again none of the people I have spent long periods of time with were as difficult to be with as Miss Bates.

Blah, blah

Poor Emma-especially as one who doesn’t really play, read, sing, paint, embroider, etc-she has no escape. NO escape that is, except meddling!

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

For more on Mrs. and Miss Bates, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

For more on Mrs. Goddard, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

For more Emma, go to Pride, Prejudice, and Personal Statements

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Book Club Picks: The Undoing of Saint Silvanus

So every month  a different member in my book club chooses a book for us to read and discuss the next month.

So the member who’s turn it was, was thinking of possibly doing a mystery. When our group met, she decided on this:

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus: A Novel by Beth Moore

This is Beth Moore’s first novel after years of nonfiction. It was something new but something she had been thinking about doing for a while.

Hmm…

Julia Stillwater is living in San Francisco in an controlling and very bad relationship. But when she discovers that her boyfriend is cheating on her she is hit hard and unsure of what to do.

Then she receives a call that her long estranged father is dead.

And that her grandmother, the ice queen, who she also hasn’t seen in over twenty years is offering to pay her way to New Orleans so she could attend the funeral.

As her life is currently in shambles, Jillian decides to take it.

However, there is a lot that was kept from her. It turns out that the housekeeper, Adella Atwater, came up with the idea for a family reunion, not her grandmother, Olivia.

This could get ugly.

It also turns out that she lives in an church turned boarding house-full of all kinds of characters. There is David a forty-year old bachelor and music teacher; Carrie a student in medical school and always studying or working; and an elderly dementia suffering woman.

What have I gotten myself into?

With no money, no reason to go back to San Francisco, and not sure what to do…she remains in the house.

Seriously

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Police Department have been looking into the murder of Jillian’s father, Raphael. But while they try to uncover a killer, a lot of other strange things start happening. Baby things are left outside the house, someone tries to break into the house, things go missing, etc. The NOPD spend a lot of time coming to the house trying to figure out what does this all mean? A sentiment shared by the rest of the residents.

Besides that Saint Silvanus holds a secret from its first beginning as a church. Will it be revealed?

Hmm…

Will Jillian ever learn the truth about her fathers death? Will she grow to enjoy living in Saint Silvanus? Will her family rifts be mended? Or torn further apart?

Hmm…

So let’s start with what I didn’t care for or thought wasn’t as finished.

1)First of all Jillian is unsure what to do when she comes across the homeless. She has never had to deal with such things and finds the “sour smells” of the city unbearable.

Come on now. I am from California and have been to San Francisco many times. I have been everywhere from the high price areas to the touristy ones and there are homeless EVERYWHERE. They hide in bushes and jump out to surprise you; walk out into traffic; are on every street corner along with “sour” smells. I don’t know what San Francisco Moore encountered but that sounds nothing like the one in California.

2) What happened with the church?

So throughout the novel, Moore has the story of the church’s beginning and the first pastor intersecting with the story of Jillian. But she never really says why this matters to the characters as they have no connection to each other and they never say who killed the minister. Was it suicide or murder?

3) There are a lot of little details missing.

Hmm…

In my class, The History of the Novel, we read an article about how hard it is for a nonfiction author to switch to fiction as there are a lot of little things they aren’t used to writing about-how they look, the clothes they wear, the food they eat, etc. Moore falls into the same issue as she doesn’t always describe her characters. For instance she calls Julianna “dark”. Dark hair? Dark skin? Mexican? African-American? Greek? Spanish? Italian? Black hair? Brown? Chestnut?

I know it is her first time writing a “novel” so it makes sense there are a few kinks.

4) The mystery isn’t really mysterious

I knew as soon as the character entered the picture. It was extremely obvious the way they acted was not normal

So what was good?

1) The characters

The characters were amazing! I loved every single one and each felt extremely lifelike and ones you would meet in real life.

They all had their own hangups, issues, and backgrounds that were relatable-either to you or reminded you of someone you know. They made the book interesting, a page turner, and had you feel at home in Saint Silvanus.

This in itself made the book worth reading.

For more of my book clubs reads, go to Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

For more mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

So after this book it is my turn to pick the next book. I was going to bring a few choices to the meeting and pulled out a western, as you know I love stuff like that:

I also took out My Fair Godmother as that book cracks me up.

I was trying to think of a third option, when I decided on one book that’s been sticking in my mind:

Yes, my book club is going to read The Darcy Monologues. This will be very interesting as:

  1. One member has read the book and seen the 1940, 1995, and 2005 versions.
  2. One member has only seen the 1995 and 2005 versions, never read the book.
  3. And the other member has not seen any film or read the book.

Will they love it? Will they hate it? I don’t know, but I am sure of one thing:

And we all know what I thought of it:

Read what I think of Part I: The Regency and Part II: Other Eras

I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

I don’t belong in the world

Carnival of Souls is a very creepy movie! It was simply fantastic! I highly recommend it for anyone out there who is into creepy films as this one really fits the bill. It was made in 1962 in three weeks on a very low budget. It was categorized as a B horror film, and due to problems with the distributing company, (it went out of business), it failed to be as big of a hit as it could have been. However, it is now a cult classic and loved by many. If you want to watch the film click here.

****FYI Spolier Alert****

The film starts off with this girl, Mary, who is out in her car driving around with her friends. They run into these guys who challenge them to a drag race, and as every young adult does in ’50s and ’60s movies, they agree.

As I’m sure you have already guessed, it does not turn out well. In fact the girls’ car ends up going right over a bridge and crashing into a river. The police spend three hours dragging the water searching for the car or the bodies, when something strange happens……

Hey guys! How ya doing?

Mary walks out the river UNHARMED! She is pefectly fine, just dirty and for some strange reason doesn’t remember what happened to cause her to escape unharmed.

However after this episode Mary isn’t at all like herself. She is colder, and wants to isolate herself. She even speaks at one time how she hates being with her parents, calling them “those people”, a feeling she had never expressed before. She ends packing up and moving to Utah where she will be an organist for a local church.

HOWEVER, this is were the film starts to get REALLY CREEPY. I recommend making sure you watch this late at night in the dark for optimal effect.

So she’s driving along on the way to this town and notices this pavillion in which she feels a connection to, but shrugs it off. She continues driving along a deserted road…everything is going great when all of a sudden……

A FLOATING FACE APPEARS IN HER WINDOW!!!!!!!

OMG this part scared me so bad when I first watched it! She’s out on this deserted road and all of a sudden a face without a body APPEARS FLOATING OUTSIDE HER WINDOW!

And this guy is no looker! He’s a majorly creepy dude!

Hello Mary

After that scare, she somehow makes it to a gas station to get directions to the boarding house she is going to stay at. She also asks the attendent about the pavilion. He tells her that it used to be a carnival.

(Okay now we can totally tell that something creepy is going to go down in that Carnival. The anticipation is rising!!!!!)

So she gets to the boarding house where we have a somewhat comedic landlady. Mary is starting to feel better about what happened, shrugging it off as being tired and scared. The next day she visits the church and starts practicing.Everyone is touched by her lovely organ music, it is as sweet as the songs of angels!

(Now I know that organ music can be lovely to some, but to me it always makes me think of creepy monsters such as the Phantom of the Opera or Dracula.)

The minister gives Mary a ride home and she asks to see the carnival.

This movie has some really beautiful cinematography. If you don’t watch it for the horror                                                                              one should watch it for that.

So Mary returns home, still confused as to what her connection to the place must be. Her neighbor John, tries to come on to her but with really lame lines and Mary is just not having any of it.

As she is finally able to get rid of the loser, she looks outside……………..ONLY TO SEE THE FACE AGAIN!!!!!!

AND HE COMES INSIDE THE HOUSE! Mary runs out of her room to look, and THERE HE IS WALKING THROUGH THE DOOR!  AND STARTS TO CLIMB UP THE STAIRS!!!!! HE’S COMING FOR HER!!! RUN MARY! RUN!! RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary does run up to her room. And there’s a knock on the door and…..and…..and…..and….and….

It turns out to be the landlady! And she hasn’t seen anyone walking around the house. (Hmm….very suspicious!)

The next day John tries to come on to Mary again and we find out that he reeeeeeeeeeally likes to drink. Mary is very much still uninterested and goes on to buy a new dress.

Then the strangest thing happens. Mary tries on her dress and goes out to talk to the salelady about the hem…..When NO ONE CAN HEAR HER. NO ONE SEES HER. AND SHE CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING.

She changes and wanders aimlessly through the town trying to figure out why she can’t be heard or seen or hear anything.Eventually her hearing comes back and she continues on her way.

She goes to get a drink of water from the drinking fountain when a man comes upon her…….

I’m Back!

Luckily as Mary is running away in fear she happens to run right into a psychiatrist.

Literally. He just happened” to be running about in that area.

He takes her to his office so that she can talk to him and they can work out what she is feeling. And what she thinks she is seeing. He tells her that the only way to truly get over these hallucinations is to go to the carnival. The carnival is where everything began.

She goes and hopes that everything will be better for her. That the nightmare will be over.

The next day she goes to work and starts out playing a lovely song in the church…when all of a sudden………something comes over her and she plays devilish, creepy, horrifying music.

What’s coming over me?

Her hellish music causes her to lose her job, and she goes on home. She ends up going out with John as she is so freaked out and doesn’t want to be alone, but that doesn’t turn out to be any good; as Mary is still so cool and icy. She has a major freakout thinking she sees the creepy guy everywhere, and John takes her home. Mary rushes into her room, with John following hoping to get lucky. She looks up in the mirror expecting to see John when who should be there but…..

THE CREEPY GUY! THE GUY IS KISSING HER!

Mary looks up in shock, and screams. John is also freaked out and takes off to the safety of his room.

The next day she takes her car in to be looked at, only to have another experience with the creepy guy! She runs off scared for her life! And then no one can see or hear her anymore. She keeps seeing creepy dead people everywhere she goes.

But just like before, everything goes back to normal. She can hear and others can hear her.

She runs to the psychiatrist’s office, so confused and upset; pouring out all her feelings and emotions to him.

When what should happen but………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The CREEPY FACE MAN!

But then Mary wakes up in her car. Was it all a dream? What is happening to her?!

She runs to the carnival, once again to try and get where it all began to end it all. But that is where it really gets creepy. Men and women rise from the water and they do a creepy dance of death. The dance that Mary sees herself in!

The creepy guy and company follow her and chase her to the beach where they all grab her and everything fades to black.

The next day the minister and psychiatrist are looking for Mary. They find her shoes, footprints, and what looks like signs of a struggle on the beach, but there is no Mary to be found.

Back in Mary’s town the police have finally been able to drag the river bottoms and get the car out.

However, they are in for a big surprise as there are THREE bodies in the car. Mary’s body is in the car!

dun-dun-duuuun

I thought it was a simply fantastic movie! Some pieces are predictable, but the creepiness lives throughout.

I hope you enjoyed the first of these posts as there are more to come.

Here is a cover page I made for my facebook as part of my countdown to Halloween:

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halloween banner

Fo more on B Horror films, go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket

For more on carnivals, go to A Tale So Strange It Must Be True

For more on cult classics, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara