MBFE: Week 3 P. 173-252

Summary

Reeling at Gretchen's sudden snap back to reality, Abby can't help but be suspicious. Especially when it seems that Gretchen's methods of "helping" her friends seem to be causing more harm than good. On her own, Abby launches a secret investigation into just what is hurting her friend. But when it becomes clear that Gretchen is trying her hardest to sabotage all her efforts, and Margaret and Glee down for the count, Abby decides she might need to bring in a professional.

What I Liked:

  • Stakes are Raised: The horror level has really built up in this excerpt. Then again, I feel like I've been saying that after each section. Hendrix has done a really good job in building up the suspense and horror. Abby's phone call to Gretchen was a really strong part in the section, and definitely builds up intrigue. We end with Abby's visit with Margaret and the discovery of her stomach worms, which was disgusting and truly horrifying. As we go into the last section of the novel, I feel like we need to be prepared for the exorcism, if there is going to be one. I think we are in for the scariest parts yet.
  • Mrs. Rivers's Take Down: Mrs. Rivers is really the only likable adult in this novel, which is a bit frustrating, but man did I love her take down of The Major. Even Mr. River's small part ("'I just never thought about you long enough to develop an opinion,'" 223) was amazing. I thought it was also nice to see a little backstory to Abby's parents. The adults in this book are unfortunately one dimensional (which, though annoying, succeeds in depicting how teenagers see the adults around them) and it was nice to get some dimension to the Lang's relationship with this culture around them.
  • Getting Graphics: I actually really liked the inclusion of graphics in this section, like the magazine quiz about your best friend, and the slips of paper with Margaret's diet scribbled on them. The latter of these examples was particularly nice to see because it accentuated Margaret's quick decline.

What I Didn't Like

  • The Exorcist: I have never read a character that could simultaneously be so idiotic and creepy. I don't know if Christian is truly the predator he is definitely seeming like right now, or if he truly believes that he has some god given skill at exorcising, but it is clear that he is taking advantage of Abby, and with the foreshadowing we got at the beginning of the novel, I don't think this is going to end well. My guess? He is going to go to jail for rape after being caught with a tied up/kidnapped minor in some shady hotel room or house.
  • Decline in Humor: The scene between the Rivers and The Major reminded me just how funny this novel was in the beginning. I understand that some of that humor is going to fade as the novel progresses into darker material, but I do wish that a little more of that humor would have stayed.
  • Abby's Immaturity: The humor may have faded away, but Abby's immaturity and naivete sure didn't. Abby encompasses the worst cliche about horror movies and books, she is that character that keeps doing things to make everything worse, even after the audience yells at her not to wander off alone or trust that shady stranger.

Quote of the Week

"Old Charleston houses were everything you didn't want in a coastal home: they were big, they were uninsulated, and they were made of wood. They cost a fortune to maintain, but if you owned one you cared more about living south of Broad than you did about money...Every downtown house's exterior looked exactly the same...But every interior, hidden from public view, was its own secret study in decay. Ceilings sagged, walls cracked, paint blistered, plaster peeled, sometimes down to the lath, but the owners just shrugged...Families of humans coexisted peacefully with families of raccoons living in the walls, and when fires were lit for the first time in winter, the pigeons living in the chimneys asphyxiated and dropped down the flues in swirls of sooty feathers...doors couldn't be opened because the keys had been lost years ago or the locks had rusted shut. The right kind of people endured these inconveniences without complaint because, if they didn't, it was a sure sign they had no business owning a real Charleston house after all," (242-3).

Discussion Questions

  1. Our Quote of the Week this week talks about how the upper class in Charleston endure deplorable conditions in their homes in order to keep up appearances. How does this tie in with the rest of the novel? How does it relate to the main conflict?
  2. Christian is definitely a shady character, but is he an out and out predator? Or just an oblivious idiot out for personal glory?
  3. We are about to go into the final section of the novel. What do you think lies in store for us?
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Jessi Young
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