MBFE: Week 2 P. 88-172

Summary

As Gretchen's strange behavior escalates, Abby struggles to find some way to help her friend. Among increasingly hostile friends and family, it seems like everywhere Abby looks for help creates an entirely new set of problems. Abandoned by Margaret and Glee, attacked by Gretchen's parents, and hurt by Gretchen herself, it seems like Abby has no one left to turn to.

What I Liked

  • Abby's Determination: Although there were definitely moments that I felt like Abby seemed slightly naive and dense, overall I have to respect her determination to help her friend. Abby puts her own reputation and education at risk to try and help Gretchen, which is way more than anything Margaret or Glee do. Gotta give her props.
  • The Birds: The scene with Gretchen and the birds was classic horror at its finest. We got a lot of background in our first week's reading of just how much Gretchen's parents overlook her, so despite the fact that we know her behavior is due to a demon at work, we also can't help but kind of cheer her on as she makes a scene in front of her parent's friends. Cue the birds. Like something out of a Hitchcock movie, they swoop in and add enough horror to remind the reader that the demon may not be the thing we want to root for.
  • Abby's Mom: Abby's mom has to be the single adult in this book who isn't a total idiot, although she is a bit harsh. It just was frustrating that she was actually trying to help her daughter and Abby basically spit in her face in response. However, too be fair, her advice definitely would not help Gretchen get rid of her Demon, though it may have stopped Abby from making enemies out of the Langs.

Things I Didn't Like

  • The Adults: There are very few likable adults in this book. Although I don't take personal offense to this (I don't think a lack of likable adults in Tv/film/literature is creating disrespectful youth), it does seem a bit cliched in the novel. I think that Hendrix does a good job of taking cliches and presenting them in a way that isn't trite, but this is where he lost me. All the adults are losers and it was just a little too "nobody understands me" for my tastes. However, I can somewhat see how this could be a nod to the punk culture and to the 80s teen films that are so well known.
  • Wallace: Douche alert. I don't think he is a rapist or anything but still. Margaret loses major points for clinging to this scumbag.
  • Fair Weather Friends: However, it's not like Margaret has many points left to lose. The main thing that bothers me about Margaret and Glee's abandonment, isn't the act itself, but more the fact that we were introduced to Margaret as a fourth grade brat, then we were caught up with the foursomes fierce friendship without much information in between and then all the sudden we are back to hating Margaret. I really enjoyed the girls friendship, and the way it was described was very strong, so the sudden reversal is a bit dizzying, not to mention frustrating.

Quote of the Week

"'Charleston people like the Langs, they only want easy times. The minute it rains, watch them run...when I was your age, I trusted the wrong people...I was silly when I should have been serious. I let myself get in over my head. Those girls are not the same as you. If they make a mistake, their parents can buy their way out of it. But people like us? We take one wrong step and it haunts us forever,'" (130-1).

Discussion Questions

  1. Some reviewers have cited that most of the strange occurrences in the novel read too much like ordinary teenage drama. Do you agree? What genre would you put this novel in so far?
  2. Abby has a lot of difficulty trying to get help for Gretchen. How much do you think classicism plays into this difficulty? How does it affect the novel?
  3. Hendrix ups the horror-level in this part of the book. Which part do you think had the biggest impact horror wise and why?
Created By
Jessi Young
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