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Jealous Haters’ Book Club: Handbook For Mortals, Chapter 12 “The Sun” or “Art Imitates Life.”

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Before we begin, I thought I should mention that when I took my hiatus to tech a show, it’s a show directed by someone who actually did work for Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.

And I wear show blacks. Although, technically they’re just black leggings and a black dress because I’m a dresser and not climbing up scaffolding or anything like that.

Still, I thought you would all appreciate that.

Also, for our next selection, it’s gonna be a book about a writer who wins the lottery.

Heads up, there’s a racial slur in this recap and an examination of why Sarem feels she’s special and gets to use it.

The chapter opens with Zade walking down a hall at the theater.

Zeb caught me in the hall and put his hand up against the wall, creating an obstruction and keeping me from passing. He just stood there, staring into my eyes like I had lasers coming out of them or something.

Why would he stare directly into lasers?

“You aren’t ready for this; you should have been more prepared.”

I didn’t know what he meant and wasn’t sure how to respond, but had been really frustarted with how little he seemed to like me and how cold he was. I ignored his comments and went straight to the heart of what I had wanted to ask him ever since I had met him. “Why don’t you like me?”

This section really strikes at the heart of what makes this book boring and uninteresting. The author is more concerned with everyone loving the heroine, and that bleeds into the heroine being so self-absorbed that when an odd, standoffish character delivers a dire warning, she blows right past it. Instead of, “What are you talking about?” or “More prepared for what?”, the questions that would naturally follow, she jumps to, “Why don’t you like me?” And it’s a question she’s wanted to ask since they met. Meaning she is bewildered by the fact that this person did not like her on sight and did not react to her with the deference and enthusiasm she requires.

Zeb looked confused. “I never said I didn’t.”

Zeb is like, wait, did we jump ahead in the script? That doesn’t really follow my line.

“Some things don’t have to be said. You certainly act like you don’t.”

Zeb looked frustrated. “I just don’t think you take our craft seriously. I take it very seriously. You need to try harder. Really important things are at stake.”

What on earth is prompting this scene? The fact that she just spent her days off rehearsing a new illusion? The fact that all she really ever does is work? There’s no reason for this confrontation because there’s no evidence of any of this. If we’d had some scene where Zeb saw her goofing off with Jackson or something like that and then this happened, we could be like, “Okay, he only saw that one incident and he already didn’t like her, this makes sense.” Instead, it’s like out of the blue, aggressive, impeding her progress down a hallway by physically blocking and intimidating her. It makes absolutely no sense for things to have escalated to this point with a character we rarely see, especially with no inciting incident.

Zode asks if Zeb will help her…I don’t know. Try harder? Take the craft seriously? Is that something you can teach?

I had learned that when someone has an issue with the way you do something, asking them to help teach you what you’re missing is the fastest way to get them to feel better about it.

Just pretend you’re interested in improving yourself and your skills. That’ll get people off your back without you having to do anything.

Zeb contemplated my question before he replied. “Maybe. I’ll think about it. If I see real effort from you, I’ll consider it.”

Real effort like coming in on her days off to work extra? This conversation doesn’t make sense since we’ve been told over and over again how much Zide Lod works and how dedicated she is to her craft. Plus, what is he going to help her with? Like I said above, it’s not like he can help her be more serious or try harder. Those things are totally out of his control. There was no specific grievance here.

Zeb leaves and the interaction ends. Now, it might be pointless. It’s a real dice roll with any of the scenes in this book as to whether they’ll come up later. But if it isn’t pointless and this scene does come up later, it’s going to be in such a way that we’re going to look back and go, “Wow, that was an incredibly clumsy and obvious setup, considering there was no reason for that scene in the first place.”

I was tired and in thought over my odd interaction with Zeb, which caused me to walk very slowly–so slowly in fact that had I been walking any slower I’d just not have been moving at all.

Zani can’t think and walk at the same time. That checks out.

She hears someone singing in the wardrobe room:

I couldn’t quite recognize the voice, but knew it sounded familiar. It sounded like she was singing along to the radio and she sounded better than the artist actually singing it. I stopped short of entering the room and snuck just enough of a glance to see who had the amazing pipes.

You’re not going to believe who it is.

Okay, you’re going to guess who it is, because there’s really only one named female character in the book we’ve seen or thought about in chapters.

Sofia was the only one in the room. She was half dressed, with her back to the door, and was singing her heart out, apparently while waiting on one of the wardrobe girls to return with her costume. I waited for her to finish the song; she sounded so good that I really just wanted to hear her sing.

A lot about this book has surprised me, but this absolutely flattens me. Is this praise for Sofia? Really?

My first thought was to turn around and walk away, but after my confrontation with Zeb, something stronger in me just wanted to talk to her.

Wait… is Zimba into Sofia? Because it sounds kind of like she might be.

“Wow, Sofie. I didn’t know you could sing.” I made my sure my comment sounded as sincere as I could; I didn’t want her to think for even a second that I was being saracastic.

Why would she ever think that?

Sofia tells Zirt that there are lots of things she can do that Zart doesn’t know about.

I thought about snapping back at her, and a few really great replies popped into my head.

I can assure you that they were not great.

I quickly pushed out those clever-but-mean thoughts and chose to be the bigger person.

God, it’s like the author is retroactively passive-aggressively scolding me through the pages she’d already written.

“I don’t doubt that at all. I can tell how talented you are.” I smiled. I decided that I was not stooping to her level, no matter what she said to me.

Yeah, be a good person out of spite! That’ll get you places!

Tahani from The Good Place, saying, "It's not as if you could, you know, 'sacrifice yourr life to save others' or 'change the consciousness of a nation.' Both of which I did. Such fun!"
You Good Placers were all thinking it.

Lack Zattack asks Sofia why she hates her so much.

“I don’t hate you. I just believe that people shoud pay their dues. I had to, yet you walked in and were treated like you owned the place.”

Wow, I’m suddenly #TeamSofia.

“Sofie, believe it or not, I have paid my dues. Truly I have.” I spoke calmly and never broke eye contact with her, pleading for her to understand.

To understand what? How you paid your dues by driving to the theater? Because you literally walked in, got the job, became the star of the thing without any other exposition but you’re on the billboard for some reason, you get showered with thousands of dollars of free shit by the production just because you want it…yeah, girl. You really paid your dues.

Sofia does not accept this bullshirt, either:

“Maybe somewhere else, but not around here. Doesn’t count if it was in Tennessee.” She shook her head as she spoke and pressed her lips together in discontent. “Playing some backwoods jester for Dolly Parton doesn’t count.”

I mean, working with Dolly Parton would be a big career high for anyone, I’m sure, but I’m thinking she’s insinuating that Zelta Lurke worked at Dollywood.

I nodded and fidgeted with my hands as I apologized to her. “I’m sorry you feel that way, and I’m sorry if you feel like I’ve been given anything at all that should have gone to you.”

Like, twelve-thousand dollars worth of cosmetics, for example.

Here’s the thing: it’s entirely possible to object to the undeserved success of another person but also feel that nothing has been taken from you, specifically. For example, I don’t feel anything was taken from myself or other authors because Fifty Shades Of Grey got published, but I’m still chafed over the fact that its success was overwhelmingly unearned through talent and craft and was credited with creating a subgenre that was created by other people a decade before. Sofia’s resentment makes perfect sense. Her dance illusion was cut, but Charles said he would add a new illusion for her. So, she didn’t really lose anything by Laffy Zaffy being there. Sofia just resents the fact that someone else got to where she did or higher without having to do even a fraction of the work it took to get there.

The fact that this conversation is happening in this book, of all places, stuns me. This is exactly why so many people were furious with Lani Sarem’s scam. She didn’t pay her dues and expected to walk in, walk over other people who had worked much harder than she has to get what she feels she deserves without any effort. Yet, she was somehow aware of how this makes people feel, or at least, aware enough on some level to write this. Maybe it was her subconscious trying to signal her conscious mind and warn her away from her own shenanigans. Since she clearly never re-read this book to edit it for content, it was easy for her to miss.

Zub asks if Sofia has ever thought about singing in the show, and she says, of course, she would, but she wants to know why Zude asked.

I had realized in the brief moments of our conversation that I truly wanted things to be okay between us. I understood where she was coming from and–even though she had never been fair to me–in a lot of ways, I still saw that she just didn’t want to be replaced.

Did…did someone else write this? Because even though it’s coming off as very “look at me, I’m being the bigger person here and I genuinely want to be friends with a girl despite the fact that I’ve made it clear I find girls universally silly and horrible,” it’s still a shocking scene. Zamp is wanting to be friendly and understanding of a human female? This is something I did not expect.

She wanted to still be treated like she was important and I finally got that, maybe just because I was actually listening to her for the first time.

Animated gif of quick cut scenes from the television show Community. It jumps from Britta being shocked to Annie being shocked to Troy (and, inexplicably, a goat) being shocked, and then to Abed being shocked.
What is happening?!

Is this really…did our perfect nightmare of a Mary Sue actually acknowledge that she might have been doing something insensitive and wrong?

I don’t know how to handle any of this.

“Would you mind if I asked for you to sing something during the finale? The new illusion that Charlie and I are building, I would love to have–”

I’m not sure I can handle this, you guys. I feel like I need to lie down.

I watched Sofia’s eyes bulge and her jaw drop.

Amber "Jstlivinbby", saying "Bitch, me too. The fuck." before drinking Arizona tea.

I can’t handle this. Is this what being “shook” is? I see people say they’re “shook” or other people are “shook” but I’m not sure I’ve ever felt that approximate emotion. Something altering your perception so much that you feel obliged to spin a top like in that movie I’ve never seen because it looks like I’m not smart enough to watch it? What’s the deal here? Why is Zani being so nice to another woman?

Turns out, that’s not what Sofia is shocked about. She’s like, did you call him Charlie and Zinnibon is like, yeah, what’s the big deal?

“I did that once and he bit my head off.” She shrugged and the right side of her lip pulled up slightly as she raised her eyebrows. “And I was on top of him at the time.”

IDK, that’s not the best time to try out a nickname on someone, Sofia.

I nodded my head slowly as I procssed what she had said and its full meaning. It was almost like in a cartoon where a light bulb goes off over the head of someone. My own eyes bulge and it felt like they had popped out of my head.

Did someone open an airlock or something?

“Oh!” I blurted out again much more loudly before starting to laugh nervously.

“Much more loudly” is “much louder.”

I’m sure I turned every shade of red as Sofia grinned at me, obviously amused by how uncomfortable her comment had made me.

Sofiaeaeaeae needs to be more careful of Liet Zoke’s puritan sensibilities. You know. The protagonist who’s been dating and making out with two different guys for apparently weeks now but is as pure as the driven snow. Not that there’s a damn thing wrong with that, make out with and date as many people as you want. I write stories about people getting fingered by strangers and shit like that. But the idea that Lilly Zane is so damn naive about sex that it takes her time to process Sofia’s comment as being about sex is just ridiculous.

“Maybe he didn’t want me to because of what we were in the middle of; it’s not as manly.” Sofia pressed her lips together and smiled in an apparent attempt to be friendly.

She just shared something super personal with you about how you get away with saying things to her boyfriend that she doesn’t. Pretty sure she’s being friendly.

We need to really get how virginal and pure and not-a-slut-like-Sofia Litch is:

I could still feel the heat of my cheeks being red and my eyes darted all around the room for something to look at–anywhere but directly making eye contact with her. Her comment had caught me off guard, not to mention I just wasn’t used to talking about intimate moments with anyone, theirs or mine. In the south, women are still taught not to talk about such things.

In the everywhere women are taught not to talk about sex. That’s why the Sexual Revolution was so radical. But from now on, I’d like to style myself “The Whore In The North,” since apparently, only genteel southern belles have any sort of purity.

PS. You can’t feel the color red unless you have synesthesia.

Ligit Zardot asks Sofia again if she’ll sing during the finale and tells her she loves her voice.

“Well, I wouldn’t be opposed to it.” It was a calm answer. She spoke slowly and hesitantly, as if she was thinking it through completely. I think she was concerned it was some kind of trick.

IDK why she would think that, what with you running around telling everyone she attacked you for saving her life, an event which did not happen.

A wardrobe girl comes in and helps Sofia into her costume.

She looked beautiful and I couldn’t help but stare. Sofia turned directly to a mirror and pulled her fingers through her hair on the right side. She altered the way her curls lay across the side of her face just ever so slightly, nodding to herself as if she was giving her own approval of how she looked. She smoothed down the material that hugged her hips and gave herself one last look before turning to me.

“Zade? You should probably get dressed don’t you think? You need to be at top of show in five minutes.”

First of all, we just got more description of how gorgeous Sofia is than we’ve ever gotten of Jackson. In fact, the whole conversation with Sofia lasted longer than any conversation we’ve seen with Jackson. I think this paragraph was written with the intention of reminding us that Sofia is still evil because she likes the way she looks, but it really just comes off as Lazi being super attracted to Sofia.

Exhibit B:

The whole time we had been talking I should have been getting dressed but I was so caught up in the conversation that I had completely lost track of the time.

Second, I know that Lani Sarem is a former Olympian and an actual Las Vegas performer in a show just like this one, but you can’t, I mean, you absolutely, one hundred percent can. not. get ready for a show with five minutes to places. Do you know how often I have that nightmare? And I just do community theater. It would be one thing to go, “Oh, Zipper is magik, so she’s going to just snap her fingers and be totally ready,” but we rarely see her use her mahjihk when it would really help her out. The tent is the only thing I can think of. Here, she panics and runs off, but we don’t ever see a mention of her using her majick to get ready, or her panic being a cover for the fact that she’s going to use her powers to help herself out. The author seems to forget for long stretches of time that Zooboomafoo is a witch and could make her life easier with no trouble.

We jump forward in time to after the show, and Zupa Loscana and Mac are walking in a park. A guy comes up to show them a card trick and Mac tells the guy Zoofa isn’t allowed to magic. Which makes me wonder if this is a reference to performers not being allowed to do magic outside the show, which would make perfect sense to me, actually. Kind of like actors who play James Bond not being allowed to wear tuxedos in other movies. But it’s never explained and they just go on with their walk.

Mac was sill in his show blacks. I’m not sure if he wore them out of ease, or whether he knew that I felt for show blacks the way most women feel about men in firefighting uniforms.

I’m shocked that she didn’t once again explain what show blacks are, but I cannot jump aboard the “show blacks are hot” train when she’s already described them as being Dickies with extra pockets. I just don’t find Dickies to be all that flattering. Your mileage may vary.

“How do you know I’m not allowed to do magic?” I said, jokingly. “You don’t know that. There are a lot of things you don’t know about me.”

Oh, btw, they’re laying on the grass during this scene. In case it comes up in something I excerpt and you’re like, “Why are they horizontal?”

Anyway, how is it that we’re constantly being told of these long, deep conversations they’ve been having for weeks, but he doesn’t know basic stuff about her?

“Anything. Everything. I want to know your past. I want to know everything you’re willing to tell me,” he explained in a passionate way that felt very romantic.

That’s a tell-don’t-show straight out of the E.L. James playbook if I’ve ever seen one.

I wanted to tell him my deep dark secrets but I couldn’t. It made me sad that I couldn’t open up and show him my world. I tried to think of something I could tell him but nothing was really coming to mind. There had to be some interesting stories that didn’t involve magick but in that exact moment those were the only stories I could think of.

So, in that exact moment, the only stories you could think of were the ones that didn’t involve magick. That’s what you’re saying.

I hesitated. “There isn’t much to tell, really. I grew up in a little town in Tennessee called Centertown, with my mom. My mom’s parents were actual Gypsies. […]”

In the comments of a past recap, someone pointed out (rightly) that questioning a person’s heritage with percents, etc. is wrong. So, I’m going to try to phrase all of this as carefully as I can. It’s absolutely within the rights of a person with the actual heritage to use the g-word, even if it’s a slur. It’s also absolutely within the rights of a person who shares that heritage to question the use of the word by people within their community. As a person who does not share that heritage, it’s not up to me say whether or not Lani Sarem should or should not use the word if she is Romani herself.

However.

People who are Romani have pointed out that at no time has Sarem claimed to have Romani heritage. Not even to the people who’ve taken her to task for using the g-word in her Twitter handle. And while it’s nobody’s business what another person’s genetic and ancestral makeup is, if you’re part of a community that is coming forward and saying, “This is harmful for you to be doing if you’re not one of us,” why on earth would you not alleviate that harm and hurt that you’re causing by saying, “I am, in fact, one of you?”

Another huge red flag here is the fact that she describes herself as having a “[g-word] soul.” This is a phrase common among non-Romani people when describing their Bohemian aesthetic of velvet shawls and broomstick skirts and ankle bells. It’s right up there with “Native spirit” for people who aren’t members of a marginalized group to steep themselves in the “exotic” and stereotypical visual trappings and knee-deep spiritual “traditions” of a culture they do not belong to (and from which many of those trappings and traditions did not actually originate).

The most damning evidence against Sarem here is her response to a Twitter call out:

 


Not, “I’m actually Romani and I can use the word,” but “Have you ever actually asked someone who is,” and “them”. Obviously, these people she talked to are the spokespeople for the entire Romani diaspora, and she doesn’t consider herself one of “them.” Then she suggests that because someone else who isn’t Romani does it, that makes it okay.

In the rest of the thread, the defense she offers up is that the word is tattooed on her foot and also some Romani people have thanked her for the representation her book has given them. She has a lot to say about why she’s allowed to use the word but refuses to answer the two people in the thread who ask if she’s Romani, and has ignored Romani people who’ve asked the same question on other occasions. She does, however, favorite tweets from non-Romani people defending her right to use the word.

In other words, false claims of heritage are the line she won’t cross, but she still wants to use a racial slur freely.

Moving on.

Talking about my mom or my dad would be bad for obvious reasons. I played with the family necklace that hung around my neck. The ball and the stone inside were very important but I couldn’t even explain about that, either. I guess I had a panicked look on my face with the thoughts that had taken over me.

Back up. Does anyone remember this alleged necklace? Because I don’t remember it ever having been mentioned. I did a search and only found the word necklace twice in the entire novel. This is the first time it’s mentioned in this context, as an item Larvae is wearing. But it’s apparently a super magical and important item?

I’m also confused as to why not mentioning her father is a bad idea for an obvious reason. She’s already said she knows very little about him. So, does she know he’s Charlie Copperfield or not? What’s the “obviously” reason someone shouldn’t mention that they don’t have a dad? That’s such a super common thing.

“Look, I don’t mind telling you anything. Really. Maybe I just feel put on the spot. You usually get to know someone well over time, because things happen and they tell you things and eventually you just know it all.”

That’s true. Also, it’s been weeks. You’ve been dating for weeks and he doesn’t know anything about you. There’s no reason you have to be like, “MY MOM IS A WITCH AND I’M SO MAGICAL.” It would be easy as hell to just say, “I grew up in this small town and my mom works as a psychic and my dad wasn’t ever really in the picture.” If someone told me, “My mom works as a tarot card reader,” I’m not going to immediately jump to “Her mom is a witch and therefore she is hereditarily a witch and all her illusions in the show are real magic because she has powers.” I’m going to think, “Huh. That’s unconventional.” And then move along with my fucking life.

But no, it’s got to be so way more complicated than that or else the false tension will fall apart. Zarla goes on to explain to Mac in the most condescending way possible how conversations occur in the wild, and then he tickles her.

Finally he had to stop because he was holding my arms down and had somehow pinned my legs with his feet while his legs were straddling mine and he was hovered above me.

He was hovered above, huh? Read that sentence again. Then go to Sarem’s twitter and suck up all the glowing praise she RTs from readers who are worse at books than she is and all the times she insists that whoops, mistakes happen, but she rigorously edited this piece of shit.

Ha ha, just kidding. You’ll have an aneurysm.

Anyway, he kisses her and we cut away.

The next day, I had to go into the theater early to work on the new illusion. I had been there already for a few hours before I was able to take a lunch break. I had decided to walk across to the Fashion Show Mall and eat there since I had extra time compared to my usual break between shows. Since it was closer, I decided to walk out through the front of the theater instead of going out the back into the hallway, as I would have done if I had been going to the EDR.

Or, “The next day, I decided to eat at the mall since I had extra time for my break.” But why do that, when you could fill up an entire paragraph with needless details that do nothing to move the story ahead?

I was leaving the theater, completely engrossed in the music coming from my headphones, at the exact moment Jackson was entering with his head down, focused on his phone.

You can’t possibly know that Jackson entered with his head down, focused on his phone if you’re completely engrossed in something else. It’s called POV. You might want to try and research it before you write book two.

We collided, and for the second time I found myself having fallen on top of him.

Of course, you did. Why is it that every flimsy, undeveloped heroine is constantly falling down or walking straight into people? It’s like total self-absorption manifesting as an inner-ear disorder.

“We have got to stop meeting like this,” Jackson joked, smiling his movie star smile and laughing while he slowly and gently placed me back on my feet.

Between these two excerpts, there’s no mention of Jackson standing up. Just that he caught her and held her in his arms. So, did he fall down, or what? Or did she fall upwards and land on his head like the most boring and egotistical hat of all time?

I was so embarrassed that I had yet again crashed into him. He was going to start thinking I was doing it on purpose.

Like Jennifer Lawrence at any red carpet event.

I straightened myself and look around to see if I had dropped anything while I replied. “I’m not usually this clumsy, I swear.” I assured him with my syrupy southern drawn, which has varying degres of prominence in my speech. Sometimes it’s barely there but others–especially when I’m angry or embarrassed–it’s far stronger. “You’ll probably want to start calling me ‘The Hurricane.'”

“Aw shucks, I bet you want to give me a nickname now, huh?” *Bats eyes, produces a lace parasol out of nowhere like a real southern lady*

Jackson’s eyes twinkled

Finally.

“Don’t threaten me with a good time,” he declared. “You can plow into me any time. You are my favorite hurricane.”

  1. Calling someone ‘The Hurricane’ counts as a good time to you?
  2. Plows are for snow.
  3. Hurricanes are rainy.
  4. Lani Sarem isn’t good at metaphors.

Jackson moved in a bit closer to me. I was now almost pushed up against the wall. Jackson pressed his left hand against the wall. He had me almost pinned and was looking right at me.

Are you sure he wasn’t almost looking right at you? And can you tell us exactly how the wall is involved in his looking at you?

But this almost romantic almost almost wall wall is interrupted by the arrival of a small child who wants Lani’s autograph:

She threw her arms arouund my neck. “I want to be you when I grow up.”

There are times when the self-aggrandizing fantasy of this book is so specific and pointed that I almost feel bad for Sarem.

It passes quickly.

When the kid leaves, Jackson asks Liver why she’s at the theater so early, and she tells him she’s been working on the new illusion.

“I don’t mind, really,” I clarified. “I like being here early. Keeps me focused.”

Jackson studied me. “You take your work really seriously. I like that about you.” He nodded.

So, you know in that earlier scene where Zeb tells Liaper Zag that she needs to take things more seriously? There’s not a point in that conversation where she asserts that she does take her work seriously, or where she even refutes that charge internally. She doesn’t think, “That’s not true, and a lot of people have said so,” or anything like that. But now, Jackson is saying it. Why? Because the reader needs to be reminded that a flaw someone pointed out about Zeaf Lile is not true. The chapter cannot end without someone coming to her aid and rescuing her from criticism.

“You know what they say? Surround yourself with people that take their work seriously, but not themselves.”

I have shocking news for you about your author, Lando.

I loved quotes and sayings. I had one for almost every situation and I could rattle them off all day. I guess it made me feel like I could always comment on something without sounding dumb.

It’s not working.

Of Jackson, Zert thinks:

Charm just flowed out of him the way most people sweat in the sun on a hot August day in Tennesee.

Ah, yes, nothing speaks to the brutal hotness of a dude than comparing his charm to excessive perspiration.

Obviously, this claim of Jackson’s alleged charm is backed up by evidence, right?

Of course not! Instead, we get a lesson in regional climate:

It got hot in Vegas, like 124 degrees hot, but it was a dry heat and let me tell you it was not as sweltering as a humid ninety degrees in Tennessee. You will sweat buckets without even lifting a finger the moment you step outside.

That’s nice information to have, I guess, but it doesn’t belong directly in the middle of a dialogue exchange that has nothing to do with the weather.

They go their separate ways, but:

Somehow I just knew that Jackson would still be standing there watching me walk away. I locked eyes with him. Most people probably would have been embarrassed to be caught like that but if he was he didn’t show it. He simply smiled and waved at me.

WTF did you expect him to do, whip his dick out and start tugging right there in the middle of the casino?

I then turned around and disappeared out of sight.

POV skew. You don’t know what he can and can’t see.

So, that was this chapter. Something kind of happened in it, at least.

Sterling Archer, with the words "I said, thank god for small miracles."

121 Comments

  1. Anon
    Anon

    This book makes me lose brain cells every time you post about it. Not your posting, of course. Just the book.

    “In the south, women are still taught not to talk about such things.”

    I have lived in the Bible Belt for 13 years. Women in the South talk about these things. Especially younger women.

    “… he explained in a passionate way that felt very romantic.”

    Award-winning writing right there. Is she Hemingway reincarnated?

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • RodeoBob
      RodeoBob

      “… he explained in a passionate way that felt very romantic.”

      I could excuse that phrasing if the character was talking about something, you know, not-romantic and not-passionate. Like “Congratulations on your purchase of a new ProctorSillex food processor” or “Before we calculate your total tax liability, let’s see if you’re eligible to itemize your deductions”.

      January 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        lol If only we had more itemizing of deductions! We might get something steamy for a change. XD

        January 17, 2018
        |Reply
        • Rebecca
          Rebecca

          *male character violently removes his glasses* “Damn it, Zade, I just want to be sure you get every red cent back that the government owes you!” he said, in a passionate way that stirred romantic feelings in me.

          January 18, 2018
          |Reply
          • small jar of fireflies
            small jar of fireflies

            Me too. I will marry this man.

            January 18, 2018
    • “…he explained in a passionate way that felt very romantic…” is, like, My Immortal levels of bad.

      February 11, 2018
      |Reply
  2. Mary
    Mary

    “she’s already described them as being Dickies with extra pockets.”

    So…black cargo pants?

    Some of these paragraphs look like writing exercises where you try to express a thought three different ways. If she actually edited this, or even reread it a couple days later, the repetition would be so obvious.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • shel
      shel

      While my brain caught up quickly and I knew the pants Jenny was talking about, I did for a brief moment envision the under the shirt dickey thing that is just a collar and a fraction of shirt… with many pockets…

      And oh, was that a sexy image!! Whoo boy , them show blacks!

      January 18, 2018
      |Reply
      • Katharine
        Katharine

        Yes! I had that exact same mental image and it was BRILLIANT.

        January 19, 2018
        |Reply
  3. RodeoBob
    RodeoBob

    So, you actually can have your story start with a protagonist who is a self-absorbed, whiny jerk that lucks into everything and has all kinds of privilege. But for that to work, you have to have Act 2 (“gesundheit”) where the other sympathetic characters call out the protagonist for being a shit. It’s best if it happens over & over, where one character blows up at the protagonist, then the protagonist seeks reassurance from another character who instead points out more bad behavior, and so on. Your second act ends with the protagonist feeling humbled and ashamed and embarrassed, but also penitent. That sets up your final act, where they make amends, act kindly, and buy the biggest turkey in the store window to give to the Cratchet family.

    To be honest, I was kinda hoping that maybe that was where this book was going. Having Zordon facing down losing her job, her friends, and both of the men she’s pursuing would make for a pretty good source of tension in a book that’s otherwise lacked it.

    But no, this book is about the “Magjick” and her “gypsy” heritage and all the mysterious wonderfulness that made Lambo-Girl attack her out of nowhere then never return.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Nah, Lambo puts in a brief appearance later but yeah… that’s the extent of the whole thing. I agree though… If she turned out like Scrooge, that’d be another much better version. Just about every thought of “if only” is better… XD

      January 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Xebi
        Xebi

        Funny you should mention Scrooge, because it brought to mind a Dickensian character for me too. Only mine was Pip.

        January 18, 2018
        |Reply
        • Xebi
          Xebi

          And now I realise I somehow missed out a chunk of the comment you replied to, where the Cratcheg family is specifically mentioned, and now I feel stupid.

          January 18, 2018
          |Reply
          • Xebi
            Xebi

            *Cratchet. Welp, my new phone is doing me few favours so far.

            January 18, 2018
    • Arlene
      Arlene

      I initially thought you were describing Austen’s Emma, which I think is a good example of a self-absorbed, misguided, often unlikeable character who eventually realizes the error of her ways (and is often called out throughout the book by Mr. Knightley, the only person in her life who can get by with calling her out on anything). When reading Emma, I root for her even when I’m angered by the things she does and there is some payoff in the end when you see her heading in a better direction. What’s so irritating about Zani is that she is so unlikeable and yet we’re constantly being told that she’s super duper likable and oh so popular and why wouldn’t anyone fawn all over her. This chapter hints at the possibility of depth and compassion but in a very clumsy way and, based on what’s been read thus far, it probably won’t lead the reader anywhere interesting.

      January 20, 2018
      |Reply
  4. MyDog'sPA
    MyDog'sPA

    . . . I just wasn’t used to talking about intimate moments with anyone, theirs or mine. In the south, women are still taught not to talk about such things.

    Yup, the skills learned by young folks nowadays through peers, adult role models, and media to start a relationship are the exact opposite of what’s needed to maintain one. (Just ask Aziz Ansari on how he obviously didn’t read “Grace’s” ‘non-verbal’ cues properly on their date last September. It was so all his fault.)

    Zoobie Zymoveal isn’t saying anything to her date, so why would I not be surprised if she doesn’t get what she expects from the relationship? And sadly, the few readers who actually read this and like it will use that as reference behavior in their own relationships and then go and blame their date (or spouse) whenever something goes downhill in the relationship.

    Throughout all this I’m thinking to the dudes: “Get away, why would you even want this woman?!

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      It’s BS anyhow, even historically. Look at Florence King: it’s about all girls ever DID talk about in high school, though of course they didn’t mention it in front of the boys.

      January 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Jane Eyre
        Jane Eyre

        But they talked amongst themselves, and Zamizu is talking to another woman….and like if it has been ESTABLISHED she KNOWS Charlie is her father and it was like not stated that she took a while to get what Sophie is talking about but like…have a pause where she says she blanched because she suddenly pictured the scene then the awkwardness would be understandable. Because having someone talk to you about sex with your parent is awkward and embarrassing. But Lani makes it not about the fact that Sofia is talking about Zandu’s father but about sex in general.

        January 19, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          have a pause where she says she blanched because she suddenly pictured the scene then the awkwardness would be understandable.

          Yeah but that would happen in a better book where we have a lot more “show, don’t tell.” Handbook for Mortals is where the super secret reveal is how the guy who is totally the heroine’s father is actually the heroine’s father. The movie script relied on 3rd person limited, without being able to hear any interior monologues (I assume anyway), so the book’s 1rst person narrative just prays to god that the reader is a complete idiot; then it tries to distract them with a different love triangle altogether.

          Also, the whole stupid “purity” thing does come up later because the instant Mac has a mistaken assumption, the narrative instantly reassures us that Zani is 100% pure and good (yet she’s clearly incestuous, there’s no way he could be so very wrong…. lol it’s beyond belief.) Okay, but more seriously, I don’t think Zani could write any relationship that isn’t romantic, which is also why Zani’s attempts to be friendly towards Sofia sound like romantic interest when they don’t sound forced. It’s also one of the reasons we barely see Spellman in the 1rst and 2nd acts (plus Jackson was given some of his scenes.) I mean, clearly, there’s the fake-out that Spellman is one arm of a love triangle but I think the movie script originally implied more innocence and sooner, or I really hope it did anyway. Otherwise, it’s just sad. :p

          That Mel turned out to be such a good friend to Sofia was pure coincidence.

          January 19, 2018
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            It’s so silly for this “mystery” to continue. It’s was quite obvious from the first page that Charlie was Zade’s dad. The ONLY reason it was kept a secret was to add tension for the romance between Zade and Mac. That’s it.

            Just because you reveal Charlie as dad, it doesn’t make the past scenes where he’s creepy any less creepy. And the fact he’s dating a woman as young as his daughter makes those scenes even worse!

            January 19, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            The ONLY reason it was kept a secret was to add tension for the romance between Zade and Mac. That’s it.

            The set up could work but it needs some serious dedication to “is she secretly dating him or is Spellman her father?” The creepiness could be used to that advantage, and I’m thinking that’s what the movie was going for, but Zani Larem is too soft and in love with her own fantasy to ever allow Ladon to be the kind of crafty bitch who could steal Sofia’s limelight and her boyfriend, or to allow Spellman to actually be more of a jerk than he already is. There’s just not enough ambiguity to go around. The movie might’ve pulled it off slightly better for lack of Jackson at least.

            It’s actually pretty funny how much creepiness she managed to keep in though, some of it unintentionally. I love Not-Lani Sarem’s beautiful Tinfoil Theory where Charles Spellman used Zeb’s glamor to become Jackson, a man who doesn’t actually exist, to seduce his own daughter. There’s a staggering amount of evidence that points to this idea, including the unreliable narrator. … and come to think of it, I’m pretty sure you’ve read the Blandbook for Chortles, Amy, but I’ll just leave that in for other people who haven’t seen it yet. XD

            January 20, 2018
  5. Amy
    Amy

    I cringed so hard during this chapter. It’s pretty must established Zade is Lani, Lani is Zade, and this is the fantasy Lani wants to perform herself. So instead of getting epic kung-fu fight scenes or saving space princesses, Lani writes herself getting held down, stradled, and tickled.

    The first time I read this, I felt like I stumbled upon Lani’s tickle kink. Yeesh.

    My cousin is a very clumsy person. She falls down the stairs all the time. Stumbling over your own feet so you can fall into the arms of a hot guy isn’t clumsy, that’s a strategic move and nobody falls for it. I’m also annoyed this is like the twentieth time in this book Zade just “runs into” someone while her attention is somewhere else. Lani, there are other ways to bring people onto the scene without the character bumping into them.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Elyssa
      Elyssa

      RIGHT?! Like, sometimes I am a real-life clumsy person. Unlike Zabowie, this manifests in stubbing my big toe on my coffee table multiple times in a week or that one time I sliced off part of my pinkie when I was drying a steak knife because I fumbled with it and tried to catch it. NOBODY IS TRIPPING AND FALLING INTO MEN’S ARMS. We are stubbing our toes and jamming our elbows in door jambs and not being allowed to use the potato peeler because you kept taking chunks out of your pointer finger.

      January 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Exactly! Preach it, sisters! Clumsy is all about being in pain and swearing loudly after you don’t notice where your limbs were going. I’m clumsy IRL and don’t usually cut myself because I rarely use knives (and try to be super careful when I do use them), but I definitely stub my toe frequently and bang my knees, hands, and occasionally shoulders and butt into my surroundings. I trip over my own feet sometimes but always catch myself so fast it looks like I stumbled a bit and just scuff my shoes. I have to be careful in the grass because the uneven ground can hide in plain sight and I hate traversing steep hills.

        And I almost never walk into people. I immediately notice humanoid forms and moving objects. I get careless or forgetful when it comes to furniture, walls, and doors. I once even slammed my fingers into a car door… And sometimes I step on the cats but that’s under specific conditions 1) I’m distracted and not looking down so I don’t notice them, but I try to pay attention when I know they’re following me, or 2) it’s the middle of the night, the lights aren’t on, and they blend into the dark floor and geometric rugs with their little tuxedo coats. Plus they’re cats… they’re good at moving silently and they like to dart around human legs. I also try to step very softly and sometimes I just bump into them. I’ve only directly stepped onto their tails or feet a few times and usually when I was turning around and surprised.

        Even when I do walk into people, I don’t think anyone ever caught me… You have to be super off-balance to fall over, which usually requires running or dancing I think… speed x momentum. I could see tripping down the stairs and landing in someone’s arms but I don’t think I’ve seen that yet?

        January 17, 2018
        |Reply
        • Ange2
          Ange2

          Sadly it is entirely possible to fall over even at walking pace – one year I managed to do that about 8 times! Never into anyone’s arms though, just onto the ground – and it’s never cute, just frightening or annoying. I think it’s a combination of clumsiness, uneven ground, inverting my ankle and my knee occasionally choosing to just give way.

          January 18, 2018
          |Reply
          • Mouse
            Mouse

            One of my best friends is the clumsiest people I know. She’s adorable. She’s so clumsy that she fell off a chair. It was not leaning back or anything she leaned forward to adjust her skirts tried to sit back down and landed on her back with her legs up in the air like some confused turtle or june-bug. My other friend and I, being the horrible people we are, almost fell off of our benches with laughter. We’re at a renfaire- so as we’re gasping for breath from laughter (she’s laughing and cursing at us at the time)- some handsome man in a kilt comes help her up and make sure that she’s okay. He’s in character- so he’s ren-flirting and being overly charming. It was adorable. That’ I’ve seen happen- and I’ve seen her bumble into poles when not paying full attention but never the “oops, how romantically clumsy of me!” falling into the arms of handsome men.

            I really would love to see more clumsy characters in fiction be actually clumsy and not plot device clumsy. My poor friend- she’s often just covered in mystery bruises- and often has the best stories because of it. She even wants to make a bubble wrap dress. I would love to have a character like her in a book- so everyone could have the joy of having someone like her in their life, instead of the conveniently clumsy.

            January 18, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            one year I managed to do that about 8 times!

            I stand corrected! Also, I guess my balance is better than I thought it was. I’m pretty positive I haven’t done that while walking, although it’s also possible it happened once, it wasn’t a terrible fall, and I just didn’t remember it. I know I once twisted my ankle getting off a slide and that I remember to this day because I had to get a cast for it. 😛

            I think it’s a combination of clumsiness, uneven ground, inverting my ankle and my knee occasionally choosing to just give way.

            Ouch! That sounds pretty painful. 🙁

            Uneven ground… yeah, grass can be treacherous. I always try to pay close attention, in case it’s obscuring something (and it’s not as soft as it looks), but sometimes even flooring can fool us. I’ve realized a couple of times where something wasn’t completely level in a building and I’m pretty sure I stumbled on a few of them.

            January 20, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            I would love to have a character like her in a book- so everyone could have the joy of having someone like her in their life, instead of the conveniently clumsy.

            Yeah. Plus, those scenes would be way more interesting than the cookie cutter junk we usually see! I’d gladly read a book where something cute like your friend’s Ren Faire incident actually brought a couple together, even if it was only briefly, or if it was just a funny slice of life incident. XD

            It’s also rarely shown to be an actual flaw that the character hates but it could so easily turn into a great way to ramp up the suspense in a given situation that involves a lot of coordination or stealth. Who needs Cooper’s dry twig when you could trip, catch yourself, but bang your elbow on a desk, then loudly swear out of habit? And there’s so much more variety too! You could accidentally kick a discarded can into a brick wall without hurting yourself at all, or just fall out of a tree and land right on the guards you were supposed to be watching out for. Even when it’s not super important, it could simply build personality into a scene, like going to get some coffee or walking the dog.

            I think we don’t see enough clumsy characters because too many writers probably get cautioned against it (I bet Mary Sue Litmus tests see a lot of that) or the writer doesn’t have enough experience with clumsy people, so they assume it’d be too boring or too dangerous for their story and never break the mold. Hrmm…

            January 20, 2018
  6. Erin C
    Erin C

    For real though, did someone else write that bit with Sophia? Besides not being horribly misogynist, it also seems a bit better written, less weird over explaining maybe? Or maybe this is the one bit that she took editors’ advice on.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I’m guessing it’s one of the scenes our illustrious author took almost directly from the movie script and she didn’t feel the need to pad out that particular scene. I’m assuming she spent more time on the original script, which could be false.

      But I also theorize that Sophia was both the receptacle and the sacrifice for Zani’s feelings towards other performers, allowing her to momentarily sympathize. Pretty sure Lade Zarem felt like the people who “took” her desired roles didn’t work for what they got. It’s possible given the ending where Sophia disappears entirely that some friendly feedback talked her into giving Sophia a gracious scene that could allow Zart to preen over her own kindness before Sophia bows out of the story entirely. This isn’t her last scene, Sophia has roughly two more, but it’s the last time she really talks to anyone or contributes anything of importance to the supposed plot. Sophia was supposed to be the mean girl and since Zodiac actually is a mean girl IRL she sympathizes… which puts Sophia in a weird paradox of realism while being treated unrealistically by the narrative. :p

      January 17, 2018
      |Reply
  7. Pepper
    Pepper

    “I nodded my head slowly as I procssed what she had said and its full meaning. It was almost like in a cartoon where a light bulb goes off over the head of someone. My own eyes bulge and it felt like they had popped out of my head.”

    For a very long second there I thought this was where Zeaser Zalad was going to realize Spellman was her father. How bad is it that a clarification on Zippers purity status isn’t much better?

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Drea
      Drea

      If she already knows (and judging from her conversation with Mac about her father, she does) then maybe she was just grossed out thinking about her dad and Sophie.
      I wouldn’t put it past this dumpster fire to have a 1st person POV character clumsily hide a fact like that from the reader and then pretend like it’s a surprising twist. ‘Oh, yeah and btw Spellman’s my dad. That’s how I got the job, duh.’
      It would be the ‘I got the results back and I definitely have breast cancer’ moment from The Room that’s never brought up again.

      January 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        just grossed out thinking about her dad and Sophie.

        100% correct, although Zade is actually played up to be pure.

        that’s never brought up again.

        Spellman being her father is the original plot of the movie. We’ll get the “twist” very soon… She’ll even bring it up before kissing his teenage homunculus in front of a stage audience. I’m completely serious. XD

        January 17, 2018
        |Reply
  8. JaySelene
    JaySelene

    My mother actually has a physical disability that causes her to suddenly lose her balance and the most succinct description for it is “it SUCKS”. She’s constantly afraid of falling and injuring herself, or embarrassing herself by knocking someone’s coffee down their front. Some people are gracious about it, some are assholes, but no one has found it cute or charming or asked her for a date because they collided.

    That kind of constant worry doesn’t make life fun and I find it frustrating when “clumsy” is used as a “cute” character trait to denote modesty (“I’m not as graceful as other girls”) or deep thought (“I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t notice…”) or lacking the basic motor function required to walk AND avoid running into your surroundings. It’s a lazy plot device, a lazy character device, a delusional outlook on how that situation would actually play out, ignores any kind of representation for people who are “clumsy” for a reason, and presents the misogynistic view that, as readers, we can’t like a character unless we can laugh along with their false self-deprecation about an embarrassing situation they could have avoided if they cared to exert the basic decency required to pay attention to anything other than themselves.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
  9. Indigo
    Indigo

    “Anything. Everything. I want to know your past. I want to know everything you’re willing to tell me,” he explained in a passionate way that felt very romantic.

    I messaged that line to my boyfriend, and his response was “you’re lying that’s not real go away YOU’RE FULL OF LIES”. Poor dear.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
  10. Megan M.
    Megan M.

    Every time I read these HFM excerpts it’s like the awful storytelling infects my brain and I struggle to even form coherent sentences when I’m trying to leave a comment. I still don’t understand what’s happening here. I read a mystery once that had a couple of scenes in it where I felt the telling and showing had been swapped – the author told us something important happened and then showed us something mundane and unnecessary. It bugged me so much that I didn’t finish reading it and kind of marveled that it had actually been traditionally published. This ENTIRE book is like that. I think the only important events we’ve been shown is when Sofia fell and then that girl attacked her in the parking garage, but even those were so weirdly glossed over afterwards that they had no impact. This is literally a story about NOTHING. Seinfeld should sue her.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
  11. StarrDream
    StarrDream

    Agh! I was having such a terrible day today. Then I got home and got excited because you posted! Yay! I love your snarky snark so much 😀

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
  12. Ilex
    Ilex

    Oh, wow, it really says “he explained in a passionate way that felt very romantic”? I’m going to be laughing over that for days, maybe years! What an awesomely bad phrase!

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Jamoche
      Jamoche

      Bulwer-Lytton contest candidate right there!

      January 20, 2018
      |Reply
      • MayaB
        MayaB

        Thanks to your comment I found out who Bulwer-Lytton is and spent a lot of time reading the winning entries from the last couple of years. I don’t know if I should thank you or be angry at you for making my procrastination so much easier. 😉

        January 22, 2018
        |Reply
  13. Nasitha
    Nasitha

    “It got hot in Vegas, like 124 degrees hot,“
    Wait, is it actually 124 degrees? As a Vegas Native I can attest it does get hot here but that’s such a specific temperature to exaggerate to. She could’ve said : “…like triple digit hot…” or “…over a 100 degrees hot.” Or she could’ve ignored the exaggeration and just said “it got hot in Vegas- 124 degrees was the projected high today…”

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Drea
      Drea

      You know, for one second I thought that Lani had actually done research and that the very specific 124F was the record high in Las Vegas, but no. A 5 second google search tells me that the highest ever recorded temp in Vegas (as of 6/2017) was 117F (47.8C).

      https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/nevada/articles/2017-06-20/las-vegas-ties-record-high-temperature-of-117-degrees

      She couldn’t even google it. (To be fair, the highest recorded temp in the whole state of Nevada is 125F, but she’s still didn’t get that right.)

      January 17, 2018
      |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      As a Tennessee native, I would never say that our 90 degrees with 99% humidity was worse than your 124 ovens. I saw that part and cringed. It sucks, but I’d take it any day over that.

      And likening “oozing charm” to a southern sweat is not sexy in the least. It isn’t some sexy, man sweat. It’s miserable. It never seems to dry because of said humidity and you just feel sticky and gross and so not sexy.

      January 20, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        From To Kill a Mockingbird:
        *****************************************
        Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning; ladies bathed before noon, after their 3 o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum.
        *****************************************
        Not a charming image.
        In addition, during Zelda Fitzgerald’s pre-AC Southern Belle days, girls used to do their hair, put on full makeup, and get into the bath to cool off, then put on their party dresses at the last minute when their dates arrived.

        Didn’t Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch grow up in the South? Does she not have a clue what Southern heat is really like? Or is this just a clumsy attempt at a simile?

        January 20, 2018
        |Reply
        • Athena
          Athena

          If I were giving her the benefit of the doubt, I’d say she likes manly, sweaty men, or the very least the idea of them. You know, those images that depict sweat as a sign of virility and masculine power? I might be dating myself with 90’s ad campaigns.

          As it is, it’s a terrible simile. Oozing in of itself isn’t a great word to use with charm, but pairing it with the mental image of buckets of sweat just kills whatever potential goodness it had.

          January 20, 2018
          |Reply
  14. Sarah
    Sarah

    My favorite part was the impromptu lesson in regional climate. It’s like she’s pulling ideas out of a hat.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      That ain’t her hat. Politely put, she’s pulling ideas out of her back pocket.

      January 17, 2018
      |Reply
  15. Crystal M
    Crystal M

    This is the most boring fantasy I’ve ever read. Even little kids can make up way more exciting fantasies about themselves, like “Grandma got kidnapped by pirates and I saved her.”

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • River
      River

      I took my three year old nephew on an adventure the other day. While driving to visit his uncles job site he animatedly described to me a story about him and his six dogs. It would seem they’re all named Snowy (named for TinTin’s dog of course) and he and they chased dragons out of his Mamma’s field along with dinosaurs! He also had six cats that helped as well. If you can picture a three year old on a strider bike, sailing across the snow among a pack of small white dogs and cats chasing dragons then you are seeing what my nephew was dreaming of. And you’re right, he did a much better fantasy build then Lani managed.

      January 18, 2018
      |Reply
    • Indigo
      Indigo

      I would totally watch a movie based on games of Let’s Pretend played by kids I babysat. There were like, intergalactic rock stars who rode unicorns through space.

      January 18, 2018
      |Reply
      • Jamoche
        Jamoche

        “Axe Cop” is an awesomely surreal comic – all the ideas came from the cartoonist’s 5 year old brother.

        January 20, 2018
        |Reply
  16. MarleighG
    MarleighG

    There’s many things I could comment on here, but I lost it at the Whore in the North.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
  17. Amy
    Amy

    I would like to see these fan letters. Are they really thanking Lani for representing them?

    Representing them HOW??? As far as I can see, besides calling them gypsies-

    Wait, sorry, that’s wrong. Besides calling HERSELF a gypsy, Lani has done nothing to show any sign of culture beyond your standard American stuff.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Drea
      Drea

      *Spoiler* They’re fake (probably) or written by people she knows, just like 99% of the positive reviews she gets. We all know she isn’t beyond planting stuff.

      January 17, 2018
      |Reply
    • Shy
      Shy

      Lol, yeah I’ve been recounting the sordid take of Lani to my boyfriend, who is part Romani. And when I told him about the whole “thanks for representation” he laughed.

      He gets frustrated that people focus on this magical fortune teller bullshit stereotype about Romani, while ignoring the painful history and the current stigma and problems facing the Roma. In his own words, “nobody gives a shit about them, unless it’s to blame them for something.”

      January 17, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Another point: “Gypsy” is an umbrella term which does not distinguish between Roma and Irish Travelers. Just what tradition does she want to claim here?

        January 17, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          does not distinguish between Roma and Irish Travelers. Just what tradition does she want to claim here?

          My best guess would be the Irish Travelers since she’s white as hell and Southern, but Zani being Jewish could compound that idea and it might fit better with the Rroma instead. Please tell us more about the Irish Travelers though, because I’ve never heard of them! 🙂

          January 20, 2018
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            I don’t know that much about them myself, but I saw a documentary about them, and their ethnic origins (Irish minority) and dialect are very different from the Roma, although they were lumped under the same disparaging term “Gypsies.” They also got stuck with some other disparaging terms referring to their frequent occupations as itinerant pot-menders and horsemeat-merchants. They probably wouldn’t be much use to Llanbadrig’s story, as they seem to have gone in for migratory trades rather than fortune-telling, and most practice some form of Catholicism, but they still suffered much of the same stereotyping about supposedly criminal behavior.

            Again, there is so much that could have been done with this story: was Zacatecas’ family MagicK influenced by New Orleans voodoo, Haitian vodou, Celtic myths….what? The tarot started as playing cards in Renaissance Italy and France, and only later started to be used for fortune-telling. What if she’d had an ancestor who got in trouble for telling fortunes in Louis XIV’s France, as Catherine LaVoisin did? What if some of her family fled to the New World, and got into a power struggle with a Free Woman of Color who was a Voodoo Queen, and she fell in love with one of the rival family’s descendents? Had she done just a little research, she could have found details that would make for interesting plot points, or insights into character.

            Instead of which, we get a pile of flour here, a lump of butter there, a handful of sugar, a smashed egg with pieces of the shell left in…and no effort to make an actual cake.

            January 20, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            Interesting! Yeah, I suspected they might be Catholic. Hrmmm, what if she were a mix of those two groups? It’d be about the only vaguely legit reason to stick with the term gypsy, although at that point she could probably just say they were migrant workers because realistically speaking I’m sure the Rroma were too in some places, and also picked up jobs that no one else really wanted to do.

            Pretty positive Zani ignored history specifics because she wanted to avoid any mention of the Holocaust which targeted Rroma as well as Jews. You’re right though, just a little bit of research and any of the details would’ve been great! (Although the Voodoo Queen could still crop up in a horribly racist way… I’m sure Zani would make that poor woman a slave and a villain… ugh.) From what I gather though, Zani’s only magical research touched on Kabbalah and maybe some dabble in alchemy, I guess. She definitely wasn’t concerned about a more finely tuned magic system of any sort. I do suspect Lambo Girl could be a reference to the history of Tarot BUT only if the Lamborghini being Italian makes any difference at all, which it probably doesn’t if I’m being honest.

            January 21, 2018
      • Drea
        Drea

        It’s just another form of cultural appropriation. People like that extract the ‘exotic style’ and ‘mystery’ out of a culture without experiencing the stigma or acknowledging that an entire, diverse group of people isn’t just a costume to put on and take off.

        As for pointing out that ‘So-and-so’ does it too, every five-year-old can point out the flaw in that logic.

        January 17, 2018
        |Reply
  18. Lily
    Lily

    So, this book can be sold as a writing aid: how Sarem writes, do the opposite and you will be a good writer.

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      If she had any sense, she’d use that in her next “how to write” panel. XD

      January 18, 2018
      |Reply
  19. Savannah
    Savannah

    Oh my god, “Zooboomafoo” had me laughing so hard! Thank you for writing these, Jenny!

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
  20. LovelloftheWolves
    LovelloftheWolves

    Okay just a fan-girl aside: “don’t threaten me with a good time” is the name of one of Panic! At the Disco’s top charters, released in 2015. (For the record I am a fan of Panic! Mostly out of nostalgia, partially because their music is super crafted tunes) I highly doubt that Sarem, music fanatic as she is, did that on accident.

    Thank you for reading this trainwrk – you are doing a public service!

    January 17, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      That’s probably her most recent reference if it came out in 2015. Thanks for the info btw! I thought that line sounded too interesting to be random. 🙂

      January 18, 2018
      |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          I did a quick Google search and had some trouble finding anything more about it. Not surprised if it was Carrot Top though; it’s like Zani’s friendship is the mark of evil. 😛

          January 19, 2018
          |Reply
    • yamikuronue
      yamikuronue

      and “Hurricane” is a single off Vices and Virtues. And the band is from Vegas.

      Is Jackson supposed to be Brandon Urie? He’s the one that plays guitar in this book, right?

      January 19, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        I think he’s based on Jackson Rathbone. There’s really nothing but Lani working for his IRL band at one point and the name to go on though, honestly. The character has no personality, so who really knows? I think maybe she just gave him countless musical references because he’s a guitarist… All guitarists do that, right? 😉

        January 19, 2018
        |Reply
  21. SofiaThatB*tch
    SofiaThatB*tch

    “I’m sorry you feel that way, and I’m sorry if you feel like I’ve been given anything at all that should have gone to you.”

    Omg that! That’s basically what she told Angie Thomas! I can’t even with this girl!

    January 18, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I especially love how she’s not admitting to any wrong-doing. She’s hemming and hawing by saying “you feel” instead of saying “I did.” Occasionally that’s accurate, like if you’re not sure who’s really to blame for something (two drivers hitting each other head-first because the traffic lights were broken), but if you’re apologizing and you mean it, then you own up to what you did. Zani owns up to nothing in the narrative and nothing in real life… ;p

      January 18, 2018
      |Reply
      • Mike
        Mike

        My personal feeling on ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ is that it’s 99% of the time a way to apologize to placate the person without actually taking any responsibility for anything and is therefore more of an insult than an apology. You’re basically saying that you feel bad for them that they’re upset (see: pitying them), and not saying that it has anything to do with you or your actions at all.

        ‘I’m sorry *I MADE* you feel that way’ is a proper apology. Or in this case “I’m sorry. I know how I came into this position looks bad. I know how hard I’ve worked to get here, but none of you have seen that, so it very understandably feels unfair. I hope that in the future I can show you how much I care and how hard I’m willing to work and I can earn your respect.” would have been a mature, reasonable tack to take that would have given Sofie due respect while also getting across that she feels she does deserve to be there, and could have even been a light bulb moment to her about why Zeb has an issue with her and she could have gone back to talk to him again afterwards. Instead we got a ‘sorry you don’t get me’ comment that allows Sarem to simultaneously acknowledge the favouritism Zade gets while also dismissing it with supposed ‘dues’ having been paid that we don’t get any information about so we still don’t know that she even has any experience AT ALL prior to this, and lets her seem like she’s also understanding and kind even to her enemies! Aw, so lovely! And the cherry on top is that she gets to spend the whole time thinking in her head about how much better she is than Sofia for taking the high road paved with spite.

        I have to wonder if she thinks the ‘dues’ she ‘paid’ are how ‘mistreated’ she was in her small town. If she had legit experience she could have brought it up, at least in her internal monologue. Or in the first or second chapters, like ‘this was so much more stressful than the X I did back home.” SOME mention of past experience would do a lot to alleviate some of the bad feelings towards her. Even in the conversation to Mac she could have said she’d been wanting to do this kind of job since the talent show in elementary or something. But nothing, no mention at all. Which makes it seem like she just thinks that being a social pariah and having magic is the same as putting in literal decades of serious work.

        January 19, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Which makes it seem like she just thinks that being a social pariah and having magic is the same as putting in literal decades of serious work.

          Pfft… yeah. Giving another person basic human decency means they owe you for it, and apparently suffering is the same as practicing.

          I think Zani missed the part where Cinderella did all of the housework and served her family as a literal servant for maybe a decade, plausibly the only one performing drudgery on their small estate. Cinderella didn’t have a lot of options and she got stuck with the only thing she could do… what her stepmother wanted. She didn’t live in the podunk town suburbs, doing whatever, lazing around, comfortably enjoying designer bags and maybe a motorcycle, before she called the Prince and asked for everything to be handed to her on a silver platter if she arrived at the palace and showed off her magic a little.

          I guess in theory Zany Zue was practicing her real magijacks, but judging from Zeb’s reaction, her refusal to use magijack through-out most of the novel, and her subsequent fuck-up during an upcoming magic act (which her mom doesn’t even call her out on, really, but it was poor planning rather than bad form.) Zani doesn’t practice/study in her spare time and probably never did or never had to. I mean, I guess in theory she was practicing with Spellman but since he doesn’t do anything in her act, except introduce her, there’s no proof. He could’ve called her cues I guess and helped her work out the sequence and timing, but since nothing is an illusion… well… it’s not as if he could help her, so how would he know if she was just doodling around in her figurative notebook?

          We don’t even know if this woman has hobbies other than music and she only played and sang once. Maybe she used magic for that? It’s not like we’d know. All of her effects are hand-waving and only visualized when she’s creating something, so she could’ve given herself the guitar and singing skill temporarily. It’s not as if she does it again later… closest we get is that she can tell Sofia sings better than a professional on the radio and for all we know, it was a gargle-singer for heavy metal or a rock band. I could scroll up to see if she referenced the style of music, I forget, but I really don’t care enough to do that right now. XD

          January 19, 2018
          |Reply
          • SofiaThatB*tch
            SofiaThatB*tch

            Yeah, exactly that. This supposed paying off dues could have been done correctly and made it seem like Zoot Zoot had character. But it just seems like she’s reading off a template of what to say in such situations.

            Which btw, on Lani… When she said that to Angie during their Twitter war, I remember that she went back to the indie author group and bragged to one of the guys there about what was happening, like nothing was the matter, even a bit gleeful. Def not sorry at all.

            January 19, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            Which btw, on Lani… When she said that to Angie during their Twitter war, I remember that she went back to the indie author group and bragged to one of the guys there about what was happening, like nothing was the matter, even a bit gleeful. Def not sorry at all.

            Bragged? About what? I believe you, but there’s nothing to brag about. No, wait, I’m imagining it now… 😀

            “DAMN THOSE AUTHORS OF COLOR! THEY DRIVE ME TO DRINK! *gulps down fifty shots* Wait… I’ll pretend I’m sorry and say something to Angie Thomas using weasel words! *dramatic pose shift* NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW!”

            January 19, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            Whoops, meant to add that worked so well the first time… haha. Then point to the youtube link. XD

            January 19, 2018
  22. Kim
    Kim

    “actors who play James Bond not being allowed to wear tuxedos in other movies”

    Nothing to do with this book, but…This is a thing, for real? Now I’m racking my brain trying to remember when that would be an issue. Just during their Bond tenure, right? Because I have absolutely seen Dalton in a tux in at least five other things, and I know I’ve seen Connery in one, but that may have been IRL…Craig didn’t tend toward playing guys who ever had a reason to wear a tux, even before Bond, but I’m pretty sure, if this is a rule, Brosnan totally broke it. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, but he’s the groom in a wedding at the beginning of The Mirror has Two Faces, right? Was he not wearing a tux in that scene, just because he was also Bonded, because that’s kinda…stupid

    January 18, 2018
    |Reply
  23. Cat
    Cat

    “Maybe he didn’t want me to because of what we were in the middle of; it’s not as manly.” Sofia pressed her lips together and smiled in an apparent attempt to be friendly.

    This bitch had to actively work to sound as sincere as possible whilst complimenting another woman’s singing. She has out right admitted that she is having to make a conscious effort to be nice and friendly to someone. Yet she wants to throw some shade? Yeah, sure, OK.

    January 18, 2018
    |Reply
  24. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    “I did that once and he bit my head off.” She shrugged and the right side of her lip pulled up slightly as she raised her eyebrows. “And I was on top of him at the time.”

    Can’t you just imagine it?

    “Oh! Snuggle-muffin…Pootie-pie…Sugarlips…CHARLIE!!!”
    “WADDJA CALL ME YOU BITCH??!!!” (pause) “Oh dear…that’s never happened before….”
    “Oh, don’t worry, Snookums, I’m SURE it hasn’t.”

    And then there’s this:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JT0Aa_BJPoE

    January 18, 2018
    |Reply
    • RodeoBob
      RodeoBob

      Charlie. That’s the unsexy nickname you’d yell out during sexy-time? It’s like Lani can’t even get smut right.

      Chuck. That’s the nickname you want to throw around. That’s the one you want to mention trying out during sex and having it not work. Chuck. As in ‘rhymes with…’. Maybe “Chuckie”, for the awkward “Chuck E. Cheese – where a kid can be a kid” connotation.

      But Charlie? As an ‘unmanly nickname’ that you don’t want to call out mid-coitus? Seriously?

      January 18, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        I’m more bewildered that Charlie had this gorgeous woman on top of him, riding him like a cowboy, but getting called a common nickname derails that fun?

        I bet Charlie is the type of jackass who doesn’t let his partners finish.

        January 18, 2018
        |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Lard was too lazy to give Spellman’s ex-wife/girlfriend a unique nickname to call him. That’s presumably the only reason “Charlie” freaked out when Sophie used it, but he’s still cool with Dela and Zazoo calling him that.

        January 18, 2018
        |Reply
      • Agent_Z
        Agent_Z

        Or even better just have it so that Sofia accidentally yelled another guy’s name during sex. That is more likely to get a negative reaction (not that it would justify Charlie “biting her head off”) than a fairly common nick name and it ould (unfortunately) fit in more with the “Sofia is an evil, shallow, duplicitous slut” narrative the book has been going with up until this chapter where Sarem suddenly decided to write her as a human being.

        Or did he think that she was talking about another guy named Charlie she was supposedly sleeping with.

        January 24, 2018
        |Reply
    • Agent_Z
      Agent_Z

      I’m honestly feeling a little bit scared for Sofia. Between this and the lack of reaction to her nearly drowning in the earlier chapters, it sounds the guys in he life kind of treat her like crap.

      January 22, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Sofia disappears entirely after she’s done singing in the show… OMG, what if they killed her to get rid of the loose ends?!

        But I prefer to think that she realized how terrible almost everyone was and how it’s affecting her life, so she finally got out after the accident that puts Zoocraft into a coma. Someone else suggested Sofia could have a music deal (not in the novel but as an awesome “what if?”), which I like to think Sofia got rolling after her own near-death incident. She was simply biding her time while all the finagling for the contract was worked out, went in for recording, and then decided to wait for the album to get some traction before she officially switched careers.

        January 22, 2018
        |Reply
  25. Stormy
    Stormy

    If she didn’t compliment Sofia on something in spite of HOW MEAN Sofia has been to her [citation needed], how could we, the audience, possibly understand how much better of a person Zade is than that mean ol’ bitch?

    I will also put money down now that there’s a scene later where people are SHOCKED AND AMAZED that Zade is being nice to Sofia.

    January 18, 2018
    |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      and she’s gonna get hailed as saint or someone who is just such a bigger person, such angel for putting up with she-devil and even being so gracious as to le gasp…OFFER HER SINGING ROLE ON THE SHOW(as if Sofia cheated her out of it like in some generic high school drama where the popular sexy girl steals the role from amazingly talented and hard working timid girl)

      January 18, 2018
      |Reply
      • Cat
        Cat

        Even better if she is the one who shows her cast mates why they have been wrong about Sofia. I mean, Sofia has only been part of this show and part of the family for ages so there is no possible way anyone really got along with her before Zade shows up on the scene to expound on Sofia’s redeeming qualities.

        January 18, 2018
        |Reply
  26. myeck waters
    myeck waters

    “It’s not working.”

    My attempts to stifle my laughter have failed, and I have received the Raised Eyebrow from a co-worker. Harrumph!

    January 18, 2018
    |Reply
  27. small jar of fireflies
    small jar of fireflies

    Thanks to the magic of skimming, I read “you can plow into me any time” and briefly found the book interesting.

    January 18, 2018
    |Reply
  28. Alison
    Alison

    I don’t know if you were exaggerating for effect, but you are definitely smart enough to watch that movie. It’s a cool concept, but it’s not hard to follow what’s going on, and it being a Hollywood movie, they explain everything anyway.

    January 18, 2018
    |Reply
  29. Mike
    Mike

    Definitely sounds like Jackson is into pegging.

    The interaction between her and Jackson doesn’t come off like the interaction of two people who have been dating for a while now. It comes off as two people still in the ‘who’s going to ask first?’ flirting stage. The interactions with Mac seem a little more like they’ve got some level of emotional familiarity to them, but even then it still seems rather ‘we’ve just started dating and we’re still figuring each other out’, which doesn’t feel quite right for the time frame this seems to be on.

    She does multiple ‘it’s been a few weeks’ time jumps, so that kind of implies it’s been at least six weeks. Nearly two months into a relationship with someone you see nearly every single day you would think he wouldn’t JUST be learning about where she’s from. That’s more ‘we’ve gone on two dates and I’m only asking now because it felt cheesy to ask on the first date…’ I dunno. Maybe I’m off on that. Maybe some people move at a much slower pace than I would be comfortable with. But usually ‘so where are you from?’ is one of the first things I get asked at any kind of social gathering, even before I moved to the UK and had a drastically different accent from the people around me.

    The thing she says about having a quote for everything, I don’t think she realizes how bad that makes her sound. I mean, you have a quote prepared for everything? Really? So you don’t have your own thoughts about ANY subject? Apparently she can’t think for herself and just goes with whatever quote sounds the most profound at the moment.

    January 19, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Especially if those quotes are pretentious as hell. The majority of quotes Zade brings up are pretty purple prose that sounds nice for graduation speeches, but have no applicaple context in the real world. The one Zade used here is fine, but to bring a up random quotes in every day conversation makes you sound like you memorize facts off of wikipedia.

      January 19, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        From Pride and Prejudice, of course:

        *********************************
        “….you may imagine that I am happy on every occasion to offer those little delicate compliments which are always acceptable to ladies. I have more than once observed to Lady Catherine, that her charming daughter seemed born to be a duchess, and that the most elevated rank, instead of giving her consequence, would be adorned by her. These are the kind of little things which please her ladyship, and it is a sort of attention which I conceive myself peculiarly bound to pay.”

        “You judge very properly,” said Mr. Bennet, “and it is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?”

        “They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such little elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible.”

        Mr. Bennet’s expectations were fully answered. His cousin was as absurd as he had hoped, and he listened to him with the keenest enjoyment, maintaining at the same time the most resolute composure of countenance, and, except in an occasional glance at Elizabeth, requiring no partner in his pleasure.
        *********************************

        January 19, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Mr. Bennet’s cousin is awesome though. He likes flattering women and he tries to make it sound natural… and Mr. Bennet’s enjoyment in finding him funny is rather sweet too, even if he’s silently laughing at the man. At least he’s composed and doesn’t seem to fault the man for something deemed silly.

          I especially love that turn of phrase… proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study? Jane Austen has excellent description and dialog (even if it’s probably not utterly natural… that conceive part is a bit of a tongue-twister for me, but all of the rest rolls off the tongue and sounds delightfully snooty from both characters.)

          You make me want to read Pride and Prejudice again. XD

          January 19, 2018
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            You show more mercy to Mr. Collins than I would. To me, he’s a toadying little climber who insults the intelligence of his listeners by confusing it with his own, not an awkward geek trying to be Kewl.

            January 19, 2018
          • Dove
            Dove

            *hangs head with shame* It’s been such a long time since I’ve read the book that I didn’t remember anything else about Mr. Collins. This excerpt makes him sound like Tamaki Suoh from Ouran Host Club (who is hilarious and a bit naive.) I’m sure if I’d read the whole book again, I’d probably agree with you.

            January 19, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Don’t be ashamed; with only that excerpt, there’s no way to know he isn’t a sweet geek like Raj from BBT. I’m just remembering his self-righteous recommendation to pray for Lydia but shun her permanently after her elopement

            January 19, 2018
  30. Mylissa
    Mylissa

    I actually have gotten ready in five minutes but it was a weird situation. I arrived at five til after being stuck in traffic for 3 hours, my first scene was behind a screen because we were making shadow animals with our bodies. I threw my belongings on the floor, changed into my unitard, braided my hair and threw my hair cap on (hairstyles ruined the shadows) in five minutes. But then the artistic director decided to do a ten minute speech and I was able to do most of my makeup as well. Definitely not usual circumstances though.

    I would never LOSE TRACK OF TIME and then find myself five to places not dressed/makeup done. But then the only time I’m just hanging out in a theatre killing time is in between shows and I’m pretty much ready as I’m too lazy to take off and redo my entire face of makeup or redo wig prep. Time in between shows is always like me in sweats, full makeup, hair either stays did or wig comes off and hair stays wig prepped. If going out to eat, it’s like that because I’d rather save energy for the show.

    January 19, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Your example sounds way more exciting! Also, much more sensible. Plus, I suspect most people would have some very low-key anxiety going on as they wait for the waiting to end unless they’re completely engrossed in something else, which could be unprofessional. You learn what’s way too distracting and just don’t do that when you’re on break, and anything that’s risky, you better have the clock clearly visible and be prepared to look up from time to time. Don’t fully relax unless you have several hours and even then it might be hard to enjoy if you get antsy because you can’t do something more relaxing.

      Zazzler should’ve been mostly ready and got distracted by the singing when she only needed a few minutes to finish up because they were in between shows or she took the necessary time to get shit done. Otherwise, she’d have to make a proper scene of it, with consequences… in a better novel. 😉

      January 19, 2018
      |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      You physically were not there, and I’ve had similar problems when I was stuck on the subway. But how does one “lose track of time” because of a conversation in someone’s dressing room? Don’t they have some anal-retentive control freak of a Stage Manager circulating backstage hollering, “TEN minutes! FIVE minutes! First act, PLACES!”?

      I swear, I’ve timed my potty-breaks by those announcements.

      January 19, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Probably someone was named and forgotten about because they haven’t done anything “important” to the “plot” (or he/she is terrible at it… Just look at Mac’s incompetence.) But it also wouldn’t surprise me if Zipper just forgot about that job.

        January 19, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          How do you forget about the Stage Manager? Once the show opens, that’s who gives you your notes after every performance, not the Director.

          I could tell you stories….

          January 19, 2018
          |Reply
      • Mylissa
        Mylissa

        Yeah that’s why it’s impossible to actually lose track of time in a theatre before a show starts. There are constant announcements about how much time you have. Even if you were in some strange small time super low budget experimental piece (everything Zab’s show is not) it WOULD be super unprofessional to lose track of time. That’s the only time I haven’t had a parade of people coming into my dressing room announcing times.

        I’m in final rehearsals for a show right now and we were doing two run throughs today, and in between we had 40 min of down time. My entire dressing room was in 90% of our costumes for that whole time, we had stage manager calls at 20, 9, and 5 and we STILL were checking our phones every ten min.

        I have stalled a show by waiting until the places call to run to the restroom but that was 100% purposeful knowing a friend needed 5 more min to park and grab tickets. But its literally impossible to completely lose track of time.

        January 20, 2018
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          When we were about to start the second half of Lysistrata, we had to ask the stage manager for a delay because several cast members couldn’t find their penises.

          January 20, 2018
          |Reply
          • Mylissa
            Mylissa

            Real theatre stories would be way more interesting than this drivel that set in a theatre for no reason because it certainly doesn’t move the plot forward.

            January 21, 2018
          • Tez Miller
            Tez Miller

            I’m not familiar with Lysistrata, but you have my attention! 😉

            January 22, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Tez:
            Lysistrata is an ancient Greek farce that Aristophanes wrote to protest the Peloponnesian War, which was bankrupting Athens, killing off an entire generation of men (and depriving the population of their potential descendants), and went on for almost 30 years.

            Basically, Aristophanes has the women of both sides get together and decide their men will not get any LURVE until they stop the war. This leads to visible signs of, um, frustration, although our production was relatively discreet and had actors wear the strap-ons underneath their clothing.

            This led to backstage conversations that included the following gems:

            “No, that’s Sean’s strap-on. Nathan’s is on the shelf in the dressing room.”
            “No, roll it up like a joint.” [Said of a bedsheet which had to be opened with a flourish, so folding wouldn’t work.]
            “Where is my penis-shaped bottle?”
            “I found Em’s panties in my bag. I’m sorry Em. Oh God, I’m a panty-thief!”
            “Em, she wanted to get into your panties!”
            “Anybody know where my penis is?”
            “Hey, anybody know where Megan’s penis is?”
            “Did you say Megan’s missing her penis? She shouldn’t be; I take her penis out of the jar every night.”
            “Megan, Jess says she has your penis.”

            (Names all changed to protect the thoroughly guilty.)

            Hope this clarifies things a bit. 😉

            January 22, 2018
          • Tez Miller
            Tez Miller

            Awesome 🙂 Thanks for the info!

            January 22, 2018
        • Amy
          Amy

          I may not have experience like that “real Las Vegas performer”, but I was a theatre kid back in high school, and I did everything from act, to help make set pieces, to going on food runs. Like you have pointed out, everyone was helping everyone, making sure things stayed on point. When things went wrong, everyone scrambled to fix it.

          This was a simple high school play, not a Las Vegas performance that costs thousands of dollars. I don’t understand why Lani, who does have more experience than I do, write a scene like this when she KNOWS this is not how it goes.

          January 21, 2018
          |Reply
          • Dove
            Dove

            I somehow doubt that Zani ever did actual theatre work. Maybe she only ever auditioned for movies? I’m sure they have someone to handle the scheduling too but it might not be as prominent and she only ever played an extra, so she probably wasn’t there for more than a day or two at best.

            And she worked for musicians but more like a producer or advertiser or something, right? Otherwise, she genuinely ignored this shit, which seems doubtful. She loved talking about those damn show blacks, after all, so she’d seem knowledgeable. Anything Zani actually knew, even if it was mistaken, she tried to shove in there.

            Or maybe her primadonna “forgetfulness” is why she never got the part? Maybe she got her foot in the door once and they threw her useless ass out the first time she pulled something like this. XD

            January 21, 2018
  31. yamikuronue
    yamikuronue

    “Hurricane” and “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time” are two singles by one of my favorite bands. Panic! At The Disco. Their frontman is also very hot. It might be coincidence but given all the other celebrity cameos in this book so far…

    January 19, 2018
    |Reply
    • WS
      WS

      God, I cringed so hard reading that part. Jackson legit talks almost exclusively in song lyrics in such an incredibly stilted way. Also I love DTMWAGT and don’t want Lani to touch it. 😛

      January 19, 2018
      |Reply
  32. Paula Brante
    Paula Brante

    I think Zeb migt be talking about her other craft. As in witchcraft. That would make sense with him not liking her like all other xy-people, and might be an attempt at some sort of cleverness. It still doesnt work as a scene in my opinion from the quotes you’ve posted, and I might be way off and there might be no point in it what so ever, but Im gonna call it: zeb is a witch! Or whatever they call it. What other reason could there be for him not fawning over her – obviously he is immune to magic 😀

    January 19, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, it’s never explained but Zeb’s reaction after her magical screw-up implies that Zeb tries to save Zani with a spell (and fails.) Also, he not only catches Zani before she can fall over, and lets her bleed all over him without any complaint (unless he was swearing in another language), but Zani finds it comforting and compares his embrace to Jackson’s! Somehow I don’t think Zoozle would’ve let Sofia bleed on her clothes and kept her from falling over if she was already on the stage. It’s not thrilling enough for the people watching… XD

      January 19, 2018
      |Reply
  33. Oh man, Zoozle has more sexual tension with Sofie/Sofia than either of the guys she’s supposedly dating!

    January 20, 2018
    |Reply
  34. B
    B

    Reading these recaps in between reading the Worst Person You’ve Ever Met series really underscores how Cathylike Zade is.

    January 27, 2018
    |Reply
  35. Sigyn Wisch
    Sigyn Wisch

    If you’re the whore of the north, can I be the trollop of the west?

    February 28, 2018
    |Reply

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