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Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals, Chapter 18 The Chariot part 1 or, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

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I don’t think I have any Lani news this time around, simply because Book Twitter is so busy with #CockyGate and #ForeverGate at the moment. But I do have a heads up about content this time around. If you’re mentally ill and “crazy” or “insane” as a pejorative bothers you, it’s all over this chapter. No exaggeration. “Crazy” is used seven times in this chapter. “Insane” is used four times. That might not seem like a lot, but in context, it becomes impossible to overlook. It will continue into the next recap.

There is so much in this chapter that I’m splitting it into two parts. It’s not that the chapter is long, necessarily. It’s just the high amount of wrong with it.

We’re also going to get the G-word and a lot of made up, One True Path™ nonsense, too. Enjoy!

This chapter finds us back in the kitchen, where Mac is out of iced tea. His lack of tea is the only thing that saves us from the story of Charles and Dela’s “romance.”

The beautiful way Dela weaved her words and her prowess as a storyteller had Mac listening so intently the whole time that the sudden pause in the story brought him jarringly back to reality.

Again, this is the author complimenting herself on how great she told the story since she’s the one who wrote it. Writing Tip: don’t bother to actually write well. Just tell the reader that you did.

Don’t actually do that. Or your book is going to end up here.

Dela goes to get Mac more tea, giving Mac time to muse over what he’s just heard. Oh, and to insult an entire race and two subcultures of people.

Mac had seen Charles only one way for so long. Mac vaguely know that Charles had toured as a traveling magician when he was young but had never known that he was basically really a carnie and a gypsy in a traveling circus.

Let me just…ugh. Okay, carnies and circus folk aren’t the same thing. And they really aren’t the same thing as Roma. For one, you can’t choose to be a member of a marginalized diaspora as a way of life or career or through affinity or affection for the race or culture (something Lani Sarem refuses to accept despite numerous requests from Romani people). As for carnies vs. circus…it’s right there. It’s in the name. Carnies are a subculture of people (some say a dying subculture) with their own dialects and customs related to running a traveling carnival. Circus performers are part of a subculture of people with their own terminology and customs related to performing in a circus. You can choose to grow up and be in the circus or to become a carnie if you’re drawn to that kind of life. And Mac has opinions on what makes a person a carnie, a circus performer, or a g-word:

He knew other who had experienced that life. Often, people who started off that way did so because they had nothing and no one. That life was a collector of the odd and the misfits. Charles must have also started out with nothing and really had no one to end up there.

If the Roma have nothing and no one, it’s due to racial and cultural discrimination that has ripped their people apart. Carnivals do attract all kinds of people to work in them, but in the past, the majority of carnival companies were owned and run by families, like any family business that hires additional workers. And circus performers? Where the hell else are they going to go to use their skills and training? The bank? Nobody wakes up and accidentally becomes a lion tamer because their life is in shambles. People took the skills they had, got together in groups and set off to make money. We often say people “ran off and joined the circus” but there have always been skilled performers who’ve deliberately set out to hone their talents specifically for circus performing. That’s why there are now prestigious circus schools. Cirque Du Soleil wouldn’t exist if talented performers didn’t want to be in a friggin circus. It’s not necessarily a last resort.

So, Mac is thinking about how hard life is for people in the circus and how unglamorous Charles’s life must have been.

His eyes darted towards Charles, who was off in thought, thinking about the past and the woman sitting next to him.

How can Mac see what Charles is thinking? Also, thanks for clearing up that people lost in thought are thinking. We’re all too stupid to get there ourselves.

Mac’s opinion was rapidly changing and he really was starting to see why Charles had achieved all of his fame and greatness.

Um, when have we ever seen Mac believing anything to the contrary? He’s shown nothing but admiration toward Charles for his work ethic and talent so far in this whole book. And if he didn’t, why would a story about Charles sleeping with a bunch of women indiscriminately make Mac realize how Charles achieved fame and greatness?

Charles tells Mac that he hadn’t planned to wear the bulletproof vest as Dela had advised him to:

“I was convinced that what Dela had done that first day was some sort of really good parlor trick. I was a magician who pulled off these impossible feats every day; if folks knew how they were done they would know how easy it is to fool people. I had always believed we were both tricksters, deceiving people in our own ways. The difference––I always thought––was people came to me to be fooled; they wanted me to deceive them, but they came to her for the truth. I finally realized that she didn’t have ‘sleeves’ to hide her kind of cards, though, so I tried to have conversations with Betty to see if I could tell what she was thinking or if she acted odd. It didn’t take long for me to see that Betty was incredibly hard to read––and reading people was usually something I did easily. […]

I love that this section completely reinforces what I said about Sandwich McGillicuty in the last chapter. Here’s Charles going, “I’m a fraud who’s good at reading people,” directly after we heard about how some people are hard for Dela to read. Thanks for the backup, Chuck.

He finishes the giant block paragraph of dialogue by explaining that he figured it wouldn’t hurt to wear the vest as a precaution.

Dela was a good storyteller but Charles was a master.

Because god forbid Chavid Spopperfield: Dream Daddy be bested at any skill. What follows that sentence is a rapturous paragraph describing the volume, pitch, and speed with which Charles speaks, how his facial expressions match what he’s saying, and how impressed Mac is with him.

He looked to Mac and grinned only slightly from the corner of his mouth. His eyes sparkled, making Charles look mischevious and full of secrets, and Mac took the bait.

Then they just start pawing each other’s clothes off in a frenzy and Charles raws Mac right on the fucking table in a pool of iced tea and broken mason jars.

Obviously, that doesn’t really happen. But I’d like to point out that the way that was written, Mac’s eyes were sparkling and that made Charles look mischevious and full of secrets.

Damien from Mean Girls saying, "That's why her hair is big. It's full of secrets."

As I scanned through Mac’s memories, […]

So, I think this is enough to confirm that the last chapter was, in fact, Zani looking at her parents’ memories of flirting and checking each other out.

Anyway, what she can tell from Mac’s memories is that he’s interested to know what happens next.

He wanted to know what had made his two hosts––who were obviously still madly in love with one another––break up, and then not even allow their daughter to see her own father. Mac had been drawn completely into the story between the two of them. He was more hooked than a housewife watching, Days of Our Lives.

Wow, what a great boyfriend, finding your childhood trauma so super entertaining. And what a great feminist you are, parroting that bored housewife trope! Girl power! Can’t wait for your “female-led” motion picture.

Charles says it was difficult to hide the bulletproof vest from everyone.

That Sunday I wasn’t even sure whether I was hoping for Deal to be right––or whether I should hope that Betty wasn’t really that crazy.

So, here’s the thing: everybody learns about offensive shit at different times and not everybody finds the same stuff offensive. I still refer to events and coincidences as being crazy, even in my fiction writing and not just as an off-the-cuff remark I haven’t broken the habit of. As a mentally ill person, I don’t have a problem with describing a pizza as “crazy good” or saying, “Whoa, people still think the Earth is flat? That’s crazy!” That’s not the case for everyone. I know some mentally ill people who would prefer that the word never be used at all. I’m not gonna sit here and be like, “I, arbiter of all mental health social justice, decree that this word is or isn’t okay to use!” with my mighty staff held aloft. I’m just giving you a read on my barometer where the word “crazy” is concerned.

This? I don’t like.

It would be one thing, I guess if they were describing someone who behaves in a zany way as crazy. You know, like Crazy Dan’s Discount Fireworks Emporium. Because owning a big giant building packed to the rafters with powerful explosives is bananas. But they’re describing this jilted woman (already a stereotype) as “crazy” because she plans to murder someone. And that really contributes to the commonly held misconception that “crazy” people are always violent and that violent people are always “crazy.” It’s not enough for Betty to just be jealous and a shitty person. She has to be “crazy” in a clinical way because it makes her more dangerous and spooky and dramatic, a la Leila or Layla or whoever in Fifty Shades Darker. She couldn’t just be a jealous lover. She had to be a crazy person because then she’s way more threatening and scary!

Anyway, he wears the vest and Betty shoots him and he, unfortunately, survives to spawn the worst heroine this side of Anita Blake. Mac is like, whoa, she shot you?

Even though he was expecting that answer it was still insane in his mind that it happened. “That’s completely crazy. I can’t even fathom…she really shot you!”

“Wow, that’s so crazy someone shot at you, that’s insane,” isn’t necessarily something I personally would take issue with, if it wasn’t followed by Charles finishing the story with:

“So, Betty went to a mental hospital where, I believe, she received help––and I lived to see another day.”

So, yeah. Betty isn’t just out-there crazy. She’s crazy-crazy, and the guy who mistreated her and sent her off on whatever breakdown prompted her to become one of the extremely rare mentally ill people to perpetrate meticulously pre-meditated violence doesn’t even really care if she got help or not because hey, it didn’t affect him.

Really, think about that. Think about how impressive we’re all supposed to find Charles, what an amazing person he is. And we’ve just heard that he so callously disregarded a woman he had employed for years that she became clinically mentally ill and he doesn’t remember if she even got help.

Mac asks Dela what she’d seen at the end of Charles’s reading the night she’d warned him about Betty.

“Well, I saw that if he listened to me about the vest, and survived, we would be together––and we would have Zade. […]

You knew. You knew and you did nothing to stop it from happening.

Lady Gaga wearing some kind of black veil and slowly shaking her head, saying, "Nothing."

Now, since Mac asks a question about Dela’s gift of claribullshit and why she couldn’t see the whole thing with Charles and Zade clearly, we need another long passage about mystic woo, burdened under the weight of a thousand similes.

“We all have free will. Now, when you get a reading, you are opening up the possibility of changing what happens based on the information you get and, therefore, you are making a decision at that time. It’s kind of like when you get in a car to go somewhere. The people you ask about in a reading are the people riding in the passenger seat of your car. You, the one getting the reading, are the driver of the car. Your decisions based on the reading determine where everyone who is riding with you goes. If someone else gets a reading they then become the driver of their own car.” She paused, waiting to see if her explanation had sunk in. “I can explain further, […]”

Please don’t. Because none of that made any fucking sense in the first place. All of that basically says that if someone doesn’t get a tarot reading, their lives are hopelessly out of their control and they are bound to the whims of other people in their lives who do peer into their future.

Hey There Delilah asks Mac if he understands.

“Uh…yeah it’s a little hard to follow but I think I get it. But…then…what happened?” Mac asked, realizing that while he was interested in the story––and even more intrigued by the gift that Dela possessed––he was pretty sure that he missed the point as to why this was all relevant in regards to what was wrong with Zade.

There are times in this book where you can just see the editor’s notes. “Um, Lani? This whole part is…there. Good! I mean, it’s good! It’s fascinating. But…why exactly are we getting all this information now? How is this relevant in regards to what’s wrong with Zade?”

And then Sarem just wrote her direct answer to the editor’s note into the manuscript rather than cut her precious parental love story to get back to the immediate action.

“No. Sorry. I mean…Well, that was a great story, but I’m confused, and i think I must have missed something. Why did I need to know this now? What does this have to do with Zade dying? What happened…to Zade?

Like, this had to be another editor note (if we’re going to operate under the delusion that this thing had editors). “Why hasn’t Mac asked what’s going on with Zade?” Dollars to donuts, someone suggested she should cut the entire Charles/Dela/Betty subplot and, rather than tighten up the book, she chose to leave it and explain in the text that gosh, she’s just such a talented weaver of stories that everyone got caught up.

It’s like some weird meta-upstaging of her own author-insert protagonist. “Yes, yes, I know you’re dying, but everyone who loves you is just so enraptured by my talent as an author that they’ve forgotten all about you and left you off the page for three chapters.”

Dela pursed her lips together

Well, you can’t purse your lips apart, can you?

and, for a moment, looked deep into Mac’s eyes. She hoped she was doing the right thing. She hoped that he could handle the truth about what their family was––and she hoped Zade would be okay with him knowing. She thought about looking into it for a moment with her cards, but the reality was that she knew he was going to have to understand it all to save my life.

The POV catastrophes in this I swear to fucking God. And these people cannot do anything without consulting their cards. Can you imagine going grocery shopping with them? “Hmm, these strawberries are two containers for five dollars but I’m not sure I would eat them both before they went bad…” and then Dela just plops down in the middle of the produce section and lays out a gigantic spread involved all seventy-eight cards.

Dela is sad that Zunk isn’t going to have a chance to tell Mac about her witchiness herself and that he would be more inclined to believe if it were coming from her.

I would have preferred to tell Mac myself and I still wish he didn’t have to find out so soon after we met, but there wasn’t an another option and i wasn’t in the capacity to voice any opinions. I knew she had no other choice.

If I ever meet Lani Sarem in person it will be unfortunate and I will regret every choice I’ve ever made in my life up until that point, but if I do ever meet her I am, for a moment, going to look deep into her eyes and ask, “What the fuck is up with the fucking italics?”

This entire chapter is Zort telling the reader directly what everyone in the room is thinking and feeling and has ever thought and felt. We’re already in her POV, even if she weirdly skews it by referring to herself in the third person in the narration every now and then. There are a bunch of spots where she refers to herself as “I” in the telling of the story. It just happened in a POV skew above. What makes this part so different that it has to be set out stylistically from all those other times?

NOTHING! NO REASON!

“I, and therefore Zade, come from a very long line of tarot readers, but we are more than just that. The one skill actually has nothing to do with the other. They are separate trades. Kind of like welding and carpentry: they are two totally different things, but it can be very helpful if you can do both. There are many that do only one or the other.”

You know what else is very helpful? If you mention what both things are when you’re talking about two things. Even if they’re unrelated.

Mac says he’s confused and it’s like, no fucking wonder. She’s talking about how tarot reading doesn’t have anything to do with this other thing she hasn’t mentioned yet, then she jumps into contractor metaphors.

Before she clears up the confusion, though, we need YET ANOTHER GOD DAMN LECTURE ABOUT TAROT.

“Mac, my daughter and I are tarot readers––but that’s only the side thing we do. Tarot will help to guide you and give you answers to your life’s questions and it points you down your life path to the lessons you need to learn. We all come into the human form to learn lessons and to grow. Tarot helps you to correct the mistakes you’ve made in your life. Tarot, if we go far enough back, actually comes from an ancient form of Judaism, which we can trace back to the kings of old––soothsayers are in the bible, kings would not make moves without consulting one. But Zade and I also come from an even longer line of practicing witches, and even beyond that, magical beings. The real kind––spelled with a ‘k’ at the end––not what Charlie usually does. Not mortal but not immortal either, clearly.

If “real” magic is spelled with a ‘k’, why don’t they come from a long line of magicKal beings?

By the way, the thing about Tarot coming from Judaism is one of those unsupported New Age rumors, as far as I’ve ever been able to tell. The first time I heard the Jewish tarot origin story was in the ’90s when celebrities starting taking an interest in Kabbalah and then a couple of “Tree Of Life Tarot” decks and books came out, presumably to cash in on the trend. All of the “evidence” that it’s somehow connected to Judaism seems to come from numerologists who go, “Well, there are x number of things mentioned in the Old Testament and there are also x numbers of cards in this suit,” etc. If anybody out there has non-numerology based stuff about a connection between bible-times Judaism and tarot, drop a link in the comments. But for now, I’m declaring the claim of tarot in the Old Testament false. Tarot was a popular card game in the middle ages that somewhere down the road became a fortune-telling device in the eighteenth century.

Not everything used in modern-day witchcraft or New Age-ry has to have ancient, mystical origins to be valid. Not even in your fiction.

So, now we know the answer to whether or not our main character is immortal. It’s always good to find that stuff out 83% into the book. That’s like, the perfect place.

Mac is having a hard time grasping this majgikhhall information.

“Like the TV show Charmed, witches?” Mac asked warily.

“Oh, no. That show got to be pretty silly. They did get some things right, like the power of three. We do a lot in threes. Ever seen a movie called Practical Magic with Sandra Bullock?”

“Yeah, I think so.” Mac nodded.

“Much more like that. Actually, I am almost sure a real praciticing witch either wrote that or helped write that, though a real witch probably wrote Charmed, too.”

Alice Hoffman, author of Practical Magic, is Jewish. The people who wrote Charmed aren’t witches. A better reference to pull here would have been The Craft, as they actually consulted with witches throughout development and filming. And one of the stars of the movie, Fairuza Balk, is Wiccan and apparently owns a New Age store. And another of the stars, Rachel True, is a professional tarot reader who has her own book and deck coming out soon.

There is a funny story, though, about the witch consultant on the Practical Magic film, if you ever want to look it up and have a laugh. I mean, it’s probably not funny to the people she cursed, but it’s funny to me.

Charles chimed in to help explain what Mac was stumbling over.

But Charles isn’t magicK…

Oh my god.

He’s going to MagicKsplain.

“What I do––what every magician does––is the art of deception, we are very good at being con artists. What Zade and Dela do is real magick––yes, with a ‘k’––not grand parlor tricks.”

This book feels like it was written specifically for me to make fun of it.

“So, do you worship the devil?” he speculated. He wasn’t a “go to church on Sunday” kind of guy, but he did believe in God.

Hey, remember that chapter where Lemur probably paralyzed the guy on the bicycle? And Mac was furious that she read tarot cards because believing in stuff is stupid and he uses reason and logic? Now he suddenly has a spiritual side?

Dela scoffed at his question while shaking her head. “Hardly. No, just like everything beautiful, magick comes from God. Prayer is a form of magick. He gives us all the ability. Some are just afraid of it. Of course, just like any other skill some are better at it than others. You may play basketball well. I do magick well.” She raised her eyebrow and smirked slightly.

BEHOLD! Every fifteen-year-old who’s just bought a Silver Ravenwolf book!

Seriously, the “All spiritual beliefs are my (real and correct) spiritual beliefs in disguise” One Twu Way™ bullshit grates on me so badly. I think pretty much anyone who wasn’t raised in some kind of pagan religion has gone through the phase of smugly telling their Christian friends that when they’re praying they’re actually casting spells. Some people never get through that phase and walk around talking about how all modern religion is really based on Celtic magjickh or some shit. If this applies to you, knock it the fuck off, you’re embarrassing the rest of us.

Also something to stop doing when talking about any paganism or witchcraft or magic, k-type or not?

She was satisfied that she had given him enough to begin to question what he had been taught growing up––or at least enough information to doubt what he had believed all along.

And you know what? Everyfuckingbody else quit doing this, too. It’s not your job to “fix” anyone who doesn’t share your faith. “But Jenny, what about religions where it’s okay to have child brides?” Fucking try to convince them that having child brides is like, illegal and wrong, not that they’re supposed to believe in this/these Gods or magical forces. “What if their church is homophobic?” Again, them not thinking your belief system is superior is not the issue in that particular situation. Converting them to your faith shouldn’t be prioritized over mitigating the harm they’re doing to other people. Plus, many religions teach from a very early age that anyone asking you questions in an effort to make you doubt your faith is the reason you should cling to that faith tighter. In other words, trying to change someone’s mind will only make it up even more. Live your life, don’t hide your beliefs, and if they want to convert from whatever their faith is, they will and it’s not your business.

This book is starting to feel like pagan recruitment material.

Charles and Dela explain how she became his assistant after Betty, and how she secretly used magic to make his illusions better.

So, basically, she used magic on him without telling him or asking for permission. How romantic. Ha ha, just kidding. That’s abusive as hell.

It was evident by looking at the two of them that true love never dies––nor does it know time and distance. When you love someone it’s a force that exists despite what walls you put up to hide how you feel. Their eyes couldn’t lie about how much they loved each other.

Hopefully, their eyes aren’t in as fucked up and toxic a relationship as their whole bodies are.

Next recap, we’ll find out how it’s All Mac’s Fault™ that Zade did something stupid and abusive, too!

156 Comments

  1. Bookjunk
    Bookjunk

    Gah, why is this so horrible? And more importantly, why can’t Sarem see that she is a truly terrible writer who wrote something truly awful? Has she never read a book before?

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      It’s been my experience that with the arts (writing, drawing, whatever) the people who are the worst at it have the most confidence about it.

      May 25, 2018
      |Reply
      • Bookjunk
        Bookjunk

        Good news for everyone crippled by anxiety about their creative work! 🙂

        May 25, 2018
        |Reply
      • It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect. The better you are at something, the better you get at self-assessment. The worse you are, well…

        May 25, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Yeah. People who are experts tend to forget everyone else isn’t an expert as well and they frequently assume they’re on a typical level of knowledge, experience, and capability until they’re presented with the ignorance of others. People who are worse definitely don’t have the experience to make proper self-assessment, but if they’re capable of accepting constructive criticism or are tested on their knowledge, they can become aware of how bad they are and then seek to improve their skills once they have a baseline to judge themselves by.

          LS had no self-assessment while writing this trash pile but lack of experience has kept her from fully understanding the comments of her editors and willful ignorance has kept her from taking her critics seriously.

          May 26, 2018
          |Reply
        • Regret
          Regret

          That’s about it.

          Knowledge exists of 3 parts: 1 What you know you know, 2 what you know you don’t know, and 3 what you aren’t even aware of that anyone could know.
          When you are just starting to leanr you know nothing but the fact that the subject exists. 1 = tiny, 2 is equally tiny and you have no idea how big 3 is.
          As you learn more category 1 grows but the crucial thing is that 2 grows faster than 1. So your confidence falls because you are very much aware of all the things you don’t know. It is common for this process to cause Imposter syndrome, especially among medical students.
          So an amateur knows nothing, but since half of what he learned with minimal effort is half of the knowledge that exists in the (his) world he assumes that he could figure the rest out with minimal effort.
          An expert knows a thousand times as much as the amateur, but is aware of a million times as much knowledge he knows he doesn’t have, so he would never dream of thinking he has mastered the subject.

          So “the better you get at self-assessment”, the better you are aware of all the things you don’t know.

          Sidenote:
          I think it was Zizek who pointed out that there is a fourth category missing here: The things you don’t know that you know. The ideas you use to shape your development and you use to decide on your behaviour are ideas that you are not aware of. He calls this hidden knowledge culture. Fascinating, no?

          May 27, 2018
          |Reply
          • Jamoche
            Jamoche

            I’ve always thought the politician who talked about the “things we don’t know that we don’t know” was unfairly maligned, at least for that statement. That is a valid category, and a lot of people make mistakes because of the things in it.

            May 28, 2018
  2. L
    L

    **tries to purse her lips apart**

    My kids think I’m nuts now. I’m blaming Zani.

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • NewFan
      NewFan

      So glad I’m not the only one. But I did it when I was alone.

      May 25, 2018
      |Reply
      • Patty
        Patty

        Daughter just asked why I was making guppy faces

        May 25, 2018
        |Reply
        • L
          L

          It probably didn’t help that I was making faces into the black mirror reflection of a turned-off monitor, cackling like a wicked witch.

          May 25, 2018
          |Reply
        • It could have been worse. Guppies are cute. My attempts came out looking kind of like Donald Trump’s gross little sphincter mouth.

          May 25, 2018
          |Reply
          • Xebi
            Xebi

            Dude, c’mon. I’ve just eaten *retches*

            May 26, 2018
    • Jellyfish
      Jellyfish

      I managed it, but I looked like a weird fish-duck-monster and it was definitely not very alluring, I seriously hope that’s the face Dela was making.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
    • Alex Silvers
      Alex Silvers

      I always thought that ‘pursing your lips’ is just… making a duckface like you see in those selfie pictures. So you just do that and then open your lips.

      It looks weird as hell.

      May 28, 2018
      |Reply
      • Athena
        Athena

        Pursing your lips can mean that. I’ve usually read it as tightly closing them, often to keep from saying something snarky.

        May 29, 2018
        |Reply
  3. Evil!Blonde Bitch
    Evil!Blonde Bitch

    “That Sunday I wasn’t even sure whether I was hoping for Deal to be right”

    This is from the text. Please, Jenny, tell me that’s not a typo on your part. It would make me so freaking happy to see Lollipop Slide getting in on the “get people’s names wrong” action.

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • Danielle
      Danielle

      I won a physical copy of this book (oh, lucky me!), so I went to check to see if it was right in the print version, and it is. BUT, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the PDF version isn’t a mass of typos. I wouldn’t be surprised.

      May 25, 2018
      |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      “Mischevious” hurt my brain. I think that might have been Jenny’s typo though. A lot of people pronounce it that way, so my tip is to remember how “mischief” is spelled, add the (v)ous suffix and pronounce as spelled. Although that probably doesn’t help if you have dyslexia.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
  4. Anon
    Anon

    “He knew other who had experienced that life. Often, people who started off that way did so because they had nothing and no one. That life was a collector of the odd and the misfits. Charles must have also started out with nothing and really had no one to end up there.”

    Uuuuhhhhh … So I grew up in a middle class home with parents and grandparents and cousins and lots of friends. And now I’m married and a mother and still have lots of friends and a good job and a nice (enough) house. And I still think about running away with the carnival someday.

    I won’t. But it’s tempting.

    Also, a friend of mine was the first (and only) female ringmistress for Barnum & Bailey. She ended up there because she has a successful career in performing arts. She has plenty of friends and family and roots. She’s just a performer who auditioned for a part and got it.

    I don’t know enough about Tarot or even Judaism to say for sure. But what I do know about Judaism (more than many, less than others) tells me it is highly unlikely ancient Jews would have done Tarot. It would likely be considered against the doctrine.

    “This book is starting to feel like pagan recruitment material.”

    My beliefs are more or less pagan, but this book is making me not want to claim that! lol

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • Amber
      Amber

      In my experience, the odd and the misfits ended up in marching band. I’ve never met as many bizarre teenagers and young adults as I did for the couple years I was in a marching band. Those people gave me my ongoing love of multi-colored, mismatched socks, and helped me get my head out of my ass during my angstiest teen years.

      People like me, average middle class folks, also ended up there. You don’t have to have a troubled history to want to take the road less traveled.

      But you do have to have a slight masochistic streak to go into band.

      May 25, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        “This one time at …”

        May 26, 2018
        |Reply
    • Yeah, but ancient Jews did stuff that was against doctrine all the time. That’s why the prophets are always yelling at them.

      There is a bit about Saul going to see a fortune teller when he wasn’t supposed to, but I don’t know anything to connect (doctrinal) Judaism and tarot.

      What I want to know is, medieval card game?

      May 25, 2018
      |Reply
      • Dove
        Dove

        Yeah. Tarot has suites and our standard cards have face cards, much like Tarot does (Fool, Empress, Emperor, the Tower, etc.) It’s not much of a stretch. There’s also a game called Five Crown with five suites which may have originally been used with tarot cards but these days has its own set of standard cards plus one new suite. 🙂

        May 26, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          Er, sorry, Tarot has 4 suites also. I dunno why I suddenly thought it had 5. *drinks more coffee* But the game Five Crowns does exist. It’s a really new invention though, from the 90’s. XD

          May 26, 2018
          |Reply
      • Alex Silvers
        Alex Silvers

        I always understood the tarot to be a direct ancestor to our current standard card deck. It’s pretty simple… just get rid of the major arcana, and one of the four face cards in the minor (so you have a King, Queen, and Prince/Page/Knight/whatever). Then it’s pretty simple from there: Cups are hearts (some of the card art even reflects this), Coins are diamonds, Swords are spades, and Staffs are clubs.

        Would you believe I learned the tidbit about Swords being spades from a Batman cartoon when I was a teenager? Lol.

        May 28, 2018
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I don’t know enough about Tarot or even Judaism to say for sure. But what I do know about Judaism (more than many, less than others) tells me it is highly unlikely ancient Jews would have done Tarot. It would likely be considered against the doctrine.

      Fortune telling might’ve been outlawed but I think it’s more unlikely they were using cards. Printing spread from China and even if it could be disputed when exactly it came to the Middle East or Egypt since paper doesn’t usually survive as well, the Tarot deck was explicitly created in Europe and during the Renaissance.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • Saint_Sithney
        Saint_Sithney

        Yeah… fortune telling methods in the Ancient Middle East usually fell into a few separate types, and none of them involved cards.

        Popular methods of divination were casting of dice or bones, reading of entrails, reading of bird flight, interpretation of the mumblings of an oracle, and interpretation of natural phenomenon, such as wind rustling the leaves of a sacred tree in a particular way. Based on Biblical references and the general time and culture, bone-casting is the most likely form of fortune-telling that was used.

        May 28, 2018
        |Reply
  5. Laina
    Laina

    “He knew other who had experienced that life. Often, people who started off that way did so because they had nothing and no one. That life was a collector of the odd and the misfits. Charles must have also started out with nothing and really had no one to end up there.”

    Hey, look, something I have in common with Zellars! My father ran away and became a carnie! ‘Cause he could no longer work in Canada without the government garnishing his wages for child support, and he couldn’t deal with that.

    Yeah, doesn’t sound as noble, huh?

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Yeah, seriously. But I think LS just didn’t want to create a second family and past for Charles considering we never find out what his life was like at the circus and if he made any friends there. 😛

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Remember this is the guy who responded to Mac’s joke as “oh. Humor.” Charles has no friends because he’s a pretentious teenage boy.

        May 26, 2018
        |Reply
  6. Fer
    Fer

    English is not my first language, but I`m pretty sure that sentence in italics is wrong.

    As for why Betty of all the names for the jealous woman, and remembering that she use Archie comics as “muse” for “the plot” in this thing, is safe to say that Lani is team Veronica, right?

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I think even Veronica would be offended by this crap. She’s a spoiled rich girl but she does hang out with Betty and they’re best friends. They have a mostly casual dating history with Archie unless the story calls for them to fight over him. But I honestly wondered about that as well. It really is kind of a weird name choice and the Archie comics is the first place my mind went.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
  7. RodeoBob
    RodeoBob

    Mac vaguely know that Charles had toured as a traveling magician when he was young but had never known that he was basically really a carnie and a gypsy in a traveling circus.

    “I knew he travelled, and did magic, but I never thought that a “travelling magician” would be part of some kind of circus or carnival! That’s just so… vulgar and low brow compared to the sophisticated notions I had about travelling entertainers performing sleight-of-hand illusions!”

    In other words, Mac is an idiot.

    That life was a collector of the odd and the misfits.

    “…it was nothing like the life of a Las Vegas stage performer!”

    …he really was starting to see why Charles had achieved all of his fame and greatness.

    “…why…”? Seriously? “I mean, I know this guy has achieved fame, renown, respect of his peers and financial success, but I guess I just never considered why someone would want those things…”

    Was Mac always this stupid?

    I had always believed we were both tricksters, deceiving people in our own ways.

    That’s not… ugh, god-damn it! Bugs Bunny and Kokopelli would slap you senseless for that kind of mis-use of terminology. They’d shove your tarot deck in your mouth and shuffle it down your throat. Neither of these characters are “tricksters” in any useful, meaningful sense of the word.

    I have thoughts about the whole “crazy” thing, and why it goes a little beyond bad writing into “maybe the author really is a bad person” territory, but I want to think a bit more on that.

    So, just recapping: Zade is still dying of mystery illness, but no one cares. Mac is unbelievably stupid. Delilah has explained that magic is real, and how tarot reading works, but hasn’t explained why she doesn’t use it to win the lottery or what any of it has to do with the current situation. Chalres love Delilah, Delilah loves Charles, and none of that matters to the current alleged crisis of Zade’s health. I miss anything?

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • Jane Eyre
      Jane Eyre

      No, it’s pretty much the thing. Mac is an idiot bc it’s common for bad writers to dumb down characters for plot convenience so they can make REVALATION tm. Or so another character seems cool/saves the day ect. It’s like in some movies, suddenly someone who was good at fighting forgets how to, or everyone else stands still for no other reason than some BS EX MACHINA, that writer wanted to have in SO MUCH they didn’t care about plot holes and continiuty. Sarem is doing the same thing here

      May 25, 2018
      |Reply
      • Mydog'sPA
        Mydog'sPA

        OK, you better trademark “BS Ex Machina” like right now, because if you don’t I will claim it! It’s AWESOME!!!! It sums up this entire book and every author Jenny has sporked in Jealous Haters. It takes “Deus ex machina” one step further and really compliments it with another level.

        I’m in awe. I bow to your greatness,

        May 26, 2018
        |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      I have thoughts about the whole “crazy” thing, and why it goes a little beyond bad writing into “maybe the author really is a bad person” territory, but I want to think a bit more on that.

      As far as I’m concerned, crazy is what bad writers use when they can’t come up with a decent motivation to explain doing something ridiculous, stupid, or terrible, especially when it comes to villains. The author is too lazy to develop the character beyond simply being evil (to be fair, some villains don’t need to be anything more) and too lazy to attempt to blame it on a real illness, so we get this uber lazy version where they just use one adjective and consider it done. It’s probably how it works in real life too. “Crazy” is the encompassing “I don’t want to understand and I don’t actually care” explanation people use. It’s also an “acceptable” form of demonization which is probably why some people have a knee-jerk reaction to its use when describing an asshole who may or may not have a mental illness.

      That it’s being used for a woman does have serious misogyny potential too since it’s ultimately dismissive. It’d be the same as if they were calling Betty “hysterical” except then she might get a vibrator orgasm from a doctor at least. Maybe. 😛

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • RodeoBob
        RodeoBob

        In the last chapter’s sporking, in the comments, someone pointed out that Charles doinking and then spurning Betty is pretty much a gender-swap of Mac and Lolita Satan Clara Faust that we got early in the book.

        Having Mac see his own “tragic backstory” from the other side could have been interesting, forcing Mac to question if he was unfairly expecting too much. It could have re-ignited the quasi-tension between Mac and Spellman as Mac sees him as treating people badly.

        Having Zade hear about this piece of her father’s history, seeing her father act the same as the evil hussy harlot who hurt Mac, could have been an interesting bit along the theme of ‘children grow up and learn their parents are fallible humans” and/or “becoming an adult means being less judgmental of complicated situations”.

        But all of that, all of that requries that we treat Betty like a person. And the use of “crazy” here is to Other Betty. She’s not a person is what we’re being told, she’s an Other. She doesn’t think or feel or reason the way ordinary people do. Which means the story is discouraging the readers from even trying to empathize or understand her. “Don’t try to feel anything for her but revulsion and fear” the storyteller is saying, “because it’s a waste of time!”

        The “crazy” talk is a way to shut down all of those interesting little story options of parallels, of parents and children, of empathy by the reader towards anyone else but the story’s Mary Sue Main Character.

        May 26, 2018
        |Reply
        • Xebi
          Xebi

          Interesting that the woman is the villain in both stories, isn’t it, when the roles are reversed?

          May 26, 2018
          |Reply
        • Athena
          Athena

          Yeah. That’s one of my favorite parts with well-plotted stories. All these little elements actually affect the characters and they grow because of it. And good authors want those moments, they want their characters to be challenged in more than fighting the bad guy. The infuriating part here is that it’s all there, at least a good amount. But Sarem ignores it all because all her characters are “perfect”. They don’t need to grow. There are no mistakes to learn from. No life lessons to take to heart. It’s all “I’m the best and everything is perfect.” And even when mistakes are made (misusing chaos magickkkkk for one) no one actually learns a lesson. There’s barely even sense of danger and drama. The characters can’t be bothered to worry about the main character because they’ve all been written to not need to learn anything. Mac’s the only one that does seem to care, and the only thing he learns is “the meaning of twu wuv!”

          May 26, 2018
          |Reply
          • Jane Eyre
            Jane Eyre

            Yeah, it’s like in a good story someone would give Zade a lecture after all this like “You could have hurt or killed other people using chaos magick like that. This time you got yourself hurt, but there is no guarantee that your powers won’t hurt innocent people someday” and she’s send to be tutored or trained or whatever so she doesn’t accidentally kill half of the audience.

            May 27, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            The few times Zade HAS been lectured by that, she always gets defensive. She snapped at Mac with’ “im a strong independent woman who no needs to follow safety protocals!!” At Zeb she went, “why don’t you like me??????” And at Sophia/Sophie she went, “im sorry YOU think im a bad person.”

            Zade could accidentally kick a cat and instead of apologizing, would be mad at the cat for getting in her way. Zade is never wrong even when she is 120% wrong.

            May 28, 2018
    • Dove
      Dove

      Er, to add to that, I realize that LS did give a rundown for why Betty is reacting this way but she didn’t really want to explain why her response is so different from the blonde that Charlie never called back because that would be uncomfortable and paint a terrible picture of Charles as an employer and a friend. So instead Betty is just the crazy one when in reality she just wanted to be treated like a human being and at least have some fucking closure. I’m pretty sure that’s also why Charles couldn’t “read” Betty and I find it hilarious that he even had to when Dela made it sound like it should’ve been obvious. Dude, just ask her how she feels about that time you slept together. I mean, I think that’s also why Dela said nothing else, like TALKING, would work, but fuck… he still could’ve talked about it and then found that Betty wasn’t going to give up on the idea of them being together or something. Instead, he’s trying to cold read her emotions which is flat-out weird.

      But LS doesn’t want to deal with that kind of stuff, no one but her protags is “real”, and Sofia only accidentally ended up more real probably because of editors attempts to improve the writing and because I think LS managed to sympathize with Sofia a little bit.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • Black Knight
        Black Knight

        With Sofia, I suspect it’s not so much that LS managed to sympathize with her a little bit as that she’s probably based on a woman LS knows in real life whom she has a girl crush on despite viewing her as a rival like she does all other women in a certain age range…

        May 27, 2018
        |Reply
  8. Mel
    Mel

    Lani always seems to take for fucking ever to smugly explain things that end up making no sense or just have nothing to do with the question. Do we ever learn why the hell they needed to tell the story of how they met in order to save Zade’s life?

    “Zade and I are witches. She was using real magickhkhk during the illusion and it went bad. Now we have to use special mahgickkkk to save her.”

    Done. That’s all he had to know. Hell, if he didn’t believe, Charles could have then jumped in and said he used to be that way, until he met Dela and I suppose he could tell a shorter version of the Betty story but god, so much could be cut out of this thing.

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • Agent_Z
      Agent_Z

      Hell they could have just waited until AFTER Zebrahead was out of danger to tell this story.

      It’s almost admirable how Sarem is making me miss Zippity do da’s pointless prattle.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
  9. NewFan
    NewFan

    I swear.. this chapter – this fucking chapter – it’s like Larceny wrote her back of the book blurb/book description 1st, posted it, and now 83% into the book, goes back and rereads her blurb… and is all, “Crap! I forgot a bunch of stuff. Go back and rewrite? Pfffffffff…. I’ll just cram it into a chapter – HERE!”
    ** supposed editor ** “But aren’t you, I mean, Zade upstairs bleeding to death or something?”
    “Don’t mess with my process!!!!!!!”

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • HerImperialMaj
      HerImperialMaj

      This. This is how she claims to have had “three editors”. Because most of the time, she very obviously ignored everything they had to say, but every once in a while, she “followed their criticism,” i.e. jammed explanations into the text as lazily as she possibly could while not restructuring the story at all.

      May 25, 2018
      |Reply
  10. Gretel
    Gretel

    Zebra is still laying somewhere dying.
    And yet here we are, reading about how three people are leasurely sitting at a table, sipping iced tea in what feels like antebellum Southern America, talking about how the parent’s of the person that is dying fucked.

    She really thought this self-agrandising drivel would make millions and her famous.

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
  11. Amy
    Amy

    Zase’s name is Scheherazade. Scheherazade is a character known to be the master story teller, so WHY is Dela and not-Copperfield the master story tellers? You don’t give characters names like that without reason!

    I also don’t like that magicians are called “con-artists”. Con-artist puts a negative connotation to it. They’re entertainers, actors, not people who trick you and your money away. That’s like using “booty call” to mean “butt dial”. Words have meaning, Lani!

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • That both Dela and Charles are (supposed to be) master storytellers and named their daughter “Scheherazade” is actually a cool little thematic bit I never noticed. If only it had some kind of relevance to the plot! I genuinely do wonder if that was intentional on Sarem’s part because it works really well, but somehow I doubt it.

      But seriously, I think the story about the daughter of a stage magician (who lies exclusively to people who want to be lied to) and a charlatan tarot reader (who lies to people who want the truth) could be really interesting, especially if you worked in the storytelling motif.

      May 25, 2018
      |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      Oh, she knows what words mean. She named her character Scheherazade Esther after two women who tricked men into falling in love with them instead of killing them. Isn’t it ROMANTIC? /s

      Wait a sec. Mac nearly accidentally kills Zade, then they end up together. Shit. She really does think she was being clever with Zade’s name, doesn’t she?

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • Mydog'sPA
        Mydog'sPA

        “Mac nearly accidentally kills Zade, then they end up together. “

        Actually, I’m going to say that it was not even Mac’s fault that he was any way, shape, or form involved in her ‘accident’ because she never told him he was important as her ‘anchor.’ The ‘accident’ is totally her own fault.

        Yeah, Mac wants her but only because he was moonblinked; he can’t help himself.

        But why the f*** does Zerk want him?!?!? He’s stalked her, derides her in the park for her belief in Tarot, and was physically abusive to her when he saw her make out with her Dad. There’s no respect from him there. If there’s no respect, how is this a healthy relationship??!?!?!? If this character doesn’t have respect for herself, why should I as a reader respect her?!?!

        May 26, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          I’m pretty sure Zade respects herself, at least on some level. I think Zade doesn’t respect Mac because I’m pretty sure some of that memory pulling was a lie. How much? That I’m not sure about. He’s probably still a douche nozzle but I have a hard time believing Zade is the victim when she can do anything she wants with magic and she basically got everything else that she wanted already. If she was the victim of low self-esteem and had to figure out how to stand up for herself when others tried to abuse her, that would be a much better protagonist, although it would also have the potential to fall into 50 Shades territory so… eh.

          May 26, 2018
          |Reply
          • Mydog'sPA
            Mydog'sPA

            If, as you say, Zzyzzxx doesn’t respect Mac and he doesn’t respect her, then why should I respect her? It’s not a question if she respects herself, it’s that the relationship is flawed from the beginning & most likely doomed to fail if the two don’t even respect each other from the get-go.

            It’s blatantly obvious Sarem doen’t have the life experience yet to have learned that the skills we learn in high school that are needed to start a relationship are the exact opposite of what is needed for our adult lives to maintain same said relationship. And that latter skill is based on respect for the other person and that’s not shown in this book whatsoever.

            May 26, 2018
        • Athena
          Athena

          Oh, I wasn’t meaning Mac did anything wrong, other than not doing his job because of being pissed off. I was more thinking of what Sarem probably thinks about how the names fit what she has happening in the book. Mac is written as being at fault even though he had no idea of what was going on. I agree it’s unfair. I personally feel Zade shouldn’t have been using magic that could so easily go wrong, but the author isn’t going to blame her self insert when if Mac had done his job Zade would be fine now.

          I agree with your assessment of their relationship. We only got two scenes of them interacting well and bonding over shared likes. Everything else has been jealousy, suspicion, and derision. They aren’t good together. Zade feels more like she’s collecting him, and Mac’s only real interest is probably magically induced. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mac ends up killing Zade in a fit of magic fueled jealous rage. I doubt that will happen though. Not with this author. Mac kinda feels like he’s lost all free will by the end of the book.

          May 26, 2018
          |Reply
          • Jane Eyre
            Jane Eyre

            yeah, and tbh this is something that happens in fairytales. but….Zade usually is the Evil Queen or Evil Stepmother, who uses her magic to make the father/the king not notice her abuse of the child or like in one adaptation of Six Swans, makes him forget and agree with her, whenever he has objections towards her decisions.

            May 27, 2018
  12. Melissa
    Melissa

    It’s so hilarious that this woman had two characters verbally justify her spelling of magic. It would be one thing if they were flipping through a dusty old tome and Mac was like ‘lol, magickkkkk?’ and Dela or Charles told him it wasn’t a mistake. (Still petty, but whatever) But they’re talking. Out loud. What the fuck?
    Just entertaining the idea: if someone said “Magic with a k” I’d think magik.

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
  13. Kate
    Kate

    I have to regrettably admit to some of the “one true path” nonsense, back when I was a baby pagan. In my defense, I was like 15, and I grew up and realized it was asinine.

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • Evil!Blonde Bitch
      Evil!Blonde Bitch

      Exactly. You grew up. I think there’s often a bit of “teh one twu way” whenever someone joins a new religion. That is magnified if that person is a teen trying to reinvent themselves.
      Lani is a grown-ass woman. I would expect more maturity from her, but based on this whole book and the scam involved in the NYT list…

      May 25, 2018
      |Reply
      • Jane Eyre
        Jane Eyre

        Yeah it’s like she’s over 30, at the very least 36 if not more, maybe even 40 nowadays, she’s a middle-aged woman, not a teenager or student who still shapes her identitiy. I know everyone has their time and there is no time limit, but….our brains do change as times goes by and person over 30 shouldn’t behave like she’s not even 20.

        May 25, 2018
        |Reply
    • Mike
      Mike

      I just can’t for the life of me understand how she feels this story is justified… There are SO MANY ways to more appropriately shoehorn this story in there, but instead she goes with this somehow proving to Mac that magic is real. Instead of just, oh, I don’t know, doing some fucking magic in front of him. Read his mind. Do some creation magic. Levitate and have him check for all the standard mechanics that would allow for that for a David Blaine style magician! This story doesn’t prove magic exists at all! It proves she knew that this smug asshat was sleeping with his assistant and that his assistant planned to kill him over it. Even if you trust that the story is fully legit, which, it is a STORY after all, it could very easily be faked, there’s still perfectly reasonable explanations for everything in it. None of this would be making him question shit at this point, except what the hell is the point of all of this?!

      Just say ‘we can’t do it until X time’ and then while trying to distract himself from stressing out, he asks how they met and why they’re not together when they clearly still have feelings for one another. There! I gave the story a purpose to exist without changing anything significant! One extra sentence of dialogue Sarem! IT’S NOT THAT HARD!

      My god I hate this book… I would say I don’t even understand how it got published, but I know it was ostensibly self published, so it didn’t have to go through the usual process that would have seen it rejected by every rational publishing house. The bigger question is how the fuck she got the money to do all of this. She doesn’t seem like the type to scrimp and save for a rainy day fund she could exploit. And she has some connections, but none of them are particularly BIG. None that I imagine have tens of thousands (or more) to piss down the drain on her vanity project anyway. Even American Pie is a mediocre producer at best. I can’t imagine he’s managed to do well enough to have enough to throw at this. He’d have to recognize it was terrible, wouldn’t he? Did he really believe that this, THIS, could be a big movie if only it were first a bestseller? Even after reading it? Did she sell him a dream of scamming the best seller list to attract some deep pocket investor and making both of their careers on the back of something with no clear target demographic, no clear story arc, no character growth, a lead who comes off more as a bad guy than someone to root for, a tired love triangle, one member of whom plus an entire band that they can’t even include in the film for copyright purposes? Because even if they changed the names for the movie, they could still be sued because they have to put that disclaimer at the end of the credits that talks about how any resemblance the characters have to real people is unintentional for a reason, but they can’t rightfully put that there now because, well, we know exactly what the influences of these characters is because of this book. They can’t claim accidental resemblance.

      There’s just so much wrong with this book… HOW does it exist?! I know the WHY but I just can’t for the life of me wrap my head around the HOW!

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • Mike
        Mike

        ..This was not supposed to be a reply to a specific comment, just the post as a whole. I apologize.

        May 26, 2018
        |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        I didn’t watch all the Harry Potter movies, but I do remember one specific trailer in which Dumbledore is talking to wee Tom Riddle. Tom asks Dumbledore to prove he’s a wizard, and suddenly behind him the dresser catches on fire. That’s all it took. Five seconds, less than a vine, to prove he’s a wizard. Five. Seconds.

        I get your frustration. Just when you think this book couldn’t possibly get any worse, Lani goes, “Hold my beer.” June is next week, we’re already halfway through the year and there’s still no announcement when the movie or second book is coming out. By now most new books would already have their new covers to show off, the author is doing interviews, promoting their book in every conceivable way. Lani is busy trying to raise her silly rating on Amazon and Goodreads with obviously fake reviews only an inexperienced person would fall for.

        If neither the book or movie comes out, then what was the point of all of this? If Lani only wanted to make a movie, there were better ways of doing so without all the scheming and lying. Did she wanted this to be some kind of multi-million dollar success? What, was daytime, tv, straight to dvd too good for her? Percy Jackson didn’t get “five or six” movies out despite its popularity. Neither did the Maze Runner, the Mortal Instruments, or LOTR.

        LOTR, a book in which the author created a new language for its world building, only got four movies. Lani thinks she’s gonna get “five or six movies” from a book that contains a Carrot Top cameo.

        And surely American Pie has read books before. Surely he can make his own opinions about the books he likes.

        If someone sees him at a convention, ask him for any details on HFM and see if he knows. I’m curious if he’s actually read the damn book or if he’s just peddling it hoping it’ll shoot him into stardom. Maybe he thinks he’s too good for YA fiction or that YA fiction is only for “girls”. It’s probably the latter.

        May 26, 2018
        |Reply
        • I asked American Pie on Twitter. He says he’s read the book and said he enjoyed it. He kept trying to discount my opinion because I’d only read a few pages, plus reviews. Also? He says Lani didn’t do anything wrong. (He did go all vague when I asked about when the movie would come out.)

          May 26, 2018
          |Reply
          • SofiaThatB*tch
            SofiaThatB*tch

            I saw that. Sweet cheesus, I hope it never gets made into a movie… Or I hope it does, and they can finally face the fact that it’s not gonna be big or earn them back the money they wasted on this scam

            May 27, 2018
        • Michael
          Michael

          LOTR got three movies, though, not four.

          May 26, 2018
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            Wasn’t Return of the King turned into two parts?

            May 26, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Return is on two videocassettes (yeah, I’m that retro), but I think it was shown in one long, butt-bruising sitting.

            May 26, 2018
          • Drea C
            Drea C

            Unless we’re also including the 1978 LOTR animated movie. I know Peter Jackson used it as a reference for a lot of the scenes.

            May 27, 2018
          • Michael
            Michael

            Return of the King is one movie, but like ViolettaD says, the videocassette edition had it split up on two cassettes. It was released in one piece in movie theaters and on DVD, though.

            May 27, 2018
    • Rhiannon
      Rhiannon

      The Sarem actually comes to Romani events? Wow…

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • Not Romani specific events, but things like Pirate Fest or Renn Faire where local Romani sellers are vending

        May 26, 2018
        |Reply
  14. HerImperialMaj
    HerImperialMaj

    Cirque Du Soleil wouldn’t exist if talented performers didn’t want to be in a friggin circus. It’s not necessarily a last resort.

    ^ I thought Cirque du Soleil was a last resort for all those Olympic performers? I mean, why else would they be a-okay with getting horrifically injured all the time?

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
  15. Spacegeek
    Spacegeek

    Please tell me that, after all of this excruciating digression, they all go upstairs and find that Zardoz has expired of catastrophic blood loss.

    “The human body can’t even contain this much blood! We’re gonna need a pressure washer up here, folks.”

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Maybe maybe one of the Cullens could slurp up the excess. Saves on having the carpet cleaned.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
  16. Amy
    Amy

    The fake reviews on goodreads are still growing, and this time Lani added pictures and names to these accounts… And they’re all adults over the age of fifty. So lani’s plan to increase her rating is to make me believe a man in his fifties reads ya fiction and goes, “Team mac!”

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      She’s started to remind me of my jr. High School frenemy. I used to envy her for all the cool things she was supposedly doing, but when it became indisputable that she had lied about some of it, I began to wonder how much else she had lied about–and I actually felt sorry for her. How pathetic is that: to have to invent fans? Kinda like writing love letters to yourself and ostentatiously looking at them in front of other people.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
    • tanzensehen
      tanzensehen

      To be fair I would totally buy a book who makes a fifty year old man squeal.

      June 3, 2018
      |Reply
  17. Dollface
    Dollface

    As far as I know, there are mentions of fortune tellers and fortune telling devices in the torah (I wrote my bat-mitzvah spiel on one of them) but tarot is never specifically named. The torah is huge, but since my mother, who is now jewish, also went through a pagan period when she was young, I feel like someone would have mentioned it to me at some point.

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
  18. Black Knight
    Black Knight

    On the bright side, the utter indifference of everyone (except, sigh, Zorba herself) to Sofia’s fall suddenly seems to pale in comparison to Zoide’s parents and boyfriend sitting around talking endlessly while she’s bleeding to death or something in another room. At least Sofia got immediate CPR from Zanela while everybody else stood around, and if I recall she then regained consciousness relatively quickly and was taken away by EMTs.

    Mac and Delia and Charles have apparently been blathering for hours without bothering to check in on their supposed beloved. I mean, it’s Zacky, so their lack of affection for her is kind of understandable, but still…

    Also, on another topic – what are some recommended alternative words for “crazy”?

    May 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • in some instances I’ve seen ‘absurd’ put forth as a good substitute.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
    • RodeoBob
      RodeoBob

      >Also, on another topic – what are some recommended alternative words for “crazy”?

      Don’t write one character talking about another character; write one character talking about another character’s observable behavior. Then, use language to describe the initial character’s reactions.

      “That’s a really scary thing to say” or “that’s really worry-some behavior”. Contextualize the behavior: “That’s a really over-the-top reaction” or “that seems disproportionate” or “wow, they really went from zero-to-sixty!”

      It’s show-don’t-tell stuff; don’t say “this character is crazy”, say “this character is acting crazy” and describe the action, the context, and the reaction of observers.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Depending on the context, if it’s a reaction, you could use unbelievable, bizarre, or ridiculous instead of crazy. If they’re being a jerk, you can just call them a jerk or call them out for being inappropriate. You could also potentially use the terms psycho or sociopath but I’ve heard there are some non-aggressive people with those conditions who’d rather they not be mentioned so lightly. Just consider discretion regarding anything in the psychology handbook, especially since it could count as an armchair diagnosis.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • JordieBelle
        JordieBelle

        Or if you want to inflect the replacement word with a positive feeling, (as in “my husband just bought me a trip to Paris!” “Omg that’s craaaazy!”), you can use “wild”.

        May 27, 2018
        |Reply
    • Black Knight
      Black Knight

      Thanks for the great suggestions! I actually wasn’t thinking of it from a writing perspective, though the comments from that perspective were extremely interesting – just more, I often say/write certain politicians have said something crazy or that they’re crazy, so I wanted to change to a different word to be more sensitive. I particularly like the recommended substitutes of “absurd” and “bizarre” because you can do fun things with the sound like you can with “crazy.”

      May 27, 2018
      |Reply
  19. Athena
    Athena

    Oh my god, even Mac is questioning the author! It always makes me giggle when the writing is so bad even the characters question it. Not to be confused with the “Holy shit, are we really doing this?” moments where the heroes have to do the certain death plan to save the day. Those I love for the conflict of does the hero run away and live, or stay and do the right thing. This? This feels like the author has written a scene so dumb that the characters are breaking the fourth wall and going, “Seriously?”

    On a side note, I’m strangely happy about the inclusion of iced tea in this scene. I just finished reading your recaps of FSOG, and I kept thinking, “Is Ana from Georgia? Her mom lives in Georgia. Why has there been no mention of sweet tea? I know James is British, but that’s a pretty well-known stereotype. (For good reason because sweet tea is amazing!)” I actually had to look it up. Talk about the little things throwing you out of a story. That being said, around here it’s either tea, sweet tea, or unsweet tea because it’s a given it’s going to be iced. But, since these are Mac’s memories, I guess I can give her calling it iced tea a pass. Though Zade’s narrating, so maybe not.

    May 26, 2018
    |Reply
  20. Looks like Balk hasn’t owned Panpipes Magical Market since 2001. Still, it’s very funny to me that she ever did. Oh, and she still sells sigils through her website!

    May 26, 2018
    |Reply
  21. anon
    anon

    I am not a native english speaker, is there a difference in pronounciation in ‘magic’ and ‘magick’ ?

    May 26, 2018
    |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      No, there’s no difference. Some New Age texts like to use the k spelling to differentiate between show magic, like what Charles is supposed to do, and “real” magic. At least that’s been my experience with it. Alternative spellings of words to give them a special meaning is also a popular fan fiction trope. I remember one fic used Bloode for vampire.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      There is no defined difference because it’s more of a slang word anyway, but some of us find it amusing to think “magick” has the hard g sound instead of the gliding j sound. Like maggot… XD

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • Jane Eyre
        Jane Eyre

        actually, this is kinda close to how you spell the word in Polish, we say it like Magia with hard g like in Gretel, but I don’t think Lani thought of it that way, she just wanted it to sound pretencious.

        May 27, 2018
        |Reply
    • Amy
      Amy

      Does anybody know the word magic in Romani? In Hebrew? I’d imagine it would make more sense to say magic in the native tongue rather than the misspellings of some random manuscript written by an unknown monk.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Quick search reveals Hebrew is קֶסֶם:
        pronounced “qessem.”
        Romani info here: http://context.reverso.net/traducere/engleza-romana/do+magic

        The “k” spelling is just archaic English, as in the spelling of “tragic” used below:
        ***************
        thefe, fays Strabo, ” are clad in black, wearing tunicks down to their ancles, girt about the bread, walking with flicks, and looking like the tragick furies
        ***************
        What Sarem is doing here is the equivalent of Ye Olde Shoppe, in which the open thorn has been mistaken for a “y.”

        May 26, 2018
        |Reply
        • Amy
          Amy

          I doubt anyone who has that shop goes around, “that’s olde with an E”

          May 27, 2018
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Not unless they’re ordering stationery.

            May 27, 2018
        • Andreea
          Andreea

          That’s Romanian not Romani 🙂 A totally different language.

          May 29, 2018
          |Reply
          • MyDog'sPA
            MyDog'sPA

            It’s all Romulan to me . . . . .

            May 29, 2018
          • The name of our language is “Romanes”, not “Romani”. 🙂

            May 30, 2018
      • The word for our language is “Romanes”, and it depends on the dialect. I can look it up tho.

        May 30, 2018
        |Reply
    • Jellyfish
      Jellyfish

      Normally there’s no difference in pronunciation, but I feel like there is a certain brand of pretentious spiritual person who will really lean on the “k” at the end, so you know they do magICK and also they think you have a really spiritual energy, what’s your number? Anyone over 21 who still overtly pronounces the “k” is a person you can feel 100% okay about avoiding, if you ask me.

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        The fact Dela had to specifically say, “with a k” means you cannot hear the the difference. It’s no different than someone going, “Do you spell Kristy with a K or C?”

        Besides, why would Mac need to know this? I doubt he’s writing his experiences in a diary, spelling magic, and then grumbling to himself as he remembers to add the K. So this scene comes off as super pretentious and awkward as hell.

        May 27, 2018
        |Reply
        • Jane Eyre
          Jane Eyre

          yeah the spelling is more important when you’re idk interviewing for a newspaper or in case of names, you’re going to write that person an e-mail or write their name in some kind of official document, then you have to have exact spelling but it’s a story being told, that is not going to be written down by Mac for any sort of newspaper or document so why does Dela need to tell him this? Zandu already knows how to spell it and when she writers Handbookl she can easily just….write it that way. with the k. But I forget. readers/mortals are idiots in the eyes of Zanzu/Lani so of course she has to TELL us via Dela “it’s spelled with K” because we wouldn’t get it if we got it written down like “magick” 😛

          May 27, 2018
          |Reply
  22. Agent_Z
    Agent_Z

    “Um, when have we ever seen Mac believing anything to the contrary? He’s shown nothing but admiration toward Charles for his work ethic and talent so far in this whole book.”

    I want to say there was that moment where he thought Zoidberg was making out with Charles. But I could be misremembering it and I do think he was more mad at her.

    “And if he didn’t, why would a story about Charles sleeping with a bunch of women indiscriminately make Mac realize how Charles achieved fame and greatness?”

    It’s almost an art form how Sarem makes Mac more unlikable with each chapter.

    And if that jab at Charmed isn’t the definition of throwing stones in glass houses, I don’t know what is.

    May 26, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      It’s almost an art form how Sarem makes Mac more unlikable with each chapter.

      Mac could’ve been a great character too but he was never allowed to do his job or stand up to his horrible boss. I’m pretty sure Charles is standing in for Lani when it comes to never being questioned for his work-based decisions. Maybe she assumed they kept complaining about her gender instead of her competency?

      May 26, 2018
      |Reply
      • Agent_Z
        Agent_Z

        So basically Sarem invented an ENTIRE FAMILY of self inserts where most fanfic writers would have been satisfied with just one.

        May 27, 2018
        |Reply
    • RedHanded Jill
      RedHanded Jill

      Seriously. Charmed was no masterpiece, but even its worst episodes were better written than HFM.

      May 27, 2018
      |Reply
  23. 10thMoon
    10thMoon

    I’ve always thought the main Jewish – Tarot connection was that the number of Major Arcana cards (22) =number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, each of which do have big archetypal resonance and depth of meaning in the mystical (Kabbalistic) traditions…it’s interesting to play with correlations but not evidence of origin, I don’t think:)

    May 26, 2018
    |Reply
  24. Paige
    Paige

    “The situation’s a lot more nuanced than that!”
    -Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a show Zani definitely has never seen

    May 26, 2018
    |Reply
    • Ana
      Ana

      I came here for this exact comment! 😀
      Jenny, I saw your tweets about that show and started watching it shortly after because I was intrigued, and I just wanted to say thank you for introducing me to such a funny, smart wonderful show! I have been recommending it to people ever since! 🙂

      May 27, 2018
      |Reply
  25. Cris
    Cris

    If this book wasn’t so infuriating I could actually use it for the nights I have imsomnia. Deli and Discount-Copperfield are as terrible storytellers as they are people/parents. At this point it would be easier to believe Zade is a zombie than she is somehow still hanging on. That is, if she wasn’t a Mary Sue and thus impervious to logic and character development.

    May 26, 2018
    |Reply
  26. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    There is plenty of soothsaying in the Bible, but none of it has anything to do with cards. Abraham cut a bunch of animals in half, Jacob and Joseph used Dream Interpretation, the High Priests killed animals and threw them on the fire, pagans used to throw living animals and humans on the fire, Egyptians used their staffs, and there are references to High Places, Altars, Sacred Pillars, Household Gods, Astrology, and Pagan Temple Prostitutes. No cards.

    May 26, 2018
    |Reply
  27. *I* do magic with two “q”s a “z” and the Nike logo.

    It’s all very spiritual. You wouldn’t understand.

    May 26, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      I am utterly intimidated.

      May 27, 2018
      |Reply
  28. Jellyfish
    Jellyfish

    I have a friend who grew up in a carnival, and one of the families that traveled with them (I think they ran a food concession) were Romani, and she met other Romani families at other carnivals. So Roma people can be carnies, but carnies are obviously not synonymous with Roma, and Sarem does not need to be using the g-word here. And the other carnies sort of gave them the cold shoulder socially, apparently. There are a lot of weird interpersonal politics in the carnival, like anywhere; it’s not a magic judgement-free haven for anyone who’s marginalized. Also, even if it was, nobody would like Charles because he’s a diiiiiiiick.

    The people who do the heavy work at the CIRCUS aren’t carnies, they’re rousties. This is not hard information to locate.

    Why didn’t Dela magicK-fix Zade and then tell her very long story while Zade was asleep recovering? That would make sense, right?! RIGHT?! Reading these recaps makes me feel so much better about the Lord of the Rings fanfic I wrote when I was 13.

    May 27, 2018
    |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      On one level at least the main conflict of the story isn’t being resolved faster than it arrived, but the full stop that’s happened while the characters have tea time cuts the last shreds of suspense from the climax. I mean, this feels like they’re on a lunch break from the main story and chewing the fat.

      May 27, 2018
      |Reply
  29. Noel
    Noel

    What kills me about this is that if Sarem had just switched some of the chapters around it would’ve been fine. Like they heal Zade with magicKKKKKK as soon as they meet up with Dela, Mac freaks out, and THEN Charles and Dela sit Mac down and tell him their whole life story. Not that there’s any sense of tension or urgency to keep up with anyways, since we already know Zade’s going to be fine since she’s narrating the whole thing.

    This whole book is just infuriating because like… it could have had a plot. There’s a lot of setup and potential conflict that Sarem just doesn’t ever USE. Just off the top of my head, the book could go something like: Zade finds out her mother has been magically keeping her in Whatevertown and preventing her father from contacting her for years -> Zade runs away to find Charles and ends up working for his show in Vegas (not as the main act) -> Charles finds out that Zade can do “illusions” and lets her perform in the show -> Zade is interested in Mac but doesn’t know whether he actually likes her or if she’s accidentally influencing him with her magickkkkk -> meanwhile Zade is so desperate to impress her father that she starts screwing around with “”chaos magic”” for her illusion and something goes wrong and they have to go full circle and bring her back to Tennessee.

    I mean, it’s not perfect but at least it’s a plot. And it’s all IN THE BOOK but Sarem cares more about 90 chapters of “I went on a date with Jackson and then I went on a date with Mac and two weeks later I went on a date with Jackson and some horrible jealous bitch breathed in my presence and I threw her into a building” or whatever.

    This book, man.

    May 27, 2018
    |Reply
    • Athena
      Athena

      You said it. This whole thing reads like a badly plotted rough draft. I said earlier that both scenes in the mall should have happened at the same time, with the lemonade stand happening first, instead of the weird Carrot Top cameo. Then Lambo Girl could have seen it all go down and that’s why she confronted Zade. Because it’s never explained why she did so. There’s so many examples of the same in this book to where it’s just a jumble of scenes smashed together with hopes that together they make a cohesive plot.

      I think this is one reason we’re so annoyed, aside from the immoral marketing strategy. There’s so much here that could have made a really good book if LS had actually tried.

      May 27, 2018
      |Reply
  30. merry
    merry

    Funny how the author tries to convince us that Charles was trouble troubled boy we should pity but he just comes accros as priviliged little prick who ran away with circus to make his pearl-clutching parents angry.

    May 29, 2018
    |Reply
  31. *primal screaming* Wow, this chapter is concentrated bad.

    In no order:

    1. I was raised neo-Wiccan by a mom who discovered it in her 20s. Mom is in her 60s now and still isn’t over the “all ways are one way and my version is superior because I know it” phase.

    …it’s a major driving force in how I wound up an atheist, tbh.

    2. Crowley did multiple books’ worth of work on Tarot + Qabbalah that’s more-than-just-numerology based, but he never claims anywhere in it that Tarot is *based on* Qabbalah, just that the two can be used as corresponding systems if you’re into that sort of thing.

    3. If Mac HAD TO know all this, why not save it for Act 3, AFTER they dramatically save Zinger’s life? It would have added to the tension (because we already know he’s eehhhhhh on Teh Majycks(TM) so he could have been all torn over I Wanna Save Her versus But I Gotta Do Magic I Don’t Even Believe In) and solved many POV problems because Zany could have been present during the storytelling.

    (I mean, besides the fact that that would have required actual writing skill from the author.)

    May 29, 2018
    |Reply
  32. Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)
    Jenny (but not Jenny Trout)

    My husband’s cousin ran away and joined the circus. And by ran away, I mean he came from a loving middle class home with two parents and a brother and his mom and dad and assorted relatives went and saw him perform and he called his mom once a week but it was more fun for everyone to say that he ran away and joined the circus than to say that he wanted to be a performer and went somewhere he could perform.

    Did he do it forever? No, but he got to travel, had a blast, and met a bunch of wonderful people. It’s insulting to say circus performers (and carnies) have no where else to go. I’m sure some have no where else to go, but that’s true for many jobs. All the people husband’s cousin worked with were doing it because they loved it. The owner and his wife even had their baby come out at the end.

    Fuck you Lani.

    May 29, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Exactly! I honestly think “joined the circus” was LS’s lazy way of trying to make Charlie’s past interesting without creating an actual backstory for him. It’s possible he could’ve been an orphan or whatever but she didn’t even elaborate on that! Just a touch of sadness and a refusal to discuss the matter could’ve worked but nope, nothing. She has Mac nod his head that life was hard once upon a time.

      And then LS doesn’t even try to integrate Chuck into the circus, tell us how he feels about being in it (maybe he doesn’t think it’s as respectable as when he was a kid lol but that’d be some good characterization), or describe the circus at all really. It’d be better if we met some coworkers but she doesn’t even attempt to add any detail like roughly how far they’d travel, how big they were, what the other acts were, and where they were when Charles or Dela joined up or even how. Dela especially is an odd inclusion IMHO even for a sideshow.

      Also, is the 20 years old Jerkwad really any different from 60 years old jerkwad?

      Your two paragraph story about your in-law was far more interesting than this book’s “spell-weaving” drama. 😛

      May 30, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        You know, for all that talk about Olympic Athletes Lamination Has Known, it doesn’t seem to occur to her that people who did competitive gymnastics will gravitate to things like a circus or playing Peter Pan (which Cathy Rigby did) because they don’t want to stop, even if their competing days are over. I’m sure there’s a parallel for high divers or people who used to show horses; certainly, many figure skaters end up in the Ice Capades or Disney/Nutcracker/Sesame St. on Ice.

        On a personal level, I haven’t done gymnastics since college, but I was overjoyed when my splits allowed me to be the 2nd-oldest Dainty June in theatre history.

        This woman…doesn’t think like a performer. Not even a FRUSTRATED performer. I know she didn’t get all the parts she wanted, but it’s not like she’s fuming, “Oh what I could have done with Ophelia’s first mad scene….if only they had seen my Gigi … when Laurey has that dream sequence in ‘Oklahoma,’ I would have….”

        She wants to be the lead, she wants to be famous….but she doesn’t know what it is to want to PERFORM.

        May 30, 2018
        |Reply
        • Dove
          Dove

          That’s a good point. I don’t know why LS chose stage magic over a stage play and using her magic to enhance her ability to stir up emotions. I think she had this idea in her head, it was an intriguing surprise (Zatanna it up in Vegas) but she got bored quickly, visually wanted something different, and didn’t want to put in the effort to make it work. It’s the same thing with this ending veering into parental territory. She had too many ideas and just smooshed them together which made everything a mud puddle instead of a rainbow.

          May 30, 2018
          |Reply
  33. Dove
    Dove

    If, as you say, Zzyzzxx doesn’t respect Mac and he doesn’t respect her, then why should I respect her? It’s not a question if she respects herself, it’s that the relationship is flawed from the beginning & most likely doomed to fail if the two don’t even respect each other from the get-go.

    Sorry, I’ve been slammed with work and couldn’t really reply until now. (But I’ve been gleefully reading the comments still.)

    I absolutely agree. Their relationship is flawed; it needs a lot of communication and strength of character to repair, which won’t happen. I didn’t mean to imply that Zade should be respected, because she’s done nothing to deserve that. The same thing applies to Mac since neither are good people, I simply pity him for the bamboozling he’s getting. I also wonder if there’s any grain of decency underneath that or if he was rotten from the start. Since she’s an unreliable narrator and can use telepathy (possibly even direct manipulation of memories) it’s hard to know.

    May 30, 2018
    |Reply
  34. Bree
    Bree

    isn’t the main character DYING??? definitive proof that this had zero editors: no one would’ve read this and said “you know what, you’re absolutely right, we should put the “protagonist of this novel is literally clinging to life” plot on hold for three chapters of clumsy magicKsplaining and chardeli spopperfield relationship backstory

    May 31, 2018
    |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      isn’t the main character DYING???
      Nope.
      Because it’s written in 1st person and she’s clearly told us she wrote it from pulling memories from the observers after the ordeal, then clearly she was shown to have been in zero jeopardy at the outset of these chapters.

      Funny thing is, though, that the other characters around her we just as sure of her survival despite the quantity of blood loss, so if they didn’t care, why should we? Hence the zero tension in what should be the climax of the book . . . . .

      May 31, 2018
      |Reply
      • MyDog'sPA
        MyDog'sPA

        Sorry : . . .the other characters around her were just as sure . . . .

        But, hey, I’ve just discovered another rule of mag-ecchK in this world, namely if the author in this world knows an event is going to turn out well ahead of time, then the characters in the story do, too!!!

        🙂

        May 31, 2018
        |Reply
      • Amy
        Amy

        Just imagine how Mac is reacting to certain scenes of this flashback.

        “…and then Charles walked in, stared at my tits continuously for a whole minute-”
        “Excuse me!” Mac interuppted. “But what does any of this have to do with your daughter dying in the next room???!”
        “I’m getting to that, sweetie. Anyhoo, I told Charles to stop staring at my tits-”
        “Stop talking about your tits!”
        “I’m trying to set the atmosphere.”
        “By telling me about how long Charles leered at your barely-legal body???”
        “Yes.”
        “You know what-? Skip that. Skip ten minutes and get to the next point.”
        “Alright… So Charles was telling me about how the girl he fucked and then dumped like she was trash-”
        “Oh, for fuck’s sake….”

        May 31, 2018
        |Reply
        • MyDog'sPA
          MyDog'sPA

          Just imagine how Mac is reacting to certain scenes of this flashback.

          Uh, but Mac has been moonblinked by Zonk, so he can’t come to his senses. Didja notice that no women were brought from Vegas on the plane? 🙂

          I’m pretty sure Spunk-man has been moonblinked, too, either by Pastrami or Zaphod (or both), so he’s not of sound mind, either. So the only one in full faculty of their senses is Hamchy-on-Rye, so why is she dragging things out?

          But we’ll never know . . . .

          May 31, 2018
          |Reply
          • Amy
            Amy

            The only reason why I don’t want to entertain the idea Dela moonblinked Charles because that would mean she raped him to have Zade. This book is sexist enough, I don’t want to add rape to the narrative.

            Though Lani may unknowingly add to it anyways because she can’t keep track of her own themes.

            May 31, 2018
          • Mike
            Mike

            @Amy:

            “The only reason why I don’t want to entertain the idea Dela moonblinked Charles because that would mean she raped him to have Zade. This book is sexist enough, I don’t want to add rape to the narrative.”

            I would argue that there’s already sexual assault and physical assault. Zade’s had this affect on Mac and Jackson and kissed both of them, when we know for a fact that this was something that Mac at least would have been vehemently against were it not for her affect on people. He even says that he would never do this but there’s something about her that makes it impossible to turn her away. That would be her magical influence. And she’s unquestionably physically assaulted at least two people that we’ve seen. So adding Dela unintentionally (or intentionally? Unclear.) raping Charles doesn’t seem outside Sarem’s comfort zone. She’d probably even somehow manage to write it so it was all perfectly justified and fine, and then in another book have a different female character do the exact same thing and label her a dirty slut. Because Sarem has some serious issues…

            May 31, 2018
          • Mydog'sPA
            Mydog'sPA

            If it’s any minor consolation (and I’m sure Lani hasn’t even thought of it) you can rationalize Chuckie’s moonblinking by Cheesesteak in that she at least had control over her mag-ecchhK and Zazzle never bothered to learn how. So BLT could have moonblinked Chuckie just a little to where all the blood rushed to his second head and away from the head on his shoulders, at which point it’s really not moonblinking, is it?

            🙂

            (Oh, sorry, I’m assuming you know the old adage “God gave man two heads but only enough blood to run one at a time?”)

            May 31, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            Nah, Zade is not innocent in this. She was *told* by Lambo-girl that her magicK makes men love her. She’s aware, she has no excuse.

            Now we’re stepping into some really uncomfortable territory here. (I’m putting in a trigger warning for the rest of the paragraphs.)

            If Charles is moonblinked, then he was raped by Dela. Zade is a child of rape. And if Zade is aware her powers influences men, then she’s continuing to moonblink her own dad– which would explain why he’s suddenly giving her anything and everything she wants despite having no experience as an entertainer. I can’t even describe how horrific it is to imagine your own child to follow in your attacker’s footsteps.

            As Mike pointed out, Zade already has a history of committing non-consensual acts. If Clara Faust is going to be as big of a deal as her stupid narrative name implies she will be, *she’s* gonna be the one who moon-blinked Mac in the past, she’ll be labeled as the slut while Zade will be excused.

            May 31, 2018
          • MyDog'sPA
            MyDog'sPA

            @Amy: OK, I’ll buy that Chuckles was raped by Zoobie to get onto the show and what she wanted. Then Mac and Jackson were, too.

            But here’s the kicker: Although Mac was under the influence of Zitty McZitface, he did manage to break away from it during the “performance” and walk away from the control room to grab a smoke to cool off his anger. No other man has been shown in this book to have this ability to break away from Zagnut.

            In these later chapters, though, he’s being ‘groomed’ to return to the Dark Side by Ham/Cheese and will most likely fall back under the womens’ spell(s), especially once ZootSuit awakens. (It’s like that one shot in “Sunset Boulevard” where Gloria Swanson grabs William Holden’s shoulders and pulls him closer into an embrace where the metaphor is clear that she’s sucking him into her power and influence, resulting in his ultimate demise.)

            But it all goes back to my previous question: Mac has (or will have) no control over his free will, so he’s been sucked down the rabbit hole. But when Mac does manage to break the shackles of the moonblinking, even for a brief moment, he abuses ZincHead. So why does she want him?!

            June 1, 2018
          • Amy
            Amy

            I guess for all the same reasons why abusers keep their victims around: it’s a sense of power over someone. Despite gripping about wanting “a normal life” Zany certainly has no qualms using her magicK at every opportune moment, even when the situation doesn’t call for it. Examples: the tent, her decision on which guy to fuck, taking memories out of people’s heads instead of just asking them…

            Zade craves power and enjoys lording it over others. When she doesn’t get her way, she uses magicK to seek revenge.

            This also explains why Sofia, in the beginning was well-liked, had a hot boyfriend, was the top performer, suddenly falls off a stage for no apparent reason, loses her boyfriends, loses her position as performer, and all her friends hate her and think of her as a slut. Because Zade sees her as a bitch, so will everyone else.

            So here we have Mac, some douchebag who doesn’t want to date performers, suddenly wants to date Zade despite his first reaction to her is, “If you were in a tower, I’d leave you there, princess.” Zade probably sees that as a challenge.

            Mac and Zannni are abusers, but Zade is the one with the power over him.

            June 1, 2018
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Amy: Now THAT I would read!

          May 31, 2018
          |Reply
  35. Eye Roller
    Eye Roller

    I admire your stick-to-it-iveness. I’ve been known to slog on through a book because of sheer stubbornness, but by this time I would be skipping whole chapters and skimming other ones just to find out if anything ever happens.

    May 31, 2018
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      That’s what happened with me FSoG. I tried, God knows I tried, but I finally gave up and just read Jenny’s sports.

      May 31, 2018
      |Reply
  36. ViolettaD
    ViolettaD

    God, my best friend’s on a shooting spree
    Stop it, Debbie, you’re embarrassing me!
    How could you do what you just did?
    Are you having a really bad period?

    -Julie Brown

    June 1, 2018
    |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      She did it for Johnny!

      June 1, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Well, like, who’s Johnny?
        Answer me, Debbie, who’s Johnny?
        Does anybody here know Johnny?
        Are you Johnny?
        There was one guy named Johnny
        But he was a total geek
        He always had food in his braces

        June 1, 2018
        |Reply
    • MyDog'sPA
      MyDog'sPA

      Actually, there’s another Julie Brown lyric that comes to mind here:

      What kind of guy does a lot for me?
      Superman with a lobotomy!
      My father’s outta Harvard
      My brother’s outta Yale
      Well, the guy I took home last night
      Just got outta jail

      June 1, 2018
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        He’s so stupid—you know what he said?
        Well, I forgot what he said
        ‘Cause it was so stupid

        June 1, 2018
        |Reply
        • MyDog'sPA
          MyDog'sPA

          You know there are a lot of Jenny fans who are wondering what recreational drugs you and I are on right now . . . . .

          🙂

          June 1, 2018
          |Reply
          • Bookjunk
            Bookjunk

            I just watched the music video and it was hilarious. Too bad reality seems determined to make awesomeness like that remind me of horrible real life happenings. Stop ruining cool entertainment, reality!

            June 1, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            80s. You had to be there.

            June 1, 2018
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            Once upon a time, “Heathers” was satire….

            June 1, 2018
  37. Small jar of fireflies
    Small jar of fireflies

    From a standpoint of constructing a novel, a quick look at a structural consequence of this misplaced backstory sequence:

    Emotional continuity. We left zeb and tad falling about, backstage, distraught. That’s the last we see of them. We disconnect into the different world of a domestic interior. The characters dont call mac for updates. (There are none. Nobody is watching her.) We can’t empathize with these characters because their concerns are made distant and irrelevant. Since they cared about Zoe, not being able to care about them erodes our interest in her.

    Emotional intensity must be fostered and directed. You dont get a second shot at a novel’s emotional climaxes.

    June 1, 2018
    |Reply
  38. Athena
    Athena

    Slightly off topic but YouTube offered me a review video of FSOG the movie that’s really good, and I wanted to share it because he quotes Jenny at around minute 21.

    June 3, 2018
    |Reply
  39. ShifterCat
    ShifterCat

    This is so late that I doubt anyone will see it, but I just had to note two things because they bug me so much:

    The “prayer is really spellcasting!” BS ignores the fact that NOT EVERY PRAYER IS A REQUEST. In fact, Islam specifically forbids asking God for anything.

    Also? “Magic” with a C is just how they chose to standardize the spelling. Since the word predates standardized spelling, the K version isn’t more “authentic” or anything.

    August 25, 2018
    |Reply
    • Dove
      Dove

      Haha yeah, and the spelling of magic is irrelevant anyway since Zani implies this shit went all the way back to King Solomon, who certainly wasn’t speaking any form of English. The word magic does go back pretty far, through Latin, Greek, and plausibly originating in Old Iranian but presumably, Solomon would be speaking Biblical Hebrew and a quick google search tells me his word for it would be קֶסֶם (pronounced KEH-sem, could be spelled qecem/qeçem when romanized) so that’s pretty distinct. Also, apparently, the Old English native word would be dwimmer and magic replaced it via French. Just another way Zani was lazy.

      Islam also forbids magic and presumes you’re asking the djinn to do things for you (not unlike the Christians assuming you’re asking demons to get the spell effects.) Any of the Abrahamic religions would be pissed off at the suggestion that prayer is Spellcraft. Some people try to blur the line but they’re just saying anything to avoid the backlash for performing unsanctioned miracles (and most, if not all, of them, are charlatans because that’s how it works regardless of your religion.)

      August 25, 2018
      |Reply

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