If There Be Thorns, Part Two: Dollanganger #3 -- V.C. Andrews
p71. PART TWO.
Okay, things are ramping up: Jory takes issue with Bart being a puke to Cathy, Bart escalates by TAKING A SWING AT JORY'S HEAD WITH A BASEBALL BAT, they wrestle.
Also, Bart now knows that his biological father was Bart Winslow (duh) and not Doctor Paul.
Jory tries to get Corinne to stop spending time with Bart.
Also, he knows he's super-handsome, but knows that talent is what matters, because beauty fades. (But he still digs beauty.)
Why was she telling me her life story? I didn't care. [ME EITHER, KID. ME EITHER.]
"I married for a second time. My four children hated me for it. [Yes, Corrine, THAT'S why they hated you. HOW DID SHE GET OUT OF THE ASYLUM? She must have escaped, because she is CLEARLY STILL BANANAS.] ... "Children always think adults have it so easy. That's not always true. Children think a widowed mother doesn't need anyone but them." She sighed. "They think they can give her enough love, because they don't understand there are all kinds of love, and it's hard for a woman to live without a man once she's been married."[Oh, Corinne, Chris and Cathy are WELL-ACQUAINTED with the type of love to which you're referring, assuming that you're talking about RAPEY SEX LOVE.]
These characters seem to think as long as you SIGH OFTEN ENOUGH, you can convince ANYONE OF ANYTHING.
Also, Corinne gets WAAAAY TMI with Jory about her past.
Including marrying her uncle. OH, EXCUSE ME, HER "HALF UNCLE".
AND SHE CONSIDERS CORY'S DEATH 'ACCIDENTAL'. YES, CORINNE, I'M SURE THAT YOU 'ACCIDENTALLY' DUSTED THOSE DOUGHNUTS WITH ARSENIC. THESE THINGS JUST HAPPEN SOMETIMES.
He gave her a smoldering look of resentment and hobbled into his hole, wherever that was.[AHAHAHA, okay, you get points for that one, Jory.]
After getting her to promise not to hang out with Bart any more, Jory witnesses the UNVEILING OF A PAINTING (because V.C. Andrews) OF THE OLD LADY WHEN SHE WAS YOUNGER... AND SOMEBODY CALL ROD SERLING, BECAUSE SHE LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE HIS MOTHER!
And then, all dramatically, she tells him who she really is. Again.
AND NOW IT LOOKS LIKE BART KILLED JORY'S DOG.
A dog that I thought was a cat up until a couple of chapters ago, but whatever.
So, Malcolm's journal continues to be a charming circus of fun and delight: Now he's talking about how his interest in S&M—emphasis on the S, not-necessarily consensual, and DEFINITELY NO SAFE WORDS—led him to God. You know, so he wouldn't go to hell.
Bart doesn't actually think that Corinne is his grandmother. Or that's what he's saying at the moment. She's just some old lady who loves him because he's so damn lovable.
He's peeved that Cathy bought Cindy a new bathing suit. Maybe he expected her to wear his hand-me-down swim trunks?
Jory's dog Clover has been missing for two weeks, but Bart is still building him a doghouse. Why they'd give a kid who A) can't feel pain and B) can't look sideways at a gallon of milk without spilling it and C) is TOTALLY MENTALLY UNBALANCED access to carpentry equipment I don't know.
He's also so in love with his dog that he likes to PICK UP WARM POOPS AND SQUISH THEM THROUGH HIS FINGERS. I barf.
John Amos is still on the blah blah blah, women are naked and sinful and evil, blah blah blah train.
Chris and Cathy are still squabbling about their mother—Chris doesn't understand why Cathy won't "forgive and forget"... THAT SHE LOCKED THEM IN AN ATTIC FOR YEARS AND KILLED THEIR BROTHER—and so on.
At the chapter's end, Bart INJURES HIMSELF, JAMS HIS FINGER INTO THE WOUND TO MAKE IT BLEED MORE, IS NOW GUSHING BLOOD, HAS STARTED DRINKING FROM THE FISHPOND, AND FOUND CLOVER DEAD IN A HOLLOW TREE.
He's apparently more aware of his deteriorating mental state than I thought, as he isn't sure if he killed Clover or not.
NOW HE'S DECIDED THAT HE, HIMSELF, IS DEAD.
Bart has GANGRENE and might lose his leg.
And of course Christopher INSISTS on treating him himself, even though he doesn't even know whether or not he's allergic to penicillin. (He is.)
TWO DAYS OF HIVES, AND HE'S ALSO ALLERGIC TO EVERY OTHER ANTIBIOTIC KNOWN TO MAN.
Cathy asks for aspirin and Chris gives her tranquilizers. BECAUSE CHRIS KNOWS BEST.
Apparently the ENTIRE FAMILY AGREES: Given a choice between amputating Bart's leg and letting him die, they'd RATHER LET HIM DIE.
Jory goes home to feed Apple and finds him chained up in the barn, fur all matted, starving and dehydrated. YAY ANIMAL CRUELTY. So he fixes Apple up, which I'm sure will GO OVER REALLY WELL WITH BART, ASSUMING HE LIVES.
Bart's going to live AND keep his leg. It was infected not only because of the rusty nail, but also because of ALL OF THE POOP IN THE WOUND.
He and Jory talk about how Corinne is afraid of John Amos.
If Bart refers to Apple as his "puppy-pony" ONE MORE TIME, I'M GOING TO SCREAM.
UGH, BART. HE WANTS TO BE LOVED BUT FEELS THAT HE ISN'T SO WHENEVER ANYONE SHOWS HIM AFFECTION HE'S A JERK SO THEN THEY DRAW AWAY BUT THEN HE RESENTS THEM FOR NOT SHOWERING HIM WITH AFFECTION AND HE'S JUST THE WORST.
ALSO, HE HATES WOMEN. SO JOHN AMOS' PLAN IS COMING ALONG NICELY, WHATEVER IT IS.
Good food and smiles and kisses were all parts of "feminine wiles." [TOTALLY! I have an idea, Bart: Why don't you start making all of your own meals? OR JUST STOP EATING ENTIRELY. THAT'LL SHOW 'EM!]
That's all it took—one hour and they were tired of me and wishing I had died. [Bart, if you had died, I wouldn't have faulted them for throwing a party.]
He sneaks out to go and see Apple, and is FURIOUS to find that Apple ISN'T starving and miserable.
I WANT SOMEONE TO SQUASH THIS KID LIKE A BUG. Maybe they can get Jack Gleeson to come out of retirement to play him.
Bart walks in on John Amos, who was reading JUGGS. (I don't know if it was Juggs. But judging by how quickly he hid it, I'm guessing it was that or something similar.)
If we cut out the number of times that John Amos tells Bart A) Corrine's name, B) that she is his grandmother, and C) that she was Malcolm's daughter, this book would be four pages long.
John Amos gets him to SWEAR TO WRECK VENGEANCE on Malcolm's enemies, and Corinne slips up, referring to Christopher by name. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
He has really gone bananas, was all I could think as I listened to him.[NO DUH, JORY. WHAT TIPPED YOU OFF? WAS IT THE FACT THAT HE IS CURRENTLY DIGGING HOLES IN THE YARD... WITH HIS MOUTH?]
Although points for nicely twisting Bible verses to make them ugly. Beth Ellen Hansen's got nothing on Bart.
Oh, nice. So Chris and Cathy have KNOWN that Bart has gone bonkers... they've just been WAITING FOR JORY TO COME TO THEM ABOUT IT. WAIT TO BE PROACTIVE, GUYS. MAN, JULIE COOPER HAS BETTER PARENTING SKILLS THAN YOU DO.
"You've both been so worried about Bart that I couldn't speak." [SINCE WHEN HAVE THEY BEEN WORRIED? THEY'VE BEEN TOO BUSY SCREAMING AT EACH OTHER AND HAVING MAKE-UP SEX IN THE LIVING ROOM TO NOTICE WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND THEM.]
WHO FINDS THE BODY OF HIS MURDERED DOG AND DOESN'T TELL HIS PARENTS IMMEDIATELY?
He tells them all about the toys and Apple and the lady next door... BUT HE FAILS TO MENTION THAT SHE CLAIMS TO BE THEIR GRANDMOTHER. BECAUSE THAT'S NOT VITAL INFO OR ANYTHING.
Erm. Bart says a whole bunch of stuff to Cathy that is CLEARLY based on their family history, but SHE DOESN'T DO ANYTHING.
And then she tells Chris about it (because he's a MAN, so HE'LL KNOW WHAT TO DO), AND HE JUST BRUSHES HER OFF AND SAYS THAT BART WILL BE A GREAT ACTOR SOMEDAY.
Characters I would like to throw off of a cliff, in order from most hateful to most idiotic: ALL OF THEM.
Bart is hanging out, picking scabs and chewing himself swollen and bloody so that Cathy will worry about him. Which, gross.
Emma makes him a birthday cake—like, a month late, but whatever—and he throws it on the ground because it doesn't have the right number of candles.
I'm thinking that Cindy's paddle pool is the V.C. Andrews equivalent of Chekhov's gun. AND BY 'THINK', I MEAN 'HOPE'.
Oh, great, now Cindy is naked and "tormenting" Bart with her "bare flesh". REMINDER: SHE IS TWO.
Ahahahaha, John Amos says that Corrine never "punished her children enough". I guess that imprisonment, abandonment, and arsenic doughnuts don't count.
BART TOTALLY TRIED TO DROWN CINDY.
Jory caught him, and Bart claimed to be "just punishing her a little", but Jory's not having it. So Bart hauls off and KICKS JORY IN THE CUBES. (Jory, being Jory, chides him for unsportsmanlike behavior whilst writhing around on the ground in pain.)
Everybody hated me, and would be glad to see me in my grave. [WELL I WONDER WHY.]
THEN HE PUNCHES EMMA AND CATHY TACKLES HIM (WHILE WEARING A SKIMPY BLUE BIKINI) AND SO HE TRIES TO BITE CATHY... AND THEN SHE SENDS HIM UP TO THE ATTIC!!!
SHE TELLS HIM TO DROP HIS PANTS (BECAUSE SPANKING HAS TO BE ON THE BARE BOTTOM, OBVS), AND HE TELLS HER THAT IF SHE DOES IT, HE'LL BIDE HIS TIME AND 'GET' CINDY AND HE WON'T GO TO JAIL BECAUSE HE'S A MINOR.
At this point he's making Mrs. Rochester look totally sane.
AND SO HE RANTS A BUNCH MORE AND SHE RUNS AWAY, LOCKING THE DOOR BEHIND HER.
Later, Christopher spanks him—but remember, old Bartie doesn't feel pain, so big whoop—and says that A) they're sending him to a psychiatrist and B) if he "persists in defying" them, THEY'RE GOING TO COMMIT HIM.
NOT BECAUSE HE THREATENED TO KILL HIS SISTER, NOT BECAUSE HE (MAYBE) KILLED A DOG, BUT BECAUSE HE WON'T BEHAVE.
And now Christopher is screaming at Cathy for locking Bart up in the attic.
I NEVER THOUGHT I'D SAY THIS, BUT I'M KIND OF ON CATHY'S SIDE HERE.
He goes to the psychiatrist and disapproves of the fact that she has boobs.
Man, Bart is a horrorshow, but ALL JORY EVER DOES IS EAVESDROP.
Our nighttime talks were the kind of tucking in he gave me . . . advice on how to handle difficult situations. Man-to-man stuff a woman didn't have to know about.[UGGGGGGGGGGH.]
Jeepers, was the dad from We Need to Talk About Kevin based on Christopher? Because they are equally dense.
Speaking of Chekhov's gun, is Christopher going to die in a car accident like his father? BECAUSE JORY'S ALWAYS HARPING ON ABOUT CATHY SAYING "DRIVE CAREFULLY" WHENEVER CHRIS GOES ANYWHERE.
Cathy offers Bart some lemon meringue pie, so he smashes her porcelain ballerina, then shoves Cindy off of her lap and onto the floor. GOOD TIMES, WHEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
And now Jory is holding her and comforting her.
As you never can tell with this family, I'll be clear: He's comforting her, not "COMFORTING HER". BUT THERE'S STILL HALF A BOOK LEFT, WHO KNOWS WHAT IS YET TO COME??
Also, Cathy's going on and on about how hard parenting is and she never knew it was so complicated AND IS THIS BOOK ULTIMATELY GOING TO BE ABOUT HOW CORINNE WAS JUST HORRIBLY MISUNDERSTOOD?
IF SO, I WILL RALPH.
END OF PART TWO.