Calendar Girl (April) Chapter 8: What Is Rachel Doing Here

Calendar Girl (April): Chapter 8

As the chapter begins, Mia is still with Alec, and like hell I’m turning off Google AdSense ads for this whole chapter for all of two pages of explicit content, so you can use your imagination to guess the context for how “overused, swollen tissue” and “feast on your flesh” appear in this chapter.

Hint:”feast on your flesh” is somehow not in a story about zombies

Mia and Alec have one more for the road.

We both knew it would be the last time, but I wouldn’t say forever. I’d learned not to think that way. Between seeing Wes again and now Alec, never was not a word I’d keep in my vocabulary when it came to the men I cared for.

God, this was so close to being a kinda zen-like, go-with-the-flow message and instead wound up more like on the sort of thing you’d hear in the court testimony of someone who snaps and murders their ex.

Alec actually kind of surprises me, however, and offers Mia some good advice after asking her why she seems so sad.

“Yeah, it was a man, but you know, having you here, helping Mason get his girl, I realize that it’s all part of the process. My journey this year is long, and if at the end, I’m meant to be with a certain man, I will be.”
Alec nodded, and I smiled, the thought taking wings. Alec pushed back my unruly hair and caressed the side of my face. “Ma jolie, you are very young. Give yourself time to enjoy life and all its offerings.”

I knew what he was saying, and it reinstated my belief that this year was about me. Not about me and someone else. It was about me saving my dad and finding myself.

Oh my god, how many times can a book contradict itself in three sentences?

Mia and Alec run into Mason and Rachel on the way out, and Alec introduces himself with a joke about how “I wouldn’t call what we did sleep”. This is why I don’t miss you, Alec.

Mia and Alec say they love each other when he leaves. Mason and Rachel are all OMG YOU LOVE HIM? And Mia has to make this whole “I love him but I don’t love him love him” thing make sense. And doesn’t.

“Yeah, but not in the way you’re thinking. I’m not in love with him. We just have something. When we’re together, we’re together. It’s just us. But most of the time, we’re not.”
Rachel closed her eyes and then pursed her lips. “I don’t get it.”

I love how Rachel is supposed to be this total prude, but has instead just been the only character in this story who ever points out how weird Mia is.

“Smell you later… sex fiend,” Mason said when I started walking away.
“Takes one to know one, fuck face!” I hollered back. […]
“You both are like children,” was the last thing I heard Rachel say as I closed the door to my room.

This actually raises something I’ve been meaning to talk about. Now that Mason and Rachel are together, it’s really obvious how they have no chemistry. These two have nothing in common, and Calendar Girl‘s novella format doesn’t exactly encourage the reader to find anything in them worth caring about.

After a couple of days on the road, winning away games, the Red Sox come back to Boston and go out drinking to celebrate. It happens to be a bar that Mason’s younger brother works at, but he doesn’t actually do anything in this chapter, so even by Calendar Girl standards it’s unclear why this minor character is worth including. Shortly after they arrive, Rachel tells Mason she’s going to call it an early night because she has work tomorrow, but will stop by his place for lunch. Rachel leaves after giving us one more reminder that it makes no sense why she and Mason should be a couple (“I swear being around you two is like hanging out with twenty-year-old children”, which sounds like a description of neither a twenty-year-old nor a child).

“We’re ready to get serious. Shots and beer chasers. Mia, we’re about to play a game!”
I shimmied on my seat. “Love games. What’s it called? Maybe I’ve heard of it.”
“Called Bullshit.”

Given that the entire premise of this story is that Mia and Mason’s relationship is fake, you’d think playing a drinking game called Bullshit would be when Mia or Mason drunkenly slips and reveals their secret. So, obviously, it’s not. Instead, it’s a plot device to get Mia and Mason near-blackout drunk and in bed together.

 

“Shhh, you might wake up Rachel,” Mason said, bumping into the wall and taking me with him.
I concentrated hard and pushed him forward. “She’s not here!” I reminded him.
His entire face went sad. “Oh man, that sucks so bad. I wanted to fuck her. Man.” […]
“Aww, it’s okay. You can totally fuck her tomorrow!”

Seriously, this book has not done any work to convince me that Mason and Mia make less sense together than Mason and Rachel do. (Or Mia and Wes, for that matter. Does anyone remember a single aspect of Wes’s personality?)

“You’ve got the best fucking tits. Rach has small tits, but I like ’em. Yours are world-class, fuck-me titties. Can I fuck your titties? That would be awesome!”

Seriously, how are we SUPPOSED to want Mason and Rachel together? He’s realized she isn’t there five minutes ago and he’s already making moves on other women. I’d hate this scene so much, because it runs counter to all of the character development we’re supposed to be seeing in this story, but it does feature Mia saying, “No, stupid. You cannot fuck my tits.”, which is already my favorite Mia quote ever.

Mia and Mason are so drunk that they end up stripping down to their underwear and falling asleep in the same bed and don’t process that there’s anything weird about this. They wake up to the sound of Rachel entering Mason’s home, realize what a compromising situation they’re in, and then Rachel enters the room and loses it.

“I was in love with you, Mason! I was going to tell you when Mia left and it was just us! […] You deserve each other!” she screamed behind her.

Get excited for the last two chapters of this novella, which have to somehow convince us to ignore that Rachel’s totally not wrong.

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11 comments

  1. Cara Reply

    When prompted to remember Wes’s personality, my first thought was “California.” That’s all I’ve got, actually. Wes sure was from California. I think.

    Mason’s dialogue is written like that of an actual preteen. It’s very off-putting.

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      This is also the only thing that I remember about what Wes is like and I’m writing this blog

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  2. wordswithhannah Reply

    “I WILL LITERALLY RIP THE THROAT OUT OF ANY MAN WHO TOUCHES YOU hey other woman I’m going to attempt to have sex with you OMG YOU ARE SO IRRATIONAL, LOVE OF MY LIFE WHO CAUGHT ME IN A COMPROMISING POSITION!”

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      To be fair, threats of physical violence is more Fifty Shades and Crossfire (so far). Although Calendar Girl’s tone is basically “lol boobies” so it’s not like it’s leaps and bounds better

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      • wordswithhannah Reply

        The point of my comment was that he displayed a ludicrous level of possessiveness of Rachel, then propositioned another woman the second she left the room, and the hypocrisy was too blatant to pass up.

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        • matthewjulius Post authorReply

          Oh, I got that. Sorry, I wasn’t clear enough that I agreed with that point – I criticized this in the post too. I mostly just wanted to point out that at least no one’s threatening physical violence in this book. Which is a WORRYINGLY low bar, yet this was every other chapter of Fifty Shades so I wanted to point out at least the toxic masculinity doesn’t get to that level.
          Although I might as well spoil it now, the book does predictably little to address this “buuuuut he propositioned another woman when Rachel wasn’t there” thing. Because Calendar Girl is astoundingly awful at figuring out character motivation.

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  3. Andreas Reply

    It cannot end well, right? What kind of bullshit-solution will fix the problem? Rachel forgiving him because she realizes she cannot live without him? Rachel apologizing to Mia for overreacting? Alec appearing out of nowhere and explaining to Rachel, mon petit baguette, that amour is all-encompassing as long as two people are together but should be freely given to other people on a time-based basis when apart so Mason didn’t cheat on her because Rachel was already gone to bed, oui?

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      Shit, your Alec Ex Machina ending is way better than the actual ending

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  4. Madeline Reply

    Honestly, I think since Wes was so obviously introduced as endgame that the author thought Rachel and Mason would be an exciting enough romance to add to the mix, but Rachel’s a decent person and Mason is an attempted cheater/titty fucker.

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      See, I would have thought for certain Wes would have some competition by this point, and I honestly don’t know how I feel about how it’s not. I’m glad it’s not predictable. I’m less glad it’s… still really boring.
      Poor Rachel. I have no idea what she’s doing in this story. She seems so normal.

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