Both in Calendar Girl and in real life, September has come to an end. You know what that means. IT’S HALLOWEEN MONTH.
And you know what that means, specifically in Bad Books, Good Times terms! IT’S GOOSEBUMPS MONTH, MOTHERFUCKERS!
We’ll be doing our annual Goosebumps reading before we start the next Calendar Girl. You know the drill. Help us decide upon our terrible fate. To make things a little more interesting this year, the poll is now MULTIPLE CHOICE. You can pick up to three books. CHOOSE WISELY.
Goddammit, now I’m bummed out I have to actually read Calendar Girl.
Calendar Girl (September): Chapter 10
This is a story all about how
my life got flipped turned upside down Mia became an escort for a year to pay off her father’s gambling debt to her loan shark mob boss ex-boyfriend. Yeah, nine books into the series and that sentence still looks like I must have gotten something wrong, doesn’t it? Well, it’s about to seem stranger still, because as of last chapter…
The debt to Blaine was paid, but my heart was still locked away in a dungeon, begging to be liberated.
So, ummmmmmmm (stage whisper) why is the story still happening?
To its credit, the story has evolved! I know. On Bad Books, Good Times. Crazy. It only took three books to break from the fuck-of-the-month formula we seemed to be set up for, focusing more on family – both in the abstract and in terms of batshit plot twists. And this book didn’t even have a client, instead finally showing the villain that’s been driving the plot this entire time. And… wrapped it up. So…
Calendar Girl… actually has a plan for that!
In a week, I was supposed to be starting on the TV show with celebrity doctor to the stars, Dr. Hoffman, but I didn’t feel ready for that leap.
Although I honestly can’t tell whether Mia’s reservations make sense on a “yeah, the books were about one thing and now they’re not anymore” identity crisis, or if they just feel like arbitrary friction because the story has three books to go and somehow used up all its friction already. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, and the prose is certainly as unhelpful as ever.
Only problem, life for me no longer had color. All I saw were shades of grey, black, and white.
The beauty surrounding me had disappeared, seeped out until all colors bled away into nothing.
I stared out at the sky – dark, covered in clouds, the desert preparing for a summer storm. It fit my mood perfectly.
Got it, Mia!
Thankfully, things begin to perk up when, at last, Mia receives a call from an unknown number… and it’s Wes! I bet this will be a huge relief for Mia, since he got caught up in an international hostage situation and can finally begin to stop worrying about-
He coughed roughly. “I’m okay. Just a little worse for the wear.” […]
“I need to see you, touch you, to believe you’re real. […] What is it? Are you hurt?” […]
“Yeah, baby, I’m hurt. Took uh, a bullet to the neck.”
I like how Wes is such a poorly defined character that apparently he’s the kind of person who’d describe getting shot in the neck as “a little worse for the wear” and we’re only getting this side of his personality in BOOK NUMBER NINE. Although I guess he also suffers from such a lack of character traits that this may not be quirkiness so much as a complete absence of being.
“I’m okay though.”
Yeah, it might be the latter.
Mia catches Wes up on the craziest goddamn story.
“Your brother?” His tone was confused and I didn’t blame him.
This is the most I’ve ever related to Wes.
There’s a moment where Mia overhears Wes tell a nurse that he’s talking to his fiancee, which she notes is kinda weird since they’re not engaged. Naturally, this is still a book we’re reading on Bad Books, Good Times, so don’t forget that this oncoming avalanche of zero consensual decisions and borderline emotional abuse is supposed to be romantic.
“So… your fiancée, huh?”
“There’s a lot we need to talk about but yeah, you and me, that’s just the way it’s going to be.”
Yeahhhhh we’re just getting started.
“I’m not waiting for paradise. I’m throwing you over my shoulder kicking and screaming and taking you there.”
But it’s cool that he doesn’t give a shit about whether Mia wants this or not, because he had a traumatic experience, so, uh, trump card. LOVE, MOTHERFUCKERS.
“Mia, we can’t hide from life. We never know how much time we have or what could happen to us as we’re living it. All I know is I’m going to do it with you by my side. For good. It’s me and you. You will be my wife.”
Nor does it matter that he doesn’t care what Mia wants because of course Mia wants this. Words are for dumb dumbs.
[I] rejoiced in the feeling of my chest widening, my heart growing so big it could burst with joy. “And what if I say no?” I joked, knowing he’d hear it in my tone.
“No is not an option.” His voice lowered
Also Audrey Carlan seems to forget that she’s writing a proposal scene and not a sex scene. Mid-paragraph.
“It’s yes, Wes. Oh, God, Wes, yes. Give it to me harder, Wes. Yes, I will marry you, Wes.”
“Give it to me harder”. This book actually has someone say “Give it to me harder” during a motherfucking proposal. What does it MEAN? Wes needs to propose more intensely? The proposal is so good Mia thought she was having sex? Is it just a copy/paste gone horribly wrong? WHAT COULD BE GIVEN HARDER IN THIS MOMENT? I’M DYING. I’M DEAD. The blog is done. Nothing will ever be funnier than this moment. I am complete.
The chapter ends with Mia visiting her dad, still in a coma, in the hospital, where she mulls over the story and everything that’s happened. Audrey Carlan keeps following the “more detail means writing more good” school of thought.
My father had been in a coma for nine months. The length of time it takes a woman to become pregnant and have a baby.
Gee, thanks, Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Since there was no client this book, Mia can’t write her letter summarizing the themes of the novella and leave without saying goodbye, so she just recaps the themes to her dad. Honestly, some of it is kind of touching, with a lot of emotional complexity and grey area.
“You know, Pops, it wasn’t right for you to borrow all that money, and it definitely wasn’t okay to have that burden fall on my shoulders, but I don’t regret the decisions I’ve made this year or the journey I’ve taken so far. I wouldn’t change what I’ve experienced for anything. […] Without your debt, I wouldn’t have met all the wonderful people I’ve encountered over the year.”
And some of it is, of course, befuddling.
“Maddy and Matt will check on you. You’d like him. Matt. He’s good for her. Treats her like the queen she is.”
MATT’S ENTIRE SUBPLOT THIS BOOK WAS THAT HE WASN’T. Why does every book include Mia having amnesia about her sister’s fiancee?
“I feel as though I’m finding myself, more and more each month. Maybe by December I’ll have even more figured out.”
Even though she no longer has a debt to pay off and is set to inherit a fraction of an international oil company and isn’t in desperate need of money anymore, she’s still gonna do three more months of this escort thing. Sure, this next one is already a binding contract and it’s actually a good career move for her, but why keep being an escort for two months after that? What more does the structure of this narrative actually contribute to its story beyond this point?
More importantly, remember that time Mia said “Give it to me harder” while she was being proposed to? Because I will remember this for the rest of my life.