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This is it, everyone. The Holocaust romance novel between a Jewish concentration camp prisoner and a Nazi officer that literally no one asked for. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Kate Breslin's For Such a Time.

(Trigger warnings for textual anti-Semitism, romanticization of Nazis, romanticization of the Holocaust, etc.)

In 1944, blonde and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide under the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric's secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz. Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy. Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp's prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?

There is so many things wrong with the book, aside from the fact that it's a romance between a Jewish woman and a friggin' Nazi officer in the Holocaust, but the way Jewish people and religion are portrayed. Kate Breslin is a Christian writer, and her lack of understanding of Judaism shows up throughout the book. Perhaps what's even worse is that this book was actually nominated for a RITA Award back in 2015. The attempts at humanizing a Nazi and trying to portray him as a romantic hero is appalling.

The fact that this is based off of the Book of Esther, a book in the Tanakh, or the Hebrew Bible. That told the story of a Hebrew woman in Persia who was born as Hadassah but known as Esther, and how she thwarts a genocide of her people by marrying the Persian king Ahasuerus. However, a Christian author tries to write the a retelling of this story, and even has the heroine convert to Christianity, which is a slap in the face to Jewish people everywhere. It's an insult to Jewish women, an insult to the six million Jewish people who died in the Holocaust, and an insult to Jewish Holocaust survivors and their relatives. 

Breslin's portrayal of Jewish people and religion is incredibly inaccurate and reflects her own Christian beliefs, which further rubs the salt in the wound. As such, I have decided that I am going to spork this novel, and I will not be alone in this endeavour. Accompanying me will be four members of my crew from Eleanor & Park.

So far, the counts in this novel are as following:

LA BELLE JUIVE: This is French for 'The Beautiful Jewess' (which I must add is a disrespectful term to address a Jewish woman), an archetype most common in 19th-century romantic European literature. She was often portrayed as having long, dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin. Her personality could be portrayed either positively or negatively. The negative portrayal is sly, coquettish, and overly sexual. The so-called 'positive' portrayal was noble, pure, loyal, and exhibiting qualities similar to Christian martyrdom. Popular portrayals of this character include Rachel from Jacques Halévy's grand opera La Juive, Rebecca from Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, and Salome, the daughter of Herod II and Herodias.

A MATCH MADE IN THERESIENSTADT: Need I say more? The so-called 'romance' between Hadassah/Stella and Aric happens at the Theresienstadt concentration camp after he 'rescues' her from Dachau, and some can even call this a 'romance' rooted in Stockholm Syndrome. It's basically 'oppressor-falls-in-love-with-oppressed-and-learns-not-to-be-an-oppressor' kind of story.

NOT ALL NAZIS™: Yes, this book is basically trying to make us empathize with Nazis, portray a Nazi commandant as a good guy, and make us forget how the Nazis believed in the Master Race, how they sterilized and killed disabled people (as someone with autism, this seriously angers me), committed the Holocaust of the Jewish people, the Porajmos of the Romani people, raped Jewish women and girls, and experimented on humans, including gay people, Romani, Sinti, ethnic Poles, Soviet POWs, disabled Germans, and Jewish people. And that's only a few of their many crimes. Want to know more? Just look up the Nuremberg trials or 'nazi war crimes'.

YOUR CHRISTIANITY IS SHOWING: As mentioned before, Kate Breslin is Christian, and it shows in her attempts at writing a Jewish character. This ranges from not just major parts about Hadassah/Stella's beliefs, but minor things such as what she finds comforting and the like. Not to mention, conversion to Christianity is what ultimately saves the heroine, which completely disregards the plight that Jewish people went through in World War II.

And this is what I have so far. So, my fellow readers, be afraid. Be very, very afraid. I will see you in the first chapter.

missabnormal: (Memoirs)

This is the original short story of Cho-Cho-San, a beautiful, fragile Japanese Geisha, whose trust and fidelity are betrayed by her husband, an American Naval Lieutenant. Stationed in Nagasaki, Lieutenant Pinkerton acquires his wife as casually as his house-- both leased for 99 years, with the option to cancel at any time. After their honeymoon, Pinkerton departs, promising to return. But for three long years, Cho-Cho-San awaits, and when he finally does return, he brings his new American wife-- and finds he has a son by Cho-Cho-San.

The original story that inspired Puccini's Madama Butterfly.

You probably have heard of Madame Butterfly through Giacomo Puccini's famous opera. However, there's a lot more works that started up the Madame Butterfly story which inspired the opera. First, it came to life as a novel called Madame Chrysanthème by French naval officer/novelist Pierre Loti, a pseudonym of Louis Marie-Julien Viaud, his actual name. Originally published in 1887, this novel was presented as an autobiographical journal of a naval officer who temporarily married a geisha while stationed in Nagasaki, Japan. It was a very successful novel, and was translated into multiple languages, including English.

Then, in 1898, an American writer and lawyer known as John Luther Long, published the short story Madame Butterfly in Century Magazine. This story is based on the recollections of Jennie Correll, Long's sister, who had travelled to Japan with her Methodist missionary husband. It also shares influences from Loti's novel. He's used both the exotic and the classical in the illustrations of the short story, which reflects the blend of both traditional and Japanese styles in the fine arts movement during the turn of the 19th century, as well as the movement of Japonism, or the Western fascination of Japan after the Opening of Japan by Matthew C. Perry in 1854.

This short story inspired American playwright David Belasco to write a one-act play called Madame Butterfly: A Tragedy of Japan. The play premiered in March 1900 at the Herald Square Theatre in New York City and quickly became Belasco's most famous work. This work also caught the attention of Giacomo Puccini, an Italian opera composer most famous for La bohème and Tosca at the time, at its premiere in London. He had been so moved by the play, despite not understanding English, and wished to adapt it into an opera. 

Puccini had written five versions of the opera, called Madama Butterfly (also called Madama Butterfly: Tragedia Giapponese in Italian), along with his librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa (both had collaborated with Puccini for his operas La bohème and Tosca) yet at its premiere in La Scala in 1904, it was disastrous. He then revised it subsequently before it became the success that it is today. Now today, audiences know the story of Madame Butterfly as the tragedy of a young Japanese girl so in love with an American man, that upon discovering his remarriage to an American woman, she commits suicide. In fact, Madama Butterfly is a staple in opera houses around the world today, and according to Operabase, it is ranked 6th, just below Tosca, which ranks 5th, and La bohème, which ranks 3rd.

(It should be noted that in Long's short story, Butterfly does not commit suicide at all. It was Belasco who introduced the tragic ending in his play, which made it into the opera.)

Through sporking this short story, I want to be able to analyze the Orientalist themes that were common during this period, and I aim to criticize the work that helped create a narrative that seems to entrance Western audiences: the narrative of an East Asian woman becoming so devoted to a white man, that she cannot imagine her life without him and commits suicide when he abandons her.

There is going to be some offensive dialogue on the part of Cho-Cho-San, as it is in extremely broken English, and some themes of Orientalism and yellow fever. I do hope you look forward to it.


I- Sayre's Prescription
II- Mr. B.F. Pinkerton-- and his way
III- A Moon-Goddess Truly
IV- Trouble-- Meaning Joy
V- A Song of Sorrow-- and Death-- and Heaven
VI- Divine Foolery
VII- How he didn't understand her Whichever
VIII- The Bright Red Spot in Cho's Cheeks
IX- "'Bout Birds'"
X- Gentle Lying
XI- "'The Mos' Bez'nize Man'"
XII- Like a Picture of Bunchosai
XIII- The Good Consul's Compassionate Lying
XIV- The Blonde Woman
XV- When the Robins Nest Again
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More stories I'm thinking of sporking:

The India Fan- Victoria Holt
The Lotus War series- Jay Kristoff
Madame Butterfly- John Luther Long
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Eleanor & Park is getting too much for me. It's too bland, too boring, and it just sucks. I just want to spork other works that, when not being offensive, are just plain ridiculous. These are the books I'm planning on sporking soon.

The Boy Who Sneaks Into My Bedroom Window- Kirsty Moseley
Memoirs of a Geisha- Arthur Golden
Nocturne- Syrie James
The Tiger Saga series- Colleen Houck

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Our first chapter where we get the perspectives of both characters. We also get a brief look at Park's mom. But there's so much offensive crap in this, so trigger warning.

Read more... )
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In which nothing happens.

*Yamini and Ruki are working out together: Yamini is punching a sandbag while Ruki is lifting some weights. Kala is reading while Wolfgang rests his head in her lap. Meanwhile, Mako is going through her phone. Right then, missabnormal enters the room*

missabnormal: Well everyone, it's time to start sporking chapter 4 of this, so break time is over. As for food and drinks: Yamini, there's murukku and guava juice; Ruki, there's Naga Viper peppers and goat's blood; Kala, there's chaat and sugarcane juice; Wolfgang, there's apfelwein and knödel; and Mako, there's some sake and sushi. As for myself, there's aloo tikki and mango juice. 

Kala: *stunned* Ruki has to drink goat's blood?

Ruki: *nods* Goat's blood and extremely spicy foods are the only Human World foods I can consume. 

Yamini: I'm more surprised at how he can consume whole chilli peppers, honestly.

Wolfgang: It does sound rather painful.

Mako: Thanks for the food.

missabnormal: No problem. Now then, let's get started!

We open up with Eleanor reaching home before her younger siblings, and is happy about it. Why? Because according to her, "[it] had been such a freak show when she'd walked in last night..."


*snappy* Any time you feel like not being so ableist, Rowell? Please let me know. And yes, I'm being mean today because I want to.

Yamini: So, what happened last night? Apparently, she "had spent so much time thinking about what it would be like to finally come home and how much she missed everybody-- she thought they'd throw her a ticker-tape parade. She thought it would be a big hugfest."

However, when she had walked in, it was
"like her siblings didn't recognize her". *angry* So, not even her siblings welcome her home after she had been living in another person's house, courtesy of their jerkass stepfather kicking her out?! You know what?


I gave it three points out of spite. Damn, this book is turning me into a bitch.

missabnormal: Bad literature can turn anyone into a bitch.

Ruki: My turn. *reads ahead* Only one sibling, known as Mouse, had greeted Eleanor. According to Eleanor, "[Mouse] reminded her more of a big, sloppy puppy-- always excited, always trying to jump into your lap."

*frowns* Why is she comparing people to animals, now? Are we really supposed to like her? At this point, I don't really care if she has an abusive stepfather, I really cannot find her sympathetic whatsoever.

So Mouse tries to bring the stepfather's attention to Eleanor, but he pretends not to hear. *clearly annoyed* The stepfather is already making me want to stab him. I absolutely loathe abusive parents with all my heart. 

Yamini: *sympathetic* Me too, Ruki. 

Ruki: We learn a bit more about the other siblings. There's Ben, who is eleven-years-old, Maisie, who is eight, Mouse, who is five, and an unnamed baby who is two years of age and should be called a toddler, not a baby. Eleanor's mother says that they'll have to readjust their sleeping arrangements, despite the room being too small. We get a description of the bathroom, which prompts Eleanor to think that the house was designed by cave trolls before we finally get back to the present.

Kala: *reads* Eleanor enters the house, which she sees to be even more depressing in the daylight. And in a moment that is rather sad, Eleanor thinks how weird it is to see her mother standing in the kitchen like normal. They have the typical conversation of how the first day went, and Eleanor can't help but admire the way her mother looks.

Apparently, when Eleanor was a little girl, "she'd thought her mom looked like a queen, like the star of some fairy tale."

Yamini: I can kind of relate to that. I mean, I've always thought my mother was beautiful, like she was a princess or something.

Kala: But according to Eleanor, "princesses are just pretty". She describes her mother as "tall and stately, with broad shoulders and an elegant waist. All of her bones seemed more purposeful than other people's." Basically, her mother is supposed to be incredibly beautiful and gorgeous.

*bewildered* This all sounds just so... bland. There's no energy in the text whatsoever, it sounds almost like a laundry list. Also, it's just very generic, like "you'd look at Eleanor's mom and think she must be carved into the prow of a Viking ship somewhere or maybe painted on the side of a plane". These are just very weird descriptors.

missabnormal: Also, what kind of plane were you thinking about, Rowell? I looked up pictures of airplanes with women painted on them, and the only ones I could find were fighter planes from World War II. You know, like these!

Also, as for the 'carved into Viking ships' part, are you talking about a figurehead? You know, a carving at the prow of a ship from the 16th and 20th centuries? Yeah, Vikings didn't have beautiful lady figureheads on their boats. These were Viking figureheads:

These sort of figureheads were considered to be protective and warding off evil spirits. So, Eleanor's mother should not look like a figurehead on a Viking longboat.

Wolfgang: While Eleanor's mother is described in very flattering terms, Eleanor herself is not. For example, she "looked like her mother through a fish tank." And at sixteen, "Eleanor was already built like she ran a medieval pub." Basically, she's overweight and unhappy about it.

After this, Eleanor's mother tells her daughter that he has something to show her, and it turns out to be Eleanor's personal belongings in a black trash bag. We also learn that they have to eat dinner around 4:30 because everything has to be settled before Richie comes home. *sighs* This chapter is very boring, was there really a point to it? It's almost like filler right now.

Eleanor finds some paper dolls, several books such as John Irving's The World According to Garp and Richard Adam's Watership Down. But she's not happy to see Erich Segal's Oliver's Story and not Love Story, another novel by him. She also sees Louisa May Alcott's Little Men, but not Little Women or Jo's Boys. *raises an eyebrow* So... she likes classic novels and American literature?

Mako: It's a common cliché in these books. The heroine always seems to like the well-known classic novels to try and seem 'well-read' and 'cultured'.

Yamini: And it all started with Bella Swan from friggin' Twilight. You can't even say that she likes the classics, 'cause she doesn't understand them! She thinks Wuthering Heights is an actual love story! She just likes the school's reading list!


missabnormal: It's so boring. For once, I'd like to see a heroine who likes, I don't know, harlequin romance novels.

Yamini: Me? I like reading foreign horror novels. Europeans and Japanese people are some of the best at writing actually scary horror, but Stephen King is also really good! *smiles* My current favourites are Koji Suzuki's Ring, John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In, and Patrick Süskind's Perfume. Foreign horror is just seriously terrifying and I love it.

Wolfgang: *surprised* Perfume is also one of my favourite novels. Though, I guess I'm into more of the thriller genre. The Millennium Trilogy is one of my favourites. The Swedish are really good at creating thriller novels.

Kala: I'm more into reading classical Indian epics, like the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. They've been my favourites ever since I was a child. But I also like reading romance novels as well.

Ruki: I haven't had much experience with every genre of Human World literature. However, I must confess that I enjoy reading tragic novels. Tess of the d'Urbervilles was one that really stuck with me. I could really relate to the heroine's situation. Doctor Faustus, Anna Karenina, and The Duchess of Malfi are also some of my favourites.

Mako: I love Japanese literature. My favourites are Norwegian Wood, The Tale of Genji, Battle Royale, Sanshirou, and Woman in the Dunes. And those are just a few.

missabnormal: I also like horror, but mainly by Stephen King. Carrie has been my all-time favourite.

Kala: I'd rather be talking about this, honestly.

missabnormal: Don't we all?

Mako: It's my turn now. *reads* So Eleanor starts organizing all her books and papers while wondering about what happened to everyone else's things. She also hopes that her mother's marriage to Richie is just temporary.


She finds a box from her uncle, which is a Fruit of the Month Club box that he used to send to her family every Christmas. This box is used for holding her stationary and markers, promotional cards that smell of perfume, and her old Walkman.

missabnormal: A Walkman?

IT'S THE 80'S!: 4

Also, the box apparently smells like Chanel No.5 and pencil shavings.

To her dismay, there is nothing to do with her recovered belongings after she'd sorted through them. So she sets aside the box and books, puts everything else in the garbage bag, and puts that on a high shelf behind some towels and a humidifier. We then finish the chapter with Eleanor finding a cat sleeping on her bunk before shooing him out of the room.

And we're done!

missabnormal: Dear God, was this pointless.

Yamini: Like, nothing happened at all in this goddamn chapter!

Ruki: There was no character development, no important plot points, nothing!

Kala: Even the writing was just very banal and bland!

Wolfgang: The counts are at quite the standstill right now.

Mako: I'll be honest: about halfway through, I almost fell asleep.

missabnormal: Well, we're done for the day, and we'll see you all in the next chapter!


IT'S THE 80'S: 4

Total= 34

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In which we find out more about Park, and see that he really is an Edward Cullen 2.0, and that no one gives a damn about bullying whatsoever!

Mako: Are you feeling better, Ruki?

Ruki: *nods* Yeah, I'm fine now. Yamini and I lay down in bed in only our underwear, and I feel a lot better.

Yamini: It really helps him calm down, that kind of physical contact. *blushes slightly*

Ruki: I hope this chapter isn't as trauma-inducing.

*doors open, in walk Kala, Wolfgang, and missabnormal*

Kala: Hey guys.

Yamini: What's up?

Wolfgang: Sorry we're late.

missabnormal: And while this chapter isn't as trauma-inducing as the previous, it's pretty rage-inducing. So yeah, as always, I've got snacks and drinks, and I have an extra button here to put up cute or sexy pictures in case of extreme rage. Anyways, let's get started!

We find out immediately in this chapter that Eleanor did not talk to Park at all on the bus ride home. Apparently, he'd been trying to think of a way to get away from her, but didn't want to force attention onto himself by asking to switch seats! God, what a dick! What's so bad about sitting next to Eleanor?!

Yamini: *annoyed* I swear, any more of this and I might just destroy this book. I have my sword with me, and I'm not afraid to use it.

missabnormal: But that's not all! We've got ourselves a Pan-Asian Fusion coming right up!

Park had expected Steve to start in on him as soon he let the girl sit down, but Steve had gone right back to talking about kung fu again. Park, by the way, knew plenty about kung fu. Because his dad was obsessed with martial arts, not because his mom was Korean. Park and his little brother, Josh, had been taking taekwondo since they could walk.


So... Park knows about kung fu, but he's been taking taekwondo since he could walk? *bewildered* What the hell?! Kung fu and taekwondo are two completely different styles of martial arts! Yeah, I gave it two for that reason!

First of all, kung fu isn't just a fighting style, actually. In Chinese, it's a term that refers to any kind of study, learning, or practice that requires patience, energy, and time to complete. The original meaning can refer to any discipline or skill achieved through hard work and practice, not just martial arts. The first character, 功 (gong), means 'work', 'achievement', or 'merit', and the second character, 夫 (fu) is a particle or nominal suffix with many meanings. Also, there are hundreds of different fighting styles of Chinese martial arts. Ever heard of Tai Chi? Shaolin? Wudang? They're all different styles of Chinese martial arts. And above all, each region in China has its own unique form of martial arts, so it's impossible to know all about kung fu, especially since there's so many different varieties, and the term itself just encompasses all these different styles. 

As for taekwondo? That's a Korean martial art, completely different from Chinese martial arts. That is a mix of Chinese martial arts, karate (which is Japanese), and indigenous Korean martial arts like TaekkyeonSubak, and Gwonbeop. This style developed shortly after imperial Japanese occupation of Korea in 1945 when new martial arts schools called 'kwan' were opening in Seoul by Korean martial artists who had studied in Japan during Japanese rule. These were a ton of different styles and they were merged under the insistence of Syngman Rhee, president of South Korea, in 1952. It was originally called Tae Soo Do, before Choi Hong Hi advocated the change to Tae Kwon Do. This name consist of the hanja 跆 (tae), meaning 'to stomp, trample', 拳 (kwon), meaning 'fist', and  (do), meaning 'way, discipline'. Also, taekwondo is characterised by an emphasis on head-level kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques.

Yamini: In short? Taekwondo is very different from kung fu or Chinese martial arts. It's like saying that you're an expert on karate but have done Muay Thai all your life. They're both completely different fighting styles.

Mako: In addition, what is with Park's brother's name? Why is Park called, well, 'Park', but his brother has 'Josh', a Western name? It makes no sense.

missabnormal: Damn straight! If you're going for a Korean naming scheme, give them both proper Korean names! Also, it is kind of weird, but apparently Josh looks more white while Park looks more Korean. It still doesn't make sense. Methinks that Rowell really doesn't know much about genetics. But I'll save that issue for later.

But as for the mention about his dad (who is white), and his Korean mom? I'm gonna give it this point.


It's gonna go up pretty soon.

Kala: *reads* So Park is wondering how he could switch seats. He's thinking of switching seats and sitting near a freshman but not only would it mean that he was weak, but "he almost hated to think about leaving the weird new girl at the back of the bus by herself".

*frowns* Why is he calling Eleanor 'weird'? Can't he just be nice and let her sit next to him? I can't really support him if he's disdainful of others around him.

Yamini: I'm not even a popular kid like Park, and no one wants to hang out with me because they're instinctively frightened by me. I've been lonely most of my life. But you know what? I still have common courtesy! I'm polite most of the time and I don't just act all superior to other people! Hell, even though my default expression is 'resting bitchface', I still act polite, I don't act like a jackass! Just because you have your own troubles doesn't mean you can just ditch common courtesy!

Wolfgang: You're right. *reads* So Park starts hating himself for thinking like that, noting that, "if his dad knew he was thinking like this, he'd call Park a pussy. Out loud, for once. If his grandma knew, she'd smack him on the back of his head. 'Where are your manners?' she'd say. 'Is that any way to treat somebody who's down on her luck?'"

Mako: *irritated* Right. Because Asian people aren't as strong and powerful as white people, right?


missabnormal: *sourly* I gave that one out of spite.

Wolfgang: *continues* However, Park doesn't have any kind of luck or status to "spare on that dumb redhead". *annoyed* I've done a lot of horrible things, but at least I never denigrated those around me. But it gets even worse. Apparently, Park is "kind of grateful that people like that girl exist". Why? "Because people like Steve and Mikey and Tina existed, too, and they needed to be fed. If it wasn't that redhead, it was going to be somebody else. And if it wasn't somebody else, it was going to be Park". And yet he knows that it's not right to think that way.

*a sudden crash startles him and everyone else; they turn to see missabnormal flipping over a table and glaring*

Kala: *surprised* Missy...?

missabnormal: *seething in rage*


*grabs an axe and starts cutting the table wildly while screaming incoherently*

Wolfgang: *concerned* Is she okay?

Yamini: *wearily* And that's how you know when someone has seen too many jackass love interests in YA. They do that.

Ruki: How are we going to calm her down?

Mako: *smiles* Don't worry. *presses a button* Missy!

missabnormal: *still raging* WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT-

*immediately, missabnormal calms down and becomed enamoured*

missabnormal: *lovestruck* Ahhhh, Ruki... you make sporking so much better, keep on working those hips~

Kala: *raised eyebrow* Well, that was fast.

Yamini: Okay, looks like it's my turn. *reads* So Park feels bad for swearing at Eleanor and I'm not buying it, considering that him not stopping his bully friends sent Missy into a huge rage. He feels as if her arrival in English class was meant to haunt him, and we get a flashback to the English class!

'Eleanor,' Mr Stessman said. 'What a powerful name. It's a queen's name, you know.'

'It's the name of the fat Chipette,' somebody behind Park whispered. Somebody else laughed.

*angered* Okay, I see where Missy's coming from. In fact, I'm gonna start us up a new count: ZERO TOLERANCE, MY ASS. This is gonna be used for every character who acts like a jackass towards one another, or whenever Eleanor is being bullied. So, how many do we have now, both in this chapter and the previous ones?


Yeah, I started it out of spite.

missabnormal: *significantly calmer* Thank you, Yamini. I believe that this is quite important. I should have started it in the first chapter.

Also, as for Eleanor's name, the teacher is right. However, it's not just a queen's name, a lot of women in high nobility in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages had that name. In fact, the name 'Eleanor' is an Anglicisation of the Old French form of 'Aliénor', an Occitan name, and the most famous person with that name is French Queen consort Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wife of Louis VII of France and Henry II of England.

Ruki: So, the teacher tells Eleanor that they're reading poetry by Emily Dickinson, and invites her to read out loud.

'I had been hungry all the years,' she read. A few kids laughed. Jesus, Park thought, only Mr. Stessman would make a chubby girl read a poem about eating on her first day of class.

Yet despite that, she reads ahead and is praised by the teacher. We also find out that in history, the teacher references Eleanor of Aquitaine after she introduces herself.

Mako: *raises an eyebrow* Why is everyone making a big deal out of her name? No one even does that these days. *reads* We're almost done, fortunately. So Park can't think of a way to get rid of her or move away from her, so he just turns up his music and listens to it, and is grateful that Eleanor doesn't try to talk to him.

*sighs* And with that, we're done!

missabnormal: Well, this was another bizarre and infuriating chapter to read.

Wolfgang: Does Rowell think that bullying is some sort of rite of passage in high school? It's nothing lke that, it's a very unpleasant experience. I've been bullied before as a child, it's not fun at all.

Kala: *gently places her hand on his shoulder* It's okay, Wolfgang.

Yamini: This is why people who think bullying is no big deal always piss me off.

Ruki: This chapter was indeed very tedious.

Mako: I sincerely hope that Park gets his act together and ditches those so-called 'friends'.

missabnormal: We're done for the day now, and we'll see you all in chapter 4. Now then, let's go and take a break.


IT'S THE 80'S!: 3

Total= 27

Continue to:
 Chapter 4- Eleanor

Go back to: Chapter 2- Eleanor
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We now have an introduction to Eleanor Douglas!

Kala: So tell me, Yamini. What kinds of powers do you have?

Yamini: It's called Magia Umbra, which means I can control shadows. Ruki has the same kind of powers as me, and so did my mom.

Wolfgang: You know how to use them?

Yamini: Not really, they've been dormant most of my life and they've only been awakened on the first day of school after some guy bragged about vandalising my mom's grave. *winces* It was probably the worst thing I've ever done.

Ruki: It was quite violent, what happened.

Mako: How?

*door opens*

missabnormal: Alright guys, it's time to start chapter two of this dreck! I've stocked up the cabinets and fridge with food, in case any of you get hungry, so let's get started!

Yamini: *unenthusiastic* Yaaaay.

missabnormal: Chapter 2 is from Eleanor's point of view. We open up with Eleanor considering some options! And what are they?

1. She could walk home from school. Pros: Exercise, color in her cheeks, time to herself. Cons: She didn't know her new address yet, or even the general direction to start walking.

2. She could call her mom and ask for a ride. Pros: Lots. Cons: Her mom didn't have a phone. Or a car.

3. She could call her dad. Ha.

4. She could call her grandma. Just to say hi.

So basically, Eleanor is trying to decide how she could get home while staring at her school bus, especially after the disaster on the bus in the morning. She's poor and has an abusive stepfather, so her resources are very limited. I'd feel sorry for her if it were presented in a much more emotional way. This sounds more like a laundry list.

Then- *cracks up laughing* Oh boy, this is too funny.

Her bus was right there. No. 666.

Yamini: Pfftt- *cracks up with laughter* Just look at that symbology! It shows that high school is truly Hell, so that's why the buses have the Mark of the Beast on them! *continues laughing* I'm sorry, but this is just too hilarious!

Ruki: *dryly amused* Does the author expect us to take this seriously?

Mako: *chuckles* This is about as subtle as a sledgehammer.

Kala: *smiles in amusement* I think everyone knows that high school is a hard time, but this is just kind of ridiculous.

Wolfgang: *snorts* So what, is this school going to be named after Lucifer?

missabnormal: *coming down from laughter* Rowell, everyone already knows that high school is generally a rough place. This here? I really can't take this seriously. Look, we understand that high school is not a good place for Eleanor, but there's no need to smash us in the face with... whatever the hell this is!

Oh hey! Looks like we're getting another count!


Yeah, this is for whenever the typical teenage angst comes up.

Kala: *reads ahead* Eleanor wishes to avoid taking the bus, but she knows that she'd still have to deal with these kids the next day, referring to them as "the devil-kids". Given the way they've treated her, I don't blame her for thinking that way.

Ruki: Even demons are more polite than those human kids. At least we see all humans as equal in strength and value, regardless of gender, age, race, or size. *frowns* Don't insult us demons by comparing us to those lowlife kids.

Kala: Eleanor then ponders about the girl named Tina, saying that "[you] could practically see the horns hidden in her bangs. And her boyfriend was possibly a member of the Nephilim".

Wolfgang: Nephilim is a Hebrew word that's often loosely translated to 'giants'. I'm not religious, but I do my research from time to time. I agree with Eleanor. Those two are very odious characters.

Yamini: Damn straight. *reads ahead* Eleanor states that all of those kids hate her as if they'd been hired to kill her in a previous life and- oh! Looks like we've got some stereotypes ahead!

Eleanor couldn't tell if the Asian kid who finally let her sit down was one of them, or whether he was really just stupid. (But not stupid stupid... He was in two of Eleanor's honors classes.)


*surprised* Damn. We're only in the second chapter and the Orientalism is already starting to show.

Mako: *annoyed* Oh, of course Asians are in honour classes! It's because they're smart, and all Asians are smart, right? I don't care whether this is a positive stereotype or not, but it's just insulting to claim that Asians are good at school because they're Asian! Not all Asians are in honours classes or exceeding in school! Not all Asians are bookworms who are obsessed with their grades!

Yamini: It also erases Asian kids who have disabilities. And besides, I've heard of Asian people being told to their face, "Oh, you're not a real Asian" just because they don't exceed in school! It's degrading and offensive to be told that you're smart just because you're Asian!

Ruki: And I really don't like the way she called him 'stupid'. Doesn't that insinuate that Asian people aren't as smart socially?

*starts reading* Apparently, Eleanor's mother had wanted her daughter to be put in the honours classes after seeing how bad her grades were from the previous year. Eleanor seems very indifferent to this whole situation and decides that she may as well stare at clouds during her classes.

Eleanor also can't tell her mother about the situation on the bus because her mother had told her that she didn't have to ride the bus. We then get a flashback to a conversation between the two from the previous night.

'Richie said he'll take you,' her mom said. 'It's on his way to work.'

'Is he going to make me ride in the back of his truck?'

'He's trying to make peace, Eleanor. You promised that you'd try, too.'

'It's easier for me to make peace from a distance.'

'I told him you were ready to be part of his family.'

already part of this family. I'm like a charter member.'

'Eleanor,' her mom said. 'Please.'

'I'll just ride the bus,' Eleanor had said. 'It's not a big deal. I'll meet people.'

*blinks* As it turns out, this 'Richie' is Eleanor's stepfather who has abused her and her family many times. However, the mother is trying to force Eleanor to make peace with him? Make peace with someone who abused her many times? I... Okay, I see that she's also being abused herself, but that does not mean that she should force her daughter to try and make peace, especially if she's trying to make peace in her own way! And for that matter, why the hell is the mother prioritizing her husband over her daughter?! *starts to get upset and agitated*

That... That's like asking me to make peace with... with Empusa of all people! The one who helped Hell's Army brainwash me when I was eight, tortured me as punishment for whenever I did something wrong, and who has been raping me since I was thirteen! No one believed me when I told them, I was slapped and called a liar and put into isolation as punishment! *tears start to fill his eyes* Those who actually listened me just gave me some pathetic excuse to justify her actions and told me to obey and it wouldn't happen again... I can never forgive Empusa for what she did to me! I never will, and anyone who tells me to make peace with her can go straight to Hell! *on the verge of a tearful breakdown*

This is disgusting! I'm starting to get flashbacks all over again, especially after I tried to report her! They told me something similar to this, justified her actions, slapped me, and then put me into isolation as punishment for lying! *worn out and miserable, he buries his face in his hands and starts sobbing*

Yamini: *worried* Ruki! *she hurries over and wraps an arm around his shoulders, speaking to him in a soothing tone* Hey, it's okay. You're not there anymore. She isn't here to hurt you. You're safe now. *tentatively gives him a hug* It's okay, Ruki.

Ruki: *wipes away his tears* Th-Thanks... *accepts Yamini's hug*

Kala: *concerned* I... I'm so sorry, Ruki. Is he going to be okay?

Yamini: He will. Eventually, I hope.

Wolfgang: *also concerned* For his sake, how much more of this chapter is there?

missabnormal: *worried* We're almost done. After this, you're all free to take a break. Ruki especially. And as of now, we've got another point.


Mako: I'll spork now. *glances in concern at Ruki*

Eleanor notices that her bus is leaving soon when someone passes by her and accidentally kicks her bag. But before she can apologize, she notices who it was.

--but it was that stupid Asian kid, and he frowned when he saw that it was her. She frowned right back at him, and he ran ahead.


*sighs* You could have just said 'that Asian kid', Rowell. Was there really a need to call him stupid? Anyways, Eleanor decides that it's on, and we finally close this chapter.

missabnormal: *shakes her head* Even though this was short, this sure was quite disturbing. I do kind of feel sorry for Eleanor, but it's gonna disappear pretty fast. And great, Park just started to become Edward Cullen 2.0.

Ruki: I'm... sorry about my rant.

Yamini: Don't apologize. No one blames you for it.

Kala: It's going to get worse, isn't it?

Wolfgang: If one of us has already broken down in only the second chapter, then it's definitely going to get even worse.

Mako: And I have a really bad feeling about some of these counts. They're probably going to start increasing in the next chapters.

missabnormal: And on that somber note, we're done. We'll see you all in Chapter 3. Now then, let's take a break. We all need one, especially after... whatever we just read.


IT'S THE 80'S: 3

Total= 11

Continue to: Chapter 3- Park

Go back to: Chapter 1- Park
missabnormal: (Default)
The official start of the sporking.

(The sporking theatre is empty, save for Yamini Subramaniam, Ruki, and Mako Mori, who are engaged in a conversation together. Right then, the doors open and missabnormal walks in with two newcomers: an Indian woman and a German man. They are Kala Dandekar and Wolfgang Bogdanow)

missabnormal: *claps hands to get everyone's attention* All right, everyone! I have two new sporkers who are going to join us in our sporking of Eleanor & Park. *gestures to the woman* This is Kala Dandekar. *gestures to the man* And this is Wolfgang Bogdanow.

Yamini: *perks up slightly* Kala Dandekar? Whoo, another fellow Desi girl! Yeah! *smiles at Kala* I'm Yamini Subramaniam, a half-demon Tamil Desi from Toronto! It's nice to meet you, Ms. Dandekar, Mr. Bogdanow.

Kala: *smiles* Nice to meet you, Yamini. Just call me Kala.

Wolfgang: And just call me Wolfgang. *smiles politely*

Ruki: *bows slightly with a polite smile* My name is Ruki, and I am a demon from Jigoku. A pleasure to meet you, Kala, Wolfgang.

Mako: *smiles politely* My name is Mako Mori, but you can call me Mako. I'm a Jaeger pilot, and it's a pleasure to meet you two.

Kala: *raises an eyebrow* Half-demon and demon?

Yamini: Don't worry, we're not going to hurt you!

Ruki: I know it may be a bit surprising, but it is true.

Wolfgang: *shakes his head* I don't know if I'm dreaming or...

missabnormal: It's true. Well! Now that everyone's gotten to know each other, let's get started!

Wolfgang: I'm just curious, what is sporking?

Ruki: It's where we analyze poorly written literature and point out all the flaws, the unfortunate implications, and the unlikeable nature of the characters.

missabnormal: And it's also where we sometimes get so angry at the text that we flip tables, throw things out of windows, and just rage on and on while metal music plays in the background. *shakes head* Yeah, a lot of us have some berserk buttons for some of the things we see.

Kala: *surprised* O...kay?

missabnormal: So! We start out the first chapter from the perspective of Park Sheridan! *unimpressed* Park. You named your half-Korean character Park. Rowell, are you serious?

Park is a Korean last name, you fool! What kind of a parent gives a friggin' last name to their child?!

*blinks* Wow. We've barely even started the chapter and I'm already raging over the main character's name. It took me to Chapter 3 of Halo to start raging, yet I'm already raging over the chapter title in this book! What, am I gonna start raging in the dedications when I spork For Such A Time?!

Moving on, the first sentence tells us what Park Sheridan is like!

XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.

*shocked, but quickly becomes disgusted* Are you serious? This is how you start the book? By becoming Edward Cullen 2.0? *throws her hands up* How many more times am I gonna have to see a reincarnation of that fairy asshole?!

Yamini: *equally disgusted* This is more like if Edward Cullen had good taste in music. But he's still an asshole.

Ruki: *confused* What's XTC?

Wolfgang: They're an English rock band from the late 70's, early 80's, part of the new wave movement.

missabnormal: And with that, we've already gotten ourselves a new count: IT'S THE 80'S!. This will show up whenever there's a reference to a band that was part of the many different movements in music during the 80's. So we have one point now.

IT'S THE 80'S!: 1

Now then, Kala, would you like a turn at sporking?

Kala: Sure. *opens up her book* So Park plans to bring some more music, mainly by "Skinny Puppy or the Misfits". He wishes to make a special bus tape of music. *confused* Who are those bands?

Wolfgang: Skinny Puppy is a Canadian band, and they're considered one of the founders of the electro-industrial genre. I remember hearing about them performing at the Doomsday Festival in Dresden in 2000. They were pretty big during the 80's. The Misfits are an American punk band, and they were a key part of the hardcore punk movement in the 80's. They're also considered the creators of the horror punk genre.

Kala: *impressed* You really know a lot about this, Wolfgang.

Wolfgang: *smiles slightly* Felix and I grew up listening to these bands.

So it seems like we have two more points.

IT'S THE 80'S!: 3

I guess I'll take over now. *opens up his book*. Park decides to go back to New Wave after getting his driver's license, as his parents told him that he could have his mother's Impala. He believes that "[once] he started driving to school, he could listen to whatever he wanted or nothing at all, and he'd get to sleep in an extra twenty minutes".

 To be honest, that does sound kinda relatable, I'll give Rowell that.

missabnormal: Mako, would you like to go?

Mako: Sure. *starts reading* Right then, an argument starts up behind Park.

"That doesn't exist!" somebody shouted behind him.

"It so [f***ing] does!" Steve shouted back. "Drunken Monkey style, man, it's a real [f***ing] thing. You can kill somebody with it..."

"You're full of shit."

You're full of shit." Steve said.

*surprised* This is... quite a bit of profanity.

missabnormal: I'll give her that, since that does kinda sound like how a lot of teenagers speak.

Also, about the Drunken Monkey, it's a real thing. It's a form of Kung Fu and a variation of the Monkey style. The whole drunken aspect comes in the middle when the practitioner plays the movements of a monkey drinking stolen wine. Visually, however, it's incredibly beautiful and agile. But being drunk doesn't improve this movement, 'cause it's about the concept of imitating being drunk, as actually being drunk will impair the ability to perform complex movements.

Mako: So then this 'Steve' character, who we don't know about, starts calling for Park's attention, but Park ignores him.

Sometimes, if you ignored Steve for a minute, he moved on to someone else. Knowing that was 80 percent of surviving with Steve as your neighbor. The other 20 percent was just keeping your head down....

Which Park had momentarily forgotten. A ball of paper hit him in the back of the head.

*annoyed* We're barely even into the chapter and we don't know who this Steve is, and I already don't like him. He just sounds so obnoxious. But Park is no better either. Is Steve considered to be his friend? Because that really does not sound like how one would treat their friends.

Yamini: You're right about that. *reads on* So then, some girl named Tina gets angry at Steve for throwing the ball of paper, which happened to be her Human Growth and Development notes. Okay, who the hell is Tina? Is she one of Park's friends? *shakes head* Steve then apologizes and promises to "teach [her] all about human growth and development", and I just threw up in my mouth. I'm out now. *disgusted*

Ruki: My turn. *reads* Someone tells him to teach her this Drunken Monkey style, and Steve calls out to Park again, which makes him take off his headphones and turn to face him. We get a description of how Steve looks like a grown man with a full beard, and that Tina is his girlfriend. Apparently, in middle school, Steve had punched a guy in the face for making fun of him. These paragraphs are quite lengthy so I'm doing my best to summarize them.

Steve finally asks Park about this Drunken Monkey style.

"Park," Steve said, "tell Mikey about Drunken Monkey karate."

"I don't know anything about it." Park shrugged.

"But it exists, right?"

"I guess I've heard of it."

Yamini: *stunned* Drunken Monkey's a form of Kung Fu, you idiot! It's part of a Chinese martial art, named after Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, in Journey to the West, which is a classical Chinese novel! Geez, we're barely into the story and we're already witnessing the blend of different Asian cultures!

Mako: *just as surprised* Exactly. Karate, on the other hand, is Okinawan. It was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom but became popular in mainland Japan thanks to Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan karate.

missabnormal: So now we've got ourselves a new count: PAN-ASIAN FUSION. This will come up everytime Asian cultures are blended together and mixed up.


My turn now! *reads* So Steve goes 'I told you so' to this Mikey person and- Oh my God, we have ableism, fetishization, and racism straight ahead at twelve o'clock!

"What the [f***] does Sheridan know about kung fu?" Mikey said.

"Are you [r*tarded]?" Steve said. "His mom's Chinese."

Mikey looked at Park carefully. Park smiled and narrowed his eyes. "Yeah, I guess I see it," Mikey said. "I always thought you were Mexican."

"Shit, Mikey," Steve said. "You're such a [f***ing] racist."

"She's not Chinese," Tina said. "She's Korean."

And that is as much as I'm going to show you because I'm nice. So Park's mom is apparently Tina's hairdresser since grade school. Steve then comments about how hot Park's mom is. *annoyed* As such, we've already got us some more points!




Mako: *angered* That comment just rubbed me the wrong way. No matter how old we are, East Asian women are fetishized and degraded in so many different ways. We're always hypersexualised into being submissive and delicate, and they never see us as people. They only see us as porn stars.

missabnormal: Also, this story's set in Omaha, right? During this period, there weren't that many Asian people in Nebraska. There was a small community of Chinese laborers in the early 20th century, and the first Japanese people in Omaha had arrived to work in the stockyards. There were hardly any Korean people in Omaha, and I honestly can't find anything about when Korean people first came to Omaha. And since this is 1986, I'm willing to bet that Park and his mom are the only Korean people living in Omaha.

Also, Omaha has had many periods of racial tension throughout its history, since this is Nebraska, one of the midwestern states. This resulted from the high numbers of southern and eastern European immigrants, and African-American migrants from the Deep South. There was a lot of competition for jobs in the early 20th century, and the instance of anti-Asian racism I found was in 1905, when 800 school students had protested the presence of the Japanese students in their school.

There was also a huge riot in Greek Town after a Greek man shot an Irish policeman who tried to arrest him for an apparent relationship with a "white" woman, when he was actually taking English lessons from her. Then there were several anti-German sentiments in the years after World War I, when many German immigrants were forced to learn English in schools. This was after a law was passed in 1919 that enforced the teaching of English in public schools.

Then there was Red Summer, when an African-American man was lynched after being accused of raping a white woman. That sparked up a huge riot where a lot of white men tried to attack the African-American neighbourhood. There was also severe anti-Black racism throughout history, especially during the Civil Rights-era.

The point is, I don't think that Park would have had many friends in the 80's, especially white friends. Interracial marriage was still a very touchy issue during that time, but we'll be focusing on that much later. Either way, Park is half-Korean, so he'd probably be facing a lot of discrimination and prejudice from his white classmates, and he'd probably have more friends who were Chinese-American or Japanese-American. But no! He's all fine and dandy with white people!

Kala: *surprised* Sun Bak would hate this novel. *reads ahead* So Steve and Mikey go back to talking about Drunken Monkey when Park notices a new girl on the bus. When the girl tries to sit down next to a freshman kid, he blocks the seat with his bag and looks the other way, and so does everyone else.

*disgusted* What is wrong with these kids?

Wolfgang: *scowls* Park's friend Tina also laughs because apparently "she lived for this stuff".

Why is he friends with this kind of a girl?

missabnormal: I wanna slap Tina already. I'm getting really unpleasant flashbacks to middle school when everyone was a whole bunch of jackasses.

Yamini: We then get a description of the new girl. She's a redhead, overweight, and dressed strangely. A few more kids get on and push past her, claiming their seats. The bus driver tells the girl to sit down, so she goes to the back of the bus. Park is rather alarmed and wants her to turn around because it's like walking into a lion's cave.

*frowns* So why is Park friends with a whole bunch of jackasses? Doesn't he have any sort of dignity to stay away from those kinds of people?

Ruki: The girl tries to sit down next to Tina, only to be rudely brushed off.

Yamini: *muttering* Jeez, what a bitch.

Ruki: Park finally decides to let the girl sit next to him. But he does it quite rudely, yet she decides to sit down next to him. *surprised* We're barely even into the story and I already don't like these characters two much.

Kala: I have a really bad feeling about this.

Yamini: I'm really close to saying the Eight Deadly Words.

Wolfgang: I can already see the raging that's gonna happen in later chapters. And it's not going to be pretty.

Mako: I hope that we can get through this.

missabnormal: If this is how the first chapter has gotten us, then I fear what the next chapters will have in store. We'll see you all in the next chapter.


IT'S THE 80'S: 3

Total= 7

Continue to: Chapter 2- Eleanor

Go back to: Prologue
Apr. 11th, 2017 12:53 pm


missabnormal: (Default)
The start of the Eleanor & Park sporking.

Welcome everyone, to the sporking of Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park! I'm just in the process of assembling my sporking team, so they will be coming in to spork after the prologue. It's going to be an ensemble cast of sporkers and it's gonna be absolutely awesome, so do look forward to it~!

For now, I'll be sporking the prologue on my own. So, without further ado, let's get started!

He'd stopped trying to bring her back.

Well, this is quite sudden. What's this about?

She only came back when she felt like it, in dreams and lies and broken-down déjà vu.

Um... okay, so is this about a man angsting over a Manic Pixie Dream Girl? 'Cause if it is, I'm quitting.

Like, he'd be driving to work,

Okay, but that was a bad way to start a sentence. My hopes aren't too high for this book already.

and he'd see a girl with red hair standing on the corner-- and he'd swear, for half a choking moment, that it was her.

And we're already beginning to see signs of your Manic Pixie Dream Girl from every clichéd movie with Jennifer Lawrence! *shakes head* We're barely even into the novel and I'm already starting to have regrets.

Then he'd see that the girl's hair was more blond than red.

Rowell? 'Blond' is a masculine noun. The feminine version has an 'e' at the end! Get it right, for crying out loud! How many authors make this mistake?!

And that she was holding a cigarette... And wearing a Sex Pistols T-shirt.

What's with the sudden sentence fragments? This is already badly written, my God!

Eleanor hated the Sex Pistols.


Who's Eleanor? Well, this is a form of SUBTLE FORESHADOWING for the story!

Standing behind him until he turned his head. Lying next to him just before he woke up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough.

These are already the hallmarks of a Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl-falling-in-love-with-cynical-man story! In fact it's sounding almost exactly like friggin' Twilight!

If this story turns out to be exactly like Twilight, I'm quitting. And for the love of God, stop using fragments!

Eleanor ruining everything.

Eleanor, gone.

*seething* If I see anymore sentence fragments, I'm gonna lose it.

He'd stopped trying to bring her back.

Good God, no wonder John Green loves this book! It's almost like his writing style, it's implied that there's a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, it's just... I'm already beginning to have a bad feeling.

Well guys, that was the prologue. Believe me, you haven't seen anything yet. The racism will start only on the sixth or seventh PAGE of this book, and so will the ableism. Brace yourselves, everyone. I'll see you in Chapter 1.

Continue to: Chapter 1- Park

Go back to: Introduction
missabnormal: (Default)
Well everyone, I'm starting a new sporking. As I mentioned in my previous post, Halo will be on a hiatus so I can focus on this spork. More information is under the cut.

Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell 

Alright everyone, if you haven't heard of this book, the basic plot is about two teenage misfits in Omaha in 1986 who fall in love with each other after connecting through comic books and 80's music. And who are the lovers? Eleanor Douglas, a full-figured sixteen-year-old girl, and Park Sheridan, a half-Korean sixteen-year-old boy.

The basic premise doesn't sound too bad. In fact, it's nice to be able to read an interracial romance between a white woman and a man of colour, since those are pretty rare compared to white man-woman of colour romances (especially white man-Asian woman romances, there's hardly a white woman-Asian man romance out there). But there is so much wrong in this book that you won't believe it. There's orientalism, extremely casual racism, Asian fetishization, ableism, and a whole lot more. And while I am South Asian, I feel like this should be sporked to Hell and back, especially because of the praise it's gotten. Goes to show how the fetishization of Asian people is that commonly accepted in media.

So! I'm also going to be using counts for the first time, so here are the counts that will be present!

MADAME BUTTERFLY MUCH?: Named after the world-famous opera by Giacomo Puccini about a Japanese woman falling in love with an American lieutenant, this opera is the bane for all Asian women, as it started the stereotype of the submissive and gentle Asian woman who dies for the white man at the end. This count is especially in regards to Park's Korean mother, who is pretty much a Madame Butterfly-esque character. Basically, this is for everytime an Asian woman is shown to be submissive and meek.

HERE COMES MISS SAIGON: Now this comes from the Broadway musical Miss Saigon, which was adapted from Madame Butterfly, with the setting changed to 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War. And yes, it's about a Vietnamese bargirl falling in love with an American GI. And just like in Madame Butterfly, the bargirl dies at the end after being abandoned by the white man. This is for the story of the relationship between Park's parents. Park's mother is Korean, but his father is a white soldier who brought her to America during the Korean War. So it's got a whole Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow kind of feel to it.

ORIENTALIST BASTARD: This is because Eleanor herself is simply orientalist and racist. She makes some pretty offensive jokes with the word 'oriental' and brushes off Asian characters who try to call her out. This also goes for the ways in which she describes Park and his mother. The ways in which she describes them are kinda creepy, to be honest.

FETISHIZING BASTARD: Kinda obvious, isn't it? This is for any time an Asian character is fetishized as exotic and submissive, whether they're man or woman.

DRAMATIC ANGST: Because Eleanor and Park are misfits, they both face some sort of angst. Eleanor comes from an abusive family while Park hates his Korean side because he looks too feminine. This is for times whenever either of these issues show up.

I'M DOWN WITH DA HOOD, YO: Eleanor has two Black best friends who speak in very stereotypical AAVE (African-American Vernacular English), and the stereotypes are like what you'd probably see in a really bad sitcom from the 90's or 2000's. This is for everytime these Black girls act like the stereotypical Sassy Black Woman.

WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!: This is for the various slurs throughout the book. There's both racist and ableist slurs, so the counts will go up everytime these sort of words appear in the text.

And these are the counts I have so far. However, I'm not going to be alone with the sporking, as I'm going to have a team of five people helping me out. So I hope to see you in the first chapter~!

Continue to: Prologue
missabnormal: (Default)
Well, the title gives away everything, doesn't it?

Welcome back, everyone! Let's get started on the sporking of chapter 13!

We open up with Bethany talking about how she likes to be able to reconnect with Heaven at Sunday Mass. According to her, "kneeling in the pews and listening to the chords of 'Agnus Dei' brought me back to my former self. There was an airy tranquility inside the church that couldn't be found anywhere else. It was cool and calm, like being at the bottom of the ocean, and I always felt that as soon as I stepped through its doors, I was in a safe place."

First of all, it feels like you're at the bottom of the ocean? Sorry, but the bottom of the ocean is anything but peaceful. Have you seen the kinds of fish that live at the bottom? They're not pretty or cute; they're like mutants! So that metaphor's a total fail!

But okay. You say that you feel at peace when you go to church. I can buy that. My mom feels at peace whenever she says Hindu prayers or goes to the Hindu temple. Everyone has a place where they feel safer and at peace. For me, that place is my room, of course. But please try and use a better metaphor next time? Reading your 'bottom of the ocean' one made me cringe.

We also learn that both Bethany and Ivy are altar servers on Sunday while Gabriel helps Father Mel in giving out Holy Communion. A.K.A., the ritual in which churchgoers are given bread and wine (or grape juice), as it was Jesus' last meal. And after service, the three of them like to stay back and chat with Father Mel.

So one day, Father Mel observes how the congregation is growing, so Ivy suggests that people are starting to realize what's important in life. However, Father Mel suggests that they're following Ivy's example.

Oh, so you're getting more churchgoers who simply want to bone either Ivy or Gabriel?! Nice. It's not because they want to get closer to God, it's because they want to have sex with them. We're barely starting and I already wanna quit. Great. *deep breath* I need to keep going.

Gabriel says that the church needs no advocates, and it should speak for itself. *skeptical* Oh, really? Then how do you explain Jehovah's Witnesses? Or the people who try to give you Bibles while telling you that Jesus loves you?

The conversation gradually comes to an end when Father Mel says that he believes that God will listen to them. Gabriel tries to brush it off, not wanting to give away too much. *laughs in disbelief* And you say this after using your powers to control the weather, heal a bug bite, make an angry teacher complacent, and heal a girl in a car accident? SHOWING VS. TELLING, ADORNETTO!! You can't say one thing but then show something else! Where did you learn your writing from, Stephenie Meyer?!

Oh, wait...

Take notes: Twilight is NOT a good guide on how to write supernatural creatures or paranormal romances.

We move to the next day. Bethany states that Xavier has a sports meeting during the morning break, so she listens to Molly and Taylah talking about clothes! Oh, do keep talking about how I'm supposed to love shopping and clothes as a girl, Adornetto. I'm so interested.

I'll let Skwisgaar Skwigelf speak for me again.

Maybe I should make him a sporker as well? *gets an idea* After all, we all need hot Swedish sex gods to help us get through this sort of nonsense.

Moving on, Bethany unintentionally agrees to come with them for shopping and beach bonfires because she was so preoccupied. And then, we move to the fifth period!

I was glad when fifth period finally came around and Xavier and I had French together. I felt a rush of relief to be in the same room as him even though I knew I could barely focus. I desperately needed to talk to him now, even if I hadn't decided what I was going to say. I just knew it couldn't wait.

Anyways, Bethany struggles not to reach out and touch him, and that just sounds rather creepy, Adornetto. Bethany feels as if they're both magnets drawn to each other, and that resisting was more painful than succumbing. Yeah, you tell all that stuff, but you haven't shown me any evidence, Adornetto!

This is the most boring romance ever, it's like Edward and Bella's 'romance'! There's no realistic chemistry, no sweet moments of awkward flirting, nothing! There's more to this, though. Just be patient.

Xavier has sensed Bethany's strange mood, so he stays behind after class as everyone else leaves. And of course, "[a] few curious onlookers cast glances in [their] direction, probably hoping to pick up some threads of the conversation that they might report back to their friends as juicy gossip".

Or they're probably curious as to why there are two students remaining in the classroom when the teacher hasn't told them that he wanted to speak to them! Jeez, was your life a high school movie, Adornetto? No one does anything like this!

Once everyone leaves, Xavier tells Bethany that he tried to call her last night but got no answer. Why? He was worried about her!

Bethany's response is to fiddle with her pencil case, and Xavier suddenly puts his hands on her shoulders. Oh, great. Go ahead, never mind that she probably doesn't want to be touched right now!

He asks her what's wrong, so Bethany tells him that yesterday's accident drained her, but is feeling better now. But Xavier presses, telling her that he thinks there's more. And according to Bethany, "even in the short time [she'd] known him, Xavier was always able to read her moods, yet his own eyes betrayed nothing of what he was feeling."

Right, because women aren't allowed to hide their emotions in front of Their Man, but a man can be as stoic all he wants! Only men can have a Resting Bitchface, apparently! Yeah, tell that to Yamini, Adornetto. Her default expression is Resting Bitchface.

Bethany starts out with saying that her life is very complicated. Xavier continues to press her and- Look if she doesn't want to talk, leave her alone, dammit! God! What is it with men trying to force women to tell them their feelings?! Give her some space and she'll eventually talk!

Xavier tells her that he knows she has a secret, and then we get this!

I felt a sudden icy fear take hold of me, but at the same time a flooding relief. If Xavier already knew I was a fraud and a liar, it meant I'd failed completely in all aspects of our mission. Rule number one for all Agents of Light was to keep our identity a secret as we worked to piece the world back together-- exposure could result in all kinds of chaos. But then again, it could also mean that Xavier had chosen to accept me anyway and the truth might not drive him away.

*stunned* Okay...

First of all, why would you be relieved if Xavier found out?! You just said yourself that angels cannot be discovered by humans! I can't! I just... I'm appalled at how stupid Bethany is! Why is she such an idiot?!

*deep breath* Calm down. Keep going.

Xavier continues to say that it's obvious she's hiding something, and that it's upsetting her. He tells her that he'll respect her privacy, and Bethany tells him that it's not fair to him. She also feels that the thought of walking away from Xavier left a physical pain in her chest. She says she's trying to protect him, he says he can handle it, and- Dear God, is this supposed to be emotional?! Am I supposed to find this sad?! Is she supposed to Break His Heart to Save Him? All I'm hearing is whining! And it just goes on back and forth, back and forth!

This scene is trying to go for what Giuseppe Verdi captured in his opera La traviata, specifically, during the aria "Amami Alfredo!". In this part, the courtesan Violetta Valéry is supposed to break up with her lover Alfredo Germont, requested to do so by Giorgio Germont, Alfredo's father. And yes, she has to go through the Break His Heart to Save Him route, so she has to write a farewell letter to Alfredo. However, Violetta can't tell him about how his father told her to break up with him, neither can she tell him about her tuberculosis. And of course, when Alfredo asks her what's wrong, Violetta is struggling to hold her tears back and asks Alfredo to love her as much as she loves him.

However, the opera makes this work because Violetta genuinely loves Alfredo. Sure, there's a huge timeskip between Acts I and II, and we don't see her falling in love with Alfredo enough to live with him outside of Paris, but Violetta expresses her emotions through singing. And it comes across as truly heartbreaking and sad because of that! Here, I don't get the same sort of vibe from either Bethany or Xavier! It's just coming across as annoying, clichéd, and repetitive!

(BTW: For those who are interested, here's a few videos of the aria. In order, the sopranos are Angela Gheorghiu, Maria Callas, and Renée Fleming. The tenors, in order, are Frank Lopardo, Giuseppe Di Stefano, and Ramon Vargas.)

As much as I'd like to discuss opera and GazettE, since I'm a cultured metalhead, I gotta get back to this! So, Bethany tells Xavier that he deserves someone who he can have an honest relationship with, and that is a good point. Bethany knows that because she is an angel, she'll constantly have to keep it a secret from him, and she doesn't want that. However, I'm not giving her credit for it because she's constantly pined after him and disregarded rules just to try and be with him.

Xavier asks her if she'd feel better if he kept his distance for a while, and we get this!

How fickle and contradictory human emotions were! I'd spent the last few minutes trying to suggest this very idea but now I found myself devastated by his readiness to walk away, even if his motivation was my well-being. I wasn't sure what reaction I'd expected, but this wasn't it. Did I want to see him drop to his knees and declare his undying love? Of course he wasn't going to do that, but I couldn't let him walk away. I didn't think I'd be able to stand it.

*explodes in rage*

Bethany, for the love of all that is holy, STOP WHINING!!!!

*pants, exhausted* Well, now that I've finished acting like Toki, I'm getting back to sporking.

Bethany says that she doesn't want to complicate Xavier's life, but he doesn't mind. Why? "Straightforward relationships are overrated".

So, you'd rather have a relationship built on lies and lack of trust?! Like Bella and Edward?! What is it with YA authors and their obsession with unhealthy relationships?!

Xavier decides to give Bethany something to help her make up her mind. And what is it? It's a kiss!

Before I knew what was happening, Xavier had brought his hands up to touch my face and was tilting my chin toward him. His lips brushed over mine with a feather touch, but it was enough to make me shiver. I like the way he held me; as if I were fragile and likely to break if he held too tight. He rested his forehead against mine as though we had all the time in the world. A delicious heat started to spread through my body, and I strained toward him, reaching for his lips again. I returned his kiss with passionate urgency and clung to him. I allowed myself to melt into his embrace and pressed our bodies together. His warmth was seeping through my flimsy shirt, and I could feel his heart beating fast.

I'm sorry, but I've read hotter kisses in fanfiction, both het and slash, than this. And what is this, is Bethany starting to feel horny? Again, this is not cute, or sweet, or even romantic! And in terms of passion, this is far from passionate or hot! And guess what? It helped Bethany make up her mind! Yeah, into breaking DIVINE LAW.

But Bethany doesn't care. She now tells us that even if it was seen as a serious transgression that was punishable by who knows what, it's less scary than being away from him!


Bethany is willing to be cast out of Heaven by her Father all for the sake of a cute guy.

*shakes head* Just... keep going. You're almost done.

Bethany decides to tell Xavier the truth, because he deserves to know. After all, "Xavier had to see the uncensored version of [Bethany]; not the idealized version in his head". And yes, while it is important to let your significant other know all parts of you, the problem is that by doing this, you're going against divine law, you twit! Why?! Why is Bethany so stupid?!

Xavier asks her to show him, but she tells him not in the classroom. So she asks if he's going to the beach bonfire, to which he says that he was going to ask if she wanted to go with him, and she agrees to show him then! And with that, we're done!

Good God, this chapter was draining. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to reading slash porn between Skwisgaar and Toki (which is miles healthier and hotter than this 'romance') and watching GazettE music videos (which are hotter than Xavier ever hopes to be). I'll see you all in the next chapter!

Continue to: Chapter 14- Defying Gravity

Go back to: Chapter 12- Saving Grace
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In which we learn more about Bethany's "duties" as an angel, and in which she is even more incompetent than before.

*glances at title chapter before singing* Baby, I can see your halo; you know you're my saving grace!

Happy New Year and welcome to chapter 12 everyone! I'm so sorry for the lateness, as I was preoccupied with a lot more things. But here we go! Here is where things get even more appallingly bad, so hold on tight everyone!

We open up the chapter with Bethany telling us about God. She has never seen Him before, but has felt His presence and heard His voice. She then states that God's voice is completely different to how Hollywood shows it.

His voice wasn't what people imagined, booming and reverberating as depicted in epic Hollywood movies. Rather it was as subtle as a whisper and moved through our thoughts as gently as a breeze through tall reeds. 

So God whispers to people. Uh, there's a reason why people like to portray Him as having a deep voice: because it shows His almighty power! Anyways, Bethany continues to say that God saw all the greatest suffering and goes onto say that Ivy has seen God before but hasn't shared this encounter with Gabriel or Bethany.

Okay, where did this come from? Why is this opening the chapter? This feels very random and out of place, it doesn't flow with the story at all. Bethany then states that as much as she loves spending time on Earth, she misses the peace of Heaven. According to her, "there was no conflict, no dissension apart from that one historic uprising that resulted in the Kingdom's first and only eviction. Although it had altered the destiny of humankind forever, it was rarely talked about."

Lucifer wasn't the only one who had been kicked out of Heaven, actually. His followers were also kicked out from three spheres and they were all of different ranks. So there were Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels who were expelled along with Lucifer. But my main question: why is it never talked about? Surely it should be taught to all the new angels about what happens if they go against God and used as an example of blasphemy and disobedience?

Bethany states that she's vaguely aware of the existence of a darker world, but rarely thought about it because she was too busy. Then how can you be aware of it?!

Now then, she continues to describe her duties in Heaven.

In the Kingdom, I looked after the souls of children when they first entered the realm. It had been my job to comfort them, to tell them that in time they would see their parents again if they let go of their doubts. I was a sort of celestial usher for preschoolers.

So, your duty is taking care of children who have died and gone to Heaven? And you reassure them that their parents will join them soon? Well, Bethany... what about the children who died because of their parents? Children who were abused and killed by them? You can't exactly reassure them that their parents will join them, because they'll hate their parents! And what do you say to children who ask why God doesn't love them if they're dead? Who ask why God let them die? You're in for some very awkward and sad Sunday school lessons, Bethany.

And preschoolers are incredibly young, so they won't know anything about God! They're only between the ages of four to six! They're won't understand anything about what happened to them, so they'll be asking questions such as, "why did God let my parents beat me?", "why did God let me have cancer?", "why did God let me die in that crash?".

Also, way to manipulate those children, Bethany! "Oh don't worry, kids! You can only see your parents again if you just shut up and quit asking questions!". And on another note, why haven't we seen anything about this? Oh, right. Because Adornetto was too preoccupied with her imaginary boyfriend to even think about the traits of a character. Dammit!

Moving on, Bethany states that she's glad that she's not a guardian angel, claiming that, "they were usually overworked". Well, it would have made the plot more interesting, to be honest! Like, Bethany being a young guardian angel sent down to come to the aid of Xavier, who was still grieving over his dead girlfriend, or something like that because she's a baby angel who needs experience. That way, the romance would be better developed, Bethany could grow as a character and as an angel, and Xavier would slowly learn to love again. It's sad when a book has potential but never uses it.

I'm gonna move on before this makes me more frustrated. We cut to Bethany sitting with Xavier under a maple tree and eating lunch with him. She notices his hand and calls it "slender but masculine". Right, because men aren't allowed to have feminine features? Screw that!

Xavier asks Bethany if she can proofread a speech he had written, which makes her flattered and blushy like she's a kid and not an angel! He thanks her, says he owes her one and asks her birthday, to which Bethany says that its February 30th. Once she remembers that February has only 28 days, she corrects it to the 30th of April. And then she goes onto say this.

Even when I made a fool of myself, my conversations with Xavier were always engaging.

He could talk about the most mundane of things and still manage to make them fascinating. I loved the sound of his voice and would have been happy listening to him read names from a phone book. Was this a symptom of falling in love, I wondered?

It can, you know. But I'm really not convinced because you're not showing me that Bethany is in love, Adornetto. It's just all talk and no show! You need to show them having conversations that are engaging, such as them getting excited over something they both mutually like or discussing something that they're both studying in class and becoming very involved in it! Besides, Xavier's too much of a Nice Guy™ to make this even cute or sweet to read about.

Bethany tries to eat her "roast vegetable focaccia" but she finds something she doesn't like. And really?! Just how sheltered are you, Adornetto?! Who even eats that for lunch?! Anyways, Xavier offers her his own sandwich, which she turns down, but instead of respecting her wishes, he switches their sandwiches. What a jerkass.

Moving on, Bethany and Xavier come across a commotion in the hallways on their way to class. Apparently, some accident has happened and everyone is heading outside to see what exactly happened, so Bethany and Xavier follow. In fact, the crowd "seemed to part instinctively to let the school captain through", and Bethany actually does something here! Not something that helps, but something, at least!

Basically, there was a head-on collision between two senior students. One of the drivers is fine, albeit disoriented, but the other driver is seriously injured and still inside her car.

While Xavier calls the teachers for help, Bethany rushes to help the girl out of the car. Apparently, "blood was flowing freely from a cut on her forehead, her mouth was open, but her eyes were closed and her body was limp". Why is this being described as a cut? Because it sounds a lot more serious than just a simple cut on the head!

Bethany then decides to move her away from the wreckage onto the sidewalk. While this is a good idea, you should not be handling her so roughly like that. This girl had a head-on collision with another car and got jerked around pretty badly in there, so she probably got some very fatal injuries. I mean, she has a cut on her forehead that's bleeding, right? Her neck could have snapped or some glass would have cut her there. She's about to die, so she needs to be handled with more care than what Bethany is doing right now!

Bleh. Bethany telepathically calls Gabriel to the scene and then concentrates on sending some sort of healing energy into her. Apparently, her soul is almost detaching itself from the body, and Bethany herself is starting to get exhausted from using her energy to heal the girl. Right then, Gabriel comes to the rescue and uses his powers to close up the girl's wounds! And Bethany seems to know what the injuries are as she describes "broken ribs, punctured lung, the twisted wrist that had snapped as easily as a twig". Okay, how do you know all that, Bethany?

The paramedics arrive and by then, the girl is breathing normally and only a few minor cuts are left untouched. And as the girl is lifted away, we learn her name. Her name? Grace.

And so that's what the title is about! *deadpan* To quote the great Skwisgaar Skwigelf, this ams totally dildoes!

After this accident, all the students go back to class and Gabriel helps Bethany up to the front steps, where Ivy has suddenly appeared. Xavier asks Bethany if she's alright, but Gabriel tells him to go back to class. Does Xavier listen? Of course not! And then Bethany faints after mumbling Xavier's name and collapsing into Gabriel's arms.

*sighs* I can do this, I'm almost done... I hope...

Bethany wakes up in her room at seven p.m., with Phantom sleeping on her legs. She decides to get up and after a momentary spell of dizziness from waking up so suddenly, she goes downstairs, "where Schubert's 'Ave Maria' was playing in the background". *Unimpressed* What, so they're gonna start playing Der Hölle Rache next?! Or the Te Deum?! We get it, they're angels!

Anyways, Bethany is greeted by Gabriel and Ivy, and is surprised to see that they're smiling. Why? Because Bethany saved a girl's life today! She tries to brush it off and say that Gabriel saved her, but he says that he just healed her physical wounds. Bethany, on the other hand, "spoke to her; it was [her] voice that called her back and [her] strength that kept her soul from leaving her body".

I don't even have the strength to make it through the rest of their dialogue, so I'm skipping to the end. Why? Because I can.

Later on, Bethany is sitting in a hammock with a freakin' mohair blanket around her, 'cause a regular blanket isn't enough! No, she must have everything special!

Bleh. Almost done! Anyways, she ponders over the afternoon and thinks over the mission.

In one way, I felt I understood the purpose of our mission better than before, but at the same time I'd never been more confused. Today had been a prime example of what I should be doing-- protecting the sanctity of life. Instead I'd been spending my time absorbed in a teenage obsession with a boy who didn't really know anything about me. Poor Xavier, I thought. He would never be able to understand me, no matter how hard he tried. 

Uh, yeah! You've been so obsessed with a boy that doesn't know anything about you and have been forgetting about your mission! Can't believe it took you this long to figure it out!

Bethany continues to lament some more, and with that, we are finally finished chapter 12! I'm so sorry that this was so late, I've been very busy this past while. Let me know what you think, and I'll see you in chapter 13!

PS: I'm planning on taking a new sporking project: For Such a Time by Kate Breslin. It'll be coming soon, so do look forward to it~

Continue to: Chapter 13- His Kiss

Go back to: Chapter 11- Head over Heels
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In which Bethany goes against divine orders and Romeo & Juliet is used as yet another template for a star-crossed romance.

missabnormal: Last chapter, I had had enough of everything that was going on, so I decided that I needed some help. So, I decided to bring back Aoba and Ren to help me out with the sporking of this chapter!

Aoba: *grumbling* I can't believe I have to do this.

Ren: Well, she asked us politely, so we must help her out.

missabnormal: So! We open up the chapter with the front door opening as Bethany returns from her date. Gabriel clearly isn't pleased with Bethany's actions and he's making it clear when Bethany walks in. However, rather than feeling guilty, Bethany is "still remembering Xavier's voice and remembering his strong hand on [her] back as he ushered [her] into Sweethearts, as well as the fresh scent of his cologne". 

Of course! Because as if Bethany has done anything wrong, right? It's not like she should be ashamed for going against her Father's orders!

Aoba: Bethany continues by saying that she knew that Gabriel would have known she had snuck out when she climbed down the balcony, and that he would have known where she went and who she was with. *disbelieving* Well if you knew that he would know, why'd you do it, you idiot?! I swear, this Bethany's a real brat.

"You shouldn't have waited up, I was perfectly safe," I said. The words unintentionally came out sounding too offhand, impudent rather than apologetic. "I'm sorry if I worried you," I added as an afterthought.

Well if you were sorry, you wouldn't have done it! *angry* Jeez, she's annoying! She really sounds more like some bratty teenager instead of an angel!

Ren: Gabriel says something similar, telling Bethany that if she were truly sorry, she wouldn't have snuck out. He's refusing to look at Bethany, which she hates. When Bethany tries to protest, Gabriel stops her and starts to scold her.

"I was apprehensive about having you with us on this mission, and now you have proven yourself to be completely erratic." He looked as if the words left a bad taste in his mouth. "You're young and inexperienced--your aura is warmer and more human than any other angel's I have known, and yet you were chosen. I sensed we would encounter problems with you, but others believed all would be well. But now I see you've made your decision--you've chosen a passing fancy over your family." He rose abruptly.

Gabriel is very much correct in what he's saying. Bethany has been acting unprofessional throughout this mission and is clearly disobeying orders. But I am a little confused. Why hasn't Bethany been recalled from Earth yet? If she's going against orders, then she should not be allowed to do this mission.

missabnormal: *sarcastically* Oh, don't be silly! As if anyone could ever punish little Bethany!

Bleh. Bethany tries to reason with Gabriel, who puts an end to her protests, telling her that she can talk in the morning. Ivy, on the other hand, is looking all sad and worried, so Bethany decides to try and talk to her, telling her that she wishes that Gabriel would do "that prophet-of-doom routine". Well, you know why he's doing it? Because you're being a brat and going against divine orders!

Ivy consoles Bethany and tells her that she will realise that her love for Xavier is no more than an infatuation, and her feelings will pass. And right now, we get one of the most appalling passages. And that's why we need to spork it.

Ivy and Gabriel were talking in riddles.

No, they're not! They're being perfectly clear that you are not following orders and you're just ignoring them!

missabnormal: Damn right! And here you are, acting like they're not giving you an extension on your curfew!

How did they expect me to see a problem when they couldn't even articulate it?

Ren: The problem, which I assume is Bethany dating Xavier, is that it goes against orders, and that she is running the risk of being expelled from Heaven. They understand more than her, so she should be listening to them.

I knew my outing with Xavier was a minor deviation from the agenda, but what was the harm in that?

missabnormal: *angry* That's it. I've reached my limit. *she stands up, picks up the table, and hurls it out the window, making Aoba and Ren jump in surprise.*

*enraged* There is a lot of wrong in what you are doing right now, you twit! You are going against your own Father for the sake of some hot guy, and you're insisting that there's nothing wrong! You are intentionally hindering this mission for your own selfish desires and wants, and you're doing things that will get you kicked out of Heaven! You're not even a friggin' angel, you're just a bratty teenage girl who has been spoiled her whole damn life and now you're throwing a temper tantrum because you're not getting your way! You are so stupid that you don't even understand the rules and even though you have them explained to you a million times, you just won't listen and... Gaaaaaahhhhhh! *continues to rage*

Aoba: *nervously and worried* She just threw out the table... man, Missy must have really seen a lot of stupid in this book.

Ren: At this point, Bethany is intentionally hindering their mission for the sake of Xavier. I can see why Missy here is getting agitated.

What was the point of being on earth and having human experiences if we were going to pretend that they didn't matter?

This is a mission, dammit! And besides, becoming obsessed with some cute guy is not a human experience!

Ren: You are on Earth for a reason, and falling in love is not one of them.

Despite what my siblings thought was best, I didn't want my feelings for Xavier to pass.

This is definitely sounding stubborn.

missabnormal: Bethany, you are just hindering your siblings who are trying to get things done! Get over yourself, for crying out loud!

That made him sound like a cold or a virus that would eventually work its way out of my system.

missabnormal: He is pretty much an obsession of yours, Bethany. So stop trying to deny the obvious.

Never had I experienced such an all-consuming desire for someone's presence.

This is infatuation, not love! And it is certainly not healthy!

An expression I'd read somewhere crossed my mind: "The heart wants what the heart desires." I couldn't remember where it came from, but whoever wrote it had been right.

missabnormal: *annoyed* The quote is actually "the heart wants what it wants" and it's by Emily Dickinson. It was written in a letter to Samuel Bowles, and yes, while someone doesn't have much control over who they fall in love with, they can do things that will help them fall out of love, too!

Don't try and mangle up quotes to justify this sort of crap!

If Xavier was an illness, then I didn't want to recover. If my attraction to him constituted an offense that might incur divine retribution, then so be it. Let it rain down. I didn't care.

*all three are staring in stunned shock*

Aoba: Did... Did Bethany just say that she didn't care whether she gets expelled from Heaven or even destroyed?

Ren: It appears so. It's shocking to see that she is truly indifferent to her mission.

missabnormal: There is no way that Bethany is an angel at this point. Hell, when Phantom comes up to her, Bethany just whines and actually says that "at least one member of the household didn't hate [her]". Yeah, she's a brat.

Bethany has a shower before going to bed, and we get some meaningless prose about letting her wings free and all that. Once she's done, she goes to bed while continuing to angst over Xavier. She says that she doesn't want to hurt Gabriel or Ivy but according to her, "[her] heart seemed to turn to stone whenever [she] thought of never seeing Xavier again". 

Aoba: There's a difference between angst and whinyness, you know? *rolls his eyes* This is just so pathetic.

missabnormal: We haven't seen anything yet, though!

I wished he was in my room right then. I knew what I would ask of him: to escort me from my prison. And I knew he wouldn't hesitate. In my imagination I was the maiden tied to the train tracks, and the face of my tormentor alternated between that of my brother's and sister's. I realized I was being irrational, turning the situation into a melodrama, but I couldn't stop myself. How could I explain to my family that Xavier was much more than a boy I'd developed a crush on? We'd only had a few short encounters and one date, but that was irrelevant. How could I make them see that a similar encounter was unlikely even if I lingered on the earth for a thousand lifetimes? I still possessed my celestial wisdom, and I knew it with the same certainty that I knew my days on this verdant planet were numbered.

*Aoba and missabnormal burst into laughter*

Aoba: *laughing* Did... Did she seriously compare herself to one of those old westerns with the girl tied onto the tracks?! This is just gold, there's no way that she is an angel now!

missabnormal: *giggling* This is just pure Wangst, actually!

Ren: *looking amused* I find it hard to believe that this is supposed to be love. It's coming across as infatuation and pure stubbornness.

missabnormal: You're right. And besides, this is absolutely nothing compared to how Ren loves Aoba in DRAMAtical Murder. Sure, he's part of Aoba's conscience, but he truly loves Aoba and wishes to be there for him forever, which is why he eventually gets his own body so he can continue loving Aoba! Not to mention, they have a lot more romance and chemistry together than Bethany and Xavier ever hope to have!

Whatever. Ren, you go ahead and take over.

Ren: Bethany wonders how Heaven will react upon hearing about her actions. She's aware that the consequences may be severe, but she wonders whether it's too much to ask for some understanding and compassion. And yes, it is. Bethany is going against orders, and willingly so, and I imagine that the authorities up in Heaven are not going to be very approving of what she is doing, especially because it has been mentioned so many times that falling in love with a human is forbidden.

The matter is never brought up again for the rest of the weekend, and we finally skip to Monday morning, after Bethany and Gabriel have arrived at school. Bethany states that Molly and her friends were a good distraction from these events.

Aoba: So Bethany is sitting with the popular rich girls, listening to them making fun of their least favourite teachers' bad fashion sense. Apparently, one teacher "looked as though his hair had been cut by a lawnmower", another teacher "wore skirts that would work better as carpet", and another teacher "with her tailored slacks tucked under her breasts, had been dubbed Harry High-Pants". *appalled* Damn, these are some really shallow brats. Why the hell are they making fun of their teachers' fashion?

missabnormal: *quivering with rage* Here's their justification.

Most of them saw teachers as an alien species, undeserving of common courtesy, but despite their laughter, I knew that there was no real malice intended in their jibes; they were just bored.

That. That is their reason why. Because they don't even see their teachers as human and because they're bored, so it's okay to be rude to them.

*eerily calm* Aoba, Ren, please step back.

Ren: *concerned* Are you okay, Missy?

missabnormal: *venomously, yet with an angry smile* No. I'm really mad now. *she flips over another table*

I absolutely hate people like them! These shallow idiots bully their teachers behind their back, simply because of their fashion sense, and they don't even see them as human beings worthy of respect! These kinds of people are the ones I hate the most! It's one thing to not like a teacher because of their teaching methods, but it's a completely different thing altogether to viciously mock them and treat them as if they're not even human! This sort of crap pisses me off so much, I just want to slap these girls until they learn to respect their poor teachers! Dear God, I hate this sleazy entitlement and smugness that these princesses have, I hate it so so much! *rages on*

Aoba: *stunned* Looks like she's reached her breaking point again. *gets an idea* Hey, Missy!

missabnormal: *still raging* What do you-

*Almost immediately, she is calm and completely lovestruck*

missabnormal: *dreamily* Oh yeah... Now that's the stuff... Oh Ruki, you sexy diva~ Go on and seduce me with those dangerous eyes of yours~

Aoba: *awkwardly* I just found those lying around, actually. Who would've thought those would work... Oh well, that means I have to spork, I guess.

The girls' conversation turns to that of prom shopping. According to a girl called Hayley, they're going to "get the train to the city and check out the boutiques in Punch Lane". 

Guess what? Punch Lane is the name of an actual restaurant in Melbourne, Australia! If she's going to use Australian businesses, why not just set the story in Australia, dammit?!

Ren: And why are all the girls obsessed with buying dresses and makeup? This is something that truly bothers me. And the fact that the author herself is a woman makes this all the more bewildering.

Well, Molly agrees to go shopping before asking Bethany if she's coming. Bethany says that she doesn't know if she's going to prom. This apparently offends Molly so much, who asks her why, and Bethany tells her that she doesn't have a date. But apparently, some boys had already asked her to prom, but Bethany had turned them down in the hopes that Xavier would ask her. Another girl tells Bethany that finding a dress is more important. And then, Xavier shows up.

Aoba: *dryly* Great. *glances back* Hey, Missy! You done over there?

missabnormal: *calmer* Oh yes, I feel so much better. So, what's happening?

Ren: Xavier Woods has just showed up.

missabnormal: Great. *sighs* I'll take over now.

So Xavier, being the cocky ass that he is, asks the girls whether they don't mind if he "[steals] Beth for a minute", to which Molly tells him that they're in the middle of an important conversation. Xavier doesn't care and takes Bethany away to an empty table. God, I hate him!

Bethany asks him about what he's doing and Xavier tells her that he "[seems] to be making a habit of rescuing [her]". I swear, this guy is just oozing arrogance! And stop indulging in her rescue fetish, dammit!

Apparently, both Xavier and Bethany are attracting some attention from others, some looking jealous, and others looking curious. Bethany tells him that and gets uncomfortable, but Xavier simply tells her that people like to gossip and that they can't help that. She asks him why he's not sitting with friends, and he tells her that he finds her interesting. They're soon interrupted by two boys from the swim team, and Xavier praises them for their performance at a swim meet.

After this short bit as well as Bethany getting all blushy over Xavier again, we find out why Xavier wanted to talk to Bethany. Apparently, Bethany's started molting!

He pulled a long, white, iridescent feather, flecked with rose, from the pocket of his blazer. "I found this in my car last night after I drove you home."

I snatched the feather from his hand and slipped it between the covers of my planner. I had no idea how it had ended up in Xavier's car. My wings had been firmly tucked away.

Well, if they were firmly tucked away, why are you molting?! Even more, why haven't your wings been removed before going down to Earth?! This is just ridiculous!

Aoba: Xavier asks her if it's a good luck charm, and Bethany says it's something like that. However, Xavier's noticed that Bethany's looking a little agitated and asks her what's wrong, but Bethany doesn't reply. But rather than leaving her alone, he presses further, telling her that she can trust him, that he's a loyal guy.

Look, you prick! If she doesn't want to talk, don't force her to, dammit!

This so-called flirting goes on a little bit longer before they joke about relationships and all that, and at the end of all this, Bethany has a revelation.

There was nothing I could do about it. My attachment to Xavier Woods was instant and all-consuming. Suddenly my old life seemed far away. I certainly didn't yearn for Heaven as I knew Gabriel and Ivy did. For them, life on earth was a daily reminder of the limitations of flesh. For me, it was a reminder of the wonders of being human.

She really doesn't give a damn about the mission anymore, doesn't she?

Ren: In the next few passages, Bethany is describing how she has started to conceal her feelings for Xavier, and this is has clearly strained her relationship with Gabriel and Ivy. According to her, she senses "a rift between [them] now that hadn't been there before. [Their] relationship seemed more fragile, and there were uncomfortable silences at the dinner table. Every night [she] fell asleep to the sound of their whispered conversations and felt certain that [her] disobedience was the subject of discussion". But instead of feeling guilt over this, Bethany does nothing.

missabnormal: *disgusted* So Bethany really doesn't care about divine orders, doesn't she? She's not even an angel at this point!

Bethany has started looking forward to getting up, and has started getting up without Ivy coming to wake her up! Not to mention, she's started styling her hair a little more in the hopes of Xavier noticing! She's also been thinking about her conversations with Xavier, and has started planning witty remarks to use in the future! *rolls her eyes* Yeah, I am really not convinced that this is love.

We move on, and Bethany starts saying that she's envious of Molly and her group. Why?

What they took for granted, I could never have: a future on this planet. They would grow to have families of their own, careers to explore, and a lifetime of memories to share with the partners they'd choose. I was just a tourist living on borrowed time. For this reason, I knew I should curb my feelings for Xavier rather than allow them to develop. But if I'd learned anything about teenage romance, it was that intensity wasn't dictated by duration. Three months was the norm, six months marked a turning point, and if a relationship lasted a year, the pair was more or less engaged. I didn't know how long I had on earth, but whether it was a month or a year, I wasn't going to waste a single day of it. After all, every minute spent with Xavier would form the basis of memories I would need to sustain me for eternity.

Aoba: You say you need to curb your feelings, but you're not doing anything to stop yourself! You're probably gonna get blasted by your Father with the way you're going!

Oh, whatever. Bethany continues talking about how they spend time together by walking through town and spending time at the Sweethearts café, which has suddenly become their 'place'. They sometimes talk about their day, or they sit in silence. Bethany goes on about how she likes to just look at him, orgasms over his appearance and scent-

missabnormal: *appalled* Aoba!

Aoba: *defensive* What? She is!

missabnormal: Yeah, yeah. But I have to comment on this. I am not convinced that they're in love, because it's all about their physical appearances.

I mentioned this in my sporking of chapter 10. In my original series, Yamini and Ruki fall in love not because of appearances but because they see themselves in each other! They also have similar interests, which they bond over, and when they fall in love, they turn into blushing dorks, despite being badasses! It's absolutely adorable to see a couple become blushing dorks because it's cute, it's sweet, and it's genuine!

Here, they're too smooth with each other! All they talk about is how their love is the greatest in the world, but we don't see them bonding or getting to know one another! There really isn't that much romance at all! So it's just coming across as forced and superficial! In fact, Bethany is going on about how she's become more popular at school because she's going out with Xavier, and so people have started becoming friendly towards her!

It really is not coming across as real, true love. If anything, it's almost as if Xavier's dating the new girl at school just to boost his popularity, or Bethany is going out with the class president just so she can be popular! Basically, it's coming across as really shallow.

*sighs* Whatever. One day, Bethany tells Xavier that literature is her favourite subject and teases Xavier about not knowing what 'enjambment' means.

Aoba: Xavier then asks Bethany why she likes literature so much. According to her, she likes "the way each person can have a completely different understanding of the same word or sentence". When Xavier asks if that frustrates her, she simply says that it's better to stop trying to make sense of things. She then whines a little about Gabriel and Ivy, Xavier says something about changing her world, and soon, it's time for Bethany to go to literature class!

Apparently, Bethany's always happy to go to literature class, which is taught by a woman named Miss Castle. She calls it a "diverse class", despite only consisting of twelve students. There are two goth girls, a group of nerdy girls, and two stereotypical jock boys.

Ren: Miss Castle comes into the classroom and is described as a "tall, slender woman in her early forties with masses of dark curly hair and dreamy eyes". 

missabnormal: Anyone else get this mental image? Because I definitely am.

Seems like Professor Trelawney's found a new job teaching muggles about Muggle Literature!

Ren: Bethany continues to describe her in this passage.

Judging by the way she carried herself and the way she spoke, she would have been more comfortable in a Jane Austen novel, in which women rode in carriages and witty repartee flew across a drawing room like sparks. She was passionate about language, and it didn't matter what text we were studying, she identified vividly with the heroine each time. Her teaching was so animated, people sometimes stopped to look in the classroom, where they'd see Miss Castle thumping the teacher's desk, firing off questions or gesticulating wildly to illustrate a point. I wouldn't have been surprised to walk in one day and find her standing on top of her desk or swinging from the light fixtures.

*raises an eyebrow* It's one thing to have a teacher who is passionate about the subject they're teaching, but it's completely different to portray them in a ridiculous manner.

missabnormal: I love it when teachers are passionate about what they teach. Like my Grade 12 English teacher, who was also the principal of my high school. *smiles* I still have so many fond memories of that class. He'd make some of the most cringe-worthy puns that we still laughed at and it was a genuinely fun class that everyone loved! He made Hamlet, short stories, and The Great Gatsby so much fun to learn!

Anyways, there's something else I need to point out. Miss Castle identifies with 'the heroine'? Sorry to break it to you, but there aren't too many classical literature that focuses on female characters, especially the ones you study in high school. You know who the most popular classic literary heroines are?

  • Elizabeth Bennet, from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

  • Jane Eyre, from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre

  • Scarlett O'Hara, from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind

  • Jo March, from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women

  • Anna Karenina, from Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina

  • Eponine, from Victor Hugo's Les Miserables

  • Anne Shirley, from L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables

There's a few more, but the point is, you don't study any of this in high school. You know what I studied in high school? Short stories and poems, and the main literary works I studied were the OdysseyLord of the FliesTo Kill a MockingbirdThe Kite RunnerFahrenheit 451The Great GatsbyLife of Pi, and Fifth Business. I also studied four Shakespeare plays: A Midsummer Night's DreamMacbethRomeo and Juliet, and Hamlet. Yeah, I know everyone's high school English classes are different, but there's no way that you're reading books that only have heroines in them!

Speaking of Shakespeare, guess what Bethany's studying?

We'd started the term studying Romeo and Juliet in conjunction with Shakespeare's love sonnets. Now we were assigned the task of writing our own love poems, which would be recited to the class. The studious girls, who'd never had to rely on their own imaginations before, flew into a panic. This wasn't something they couldn't look up on the Internet.

Aoba: What's with the whole obsession about romantic love? What about family and friendship? Oh wait, I forgot, those are unimportant in comparison to romance. *rolls eyes*

Ren: The girls in this class are having trouble getting inspired, so Miss Castle tells them to think about the qualities that they find attractive in a boy.

"Well, I think intelligence is very important," a girl named Bianca volunteered.

"Obviously, he should be a good provider," her friend Hannah piped up.

missabnormal: *scathingly* Right, because men are supposed to provide for the helpless women! God, this pisses me off!

Ren: A goth girl named Alicia says that people who are dark and disturbed are interesting. And then, one of the jock boys named Tyler speaks up.

"Chicks shouldn't talk so much," drawled Tyler from the back of the room. It was the first thing we'd heard him say all term, and Miss Castle was graciously prepared to overlook its derogatory nature.

Aoba: Wait, wasn't he the same guy who called Lady Capulet an MILF? So, Miss Castle calls him a thug and kicks him out of the class for that immature comment, but she's not scolding him for his obviously sexist comment here?! This is just ridiculous!

*sighs* Miss Castle goes on more about falling in love, and a boy named Ben Carter speaks for all three of us when he "[puts] his face in his hands".

And then, Bethany finally gives an idea!

"Great love stories have to be tragic," I said suddenly.

*surprised* What? No, they don't! There's Pride and PrejudiceJane EyrePersuasionAnne of Green GablesNorth and SouthA Room with a View, and The Princess Bride! There's plenty of classic love stories that have happy endings!

Miss Castle encourages Bethany to elaborate, and she immediately brings up Romeo and Juliet!

"Well, take Romeo and Juliet for example: It's the fact that they're kept apart that makes their love stronger."

No, Romeo and Juliet were horny teenagers who were merely infatuated with each other and who committed suicide after three days.

"Big deal--they both end up dead," snorted Ben.

Yes! Thank you, Ben!

Ren: I think he's the only sane character in this book.

"They'd have ended up divorced if they'd stayed alive," announced Bianca. "Did anyone else notice that it took Romeo all of five seconds to switch from Rosaline to Juliet?"

missabnormal: Huh. I'm starting to like Bianca as well.

And this was exactly what my classmates and I liked to point out when we studied this play! That they were just infatuated with each other!

"That's because he knew Juliet was the one from the moment he met her," I said.

"Puh-lease," Bianca retorted. "You can't know that you love someone after two minutes. He just wanted to get in her pants. Romeo is just like every other horny teenage boy."

"He didn't know anything about her," Ben said. "All his praise is for her physical attributes: 'Juliet is the sun' and blah blah blah. He just thinks she's a babe."

Aoba: *impressed* Wow. They're pretty much speaking for us! And all their points are true!

Ren: Well, I'm glad that I'm able to actually agree with some characters for once.

missabnormal: Everything they're saying is absolutely correct. Romeo and Juliet were just infatuated with each other from the very beginning, because they're horny teenagers! And yeah, when I was thirteen, I honestly believed it was an amazing love story, but I grew up and realised that it's not as amazing as these YA authors like to make it out to be!

"I think it's because after he met her everyone else became insignificant," I said. "He knew right away that she was going to be his whole world."

Aoba: Ben groans, which is what we're all doing right now. However, Miss Castle is taking Bethany's side like the hopeless romantic she is.

Miss Castle gave me a meaningful smile. Being a hopeless romantic, she couldn't help but take Romeo's side. Unlike most of the teachers at Bryce Hamilton, who competed to see who could get to the parking lot first after the final bell rang, she wasn't jaded. She was a dreamer. I suspected that if I told Miss Castle I was a celestial being on a mission to save the world, she wouldn't have even blinked.

missabnormal: You're doing jack on this mission, Bethany. And no, she probably would have asked you if you were sleeping well. And on that note, we are finally done!

*she gives Aoba and Ren hugs* Thank you so much for helping me out, you guys! I really appreciate it!

Aoba: *smiles tiredly* No problem. But you owe us big time.

Ren: The pleasure is ours.

*they both take their leave*

missabnormal: Well, I hope you all enjoyed this sporking! I'll see you again in Chapter 12!

Continue to: Chapter 12- Saving Grace

Go back to: Chapter 10- Rebel
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