Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Another post unrelated to books...

When a sibling tells you they are sick, what is your first reaction? Do you cry? Do you hug them and tell them that everything is going to be okay? Do you quietly fall apart inside while they tell you they are going to chemo? Oh, you do? Huh...what's that like?

When my sister informs the family that she's sick with cancer, my reaction? I scoff. I roll my eyes. I patiently wait. What do I wait for? Oh, just the moment when she realizes that she can't keep up the charade and lie anymore and miraculously she's healed. I also get angry. I rage. I cry for all the wrong reasons. I cry because it's not fair. I cry because I'm angry at the wrong sickness. I cry because I have nothing else to do. It breaks something inside me to have no compassion for my sister. It destroys something within me to know that if this is the one time she's telling the truth, my initial reaction will have always been disbelief and anger at yet another dramatic story from Ashley.

I don't talk about my sister very much; I refer to her as my sister even less. I'll always love her because she is blood and that's what I'm supposed to do but I don't like her. While I understand that she has a mental illness and I've have plenty of therapy to get me to where I am today, I don't like her and want very little to do with her. I don't get to have a sister that I'm close with. I don't get to have a sister that I call every couple days to talk about my day and see how her life is. I don't get to have a sister. Period. I don't get that because of who I am. I don't get that because of who I have grown to become. I don't get that because I don't accept that her illness is an excuse. 

No one should be able to make me feel the emotions that my sister does. I shouldn't feel like a horrible person because I either don't believe her about an actual cancer that she might have, or I do believe and I'm made a fool of because the lie seemed so real this time. I have lost count as to how many illnesses and sicknesses she's had. I've lost track of the amount of the times that she's supposedly been pregnant. I can say with complete seriousness that she has cried wolf so many times that it's become a joke in my family. She's a liar. She's a thief. She's ripped wounds open so many times in my family that there are scars where they used to be. She is a one-woman wrecking machine. 

This news today has a lot more affect on me than I'd like to give voice to but I've been incredibly quiet for so long regarding this that when I do talk about it, it's confusing for my audience. For a long time, I had only my parents. While I was in high school, I was practically an only child. My brother had his own life that he was screwing up since he was out of the house but I had my parents. I spent my weekends with them because I liked their company. I liked making them proud because I knew at that point, I was the only one. I used to joke that I had to make up for a lot but I'm not so sure it's a joke anymore. I guess I should be thankful to my siblings, especially my sister, because most of the decisions I make are based on the ones my siblings made before. I have my full time job. I have my college degree (albeit an AAS) and I'm continuing on to get a BS at some point. I pay my bills. I have good credit. I'm in a stable, healthy, and happy relationship. I would rather spend my time reading then going out and drinking and barhopping. I'm 24 years old and I'm settled in my life. I owe that to my parents. I wouldn't be where I am today without them. 

My sister broke our family down systematically with her sickness and her lies and her mistakes. She has weathered us so much that something like her having cancer doesn't phase us. She broke our compassion long before now but still, there will always be that niggling feeling in the back of our minds. At least in my mind. When my sister says she has cancer, I roll my eyes. That sentence should exist. That thought shouldn't be in my head. But it is. And it breaks me. 

All I can think of is what if she really does? What if she really does have 6 months left to live? Will my incredibly strong and stable parents break? Will I go to her funeral? Will I go for the right reasons? To support my parents or because I'm really and truly sad?

For the first time in years, I saw my sister a couple months ago. The visit was for all the wrong reasons and we all had banded together to help my brother. We only had to spend a day with her. That day was the first time I had seen her in probably 6 or 7 years. Not one moment of that day did I think "Man, it's good to see her again." Nope. That entire time I was with her, I was willing the clock to move faster. I was wishing for a reason to leave the room whenever she was in it. I couldn't stand to hear her voice. I couldn't stand to listen to her and my brother talk about our childhood like it was this horrible event. My siblings have a habit of making it seem like our childhood was this disaster and our parents were so terrible. Every moment of every day I wish my parents knew that they were full of shit. They don't, though, because on some levels they question their parenting because of the mistakes my siblings and I have made. Yes, I've made mistakes...significant ones. But I'd like to think I've learned from them. Not so, for my siblings. 

When I think of my siblings, I don't think of home. I don't think of all the good times we had when we were kids. I rarely think back to our childhood. All I can remember is the pain that we've all made my parents feel. How heartbroken we've made them when we make the significant mistakes that don't seem so big when we're making them. All I can remember is my brother saying that Dad never let him do anything, and my sister saying that my Dad used to abuse her. All lies. Every single one of them. Lies. 

There is absolutely nothing I can do or say to my parents to make them forget those things said about them. There's nothing I can do except my very best to show them that I've listened and I've learned. I wish there was but so far, I've only been able to use words. Even so, the fact that my Mom is so calm and quiet about my sister angers me further. A mother shouldn't be so desensitized to something her child says. She should never be in that position in the first place. A father shouldn't have to feel like a bad person for not believing another lie. Parents shouldn't have to deal with that pain.

My sister doesn't afford my parents that courtesy. Instead, every week it's something new. Two weeks ago, she only had 6 months to live and there was no reason for it. Today, she has cancer. I ask questions. Why cancer now? Did she see how we rallied around my cousin and her husband's passing from lymphoma? Did she hear a story about how people would give more attention if she was dying of cancer? Was it more believable for her? A little sister should not have to ask these questions. A parent should not have to ask these questions.

For a very long time, I hated my sister. I hated what she put my family through. I went through therapy to talk out my issues and to stop hating my sister and I believed I'd worked through my issues. I don't think I have, though. I think my indifference was masked anger. I don't think I've ever been okay with my sister and the things she's done. In my head, I know that she's mentally ill. I know that some of the things she does and says are because of that illness. I also know, though, that there is something of my sister in there that knows what she's doing and saying and she doesn't care. So long as she has the attention, all is right in her world. 

There is no answer to this. There is no right or wrong for me to feel which just pisses me off further. My sister shouldn't have an affect on my life anymore. Yet, I still get tears in my eyes when writing about it. I still have a weight in the pit of my being because of guilt. Guilt for not believing, guilt for believing a tiny bit, guilt for still wanting nothing to do with her, guilt for considering my reaction at a funeral for her, guilt for not wanting to go to a funeral for her, just guilt. 

And that guilt weighs heavily.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reading is a way of life...

I have a couple of great images from the interwebz to portray my love of books...enjoy!

I'm sure I'll have another post with more pictures and quotes. I figured since my blog is called Lost in Literature, I could do a little more regarding books and such. :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Beautiful Disaster is ANYTHING but beautiful....

Alright, so it's been forever since I wrote a post and I recently read a book that was enough to get my lazy ass to sit down and really write something on it. I wrote a bit about it on my GoodReads account because I heard the author reads the reviews so I'm interested to see if she responds.

I don't usually get aggravated with a book because most of the time, even if it's poorly written, there's still a good story trying to come out. Unfortunately with this particular book, I finished it in spite of myself (since I refuse to just STOP reading a book...when I start something, I finish it.) Now, onward to this horrific car crash of a book.

BEAUTIFUL DISASTER by Jamie McGuire is a story about a girl (Abby) that is trying to escape her past and family by going to college in some unknown small town. Her best friend (America) joins her on this journey and they live in the dorms on campus. Her best friend starts dating a boy (Shepley) and wants Abby to start going to these underground fights with her and Shep. Abby finally goes and sees town badboy (Travis) fighting in the ring and whoopin' ass. She finds him attractive and ends up getting too close to the fight and he seems to take a special interest in protecting her.
"Hey! Back up off her!" Travis frowned, shoving anyone who came near me. His stern expression melted into a smile at the sight of my shirt, and then he dabbed my face with a towel. "Sorry about that, Pigeon."
From here on, he starts referring to her as "Pigeon" or "Pidge." Now, I'm all for cutesy nicknames and I'm not quite one to judge on the type of nickname but Pigeon? Seriously? I could see if dude was English or from that side of the water but it doesn't quite work here. Pigeon has such a negative connotation in our society, it's difficult to believe that throughout this story, no one stops to ask why he's calling her that (with one exception and it's still not quite answered.) Obviously, this is just a small qualm with the book and up until now, I was pretty good with the story. I'm thinkin' seemingly semi-good girl with a past is going to fall in love with badboy and player and turn their lives around so I kept reading.

As I got further along in the book, Travis and Abby start having more and more contact with each other. We find out that Shepley and Travis are actually cousins and they live together. America spends more time at their apartment than their dorm and Abby is relatively smart in the beginning in not wanting to be just another girl on Trav's list of the conquered. Unfortunately, things change from here.

We see the slow action of Travis trying to figure out who Abby is and the author shows his interest in her pretty clearly from the start. From Travis inviting her over (even though he's not "trying to bag" her), and inviting her to get food with him to him bullying someone from their seat the following day (in a major show of possessiveness), it's clear that he's intrigued by Abby. Now Abby, on the other hand, starts out right in my mind. She's not interested and she does want to just be friends. Unfortunately, that gives way to fascination and to her being attracted to him. Their friendship kind of blossoms as they continue talking but you quickly learn that Abby isn't the strong-willed smart girl she's written to seem like in the beginning. In my honest opinion, she gets dumber by the second in this book. She makes it clear to Travis that she just wants to be friends yet when a boiler goes out in her dorm, her and America end up staying at the apartment with the boys. Oh yes, because there are no other dorms or showers on campus? :shrug Whatever with that plot hole but my point is that for someone that is so adamant about Travis not getting in her pants, she quickly says OK to sleeping in his bed with him. I get that she doesn't want to sleep on the couch because that's where he bangs his hoes (especially since the girls Travis sleeps with are almost ALWAYS referred to as hoes/whores/STD infested/etc. and Travis is rarely judged for his choosing to bring these "bimbo" girls home) but why does Abby have to STAY in the apartment. She can't sleep/live at the dorm and "borrow" a shower or two? Again, there are some major points that I keep shrugging to myself and hope that the story gets better.

Abby and Travis start spending a ton of time together (since they now live together) so everyone assumes that Abby has attained the unobtainable. She has slain the hoe-dragon! But oh ho ho, au contraire, mon ami!

This is NOT the case. Abby is adamant that her and Travis are just friends and gets frustrated when people start talking about her and Travis. While this idea I can understand, if you know that people are talking about you...either get used to it or stop doing the things that are putting your name out there. Be friends with a person but don't make that your whole life (which is exactly what she does with Travis and vice versa).

Now, for someone that is so frustrated with people thinking she's dating Travis, she's awfully cavalier about a bet involving living arrangements. At some point in this book, Travis and Abby make a bet. If during one of his fights, Travis gets hit he has to not have sex for a month. If Travis can manage to not get hit during this fight, Abby has to continue living with Travis for a month. Now in theory, this is a fabulous horrible idea. If Abby doesn't want to sex Travis up, then why the hell does it matter if he stops having sex for a month and WHY would she take a bet and risk having to stay with him for a month?  Bet or not, this is the start of a clear cut codependent relationship/friendship. Obviously, *spoiler alert*, she loses the bet and has to stay with him for a month (but only as friends but she's still sleeping in his bed).

 Seriously? Homegirl started out as a pretty smart character but the further the book goes the dumber she gets. Now, eventually her friend America starts asking questions about her and Travis and Abby is still completely against anything romantic with Travis...he hears this and brings back two girls while Abby is asleep in his bed. But it's okay since he's totally gonna bone them in the living room on the couch ('cuz that's sanitary :heebiejeebies:) after he rummages around his nightstand for a condom. So to be clear, homegirl is laying in Travis' bed listening to him romp around with two girls in his living room...because this is what every girl would do in that situation. Totally see that point. NOT. When his drunk ass falls into bed next to her, she gets up and sleeps on the recliner (because if she slept on that couch, I'm pretty sure I would've thrown my nook stopped reading right then and there.). On the plus side, her friends America and Shepley are trying to get her to pack her things and go. BUT Travis feels bad, brings a bunch of Abby's favorite food back to the apartment and practically bribes her to stick around...which she does. (Uh, abusive relationship: party of 2?! DINGDINGDING!) Oh how something terrible, buy back love...Abuse isn't always physical.

Moving on....
During her time imprisoned staying with Travis, she meets a nice guy (Parker). She decides that even though she is living with another man (as friends) that it's okay to date Parker. Totally makes sense, right?! Negative...on all levels. Anyway, she makes this decision so even though it's stupid she's at least decided to try get some attention from someone other than Trav. At which point, Travis should be saying: 
Unfortunately, and quite obviously, this is not the case. He trips out any time someone other than him gives her some attention, forces her to change clothes if he deems she looks too slutty and actually rips Parker out of the car when (stupid homegirl decides to neck in the parking lot of Trav's apartment). The entire time up to this point, the reader is painfully aware that Travis has feelings for Abby. Yet, Abby is too stupid/stubborn/ridiculous to acknowledge this and continues going out with another man. When she finally does figure it out and she chooses Travis over Parker, this already ridiculous story goes even further into insanity. She and Trav decide to get together because they were practically made for each other. Now just before they decide to officially get together, Abby even says something along the lines of "Red flags are going up all over the place here" because Travis hits some dude because he was mad at Abby. Now, this is the correct line of thinking for homegirl and she leaves. When Travis tries to call her, she ignores it until he shows up knocking at her door the next day with nothing but apologies. That's a lot of how this relationship is. He freaks the hell out because Abby does something (most of the time, it's like she's taunting him anyway) but then he comes back with roses or apologies or whatever else he can think of. During one of their extended "happy times," Travis comes back with a damn tattoo on his wrist. At this point they've been together for maybe a month or two? If that? He tattooed her damn name on his wrist after knowing each other for hardly anytime and is surprised that she questions it. Hell, during the same scene where he shows her the tattoo, he makes mention of putting a ring on her finger and this is after he's already mentioned the official moving in together thing. Seriously, if these are big, bright ass warning flags...what else can he do? Stalk her? Call her umpteen times when he knows she doesn't want to talk to him? Because I'm pretty sure he does those things too.

The worst part about all this is there are parts in the book that make it seem like Abby might be coming to her senses and figuring out that this may not be the healthiest of relationships. Then something Travis says or does changes her mind. It's so frustrating! The ending is just so convoluted and it really blows my mind that she did the things she did; including getting a tattoo of her own. Just really?! Ugh, the more I write about this book the more infuriated I become in knowing there are people that deal with these situations in the first place; and this story just makes it seem like it's all okay. I have so much more to say but I think I've said a good piece here.

I don't hate the author, and I rarely write reviews for books I don't enjoy but this one struck a nerve. Maybe I don't see the message in the story and it completely went over my head (entirely possible as I am not infallible) but please don't mistake this as an attack against the author. I didn't like the book, I've outlined my reasons above and I probably won't read this author again.