Tales to Leave You Livid


You know how it is – you make a post after a long silence vowing you’ll blog more frequently, but then it just so happens that the next post follows an even longer silence. It’s like those coffee meet up that people plan on when they run into each other after a very long period of time.“We should have coffee some time!”

“Yes, we totally should!”

*Both proceed to make no effort at all for yet another longer period of time.*

(Why is it always coffee, anyway?)

So, to artfully break this awkwardness, I decided to come up with a list. It’s a well-known fact that lists are very good for avoiding awkward situations.

It’s another well-known fact that there are so many stories out there that you’re bound to fall in love with a few of them. But there are a several more that are also very likely to incur your wrath, leave you snorting like a minotaur at the fact that you just wasted several very precious hours of your life invested in something that you did not know was going to turn into utter crap in your hands.

Here are a few that did:

Anastasia

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This is a gorgeously animated film set in pre-Soviet Russia – it is deeply atmospheric, with seamless dialogue, endearing characters, and music makes my heart twist. Plus, the story of Anastasia was touching to me, when I first watched it. Naturally, I set about looking further into the topic. Imagine my horror to find that reality was not quite so serendipitous as the movie made things seem. Anastasia was never reunited with her remaining family members, and it was confirmed that she was very definitely dead. I can longer watch that film with the same joyous abandon as I once did.

Little Women 

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Don’t get me wrong – I love this book. I grew up loving the March sisters, celebrating their joys, and grieving with them through the darker pages and, in fact, it is an overall wonderful book. But there is something that I will never be able to get over.

Amy burning Jo’s stories. She burned them. That is unforgivable. I was horrified just as much as Jo when I found out that she’d thrown them into the flames. What a wretch. My heart hardened, just as Jo’s did, and I’m not saying that Jo should have let Amy drown when the ice cracked, but my ten year-old self was sure that there was no need to talk to her after that. Yes, clearly I was a cruel child.

Jo may have forgiven you, Amy, but I never will. I never will.

A Beautiful Mind

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This is the film inspired by the true life story of genius mathematician John Nash. While he is able to navigate the intricate world of that subject, he also finds that his grip on reality is not what it was once was.

There is a beautiful scene in the film, when the doctor outlines to John and his wife the enormity of the situation, emphasizing that it will be an extremely difficult one for the family. When the wife and the doctor leave, Nash sits there believing that his wife has taken the man’s advise and left him. But a minute later she re-appears, vowing that they will endure this struggle together. Nash crumples in tears and grief, and my relief was as strong as his. It is the best scene in the film.

I later discovered that Nash and his wife actually did split during his illness – and they may, of course, have done it for entirely valid reasons, they may have both agreed that the separation would be the best way to heal – whatever it was, it is their business. It wasn’t the reality that I was angry with, so much as the fact that the deception of the film was there. That loyalty and constancy portrayed in the film was one of the most powerful things about it, and to discover that it’s a fabrication detracted from the whole experience.

Go Ask Alice

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No story made me see red like this one. This book claims to recount the true story of Alice (the editors claim all names have been changed for protection), a teenage girl from the eighties who suffers from the insecurities of studies and body image, and like any other teenage kid tries to do her best to get by. Alice, however, gets to experience the frightening world of drugs at one party, and from then on she’s totally and utterly hooked.
She yo-yos between fear of getting in too deep, and the blood-pumping desire to feel thrills like she never has before. It leaves her an utter mess, and she repeatedly finds herself homeless, with each escape stranding her in a worse situation than the previous one. I was tearing my hair out worrying for this kid – I kept reading through a headache because I wanted to find out what happened.

It was all for nothing, however, because guess what? It’s all a lie. It’s edited by Beatrice Sparks, a child psychologist, with questionable qualifications, who clearly felt that a cautionary tale of drug use was needed. I probably should have guessed from the rampant homophobia within the book, as well as the questionable teen voice. Apparently Beatrice Sparks has tried her hand at a few other teenage memoirs, all clearly designed to shock and horrify audiences. And I almost fell for this one. Shame on her. It drives me up the wall that this novel gets shelved in non-fiction. Though many can’t be blamed for it, as to all intents and purposes that’s what it looks like – the copyright page on my copy did not specify that this was a work of fiction, while other copies supposedly do.

This book left me gobsmacked. I was speechless that someone would try and push this out as a true account. Most likely though, I was probably stung that I’d fallen for it.

There you have it, dear readers. Now, tell me which stories stung you.

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2 thoughts on “Tales to Leave You Livid

  1. Love how you transitioned from the awkwardness of not blogging into sharing this great selection of tales! I just read Little Women for American Lit; Amy burning Jo's stories made me livid, too. Jo and Amy were fascinating characters to analyze in general – how they both display some awareness of gender roles but approach them in such diverging ways. Hope we get to hear from you again soon, and I wish that you are doing well in your daily endeavors.

    Like

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