Gifted to me for Christmas 1994 by the Sunday School I temporarily attended - according to the bookplate - af*Cross-posted on BookLikes and Wordpress.
Gifted to me for Christmas 1994 by the Sunday School I temporarily attended - according to the bookplate - after I'd watched the 80s film adaptation at school, I remember the ungrateful disdain I felt for the novel; feeling I'd already read the book having watched the film. How ignorant I was. Granted, I only 8 years old, but we all know that adaptions are usually inferior to the original.
Unsure if I'd ever read this in my childhood during a desperately bored moment, I decided to seize upon the opportunity when this C.S. Lewis classic was selected for The Dead Writers Society's 2014 Series Project.
Immediately I was struck by the quaint simplicity of the language used 60 years ago and the innate kindness and naïveté expressed by the children of that era. Tedium and disjointed fantasist logic, though, soon irritated like mosquito bites; every few pages something caused an eye-twitch.
But in general, take my advice, when you meet anything that's going to be human and isn't yet, or used to be human once and isn't now, or ought to be human and isn't, you keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet. - Mr. Beaver
Anyone spot the irony? That's right, Mr. Beaver isn't human. There are no humans in Narnia, that's the reason for the children's importance. He's just warned them that every creature they encounter in his world is a physical danger to them, including himself. Ugh.
Edmund's betrayal abruptly dismissed and forgiven was one of the worst irritants as his implicit pride, arrogance and greed left him open to the White Witch's charms, and although it's hinted he punishes himself, no one berates him for betraying his siblings for the archetypal stranger offering chocolate in the windowless van.
Sheldon: Hold on. Just because the nice man is offering you candy, doesn’t mean you should jump into his windowless van. What’s the occasion? Seibert: Just a little fund-raiser for the university. Sheldon: Aha! The tear-stained air mattress in the back of the van. ~ The Big Bang Theory
While it's true that shame and self-punishment can sting more than anything anyone else could say, it still grates. Edmund's apparent hurried redemption off-stage - rewarded with a battlefield knighthood - and later becoming a 'graver and quieter man' earning the name 'Edmund the Just' feels like a cop out. However, he's the only character to be generally cautious, skeptical and untrusting as we witness him pointing out the unwise act of instantly trusting the word of a stranger, which is contradictory to his earlier aforementioned behaviour evident before he eats the tainted Turkish Delight. I suppose his complexity makes him the most interesting and well-developed character of the novel.
Edmund and the White Witch in her sleigh a.k.a. her windowless van
Crowning these sons of Adam and daughters of Eve for just showing up one day, also appalls me. Hardly meritocratic, and yet the 2005 movie changes this aspect. All four children earn their crowns by bravely fighting the good fight using the weapons bestowed upon them. Due to the time period in which this was written, Lewis only allows the Sons to wage war as Father Christmas claims "...battles are ugly when women fight" when gifting the girls with a bow and arrows (for Susan) and a dagger (for Lucy). Despite this, the boys do very little in the way of violence or strategy. Again, I can put this down to the age-appropriate and historical tolerance for violence in the media during the late 1940s.
Susan actually uses her bow
And now I'm reminded why I shouldn't read pre-teen fiction; it's never quite realistic enough for me to enjoy. However, I do wonder if this classic would make it past editors in this condition in the present day. Instinct tells me the manuscript's syntax would be tinkered with and more contractions added for a smoother reading experience, at the very least. Its current form left me eager to abandon it to the never-to-be-read-again shelves, if it hadn't been for the DWS Series Project, I would have, although I won't be reading the rest of the series....more
Men fucking chickens. How...? Why...? [You can thank me for the mental image later. Or better yet, type that sucker into Google and go blind.]
You're vMen fucking chickens. How...? Why...? [You can thank me for the mental image later. Or better yet, type that sucker into Google and go blind.]
You're voluntarily imprisoned every other month in exchange for jobs, shelter and a full stomach, but you can't wait 4 weeks for sex? And you'd choose a live chicken before another man?
I'd rather have gay sex than be guilty of bestiality. Those poor chickens.
Imagine a future world where society has broken down, people are starving and violence is a guaranteed daily activity. Along comes an experimental programme called Consilience. Sign over your free will in exchange for safety and security. Live in a prison called Positron for a month and do jobs that make the prison self-sufficient, followed by a month on the outside in a nice house with your family doing another job that makes the town self-sufficient. Each adult is paired with another so when one is in prison the other is in your shared house, and it's forbidden for the alternates to ever meet. Everyone and everything is monitored. Ominous black cars roam the streets. Information is limited, propaganda rife. Rebellion is not tolerated.
A communist society set-up by a capitalist business. Hello, exploitation.
This is the backdrop to Stan and Charmaine's loveless marriage. Their actions are dripping with irony. Stan wanted a pure, plain and reliable woman who wouldn't break his heart. Charmaine just wanted to be loved, instead she feels ignored and unfulfilled. There is no spark, no fire, or lust in their marriage.
Behind bars, Stan is a simple chicken farmer who used to be blackmailed with pain and suffering by other prisoners for "time" with his chickens. Those same rebel prisoners found themselves in Charmaine's care. Officially she's the Chief Medications Administrator - that's code for executioner. Lethal injection. The bodies most likely ground up into feed.
Upon an unintentional meeting with her husband's alternate, a torrid affair ensues. The good girl goes bad. She feels alive at last but is afraid Stan will find out so they use pseudonyms: Max and Jasmine. "Jasmine" leaves "Max" a love note which Stan finds. He then falls in love with his idea of Jasmine, believing them to be his and Charmaine's alternates. He attempts to stalk Jasmine so he can seduce her. And that's when things go wrong in a very unpredictable way.
I'm a Margaret Atwood fan. The Handmaid's Tale frightened me with its possibilities and Alias Grace's open verdict on the protagonist's innocence challenged my ability to judge a person's character from their actions. I'm Starved for You is definitely another troubling possible future with brilliantly illustrated and intricately constructed immersive world-building, and I enjoyed viewing Stan and Charmaine's relationship and their respective prison jobs through their eyes, but I don't feel compelled to read on to the next installment. I'm satisfied with the ending without knowing more. Details are revealed slowly, unfolding as we experience the three-dimensional main characters' daily lives. What suffers is the pace, and at times, my attention. But this is understandable and is better than an info-dump. I doubt the sequel will suffer from the same....more
"But mayhap you are too beautiful and aught should be done to remove that temptation from his sight."
The abuse. I felt so sorry for Joanna, sufferin"But mayhap you are too beautiful and aught should be done to remove that temptation from his sight."
The abuse. I felt so sorry for Joanna, suffering the barbaric brutality of her husband. Bernard's abject horror and ferocious rage at her wounds and bruises and his gentle giant nature soothed, contrasting with Ralf's despicable cruelty and her father's indifference to his daughter's pain.
"One with my strength has no need to prove his power at the expense of a weaker one. Nor should any man need have that urge."
Lady Maris is an independent, ballsy woman refusing to marry having no need of a man when she is willing and able to do everything a man can. Seeing how bold she is, offering her fellow woman her skills and help, and then looking at Joanna's spirit -she's Maris beaten down by fear. It will be entertaining to see Maris meet her match.
This is a strong short story. I only wish Joanna and Bernard had snatched a few more moments together before the finale. ...more
THERE ARE VITAMINS IN CHOCOLATE! According to Mrs Gloop. I wish. It's a shame the real Wonka Bars aren't infused with the A-Z vitamins mentioned in thTHERE ARE VITAMINS IN CHOCOLATE! According to Mrs Gloop. I wish. It's a shame the real Wonka Bars aren't infused with the A-Z vitamins mentioned in the book. Mmm, those bars were nice.
Far more entertaining than I expected it to be and I enjoyed the little details not covered in the movie adaptations.
Loved the social commentary in the Oompa Loompa songs.
On spoiled children [p127]:
For though she's spoiled, and dreadfully so, A girl can't spoil herself, you know. Who spoiled her, then? Ah, who indeed? Who pandered to her every need? Who turned her into such a brat? Who are the culprits? Who did that? Alas! You needn't look so far To find out who these sinners are. They are (and this is very sad) Her loving parents, MUM and DAD.
And the commentary on TV [p146-7]:
IT ROTS THE SENSES IN THE HEAD! IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD! IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND! IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND! HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE! HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE! HE CANNOT THINK - HE ONLY SEES! "All right!" you'll cry. "All right!" you'll say, "But if we take the set away, What shall we do to entertain Our darling children! Please explain!" We'll answer this by asking you, "What used they keep themselves contented Before this monster was invented?" Have you forgotten don't you know? We'll say it very loud and slow: THEY ... USED ... TO ... READ! They'd READ and READ, AND READ and READ, and then proceed TO READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks! One half their lives was reading books! The nursery shelved held books galore! Books cluttered up the nursery floor! And in the bedroom, by the bed, More books were waiting to be read!
"You just have to be a virgin, too. You're twenty-three years old. It's just wrong," he shouted. "I raised you to be more evil than this." "I told you before, not until I fall in love," I said ... "Hey, if it's any consolation," I said in an effort to cheer [Satan] up, "I probably won't wait to get married first. That's a little sin, right?" "I guess."
'The irony of it all, though, was I loved it when guy got medieval and protective. I just wished my feminist side would allow me to enjoy it.'
'His lack of comment intrigued me. In the past, whenever I announced my untouched state, I then became inundated with impassioned speeches of how they were the one. A few even made false declarations of love. Unfortunately for them, my father didn't raise a fool.'
'For the world's biggest slut, Bambi was an awesome big sister. And no, that wasn't an insult; Bambi took pride in winning the title every year.'
"I'm so proud of you, Muri, living in sin." I think he might have choked up a bit. For my part, I was glad I'd finally done something Dad approved of."