Also, sorry that this post is going out late. I was super happy with myself to get the other post done and scheduled before the wedding. It was nice to have something non-wedding related to do for awhile. But of course I didn't get the reading/writing done for this week's post so yeah, this is happening now. This will also probably be a bit short because I read 1/2 of it before the wedding and the last couple chapters a few minutes ago so yeah. BUT before I get into this (and then get around to commenting) some intro information.
Emily for hosting this readalong and HarperCollins for making it possible. Do you want to pre-order this book? Have you been paying attention AT ALL to this readalong? Because if you have then OF COURSE you want to get this book. Which you can do right here! Unless you've already done it. Then it would probably be a good idea to buy a copy for a friend or something.
Oh also, there will be spoilers for this next section, so, you know. Heads up.
Johanna has been writing for the magazine for a little while now but she finally gets a big job. She gets to fly to Dublin to interview John Kite! (I don't know who John Kite is. Is he real? I will assume no.) Johanna continuos to be adorably enthusiastic (she would have made the WORST goth) and I love her bit about flying.
I am getting incredibly high on a single, astounding fact: that it's always sunny about the clouds. Always. That every day on earth - every day I have ever had - was secretly sunny, after all...I feel like I've just flown 600 miles per hour head-on into the most beautiful metaphor of my life: If you fly high enough, you get above the clouds, it's never-ending summer.
Johanna meets John Kite and is smitten. Not with his looks but he seems to be honestly, fully interested in her. What she has to say, the jokes she makes, what she cares about, the whole deal. It was a wonderful scene and one that I was constantly worried about because I couldn't help but worry that something terrible was going to happen and I kept remembering how young Johanna really is.
My worries were mostly unfounded (SO FAR). Kite doesn't take advantage of her or break her heart or anything BUT he does sort of disappear. He's off doing his tour thing and this is the early '90s so it's not like texting and email and constant connection was a thing so he may not be avoiding this girl who clearly has a massive crush on him. Of course her fangirl piece on the man does cool her work with the magazine. The piece does run but they don't have other jobs for her. Which couldn't come at a worse time because the news that Johanna had been dreading has finally come. The family's benefits are being cut while they are investigated for fraud.
The cuts the family has to make are heartbreaking. No one has to go without a life-saving operation or anything that drastic but things aren't good.
The truth is, when you are very poor, that 11 percent bites into the very bones of your existence. Eleven percent less means choosing between electricity, or food - electricity or food that is already rationed, and fretted over. Eleven percent is not very much - but, when you are very poor, it may form the bedrock of our survival. And now you are standing on so much less than you were before. You are unstable. You are liable to fall...We cannot do anything other than stay very still. We are on 11 percent less of was-never-enough in the first place.
Things are getting harder at home. Her parents are always fighting, Krissi's hopes of going to college are gone, and all of the guilt that I thought perhaps Johanna had been able to let go of is back now.
There are some funny moments. Krissi gets so fed up with Johanna's nightly wankings that he demands his own room and eventually gets the dining room and Johanna gets a desk (the former dining room table which won't be used for dining anymore. Not that it ever was before.) And Dolly gets resurrected.
She finally gets a call from Kenny and is chiding that she needs to sound like a reviewer and not a fan but she's given another chance. She shows up at the offices in Dolly regalia with the addition of cigarettes and MD 2020, which Wikipedia tells me is also called bum wine so well-done, Johanna.
This section ends with Johanna told that her legacy is trouble and she seems to decide to live up to that by writing a scathing review of a mediocre band. I'm worried about what's coming just based on Moran's column about her own foray into writing super mean reviews and her own feelings about them. So we'll see what happens to Johanna/Dolly. Till next time!
Title quote from page 135
Moran, Caitlin. How To Build A Girl. Harper, 2014.