Tuesday, March 3, 2015

To pinafores she had an antipathy

Here we are, the Villette in March readalong. And guess what? I actually got the reading done in time. Because Alice posted that reminder as well as keeping the assigned chapters on the short side because yeah, I need baby steps for things.

I decided to go into this blind because I was too lazy to read about about the book first. I know it's a Bronte. I've only read one Bronte book, Jane Eyre, and was sort of meh on that. But I'll pretty much read anything if we're doing it as a readalong and this fulfills my goal for the year of reading stuff older than me. Well, and reading books by non-Americans, but reading something by a UK author isn't all that impressive either. Anyway, hey this book!

I have no idea what's going on.
Here's what I've figured out so far but I feel like I have definitely missed some important events. Which is why these readalongs are so great.

Lucy Snowe is living with her godmother Mrs. Bretton. One day this little girl (Polly), who I kept thinking was somewhere between the ages of like 2 and 10 because they describe her being carried like a baby but then also have her using better English than I do. Which mostly leads me to believe Charlotte Bronte has never actually seen a child, or at least it had been a really long time because what? Are any kids like Polly? Turns out she's 6. I made a point of highlighting that so I could go back to the line whenever I'm like "WTF, this isn't how 6-year-olds act" to remind myself that, regardless of how she might act, this is apparently how old she's supposed to be.

Polly is not happy to be there because she misses her dad, which is a reasonable response from a kid. Especially when the dad is like "LOL later kid" and drops her off at Mrs. Bretton while he does stuff. I mean, I guess he's getting settled somewhere but man, Victorians were totally fine just dropping their kids off wherever. Polly is distraught and says overly-dramatic things
"I am good, but I ache here;" putting her hand to her heart, and moaning while she reiterated, "Papa! papa!"
Polly doesn't like Lucy but is in looooooooooove with Mrs. Bretton's son Graham. Like in a "man, I hope you are older than you are. But nope, you're 6 and he's 16 and while a ten-year age gap is fine later in life, it's pretty creepy right now" even if Graham is fine and is nice to her and treats her like a little sister.
So yeah, Polly does not like Lucy. I have no idea why, other than Lucy seems really boring. Considering this book is in the first person, I know pretty much nothing about Lucy. She is quiet. Polly calls her a "tatter-box". She thinks Polly is nuts, so she's pretty sharp. When Polly's dad comes back, Lucy is all about telling Polly the news, which on the surface seems like a nice thing. Except she seems more excited to tell her that Polly will have to leave Graham, and that makes her seem kind of mean. Except Polly is sort of a pain the ass, so I'd probably be ridiculous and spiteful and do something mean like this to a child. I'm a bad person.

Lucy leaves Mrs. Bretton not long after Polly leaves, but I don't now why (do we know why? Did I just miss it? Or do they not tell us?)  and for a little while works for an old sick woman, until that lady dies. She goes to a family friend and hears that there is work for Englishwomen in foreign families and at this point does nothing with that information, but it seems that is going to be coming up in later chapters. Instead she heads to London with the last of her money and realizes maybe that wasn't the best idea so she cries and cries. End of chapter 5.

Will Polly and her dad and Graham show up again? I hope or I totally missed the point of this beginning. Will Lucy face hardships trying to make her way in the world and also fall in love with someone who is sort of a dick? Well I've only read one other Bronte book, but yes? Probably.

Title quote from page 8, location 126

Bronte, Charlotte. Villette. Amazon Digital Services. Originally published 1853.