Friday, October 18, 2013

Nevermind what's going on underneath. As long as we're all 'civil'

Guess what, everyone! It's another Franzy Friday!
FranzEEHHH is excited
Now we've made it through section 2, which was the longest section in this readalong. AND Goodreads tells me we're more than 50% of the way done. Which really just means I didn't split this up very well but what are you gonna do? Let's just enjoy the moment.

I did a lot of this reading during the Dewey's Readathon which meant it was easy for me to take notes. While for some this may mean a coherent and well thought out post, please instead expect there to be more random thoughts than usual since instead of having to just remember the stuff that happened, I wrote down a whooole bunch of stuff that is probably not that important. My note taking did take a nosedive near the end of this section, but that's because I spent a lot of time going "wait...what just happened?" Because, seriously, whatnow? To my random thoughts!

We get to meet Gary, the final member of the Lambert clan. I want to applaud Franzen's ability to make me hear the cacophony in his house. When Gary's trying to talk to Enid and everyone is just loud and yelling and needs something and OMG just shut up for 10 minutes, please.

Of course, Gary didn't exactly win me any sympathy points when we first meet him. He complains about the awesome dark room his wife had built for him because he really didn't want it anymore and he'd rather do his photo stuff on computers and now it's this gift he feels he HAS to use. And I get it, that would suck and be awkward. But you know what I get more? Your wife got you a super kick ass gift, and something YOU HAD BEEN SAYING you wanted to shut up and be grateful.
(Also I would like a darkroom, pleaseandthankyou.)

Gary's wife Caroline had some sympathy points with me at first. I mean, the darkroom, she's a mom that actually wants to spend time with her kids, and she gets hurt and Gary won't help her cos she didn't hurt her back inside but hurt it running around and WHO CARES, YOUR WIFE IS HURT. STOP BEING AN ASS. But then she does shit like wants to be her kids' best friend and totally not their mom and UGH
But even that I could let slide. Then she says this:
Basically, I think your brother's got the right idea. Here's a sweet, smart, funny man who's honest enough to say what he can and can't tolerate in the way of get-togethers.
And I'm sorry no. We're done. Chip is sweet and smart and funny and honest? AHAHAHAHA. No you lose. You lose everything.

Gary won back all his sympathy points plus Caroline's when I realized how terrible she is. I mean, her being an idiot about Chip is one thing. But what is this absolute refusal to go to St. Jude's and spend time with Enid and Alfred for one last Christmas. Oh I'm sorry, one time you went out there and had a bad time? A kid got sick and you fell down? Yeah, those are reasons to NEVER VISIT YOUR IN-LAWS AGAIN. God, you suck.

Man, I didn't realize how ragey this section made me.

I still like Denise best, Chip is an ass and needs punched, and I'm starting to pity Gary. I don't like him, but I see he's really trying to do the right thing. He's trying to get the money from his dad's patent, even though his dad doesn't want it. It doesn't seem like he wants the money for himself, so the motivations don't seem entirely selfish. He's sort of a dick to Caroline, but she's a zillion times worse and is working on turning the two oldest sons against him, so who cares. He seems like he was told that if he had this type of life, he would be happy. And he's not, so he's falling apart but he really wants to keep it together. Meanwhile, he's sort of

Plus we see some childhood flashbacks where Alfred is terrible and mean and I'm starting to actually feel bad for Enid having to put up with him. It's difficult to connect the Alfred who has trouble sitting on Chip's weird sex couch and hallucinates a Mr. Hankey as being such a dick when he was all there. But wtf him smashing all of the jars because Enid hadn't gotten around to moving them. Chip's reactions to him are starting to make sense.

Speaking of those flashbacks, we see how Enid ended up with Alfred. Well, kind of. But we see Enid was trying to make a good choice and find a good husband, and that sort of backfired, didn't it? She was hoping his personality would change and nope. I guess at least she did get someone that's a good earner, since that's what she wanted.

The cruise part. Pretty much all of that. I have no idea what's going on. So like I mentioned above, Alfred hallucinates some talking poop, but also Enid meets a lady whose daughter was raped and murdered and whose husband has decided the way to deal with things is to pretend it didn't happen, and then some crazy ship doctor guy gives Enid a bunch of "Aslan" pills, and Alfred possibly falls off the side of the boat.

Can someone explain this whole section to me because I'm not even sure if anything I just typed above happened. It's all a weird blur, which I think is the feeling you're supposed to get when reading this section (and if so, again, kudos Mr. Franzy) but I don't really know what we're going to get when we start the next section. Which I suppose is a good thing. It'll keep us reading.

Next week we'll read up to the section One Last Christmas. Hopefully we'll learn more about Denise and we'll figure out if Alfred actually did fall of the boat and maybe that Chip was really beat up by that Lithuanian guy
Title quote from page 171

Franzen, Jonathan. The Corrections. Picador, 2001.