Posts Tagged With: reviews

The Klone and I: Chapter Five

Previously on: Peter has sent his clone (really, an android) to keep Stephanie company. Stephanie gets drunk and then faints.

Chapter Five:

Stephanie wakes up and has a hangover. “It must have been the champagne.” Right. And not whatever you were drinking at dinner with your kids. Then comes this lovely sentiment:

Paul came in and offered to help me shave my legs.

Now, maybe I’m prudish, but the thought of a man shaving my legs for me at any point other than physical handicap or late-term pregnancy (and in both cases it would have to be a very special occasion for me to bother). So, this whole thing just icks me out.

“No, thanks, I can do it myself.” He sat down on the toilet seat next to me then, with a fresh glass of champagne in his hand, while I wondered if I should just forget about my legs, andslit my wrists instead.

Uh, why is she contemplating suicide? Because he’s watching her bathe? Or because your boyfriend is a mad scientist who has sent his freakish monster to stay with you? Either way, I don’t think suicide is the answer. And to toss it around so lightly shows some mental instability…

After the shower, she makes breakfast. Her daughter comes out in her school outfit:

She appeared late, as usual, straightening the much-too-short skirt she was wearing and fiddling with her hair. She was wearing a necklace that looked like a stop sign but said SEXY, and my favorite pair of high heels. And I sent her back to change into the Adidas she usually wore to school.

So, everything else about that outfit is kosher, but because she’s wearing Stephanie’s “favorite pair of high heels” that’s what she has to change. If I had walked out of my room wearing that for any occasion, let alone school, I would have been told to go back and change from head to toe. Of course the clone/android is not the best role model. He appears in the following getup:

a one piece leopard spandex jumpsuit, with a skintight T-shirt in an almost electric hot pink, with matching shoes.

This was one of the first images to come up in Google Images when searching for “mens leopard jumpsuit”. This is how I’ll imagine him for the rest of the chapter.

After the kids get off to school, Stephanie and Paul have some rather boring sexytimes. Afterwards they’re in the bathtub together (which must mean that Paul has amazingly waterproof out layer). The phone rings and this lovely exchange occurs:

“You should answer the phone. It might be the kids.”
“What kids?”
I couldn’t have remembered their names at that point if he asked me.

Now, I know I’ve pointed out several times that Stephanie is not the world’s greatest mother, but this is seriously ridiculous. Mothers (and fathers) out there: Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the awesomeness of sexytimes that you not only forget you have kids but when reminded of them, you can’t remember their names? Let me know in the comments.

Anyway, of course, it’s Peter on the phone. At this point I should mention that Stephanie still doesn’t understand that Paul is actually a clone/android/monstrosity. She thinks its Peter pulling a prank. So, when she hears him on the phone she thinks its a recording he’s worked up to some how fool her (which realistically wouldn’t be hard). Thus she tries to give non-traditional responses to stump the recording. And so we get this nonsense:

“How are you, Steph?”
“Pretty sexy,” was my answer, instead of “fine.”
“What does that mean?” he asked. Another standard response to anything I might have said.
“I’m just lying here in the bathtub. We’ve been making love all afternoon.” There was a moment’s pause, which made me smile. He had obviously left a space in the recording, which was clever of him.
“He’s bionic, Steph. He’s not real. He’s entirely man-made, synthetic from head to toe, and he doesn’t mean a thing he says. And whatever he does, it’s strictly a mechanical performance.”

I have to things to say to this: First of all: Remember back last chapter when Paul said he could get Stephanie pregnant if she wanted? Well, in all their sexytimes they certainly aren’t using protection, so hopefully that’s an added feature that has to be manually enabled and not a standard function (yes, I’m thinking way to much about the mechanics of android sex). Second, if Paul is synthetic and entirely man-made (though, technically, aren’t we all?) then he is not a clone. He is an android. This bothers me more than I can convey via text. Actually, as a picture is worth a thousand words and all, here’s a visual of what I’m doing constantly while reading this book:

If you’ve got a theme, stick with it I say.

Stephanie finally realizes that Peter is on the phone and it’s not a recording (takes way longer than it should). Peter tries to further explain what exactly Paul is:

“He is. They cloned me. Actually he’s a hybrid of sorts, a clone tempered by bionics.”

Damn it, Danielle Steel! Make up your mind. Is he a clone or an android? You cannot have it both ways. Either he is a living being with your identical genetic structure (clone) or he is a machine that resembles you and has been programmed to be similar to you (android). There is no such thing. Eff this book.

Peter tells Stephanie not to have sexytimes with Paul anymore. Stephanie’s response:

With a body like his, and Paul’s, what did he expect? Mother Theresa couldn’t have resisted him.

Uh, I bet she could. I like to think that Mother Theresa wouldn’t have been this shallow/superficial to begin with, but also, seeing as she lived a long and (I’m guessing) sex-free life, she was obviously very committed to her beliefs. And the fact that Stephanie is now blatantly cheating on her boyfriend with a monstrosity that defies explanation and is rationalizing makes me slightly sick.

The rest of the chapter is pretty boring. Except for this gem:

[Paul] had already had two bottles of [champagne] at ’21’, but he insisted that his wiring was so good, it wouldn’t affect him, although he had already admitted that it had affected his memory the night before. But he said that he was able to drink all night, and never feel it. In fact he seemed to prefer alcohol to food. Clearly a glitch in his system.

No. No. No! NO! He does not require food or drink. He probably needs a battery replacement or to recharge at some point, but unless he’s using the ethyl alcohol in the booze to fuel his mechanical systems (unlikely) he shouldn’t need any of it. And it shouldn’t affect him at all.

I’ll just leave this here.

I’ll try to have another recap for Wednesday, but this is going to be a busy week so I make no promises.

Happy Reading!
– K

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The Klone and I: Chapter Four

Previously On The Klone and I: Stephanie and Peter finally do it! Peter is leaving on a long business trip to LA and has promised Stephanie a “surprise”.

Chapter Four

It was an odd feeling after he left. I had gotten strangely used to him in the short time we’d been together. it had all the elements of a fabulous romance, and yet there was a comfort level, and an ease with each other that was almost like being married.

Ah, we start off so well. Talking about how close you are after only knowing the man for several weeks.

He had won Sam over weeks before, but Charlotte was continuing to glower. She still attributed the worst motives possible to him.

The best part of this is that our own narrator once referred to Peter as a probable “sicko”, so chastising someone else for thinking he’s up to no good is a bit hypocritical, no? Plus, I think we’ve established that the 13 year old Charlotte is much more mature than her mother.

There’s a knock at the door. Stephanie opens it to who she thinks is Peter wearing outrageous clothing, specifically “fluorescent green satin pants, skin-tight and startlingly revealing, with a see-through black net shirt, with a little sparkle to it, and a pair of black satin cowboy boots” which sounds like just about the most hideous thing ever. Now, Stephanie is in the kitchen and the kids are in their rooms. And even though we are only told that they “disappeared” to their rooms moments ago, she knows without checking that they are “doing their homework” which seems awfully presumptuous. When I was a kid that was the last thing I would be doing in my room, but I was a strange child.

However, Stephanie reminds us that:

I hadn’t met many of [Peter’s] friends yet. It was still too soon.

Right. So, after over a month its too soon to meet his friends but you introduced him to your children after 2 days. That makes loads of sense, right? And this doesn’t bother her either. Because Peter is perfect and couldn’t possibly have ulterior motives.

I’m the surprise,” he said proudly, “and the secret. They cloned him.”

So, this person who has shown up at the door is Peter’s clone. Peter sent his effing clone to his girlfriend’s house while he’s on a business trip. Yeah… They talk about it for a while and basically Stephanie thinks she’s going crazy and Peter is playing some trick on her.

But now we have to have a little vocabulary lesson:

Clone: A group of organisms or cells produced asexually from one ancestor or stock, to which they are genetically identical.

Android: (in science fiction) A robot with a human appearance.

Remember this. It will be important for the rest of the book. I firmly believe that Danielle Steel did absolutely no research into science (or science fiction) before righting this book and has confused these two concepts.

Paul (the clone, excuse me, Klone) is talking about why he doesn’t dress the same as Peter.

“My name is Paul, and I can do everything he does . . . except,” he looked apologetic, “wear khakis. I can’t stand them. He tried programming me for that at first, but it kept screwing up my systems.”

He keeps explaining himself to Stephanie, including all of his… functions.

“You know, if you want to get pregnant, Steph, it’s probably easier for me than for him. They worked all the kinks out of that last year.”

Right. So, here goes the first of probably many rants about the confused science of this godawful book. A clone does NOT have programming or systems. That is an android. A clone does not have “kinks” worked out unless they go to a masseuse. You remember Dolly the sheep, right? Well, if you would have cut her open, instead of finding a motherboard you would have found lamb chops. Cloning ≠ Android.

Not to mention it’s really f-ed up that he offers to get her pregnant. Or the fact that her boyfriend is sick enough to send her this monstrosity while he’s away on business. But that’s small potatoes compared to the Clone/Android mixup (especially since she uses the egregious word Klone in the very title).

This is how I’m picturing Peter/Paul from now on.

Paul assures Stephanie that the kids will “get used to me”. Right. Because that’s a totally normal thing. But Charlotte offers us even more insight into her mother’s parenting style.

“I bought a shirt like that once. Mom made me take it back. She said I looked like a slut in it.”

Okay. It’s one thing for a mother to think this but a completely different thing to say it out loud. Parents, I know I don’t have any experience in this, but listen to me. DO NOT tell your 13 year old daughter she looks like a slut (even if she does). It does not do good things for the self-esteem and self-image, especially to an already, presumably, self-conscious pubescent teenage girl.

Stephanie’s reaction to all of this is to drink herself under the table. “I was drunk halfway through dinner”. Now, this is in front of her kids on a school night. Which seems totally responsible, right?

Anyway, they make it through dinner okay. Paul helps Charlotte with her homework. Everybody goes to their respective rooms. And now Paul wants sexytimes with Stephanie. So, he lights some candles and cracks open some champagne. And of course, Stephanie doesn’t turn the booze down. “I was drinking the champagne by then. I wasn’t about to waste good champagne, and it was the only way to cope with what had happened.” What had happened was she thinks her boyfriend is pulling a trick on her. See, she doesn’t believe Paul is a clone (I absolutely refuse to call him a Klone, besides, we’ve already discussed that he’s actually an android). She thinks Peter is playing some sort of game. So, instead of throwing him out and telling him to grow up, she lets him spend alone time with her kids and drinks to cope.

And then Paul really creeps me the eff out. When talking about how the kids seemed to be okay with him being there, he mentions that “Sam even asked me to sleep in his room”. Remember: nobody in the family has known him for much more than a month. Peter has never spent the night while the kids were in the house. Her 8 year old son just offered to let a virtual stranger sleep in his room and the “clone” spent an hour in Charlotte’s room “helping her with her homework” (the quotes are mine. As far as I know, there is no actual child molestation in this book, though Stephanie makes jokes about it frequently. But the opportunity was there and as Peter is setting himself up to be a creeper I wouldn’t have put it past his clone, especially as his clone is a horny bastard).

[Paul] locked the door quietly, and as he slipped off the ghastly green pants, I almost felt as though I recognized him again, until I saw the gold lamé jockeys he was wearing, if  you could call them jockeys. It looked more like a Speedo, and the gold was more than a little amazing.

First of all, I have never in my life called them jockeys. Second, I know this book was written in the 90s, but why does his wardrobe have to be so ungodly atrocious? If any man every came to my bed wearing a gold G-string (she figures this out just after this paragraph), there will be no sexytimes with me until he finds himself a pair of real underwear.

As they’re getting their funk on, the phone rings. On the other end is Peter, which really freaks Stephanie the eff out. So much so that:

The room spun around as I listened to him, and I looked at Paul, and unable to withstand any more, I closed my eyes, and fainted.

And that’s the end of this mercifully short chapter. She faints because she has absolutely zero coping skills. And Danielle Steel has never read a single science fiction novel or seen a single episode of Star Trek.

This is how I picture Paul. Would you let this man around your children?


Hopefully I’ll have another chapter up this afternoon.

Happy Reading!

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The Klone and I: Chapter Three (Part Two)

Picking right back up where we left off, the babysitter is awake and on her way home and the narrator (Stephanie)’s beau (Peter) has left as well. Now Stephanie is unwisely talking to her children about her new boyfriend.

Resuming Chapter Three…

Stephanie’s 13 year old daughter is chastising her for her choice in men. Stephanie asks her “How can you be so cynical at your age?” and then muses “Maybe I had spoken a little too freely about Roger. But then again, he deserved it.” Roger, the children’s father, definitely does NOT deserve to be badmouthed to his children. No matter what he’s done, it’s not right for a mother to speak “too freely” about her anger towards her ex husband.

This next passage needs to be transcribed in its entirety:

“Is he gay?” Sam asked with interest. He had just learned the word, and a rather broad sense of its meaning, and used it at every opportunity, but I assured him I didn’t think so.

“He might be,” Charlotte offered helpfully. “Maybe that’s why his wife left him.” It was like listening to my mother.

So, her children are questioning the sexuality of her new boyfriend and her only thought is that it “was like listening to my mother”? There’s something horribly wrong about that. Of course, as we’ve seen before, Charlotte at age 13 seems to be more responsible and emotionally mature than her 40 year old mother. And no, in case you’re wondering, neither are reprimanded for being so rude about someone they don’t know.

The conversation continues. Stephanie tells the kids the family is playing tennis with Peter in the morning. Charlotte, like most teenagers, objects and refuses to go (bear in mind this is after midnight, so Charlotte’s probably overly tired and emotional anyway). Stephanie reacts to this defiance thusly: “I thought about strangling her, stopped only by my deep phobia about prison”. First of all, if she’s getting violent at this little bit of resistance, Charlotte and Sam’s teenage years are going to be exceedingly difficult for her. Secondly, it should not be a fear of going to prison that stops you from abusing your child, it should be your morality and love for your child that stops you. This woman is absolutely vile.

There’s another nightgown reference, Stephanie wins the argument and the kids both go for tennis, and Stephanie shows a strange fascination with men’s legs (something I don’t really understand. Butts, chests, arms: sure. But are men’s legs inherently sexy??)

Peter and Sam are on one team while Stephanie and Charlotte are on the other. Apparently Charlotte, age 13, is playing relentlessly and she “creamed” Peter who is in his 50s. The plausibility of this is not something I want to dwell on, nor the awkward usage of the verb “creamed”. At the end of the game, Stephanie thinks, “I was surprised that Peter didn’t hit her with his racket, or try to kill her”. So, this woman truly expected her boyfriend to react violently toward a 13 year old girl after losing at a tennis game? Why is child abuse mentioned so casually in this book?

Peter begins to show a creepiness that will follow him for a while, as after having known Stephanie’s 8 year old son for the length of a tennis game says, “I’m falling in love with Sam, though”. This seems all sorts of wrong for me, especially considering Stephanie barely knows the man and has not met anyone else who knows Peter and could vouch for him. This man, who she once  called a “sicko” has just told her he’s falling in love with her young son, and her first thought is “And I loved [Peter] for it”. I am seriously unable to deal with the level of harm in which this woman puts her children.

Stephanie makes a deep thought later that Peter “Definitely didn’t fit the profile of the men I’d been dating. He was human”. Well, I would certainly hope so. But I’m guessing she’s referring to her stupid lion metaphor that we discussed earlier.

Some time later, she’s discussing her relationship with Charlotte. That’s where we find this gem:

“I know you’re going to do it with him, Mom,” she accused finally, at the end of August, and I was beginning to think she was right. As usual, her extrasensory perception was fully operative. We had gotten a little carried away that night when we left the restaurant, and engaged in some serious groping. But fortunately,, we had both come to our senses. Charlotte should have been proud of me, instead of looking at me outraged.

Repeat after me: You should not be seeking approval from your 13 year old daughter. You should also probably not be discussing  your sex life with her. I’m all for having an open dialogue with your children about sex and answering all their questions. But I question the wisdom of talking about the sex you are or are not having with a man you’ve been seeing for around a month with your impressionable pubescent (and therefore hormonal/horny) teenage daughter.

During this conversation, her 8 year old son Sam comes out to the kitchn. “Sam asked again, helping himself to a Dr. Pepper. It was late, but he said he’d had a nightmare”. I’m not against kids drinking soda. I drank plenty of it in my youth. However, not a drink that has caffeine in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping. I also had to ask for soda at that age (the “Sam asked again” in the quote is asking about what they’re talking about not if he could have a can of soda). And if he had a nightmare, he should not be seeking comfort from sugar. Again, I am not a parent, I simply had the privilege of having two awesome parents.

Later while the kids are spending Labor Day weekend with their father, Peter basically propositions Stephanie. Her thought process? “I reminded myself that I was an adult, and Charlotte would know nothing about it”. Really? The reason you say yes is that  your daughter won’t have to know? Does this sound like Stephanie is more of a teenager than her daughter to you, or is it just me? Anyway, she meets Peter on the fateful night wearing “pink jeans and a pink shirt, and a new pair of pink espadrilles”. Now, I’m no fashionista, but that outfit sounds like an absolute eyesore. First of all, all pink? Like old women who wear matching tops and bottoms? Secondly, where does one find pink jeans? And why would you buy them? But even if you had pink jeans, I think they would look much better with a white shirt and white shoes rather than going all matchy-matchy.

So, she and Peter start getting hot and heavy. We’re 75 pages into this ROMANCE NOVEL and we’re finally treated to the first sex scene, copied verbatim below:

“After he set the bottle of red wine down on the table somewhere behind us, and somehow at that point, I lost track of the groceries, and he began to slowly unwind what I was wearing like so much cotton candy. And seemingly effortlessly, our clothes vanished in a path of pink and white and blue and khaki, and the next thing I knew, we were lying on my bed naked, as the sun went down slowly over the ocean, and I was breathless.”

75 pages for an unsexy, vague 1.5 sentences. What a let down. I hope Stephanie enjoyed that more than I did. Of course, immediately after sexing the man, this is her thought “I wanted this man, never trusted anyone as much”. Stephanie, listen to me: You barely know this man. You have met ZERO of his friends and family. You have only known him a month, most of the time you were with your children (which, as I said, I find appalling). If you are this wholly trusting after such a short time, I worry about you. But, to each their own, I suppose.

The pair are hungry and decide to have a midnight snack. They decide to have “an omelette instead, which Peter cooked to perfection, with ham and cheese, and the salad he had brought to make for dinner. He was right. He was a terrific cook”. He made an omelette and a salad. I can barely feed myself on a regular basis and have almost killed myself with undercooked chicken, but I can cook a damn omelette and make a salad. Call me when he can make something slightly more complicated, like spaghetti or soup or Duck a l’orange.

After their snack we are treated to Stephanie’s inner monologue about how much she lurves Peter. “t was embarrassing to be head over heels for a guy I’d known for less than two months”. Actually she’s known him for barely a month. It’s Labor Day weekend (The first weekend in September and she met him the last weekend of July… So a month and change) And then she informs us “I was a grown-up”. Then start acting like it! If you can’t tell, this woman drives me batty.

Before the end of the weekend, “he told me he loved me, and I told him i loved him too”. Now, personally, I think it’s a little soon for that. But this is one aspect I won’t judge her too harshly on. However, a few sentences later we come to: “He’d said he loved me. But what did that mean?” Excuse me? Do you not understand the concept of love? Could this explain so many of your relationship problems? And if you don’t understand what love means should you be telling someone that you love them? Some things to think about because this is the end of the chapter.

Hopefully I’ll have Chapter Four up for Friday.

Happy Reading!

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The Klone and I: Chapter Three (Part One)

Previously on “The Klone and I”: Our trusty (aka shallow, superficial) narrator is in Paris and has met a nice, handsome man named Peter. And she surmises he is “obviously a sicko”. Oh, and we’re 47 pages in without any sex or romance. In a romance novel…

Chapter Three:

Her ex husband drops off her kids. The kids are talking about the time with their father. Sam, here 8 year old, calls their father weird. Her 13 year old daughter corrects him saying instead that “he’s an asshole”. Which, to my mind, is wholly inappropriate for a 13 year old. 16, maybe. But definitely not 13, especially when speaking to her mother. How does our heroine respond? “‘You shouldn’t say things like that about your father.’ I tried to look disapproving, but it’s hard to fool her.” Really? You should be incredibly disapproving of her talking like that at all, let alone in front of her 8 year old brother. Isn’t it Divorce 101 that you don’t talk badly about your ex in front of your kids and you don’t let them speak poorly of their parents/stepparents?

Moving on, our narrator starts thinking about all the dates she’s had in the past two years. “The charm of being driven home by drunks from dinners I hadn’t enjoyed, and then pawed by incoherent near-strangers, some of them married, had worn thin months before.” Um, excuse me? You’re making light of drunk driving and sexual assault? She goes on to say she’s waiting “for the kids to grow up, so I could enter a religious order. But then what would I do with my nightgowns?” First of all, she’s shown no religious predilections thus far, so joining a religious order doesn’t really seem like an option. And secondly, the reason she’s decided against it is that she wouldn’t know what to do with her fucking nightgowns (reference #20 for those keeping score at home)? I don’t even know how to comment on this. This book has fried my synapses.

Next up on Poor Parenting 101: Her kids are bickering about something. And Charlotte says something mean to Sam “immediately after which he punched her, but not too hard”. And what does the mother do about it? Abso-fucking-lutely nothing. I’m sorry, I don’t care how hard it was, physical retaliation should not be permitted. This is completely unacceptable.

Anyway, they leave Paris and head to the Hamptons for their month at the beach house. Apparently the neighbor dog comes over a lot and apparently the dog poops every hour and it gets tracked through the house. The narrator (and author) don’t seem to know much about either dogs or doormats. I’ve never met a dog that needed to defecate on an hourly basis. And even if it did, couldn’t you put down a doormat and take your shoes off before you came in? But I digress.

So, the next plot device is a broken refrigerator. It breaks on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning the repair man is supposed to be coming. She tells us that in the approximately 12 hours the refrigerator has been malfunctioning “we’d lost all our frozen pizza by then, the hot dogs had gone bad, and the ice cream had sat melting in the sink”. She tells the person on the phone (who she thinks is the repairman but is actually mystery man from Paris Peter. It’s stupid and I won’t go into more details because it’s stupid) that “we lost three hundred dollars worth of food last night”. Now, I’m no expert on these things, but I’m pretty sure if you don’t open the refrigerator/freezer things will stay frozen/cold for quite a while (especially at night when it’s cooler outside). Secondly, as hot dogs are pre-cooked, I don’t think they can go bad in that amount of time. Thirdly, the reason you didn’t eat some of this food instead of letting it go to waste was…? Lastly, I don’t know what kind of hot dogs and frozen pizza these people are eating, but you would have to have a hell of a lot of it to be three hundred dollars worth. I can’t even imagine three hundred dollars worth of food fitting in a refrigerator.  And isn’t this woman rich? After the thousand of dollars she dropped on a whim to go to Paris and buy sexy underwears, isn’t $300 worth of food just a drop in the bucket? Or are we still supposed to go along with the idea that Umpa’s trust fund is getting empty (a myth I hope I have successfully debunked using the narrator’s own actions)?

So, she’s finally realized she’s talking to Peter and he’s asked her if she and the kids want to go out to dinner with him. Her thoughts? “With my kids? It was a nice thought, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to share him with Sam and Charlotte. In fact, I was sure I didn’t.” Now, I’m interrupting her thought process momentarily. When I read this I was about ready to applaud. She shouldn’t be ready to introduce her kids to the man she’s been on one date with. That’s insane. I was proud of her for making a responsible parenting decision. Then I kept reading. “After a week of talking only to them, cleaning up after the Great Dane, who did the same thing in our house he did on the lawn, I was sure I was ready for an evening of strictly adult conversation. I was more than willing to drop them at the nearest orphanage, forget the fridge, or at the very least call a sitter.” Okay, so let me start out by emphasizing that they do not own this Great Dane who apparently has rampant incontinence and has never been house trained. They can kick him out or tell his owners to keep him off their property. Now that’s off my chest, let’s talk about her seeming disregard for her children. I’ll say that I am not a parent, single or otherwise, and I understand that there are indeed times when parents need to get away from their kids and spend some time with other adults. That’s not my problem with this (though suggesting she would drop them off at an orphanage is a bit extreme, no?). My problem is that her first, instinctive reaction to having a man she barely knows ask to meet her children is not that it’s inappropriate but that she wants time away from them. Let me reiterate that she barely knows this man. She has met none of his friends or has met anyone else who knows him and can vouch for what he’s told her about himself. All she has is what he told her while in a foreign country. Now, he may be a perfectly safe, responsible, trustworthy man who will be respectful of her and her children. Or he could be a child molester. Or physically abusive. He could be a pathological liar. In fact, she had many of these same thoughts before she even met him properly. But the protection of her children is secondary to her own wants, obviously.

So, she sets up the date with just herself and Peter and calls a sitter for her kids (which I will get into later). When she tells her kids they’re going to a movie with the sitter tonight, they ask who she’s going out with. “’A friend,’ I said vaguely, popping the top on a diet 7-Up and covering my mouth with it, so they couldn’t hear the rest of what I wasn’t saying. But children have extraordinarily sensitive hearing. Mine at least. She heard exactly what I said, although I had swallowed most of it along with the soda.” Is this woman 7 years old? She’s certainly acting like it. Take charge of your children. Tell them “I’m meeting a friend for dinner. End of discussion”. This is not a difficult concept. And yet consistently she acts more like a teenager than a 40 year old mother of two. It makes me so incredibly mad and feel sorry for these kids who appear to have no discipline or structure in their lives.

Peter picks her up for dinner. There’s another reference to nightgowns (#21). He says something that I find strange about having “always loved turquoise, particularly on a woman with a suntan”. Seems oddly specific to me, but whatever.  Peter “ordered a martini at the restaurant, and I waited for him to get drunk, and he didn’t. I guess he forgot to.” He’s had “A martini” and you expect him to get drunk? That seems unrealistic at best. But even if you’d watched him drink several, I don’t think it’s physically possible to “forget” to get drunk. I’m guessing this was supposed to be funny. It wasn’t.

They finish dinner, talk about a bunch of boring and unimportant-to-the-plot things. Around midnight, they arrive back at the house where the kids are sitting in front of the TV unsupervised. The narrator (who finally learned is named Stephanie, only took 53 pages) unwisely introduces her children to her boyfriend, Peter. Peter decides it’s time for him to go. Stephanie goes “to wake the sitter and pay her”. First of all, Charlotte is 13 years old. I think she’s more than capable of watching her 8 year old brother for a few hours. I was babysitting by then for people who I was not directly related to. I think she could handle it.  Second, if you’re going to hire a sitter, perhaps you should find one who won’t go to bed and leave the kids unsupervised in the living room. I understand it’s late, but this girl is a teenager. I think she can manage to stay awake until midnight, especially when she’s getting paid to do just that. I had a number of teenager babysitters when I was young (my dad was a high school teacher so he had a large variety of choices for sitters). I don’t think any of them ever went to sleep before I did. My parents would have been furious. But Stephanie doesn’t seem to mind, which shows another layer of disregard for the safety and wellbeing of her children.

(This chapter is long and I still have a TON of notes… so I’m going to say adieu for today and pick up Chapter 3 on Wednesday!)

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The Klone and I: Chapter Two

Welcome back! In case you’ve forgotten (or had a memory wipe) what happened in Chapter One, here’s a quick recap: Superficial woman is left by husband. She becomes obsessed with nightgowns and attempts to move on.

Right, now onto…

Chapter Two

Our narrator is dating again. Oh dear. She compares the experience to “being a Christian in the Colosseum. You put on a hell of a good show, but you know that sooner or later, one of the lions is going to eat you”. Now this is a bad metaphor to begin with. Do her dates eat her? But besides that, after a quick Google search it appears Christians were never fed to lions in the Colosseum. They may not have been fed to lions anywhere at anytime, but especially not at the Colosseum. This will come up again. Actually, far too often in the near future. She also says, “After six months of dating, I felt like a Hostess Twinkie”. So, you’re injected with a lot of preservatives? I can believe that…

She next describes her beaus. “There were fat guys, and bald guys, and old guys, and young guys”. Again with the superficiality. Not boring guys and intelligent guys. Or funny guys and unfunny ones. No, she classifies them solely by their looks and age. Nice. And they all had some small problem like alcoholism, deep psychosis, or “a minor crisis about his sexuality ever since his uncle assaulted him when he was in high school”. Excuse me? Is she seriously trying to make a joke out of molestation? That’s just wrong on so many levels.

Throughout this book, she’s implied that she thinks she’s very intelligent. And yet she tells us that she’s not used to how things have changed and she was unused to being served “cappuccino made from sixteen kinds of coffee beansfrom African countries I’d never heard of [emphasis is mine]”. Now, first of all, this seems to be a slight misunderstanding of coffee. I don’t know that most blends have 16 different beans (but I’m not much of a coffee drinker, so let me know in the comments if I’m wrong). Also, for someone who thinks she’s so smart, this seems a weird admission to us.

Summer is approaching. Her ex husband and his new wife are taking the kids for the month of July to Europe. And Stephanie will have them for the month of August. She “had rented a small beach house for the three of us on Long Island. Umpa’s money was not limitless after all”. This confuses me on so many levels. It was enough money last chapter to support her family for the length of her and her husband’s lives but it’s not enough for something more than a small beach house? Also, you’ll see soon that she spends an awful lot of money for someone who doesn’t have a job and whose trust fund isn’t “limitless” and requires budgeting for a summer vacation.

She reminisces about her kids while they’re gone. Including arguing with her daughter about “green nail polish”. Now, her daughter is 13. And as we’ve seen, Stephanie isn’t necessarily the strictest of parents (she lets her kids refer to their stepmother as Mrs. Bimbo, remember). So, what’s the big deal with wearing green nail polish? Am I missing some hidden symboloism with the green?  My parents were pretty conservative but they wouldn’t have battled with me over the color of my nail polish. Not even black. They may have rolled their eyes over it, but it wasn’t a big enough deal to fight about. They saved their battles for bigger things like curfews, summer jobs, and grades. So this makes me wonder about Stephanie’s priorities.

After explaining how she’s over her ex husband she tells us “I cut my hair short. Helena [her ex’s new wife aka Mrs. Bimbo] was still wearing her mane like Farrah Fawcett. So be it. Roger loved it. And everything else about her”. Why the hell does she care? The tool left her over a year ago. Why is she so obsessed with how her ex husband’s new wife is wearing her hair? I’m confused by this woman.

Anyway, four days (remember this) before her kids are set to return to New York via Paris, she misses them. “I had seen every movie in town, all my friends were away, and it suddenly made sense to me to meet them in Paris. I decided to fly over on a special fare”. Now, I’m not travel expert, but it seems to me getting a plane ticket to Paris last minute (and I’m guessing she doesn’t fly Coach) is pretty expensive. “I made a reservation at a funny little hotel on the Left Bank, a place someone had told me about, owned by some fading French movie star who served divine food and catered to interesting and elite clients”. Sounds expensive. Maybe if you had waited 4 days for your kids to come and not spent all this money (from Umpa’s limited trust fund) you could have afforded a better beach house.

But at least she’s enjoying a vacation. I can get on board with that. She even says she’s glad she came alone and that “even if he’d [Roger] been in Paris with me, I wouldn’t have given a damn by then. I could no longer remember why I’d ever been in love with the man”. And yet just moments ago you were obsessing over the hair length of his new wife.

Her obsession with nightgowns has returned. Remember I said her kids were arriving back in NY in 4 days. So, she’s in Paris for no more than that amount of time (probably less because most US to Europe flights are overnight) and she “had brought four of them [nightgowns] with me to Paris”. So, she has possibly more nightgowns than she has nights in Paris? I’m not a clean freak so maybe this is more my problem than hers, but in general I think it’s okay to wear a nightgown more than once between washings. I mean obviously if you spill something on it or it gets dirty in some other way, fine. But for a 3-4 night stay, I don’t think you need 4 separate nightgowns. (We’re on our 17th nightgown mention for those who are keeping track.)

She arrives in Paris (with what must be a cadre of luggage seeing as she’s already over-packed on nightwear). She gets to the hotel and checks in. It was “run by a boy at the desk who looked like a porn star. Very pretty, but half my age, and I realized as he took me to my room, glanced sensually at me, and handed me the key, that he had recently consumed an extraordinary amount of garlic, and deodorant was not something he used often”. Can you start to see why this woman annoys me so much? She’s superficial, judgmental, and self-centered. Grr. And I’m only 2 chapters in…

The next morning she’s served “croissants and coffee the color of tar”. For a hotel she described as serving “divine food” coffee “the color of tar” sounds incredibly unappetizing. Am I nitpicking? Probably. But it’s the only joy I’m getting out of this “wickedly funny” book, so leave me alone.

She goes out on the town, apparently with Umpa’s money. “I have never enjoyed a day more, seen as many exquisite sights, orspent quite as much money. I bought everything I loved, or liked, and even a few things I eventually decided I hated. I found a shop that sold extraordinarily beautiful underwear and bought enough of it to become a courtesan in the court of Louis XIV”. Is that really a thing that was important in the court of Louis XIV? I mean, yes, they were extravagant. But I’m pretty sure even then, while their underwear was extensive, it wasn’t the “bras and tiny underwear and garter belts” that you bought. And I’m pretty sure you didn’t become a courtesan based on your quantity of underwear. History, it’s your friend. Also, Umpa’s limited trust fund seems to be holding out pretty well against Stephanie’s outrageous spending. It sounds less like the trust fund is limited and more that Stephanie’s spending priorities are f’ed up. She can spend hundreds (thousands?) of dollars to fly to Paris, stay for several days, and buy large quantities of expensive underwear, but they can only afford a “small beach house on Long Island” because there isn’t enough money for anything more? She lays out her purchases on the hotel bed and wonders if it “was a sign from God”. No, honey, God is not telling you to buy skimpy underwear. (On a side note, who still wears garter belts?) Then comes the really messed up part. “Maybe my son Sam would love it. It might teach him something. I could hear him thirty years hence… my mother always wore the most beautiful underwear and nightgowns [ugh, enough with the damn nightgowns]. It would give the women in his life something to live up to.” Her son is 8 at this point. And she just told us the underwear was “tiny”. I’m guessing that means thongs, at least for some of it. What mother parades around in her skimpy underwear in front of her 8 year old son? And why the everloving hell would you want him to be comparing his future girlfriend/fiance/wife’s underwear to that of his mother? This is like an Oedipal complex on steroids. And why is she thinking about and concerned with what her young son will think of her new underwear purchases? I can’t even deal with this right now. Excuse me while I make a stiff drink.

After thinking about her son seeing her in skimpy underwear she leaves the hotel and “felt incredibly grown up”. This woman is 41 years old. Please tell me this isn’t the first time she’s felt “grown up”. I’m 24, and I’ve definitely felt grown up. And who says grown up anyway? But I digress. Actually, maybe she’s emotionally stunted at age 18, which would explain a lot… Anyway, she starts thinking about the fact that no one will see her new underwear that she’s wearing unless she gets into an accident. “Like my thoughts of Sam earlier [which were sick and wrong], I could just hear the French gendarmes commenting to each other what fabulous underwear the corpse wore”. Really? You think they’d be commenting on a corpse’s underwear? I would hope they’d be more respectful than that. And that they’d be more concerned with figuring out what happened or alerting my family to that I’d died. But to each their own.

She finds her way to a little cafe. And she sees an attractive man reading a paper at a nearby table. She starts speculating about him, “and for some reason suspected he was either English or German. he had that kind of cool look about him. I knew he wasn’t French”. English and Germans have a “cool look about” them? I thought that was the French. Maybe the English and German tourist boards paid Danielle Steel to put that in. Either way, she’s able to tell an awful lot just by looking at him, including that it was “chemistry, perhaps” that made her fascinated with him. They have yet to make eye contact, they haven’t spoken, she knows literally nothing about him, but there’s already “chemistry”? I call bullshit.  She goes on to say that “even reading the Herald Tribune, he was sexy”. I’m trying to imagine what sexy reading looks like without any nudity… Anyway, she finally narrows down his nationality, “as I watched him sip his wine, I realized he was American”. Apparently Americans have a distinctive sip when drinking wine. I was unaware of that until now. You learn something new every day. “I had come all the way to Paris and was fascinated by some guy who was probably from Dallas or Chicago. Pathetic.Talk about wasting the price of a ticket”. Uh, excuse me? Didn’t you come to Paris to see your kids sooner? Eventually, she and the mystery guy make eye contact “for a brief time”. When he goes back to reading his paper she is disappointed because he “could have come over to say hello, or offered me a glass of wine”. Why? Because you looked at each other for a bit? I’ve made eye contact with a number of men and never expected them to buy me a drink. Especially in a foreign country where she has already commented that he doesn’t seem to speak the language well. Maybe he didn’t notice her American sipping and thought she was French and thus there was a language barrier that would be hard to overcome. Or maybe the whole goddamn world doesn’t revolve around her.

After he leaves she starts thinking poorly of him.  Maybe he’s “another deadbeat like the ten thousand men I’d met in the past two years. Probably an alcoholic. A child molester maybe“. What’s this chick’s deal with being flippant about molestation? Twice in one chapter. And of course her perception skills are fine tuned. “There was no doubt in my mind that he was married” followed almost immediately by “[h]e looked lie he’d break my heart, or walk out on me one day like Roger”. So, if you’re sure he’s married why are you concerned about whether he’d break your heart? As someone who was recently divorced by a man who may or may not have been cheating, to you being married should be the end of the question. If you have “no doubt” that he is married, then that should be the end of it. She also asks, “How many lions does it take to eat a single Christian?”. So, she’s sticking with that metaphor? Well, I think that’s a pretty easy answer. One. It’ll take a while, but I’m pretty sure if a lion can eat a zebra or a gazelle, they can handle a 90 pound woman. Whatever, moving on. She then “walked past him indifferently”. She doesn’t know this man! And how do you walk indifferently? She has literally not said a single word to this man. Why is this such a big deal? “Our eyes met for a fraction of a second as I walked past, knowing I’d never see him again, and forcing myself not to care.” Why should you care? YOU DON”T KNOW HIM! I’m not a violent person, but this woman is making me want to slap her.

She leaves the cafe and walks back toward the hotel. She notices the man walking behind her some time later. “He marched right by me into my hotel, and I wondered how he knew I was staying there, or why he cared. He was probably waiting for me in the lobby.” THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND YOU! Sorry, I don’t mean to keep yelling at you. Is it possible that this man you don’t know is also staying at the hotel that came so highly recommended to you and is probably in the same neighborhood as the cafe? And trust me, I’m sure he doesn’t care where you’re staying. This woman… she’s driving me insane. She enters the hotel and the man is getting a key from “the porno star at the desk”. She’s really effing judgmental. Apparently she gets completely mental when the mystery man finally speaks to her. “I was so undone just looking at him, I couldn’t even hear what he was saying. If nothing else, he was great to look at. Instinctively, I looked for a wedding ring, but didn’t see one.” So, first of all, after having lived for 41 years and having been dating for 2 years, she still comes completely undone when a man speaks to her? Whatever. Secondly, just moments ago she had “no doubt” that he was married. And she should have been clearly able to see both of his hands while he was reading the paper at the cafe and never thought to look for a wedding ring then? I don’t understand this woman.

They end up in the same elevator going to the same floor (of course). He says, “Nice night, isn’t it?”. To which she thinks “The words were American. But I could have figured that much out from the Oxford shirt, the khakis, and the loafers”. I wasn’t aware that those particular words were specific to Americans. Or that words could be American. I suppose she means the accent, but shouldn’t she have just said that then? Also, I wasn’t aware that Oxford shirts, khakis, and loafers were endemic to Americans. I’ve never worn them. Nor can I remember seeing anyone wearing that outfit and I’ve lived in America my whole life. The get off on the same floor and surprise surprise their rooms are right next to each other. She wonders whether he’s going to try and seduce her (which doesn’t sound like it would take much). She thanks her lucky stars she’s “wearing the pale blue lace underwear and the garters” because she “knew he’d be impressed when he saw that”. Now, I don’t have much experience in this department, but are men generally “impressed” with underwear and garters? Aren’t they more concerned with getting them off? Correct me if I’m wrong.  “It was impossible not to think of him with his clothes off. I wondered what kind of underwear he wore. Probably Jockeys. Gray or white. Calvin Kleins. And knee socks”. So, a tighty whitey guy with knee socks. Ooh sexy.

They end up not having sex (which makes this 49 pages into a romance novel without any bodice ripping, sex, or really any romance). She does give him the benefit of thinking he is “not a registered sex offender” again throwing that around rather casually considering how horrific it actually is. The next morning, it’s rainy so she has an umbrella when she ends up in the elevator with mystery man again. “I knew I could hit him with it if he assaulted me, and was fiercely disappointed when he didn’t”. This woman has some kind of serious mental defect if she’s wanting some man to assault her. I’m not much of a feminist but this woman makes me want to burn my bra.

Anywho. The pair decide to visit the Louvre together. On the way there they introduce themselves. His name is Peter and he works for a bionics firm. According to Google, bionics means “The study of mechanical systems that function like living organisms or parts of living organisms”. So, not difficult to understand in the abstract if not completely understanding how it works on a detailed level, right? “He explained briefly what the company did, and it sounded like Swahili”. Wow. Just wow. Oh, and “he hadn’t gone to Harvard or Yale [as she had thought before actually meeting him]. He had gone to Princeton.” So, still Ivy League. Was that really something we, as readers, needed to know? Will it be important to the story later? I sure hope so (sarcasm). While she’s telling her introduction she wisely “left out the scene on the satin chairs [her husband telling her he’s leaving]”. Why would you tell someone that story when you’ve just met them? No wonder you haven’t had a successful date in 2 years. I’m starting to sympathize with the old, bald men with minor sexuality crises that had to sit through a dinner with her.

They seem to have a good time together. She’s going through her likes, dislikes, etc. And then it all falls apart. “The rest he could see for himself. And perhaps, if pressed, Roger would offer a reference.” Why the hell would you want your ex husband to give a reference to your new boyfriend? He left you. For a younger woman. And by your own understanding because of your looks. What makes you ex husband a good person to give a reference? And why the hell would your new boyfriend want it? This woman is insane. Oh and by the end of the night “I even told him about Roger and the scene on the satin chairs, and his telling me he didn’t love me”. Why? Why the hell would you do this?  She finally concedes, however, that her new beau “seemed like a normal person”. Really? What gave it away? The fact that he has acted like a perfectly normally person this whole time while you’ve acted like a crazy stalker? But that was short lived. The chapter ends with this gem: “He was polite, pleasant, sexy, intelligent, well behaved, handsome beyond belief, and nice, or so he seemed. Obviously a sicko.” So, not a normal person, then?

To sum this all up, she’s met a new man who she believes may be a child molester or a “sicko”. And we’re 46 pages in without any sex and very little romance (and what was included was ruined by the neurotic, self-obsessed narrator). There have been 19 nightgown references so far (at least it’s slowing down).

Adios until Chapter Three!


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My Review of Dark Shadows

I just got back from seeing the new Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration “Dark Shadows” and the best word I have to describe it is… different.

The basic premise of the movie is a family in Maine who becomes cursed by a scorned witch. One of the founding members of the family, Barnabas Collins, is turned into a vampire and buried in an iron box in the 1770s. Almost two hundred years later, he is released by construction workers digging the foundation for a McDonald’s. Barnabas Collins returns to his family’s manor, now in disrepair, and to the remains of his family tree. Together they rebuild the mansion and the family business, much to the dismay of the immortal witch who has worked for the past two hundred years to destroy the family that scorned her.

As a disclaimer before I continue, I’m not a fan of Tim Burton. I feel that he tends to ruin everything he touches. “Sleepy Hollow” is pretty much the only movie of his that I will consent to watch on anything bordering on a regular basis (Halloween). So, my thoughts on this movie are, of course, subject to this bias.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. After having seen the previews and reading some articles about it online, I went into the theater thinking it would be a trainwreck. It wasn’t quite that bad. In fact, in several parts it was entirely entertaining. And if you’re a fan of either Tim Burton or Johnny Depp, I imagine you will enjoy it. However, for everyone else, I would recommend you skip the theater and wait for it to hit Redbox. Unless you live in a tiny town with nothing else to do on a Saturday night that doesn’t include shoe rental or booze, like me.

My biggest beef with the movie was that the ending was entirely anticlimactic, made little sense, and teetered on the edge of utter boredom. The plot resolved somewhat but I certainly wasn’t left wanting more. Though I do now want to see the original soap opera the movie was (by some accounts loosely) based.

So, all in all, I’d give it 2.5 stars out of 5. It wasn’t terrible but I certainly won’t be buying the DVD when it comes out, even if I run across it in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart (which is saying something). But, if you have nothing else to do and you like movie theater popcorn, there are worse movies you could see. A warning, however, that there are very mature themes broached, so children under age 10 should probably be left at home.

Have a good night!
– K

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