And so it came to pass, I started reading the next dark chapter in a strange, chilling tale of passion and peril was delivered, but it was neither strange or chilling, being instead a bad convoluted mess. This is as bad as the previous books but I rate this one 1/5 for one cute section about love. (See end of page for it)
Chris and Cathy come from a long line of poor decision makers, and they continue that tradition when they return to the new Foxworth Hall to celebrate Bart’s graduation from Harvard and his twenty-fifth birthday. What they think is a one night stay before moving to Hawaii turns into a three year long run in hell.
Cathy and Chris are still the same bores they always were.
Jory (ugh, that name) is still mister perfect.
Bart is still an oozing walking herp sore that’s consistently on its period.
Cindy turned into quite the little slut who throws a temper tantrum when wearing a very revealing dress in an inappropriate setting.
The newest addition to the family is Uncle Joel, one of Corrine’s brothers thought to be long dead. He’s old, he’s creepy, he’s been living in an Italian monastery so he’s developed some hardcore religious beliefs and he’s Bart’s mentor. Nice.
A bunch of bad things happen such as:
- Jory becomes paralyzed after a part of the stage collapses on him and breaks his spine and destroys his dreams of becoming a famous ballet dancer. Well, at least he’s still happy in love and has a pregnant wife, no?
- His wife is very shallow and refuses to go see him in the hospital because she thinks that he would be better off dead as he can’t dance anymore.
- She cheats on him with Bart then leaves him after giving birth.
- Cindy is a slut who keeps getting caught having sex.
- Cathy constantly whines to Chris and Chris gets pissy with her about it.
- Bart has wild mood swings and Uncle Joel is just evil. How evil? Well, we never get to know for certain because Andrews leads us down a poorly plotted path then says “awww fuck it” and takes the easy way out.
- Characters personalities instantly change and petty nuisances are conveniently taken care of as though as they never existed.
What I hated:
If your kid talks back to you all the time, it’s time to get the belt out. It’s clear that Bart hates his dad and wants to screw his adoptive sister and has an unhealthy hate for his half-brother and wants to screw his brother’s wife. That is one deranged psychopath. The fact that this own mother glazes over the remarks he makes without pointing out the issues in his thinking and leaves the rest to deal with him shows some bad parenting skills. I mean if your son licks his chops while looking at his sister-in-law, you would totally tell him to keep it in his pants. I have no idea why he wasn’t pulled short in any part of the story!
Lord, there is nothing at all redeeming about this installment of a story that starts with ridiculous but somehow also emotionally actually engaging childhood trauma and then closes on … what exactly? endless description of what it’s like to be depressed? endless tolerance of looneytunes Bart’s psychotic tendencies when they could all easily leave?
I don’t even know where to start on Cindy’s portrayal which was simultaneously nuts and somehow far too normal for these books, but I’m spared any real thought in that direction because despite being all about the children Cathy raises, this book is truly just about Cathy, whose only real purpose in life seems to be to ensure Christopher has someone to love. When that’s gone, so is she, which the book attempts to make meaningful but it obviously isn’t – and could never be because Cathy remains a mess.
“Once I was in the cold dim room, without furniture or carpet or rugs, only a dollhouse that wasn’t as wonderful as the original, I opened the tall and narrow closet door and began my ascent up the steep and narrow stairs.
On my way to the attic.
On my way to where I’d find my Christopher, again…”
The Good Parts
The Samson and Delilah ballet description. It was well done and very prophetic of the troubles to come.
The reason I gave this book one star is one little discussion where the mother tries unsuccessfully to convince the son he should get a wife and find a woman to love (or man). Here’s that excerpt:
“I suspect you are a product of your times,” I began in a soft voice, without recriminations. “I almost pity your generation for missing out on the most beautiful aspect of falling in love. Where is the romance in your kind of taking, Bart? What do you give to the women you go to bed with? Don’t you know it takes time to build a loving, lasting relationship? It doesn’t happen overnight. One-night stands don’t form commitments. You can look at a beautiful body and desire that body, but that’s not love.”
His burning eyes showed such intensity and interest I was encouraged to go on, especially when he asked,
“How do you explain love?”
It was a trap he baited, knowing the loves of my life had all been ill-fated. Still I answered, hoping to save him from all the mistakes he was sure to make.
“I don’t explain love, Bart. I don’t think anyone can. It grows from day to day from having contact with that other person who understands your needs, and you understand theirs. It starts with a faltering flutter that touches your heart and makes you vulnerable to everything beautiful. You see beauty where before you’d seen ugliness. You feel glowing inside, so happy without knowing why. You appreciate what before you’d ignored. Your eyes meet with the eyes of the one you love, and you see reflected in them your own feelings, your own hopes and desires, and you’re happy just to be with that person. Even when you don’t touch, you still feel the warmth of being with that one person who fills all your thoughts. Then one day you do touch. Perhaps his hand, or her hand, and it feels good. It doesn’t even have to be an intimate touch. An excitement begins to grow, so you want to be with that person, not to have sex . . . just to be with them and gradually grow toward one another. You share your life in words before you share your body. Only then do you start seriously thinking about having sex with that person. You begin to dream about it. Still you stay, to never end. So you go slowly, slowly toward the ultimate experience of your life. Day by day, minute by minute, second by second, and from moment to moment you anticipate that one person, knowing you won’t be disappointed, knowing that person will be faithful, dependable . . . even when she’s out of sight, or you’re out of sight. There’s trust, contentment, peace, happiness when you have genuine love. To be in love is like turning on a light in a dark room. All of a sudden everything becomes bright and visible. You’re never alone because she loves you, and you love her.”
I paused for breath, saw his continued interest that gave me the courage to go on.
“I want that for you, Bart. More than all the billions of tons of gold in the world, more than all the jewels in vaults, I want you to find a wonderful girl to love. Forget money. You have enough. Look around, open your eyes and discover the joys of living, and forget your pursuit of money.”
Musingly, he said,
“So that’s the way women feel about love and sex. I always wondered. It’s not a man’s kind of feeling, I do know that . . . still, what you said is interesting.”