That’s right — I had to use a Mariah Carey lyric to title this month’s post because October is full of extremes, like that wonderful diva’s behavior. The thesis of the book for the past nine months was that things were not going so well for our Miss Darling. She felt isolated and trapped, both angry with everyone close to her and worried that she was constantly disappointing them. In October, things start to change. Here, the book loses some of its realism that I so often praise and indulges in a bit of fantasy. Nothing is too over the top, just a lot of good things happening for someone who needs good things to happen to her. As invested as we are in our narrator at this point (VERY INVESTED), it feels like we too are experiencing all of Jessica’s October highs with her. I love this about the novel. McCafferty knows exactly when we need catharsis and when we need hope. Every plot line isn’t starting to tie neat bows of satisfaction and even Jessica’s moments of happiness are complicated with betrayal, loneliness, and doubt, but we get a win exactly when we need one.
The Top Five Great Things that Happen in October (in ascending order):
1. Jessica gets her cast off. I’ve never had a cast, but I can only imagine what sweet relief this must be.
2. Jessica finally tells the truth about Manda and Burke. Is this all great? No. Are we all SO HAPPY that the truth is out there and Bridget can dump that jerk? Of course.
3. The English teacher is the hero! I love when this happens. Jessica, who often hides in her words, has a chance to use them as a megaphone. She stands up for herself, her feelings, and her shortcomings. As a fan of Jessica and of English teachers, I couldn’t be happier.
4. The article leads to an outpouring of support from people she overlooked. Pepe is back! Len is reaching out. Younger students are flocking to her locker. Jessica spends so much of the novel isolated, aching from the loss of Hope that her finding she has a community of support when finally exposing her real feelings makes me weep if I read the book too late at night.
5. MARCUS FLTUTIE! Marcus is all over this chapter and by being let into his car, we’re let into his world. I can only repeat Jessica’s analysis: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But, most importantly, Marcus is impressed by Jessica’s editorial. He likes her for her thoughts and words. Isn’t that the dream?
Things in this chapter I would text Emily about if we weren’t writing this blog:
I don’t want to get too spoilery, but I always assumed that this editorial was Marcus’s turning point in his opinion of Jessica. We can discuss in more detail at the end of the novel, but I wonder if you agree.
The Seagull’s Voice is a GREAT name for a high school newspaper. I’m obsessed.
One thing that bothers me: Wouldn’t Jess’s dad notice that Hy wasn’t Hope on the phone? These weren’t the days of cell phones. Those girls were always on the landline.
Also, I wrote this post too late at night, emotionally exhausted from the abortion filibuster in Texas and have already had to edit it 10 times. If you find a sad grammatical mistake (or twenty), just fix if for me, please.