November: The Game Master

Today I quickly sent Emily an apology gchat while I was at work to tell her the blog post would be late.  Partly because I took benadryl last night and overslept this morning, feeling too groggy to write the post before work.  Partly because too much happens.  I couldn’t get a handle on how to approach the month that was in anyway organized.  Marcus as the Game Master, the conversations at Silver Meadows, Bethany’s baby on the way,  Homecoming dates, the Pineville Low, Anti-Homecoming, ComingHome, Chaos Called Creation.  It’s all too much for one blog post.

At first I considered focusing on Anti-Homecoming and how Jessica, alone in the English classroom with her one close friend and the two guys she’s (somewhat) torn between, is establishing future anti-homecomings for herself.  Even before she graduates, she chooses not to romanticize her high school experiences like the rest of her classmates, those cheering in the parking lot, might in the alumni sections at the future Homecoming games.  I thought that the whole chapter builds to the party and the significance of an Anti-Homecoming.  But, instead, the chapter is built around the Game Master, introduced by Jessica in the letter to Hope, claiming that it’s Marcus’s role (as he did wear the shirt) throughout all of the events.  Instead, it’s Jessica.  She tries to trick Gladdie into telling her more about Marcus’s intentions.  She refuses to believe that Marcus wants to set her up with Len so that they can both be happy.  She manipulates Sara into thinking that the Anti-Homecoming is her idea.  She begins leading Len on, partly to fool her family and “friends” into thinking she’s another normal high school girl, partly to see what Marcus’s true intentions are.

Jessica has one goal in November (and many other months in the novel): to find out what Marcus is actually thinking and feeling.  Instead of being straightforward, she complicates everything, turning their interactions, and her interactions with almost everyone else, into a game.  Her singular focus begins to set in here and it’s fun to start noticing everything she can’t.

Things I would text Emily about if we weren’t writing this blog:

This Thanksgiving is one of my favorite of the Darling holidays. Jessica really seems like a moody teenager, unable to laugh along with her family, thinking that they are the ones making too much a fuss, when really she is.

I don’t remember Pineville Low taking up so much of the novel’s time, and I’m just not that interested in it.

Paul, you’re at a high schooler’s party during your Sophomore year?  Are we sure you’re cool?

If you liked that, try this:

Did you love reading about AntiHomecoming?  If so, then you should watch ABC Family’s Greek.  I can’t say if it’s a realistic portrayal of college Greek life because Etown didn’t have any (a big draw for most of us, to be honest), but it does nail a lot of the small moments that make college great.  And the party scenes are great.  They’re always much more organized than any party that I ever attended, but they did a great job of exposing conflicts and emotions and helping to forge and ruin friendships.  It’s all on Netflix and aside from one weird “spooky” Halloween episode in Season One, it’s pretty great.


One thought on “November: The Game Master

  1. I had never thought about Jessica as the Game Master, but that’s such a great observation! And seriously, why is Paul at that party?

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