Faking Faith by Josie Bloss

I read this in an afternoon.  I was bored and had nothing better to do.

This girl named Dylan Mahoney ends up dating one of the most popular boys in school after her two friends tell her that he’s a player who will just use her.  Turns out her friends were right.  She spies him cheating on her and she gets revenge by smashing up his car.  He retaliates by sending the topless pics she sent to him to everyone in school.  From then on, she’s the school pariah – a crazy golf club wielding slut (she used his golf clubs to smash the windshield or whatever).

In her loneliness she finds the blogs of these Christian fundamentalist girls who honestly sound more like the Amish, but with computers and electricity.  She and her family are far from religious (including a speech by her father about how he doens’t mind those crazies as long as they don’t push their sky god beliefs on him), and that makes these girl bloggers even more interesting to Dylan.  She admires one girl in particular – Abigail Dean, the Queen Bee of the Christian bloggers.  Dylan eventually sets up a fake blog and persona named Faith, and it is Faith and Abigail who become friends to the point that Dylan/Faith travels to rural Illinois to spend two weeks with the Dean family.

Currently Reading: Dear Bully

I have decided that I simply must write something about the book (well, one of many) I am currently reading. It is called Dear Bully and it’s a collection of essays written by various young adult authors. The forward was written by Ellen Hopkins and, predictably, she blames this culture of bullying on conservative pundits (but never mentions them by name nor does she even mention the word “conservative”) and people concerned about Muslim terrorism.

I was not surprised. As I and any other informed conservative knows, 98% of the people working in the entertainment industry are liberals.

That being said, I am not happy about this. This collection of essays is pure propaganda aimed at demonizing conservatives by blaming them for something that’s been happening since the beginning of time. Not everybody can or will get along with one another. That’s on a variety of levels – kids fighting over toys, parents disagreeing on how to discipline their kids, people disliking a coworker all the way up to war. I don’t approve of bullying but I am not about to act as if this is a new phenomenon simply because a handful of allegedly gay teenagers killed themselves this year.

I was bullied too. Bullied for being fat and introverted. I admit that I could have handled it better. I was an asshole back in high school because I was bullied. I tried to fight back. Wish I had tried harder. Oh well. Anyway, I think these kids should be allowed to fight back. Sadly, they get into trouble if they do.

Oh, and what about bullying on the part of prominent liberals? There’s the nasty character assasination of beauty pageant contestant Carrie Prejean over her answer to a question regarding “gay marriage” and there’s the media’s vicious attacks on the entire Palin family, including little Trig, who has Down’s Syndrome. Then there’s the juvenile Google bombing of Rick Santorum thanks to that raging hypocrite Dan Savage (who also stated that he wanted to rape Santorum…and liberals are supposed to be the smart, enlightened, compassionate ones…nothing is more compassionate than anal rape, amirite?) and now we have the “Uncle Tom” slurs directed towards Herman Cain (I am reading his latest too). None of these people deserved the vitriol thrown their way, not even if they’re in “positions of power”, which is how one random liberal defended the Google bombing of Santorum. As far as I’m concerned, it’s still bullying. It also sets a bad example – that it’s okay to act this way towards someone you disagree with. Debate and discussion is fine, but insults and threats are not.

Plus, you want to talk about incendiary pundits? Let’s talk about the vicious things said by Mike Malloy, Montel Williams and Randi Rhodes. I might elaborate on these miscreants later, but check them out at the Media Research Center if you want to know more.

There’s a lot more I can say, but it’s late. I am tired and I have work to do tomorrow. If there are any misspellings it’s due to the fact that I am typing this on my iPad’s on-screen keyboard.

The Keening by A. LaFaye

 

This was an interesting but kind of sad ghost story.  It is also one of my favorite kinds of ghost stories – the ones where the ghosts all gravitate towards one person (usually one person who can see them and communicate with them) whom they need to pass on a message to those they left behind.  I’ve always been interested in the afterlife, if one exists.
Liza Layton loses her mother to influenza, and it’s up to her to ensure that her father is taken care of.  He’s a very talented but eccentric carver and spends most of his time carving – so much that his in-laws want to have him committed to a work farm called Elysian Fields.  Lyza must overcome her fears to get him the help he needs.
When it comes to ghosts and the afterlife, there isn’t anything here terribly groundbreaking.  It’s pretty standard – person starts seeing ghosts, ghosts need person to pass on messages to the living so they can move on, person lives in fear of going crazy and being institutionalized.
That being said, I really liked it.  The author says that the story came to her in a dream, so the story was written with a dreamlike quality and I have to agree – the story does have a dreamlike quality to it.  I kept picturing Lyza’s house with an overcast sky and fog surrounding it.  That’s dreamlike to me, anyway.
I think this book was originally released in 2009, but was re-released in April 2011.  I was able to read this thanks to NetGalley.

Playground by Jennifer Saginor

For some odd reason, I felt compelled to read this one.  I guess it has something to do with another Playboy Mansions expose I found (Jill Ann Spaulding’s very poorly written Hefnerland), and I figured “well, this one has a much better cover so perhaps it’s better written than the other one I read” and I was mostly right.  It was better written but not by much.

I finished this in early August. I’ve been thinking about it (in between personal drama) and I came to the conclusion that I didn’t really like it that much.  The author, Jennifer Saginor, is not very likeable.  She’s the eldest daughter of Hugh Hefner’s personal physician.  She spent her childhood (spanning the 1970s and 1980s) at the Playboy mansion and her father’s mansion.  The first half is all about her and her sister Savannah hanging out at the Playboy mansion, putting on fashion shows with various half-naked Playmates and walking in on celebrities having sex with other Playmates.  The second half is about her teen years spent with her drug-addicted father and being pissed off at her mother.  As I said, she did not come across as likeable, and I was very disappointed at the end, where she seems to be all “okay, life at the Playboy mansion wasn’t so bad after all”.  This book seems to be far more of an judgment on her father’s drug use and inability to be a decent father than an judgment about anything that went on at the Playboy mansion (which, of course, is a valid judgment to make but this book is called Playground and is about life as a child at the Playboy mansion).

There were a couple moments I felt sympathy for her – such as the times she had to hide under her bed because her father and his junkie girlfriend were being extremely paranoid over the junkie’s ex-boyfriend – who was a drug lord – and his cronies.  However, most of the time I kept thinking “god, what a miserable bitch” because she kept bitching and moaning about her awful life, yet never actually did anything to improve her life – especially considering the fact that she paid her tutors to do all her homework for her, even when she was in college.  That actually irritated the crap out of me – so many people can’t even get to college or a good high school and here she is, skipping class and paying other people to do her work for her.  But I’m supposed to feel sorry for her because her mother’s sooooo authoritarian and her father’s a total junkie/male chauvinist/desperate Hugh Hefner wannabe.

It’s a dishy and quick read, and definitely not for kids, but the ending has no redeeming value whatsoever, especially for an uptight prude like me.

I could also say something about her bisexuality and why I think she ended up a bisexual, but I won’t, because then I’ll get holy hell rained down upon my head by all the liberals who might be reading this.

Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer

I didn’t like this one too much.  The main character Sarah was an unlikeable skank, and the book was mostly really boring – the build up of Sarah’s relationship with Agnes and Maddy took forever.  The good stuff happened a few chapters after the fawn died.  I never was able to muster up any sympathy or caring for Sarah at all.  I thought the relationship between Agnes and Maddy was far more interesting.  I only finished it to see how many random strangers Sarah would sleep with (only two; three if you count the random person she slept with in high school).  I don’t know what it is with authors and their penchant for writing distinctly unlikeable characters – this whole casual sex thing is a rather contrived character flaw.  Not only a contrived character flaw, but a half-assed character flaw that also seems to be some sort of political statement.  I dunno.  I just think there’s a difference between truly flawed characters and truly unlikeable characters with a boatload of very bad habits and characteristics.

The ending was also really sad.  I think this book was marketed as a paranormal young adult novel, but there wasn’t anything really paranormal about it, other than the possibility of Maddy casting a spell on Sarah to make her chubby.