Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Major Lulz from the Sheltered - Chapter 1

Miss Raquel, a self-described "young maiden journeying through godly womanhood" has written a story which is so bad it's good. I'm not even talking about writing style, though it would fit in well with most fan fiction. (Oh, look, everybody talks and talks and talks, but where the fuck are they? A coffee shop? Someone's spaceship? A transdimensional pocket of timeless space?) No, I'm talking about the fact that clearly Miss Raquel has never spoken to a person outside of her particular fundyness, let alone read a book published in the last 100 years or- gasp!- turned on a TV.

“There’s nothing wrong, as far as I can tell.”
“Well then, why haven’t I been feeling well?”
“You’re pregnant.”
The statement hit Leona like a blow. This was the last thing she had expected.
“Congratulations! You’re about...3 months along,” the doctor smiled at her.
Leona didn’t reply. How could this man be so happy when she knew her parents were probably going to disown her?
“I bet your husband will be excited,” the doctor said while he took his vinyl gloves off. “Having a child as young as you aremust be pretty exciting!”

Um . . . no, no and no. No, a doctor would not tell you that you are pregnant that way, no, a doctor would not assume you are married, and that comment about age? No. The whole exchange is bizarre unless this is set in the 50s, which I haven't found any hint of. Also, has Leona never heard of a pregnancy test? She's a high school graduate who never considered she might be pregnant? Really?

I did like this part:

As Leona drove back to her parents’ house, her vision was blurred by the tears that kept welling up in her eyes. How could she be pregnant? She was so young! Why did this have to happen to her?
She heard honks behind her and realized that she had not gone when the light was green. She stepped on the gas pedal and her car shot forward.
How can people be in a rush when I’m dreading this drive home?Leona asked herself.

I remember attending a funeral on a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining, the sky a perfect blue, the birds were chirping- it seemed such a slap in the face of our grief.

Although, if Leona lives with her parents, isn't it her house? Why would she think of it as her parents' house?

Through her tears she saw a large sign on the left hand side of the street that read: ‘Lewis County Planned Parenthood Clinic’. She’d past that building many times and never had a second thought about it. But now, on her drive home (well, it probably wouldn’t be her home for much longer), she thought about that sign and clinic more than she ever had before. There was an option. She could just get an abortion and never have to tell her parents about ever getting pregnant. She wouldn’t even have to tell Jerry.

Well, okay, fair enough. I personally use the local PP for all my gynecological needs, but I never really thought about Home Depot until I owned my own home. Now I'm obsessed with it.

Jerry. Just thinking his name made her picture him in his mind. Right out of highschool they had begun dating. They had been dating for about six months before he had persuaded her to sleep with him one night. That one night was the beginning of a few nights. Over the past couple of months she had either snuck out of the house (after her parents had gone to bed) or had just made an excuse that she was going to be gone for the weekend, in order to be with Jerry. He had never made any mention of getting married, and she never really thought of it before. What was the use of getting married if they could have sex outside of wedlock? But now that she found out she was pregnant, she began to worry that she needed to bring ‘marriage’ up to Jerry. Maybe she could persuade him with the baby...that she couldn’t raise him/her by herself. She had to tell him about her being pregnant. He had a right to know.

See, here's the thing Miss Raquel: over here in the real world, we don't get married just to scratch an itch. We get married for love, because we want to, not because we have to. Really, who's cheapening marriage here? Nobody, out here in the have-sex-cause-you-wanna crowd would ever, ever, ever think "Oh, well, we're doin' it, why get married?" Nor would too many of us think of getting married because of a pregnancy, though some might. I suppose we might think of "marriage", though I'm not sure what that means once you put scare quotes around it.

She paused. She had never thought about God that much before. From what she’d heard about Him, people said that He was a loving Spirit who created the world and loved everyone. If He loved her, then how could He let something like this happen?

C'mon, really? No. That's not, no. Just no.

A knock on her door brought her thoughts back around. She quickly wiped the falling tears off her cheeks with the back of her hand and uttered a low, “Come in.”
Her mother entered. “Leona darling,” she said, putting her arm around her daughter’s shoulders. “What is it? You seem so depressed and unoriented.”

It's a shame Leona's mother doesn't speak English. "Disoriented".

“Do you want to talk about it?”
“No,” she said, simply. She had never really been open with her mother before, so that was pretty easy to say.
“All right. I won’t force you. But let me know if you need a listening ear. That’s what mothers are for.”
Mrs. Jackson turned and walked out of the room, closing the door, softly, behind her.
Yeah right! Leona thought to herself. You’ll be forcing me out of the house when you find out what I’m hiding from you.

So, mom runs right upstairs to see what's wrong with Leona, asks what's wrong, offers to listen, but I'm supposed to buy that mom is the most horrible person imaginable, just waiting for the opportunity to turn her daughter into a homeless single mom? Seriously, why are we slandering the nice, immigrant woman this way?

Next up, Jerry's cheating on Leona! In fact, she interrupts him in the act! Now that's a twist worthy of M. Knight!

“I’m pregnant, Jerry.” There, she had let it out.
“You’re pregnant?” His voice didn’t seem to hold any surprise...he seemed to be asking a normal question.
“Yeah,” she said. What was he going to say next?
What he did say was something that never could’ve hurt her more.
“Well, I’m sure you’ll figure out the best way.”
“You mean, you’re just dumping me?” she asked in disbelief. She knew he already had another girl, but he couldn’t do this to her! He just couldn’t.
“Well, what do you want me to do? Marry you?” he practically yelled.

Oooh, snap! Jerry dumps Leona as soon as she says the "p" word! Ha! That'll show you, slut! Men who will have sex with you without a ring are all users, while men who will marry you to have that sex are . . . very short-sighted. I probably got the wrong message there.

I can't wait for Chapter Two!


  1. Please tell me you are going to take this book on slacktivist style. I really enjoy your blog particularly when you are deconstructing other's works and am looking forward to your take on chapter 2.

  2. This becomes a scene straight out of Hell House if in chapter 2 she kills herself. Good Grief.

  3. Fear not, Chapter 2 published today.

  4. You know, that actually could be a lot worse. I mean, yeah, it's fan-fiction level writing, but at least the people act and react like people...

  5. ZOMG, I actually snorted on the unoriented thing.

    This reminds me, my girlfriend and I are about to have a baby boy at the end of the month. My parents don't like the idea we are living together without being married, but are happy about having a grandkid. I never once thought they would disown me and they are fundies.

  6. This is like religion class in my high school. It really is.

  7. "She had never really been open with her mother before, so that was pretty easy to say."

    Gosh if her mother had have been an open Christian mother then she would have been taught about birth control and wouldn't be in this situation....oh wait...

  8. Jerry. Just thinking his name made her picture him in his mind. Right out of highschool they had begun dating. They had been dating for about six months before...

    This is utterly amazing. Here we have her innermost, deepest thoughts about her boyfriend, right after she learns she's pregnant, and yet I can't hear a scintilla of emotion in the description. No record of how she feels about him, or him about her. It's absurdly cold and clinical.

    Of course, the reason is simple: "Jerry" is a plot device, not a character.


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