Now hearing the case of Constant Readers vs. The Breathing Method, a story involving a boring New York City lawyer who is old and has a humdrum life until one day, one of the senior partners of his law firm gives him an invitation to join a SUPER SECRET OLD BOYS’ CLUB. There’s a library full of books the new guy has never heard of before and can’t find any record of having ever been published. People also tell each other stories! The Breathing Method is a story ABOUT ONE OF THOSE STORIES BEING TOLD. Is it as exciting as it sounds? No, it’s much, much worse! OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
Andrea: I TOTES FINISHED BREATHING METHOD.
Pat: YOU KNOW WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THAT STORY?
Andrea: Boobs? Lack of boobs?
Pat: THAT IT’S ABOUT A FUCKING STORY BEING TOLD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORY.Someone should have taken a rubber stamp and inked each page of this story with “WHUT?”
Andrea: It is a credit to your sarcastic wit that I don’t know if you mean you really like it or you don’t.
Pat: AND THE STORY THAT SURROUNDS IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER.
Andrea: I liked that! I like the tone it sets. And I am saddened that I will never be invited to a secret club with creepy books that materialized from nowhere
Pat: I did not like it.
Andrea: It wasn’t like, awesome, but I thought it was solid. It could have been shorter. (more…)
Hello. You are now inside The Body, the third novella in Different Seasons. The setting is Castle Rock, Maine, in the Hunky-Dory Year Of Our Lord, 1960. Gordie Lachance is a kid with big dreams and a ridiculous name. He’s also friends with Chris Chambers (bad boy in training), Teddy Duchamp (a doofus of tremendous proportions and multiple maladies), and Vern Tessio (non-descript), who are DRAGGING HIM DOWN, I MEAN, COME ON, HE’S GONNA BE A BIG WRITER SOME DAY. But he doesn’t know that yet. They’re still dewey-eyed kids! THIS IS THE STORY OF THEIR DEW DRYING.
Andrea: This story is mediocre.
Sad poor kids have shitty lives, and they are great friends, but their friendships die, and they all die, too, and did you know there are no woods anymore? Your life is pointless.
Pat: Is it actually mediocre, or is it the knowledge that about five books down the line, he will kill it with IT? Because that’s all I kept thinking. “I wish I was reading IT.”
Andrea: There was nothing for me to relate to in this story at all. I remember really liking it at one time but, yeah.I HATE YOU STEPMOM. OH HEY I BANGED THIS CHICK WASH THE SHEETS. I HATE YOU DAD. HERE I GO DRIVING AWAY.
Pat: I’m sure I probably liked it way back when, but I honestly have no recollection of reading it before. I know I have, but the act is nowhere to be found in the memory banks.
Andrea: This was a very dude story to me.
And not in a good way. I feel like I really liked it when I was 19 or 20 and could feel my childhood palpably slipping away. Now I am old and don’t care.
Pat: You didn’t feel it earlier? Like when you actually left childhood?
Andrea: I feel like that was when I left childhood.
Pat: I don’t think you understand what “childhood” means.
Andrea: Yes. Here is what I feel. Even though I left for college my parents were still supporting me—it was not until the summer after my first year of college where I truly felt the feeling of being on my own and rudderless.
Pat: That’s your youth, not your childhood. Childhood ends at puberty.
Well, my youth then.
Pat: These are important distinctions!
There’s a whole different coming-of-age here. It’s not about becoming an adult, it’s about no longer being a kid.
Andrea: OMG okay professor.
Pat: WOULD IT HAVE BEEN OKAY IF THEY WERE HAVING THEIR FIRST PERIODS? (more…)
Andrea: Okay, so. The Body.
Pat: Where’d we leave off?
Andrea: I think we had kind of just started with initial impressions, but hadn’t delved into the structure or anything.
Delve into the structure? Is that a thing we do?
Pat: You’re probably thinking of some other literary blog you contribute to.
Because it sure doesn’t sound like ours.
Welcome to the second book of Different Seasons (subtitled “Summer Of Corruption”), in which SuperKid Todd Bowden—all-American slice of Wonder Bread—spots, photographs, researches, and verifies that an escaped Nazi War criminal, Kurt Dussander, is living on his Token Suburban Paper Route. Todd does what all well-adjusted kids would do in such a situation and confronts a man who he has proven to himself has killed lots and lots of people. Maybe Todd feels safe because he’s not Jewish?
THIS IS TOTALLY GOING TO END WELL, GUYS.
Andrea: I love this story. It’s so freaking good.“I pulled Apt Pupil from shelves because I didn’t want kids baking cats and having vaguely homosexual relationships with Nazi war criminals in hiding.”
Pat: All right, well, that’s that sorted. Next!
Andrea: Should I take it that you were not as enthralled?
Pat: I don’t understand what a whatever-year-old kid is doing noticing a Nazi fugitive that no one else has ever recognized before.
Andrea: Well, yeah, it is totally unbelievable, but was it not also fascinating? I mean the point was that this was no regular kid. He was a sociopathic freak. But was he that way before or after?
THE NATURE OF EVIL, HIPP
Pat: I don’t think dude was transformed by learning about the concentration camps.
Andrea: Do you think he was transformed by the proximity to such an evil person?
Andrea: OMG you so have nothing to say about this story
Pat: Well how would the proximity change him? What does that even mean?
Andrea: THE EVIL WOULD FLOW THROUGH TO HIS BRAIN
Pat: What are you even talking about? This kid was already fucked in the head.
Blackmailed Dussander from the GIT GO.
Bought him a fucking Nazi uniform to wear.
Andrea: So do you think he was born with the sociopathy?
Pat: Well, yeah.
Andrea: Despite his annoying yet seemingly competent parents?
Pat: What exactly can parenting do about inborn neurochemical imbalances? In the seventies?
Andrea: Oh god, I have no idea. (more…)
Pat: MORE LIKE CRAPT PUPIL
Andrea: You think?
OK LET’S NOT JUMP AHEAD
But seriously you don’t like it?
Pat: No, I’m kidding. The other option was Apt Poopil.
I think you made the right choice.
Pat: LIKE I DON’T KNOW THAT
Andrea: So where did we leave off with Fartshank?
I am not as good with poop puns as you.
Pat: You mean Shawstank Redumption?
[comic via Fat Awesome.]
Rita Hayworth And Shawshank Redemption, the first story in Different Seasons, is the story of one Andy Dufresne, shrewd banker and totally nice everyman, who lands in jail for the murder of his wife and her lover, even though is so definitely innocent. In jail, he befriends a dude named Red, who is oh for fuck sake you’ve all seen the fucking movie. It’s basically that, except Red isn’t black and Dufresne gets his post-prison money elsewise. Let’s check in with the live press conference, where Pat and Andrea are both incapable of talking at length about a book as good as Shawshank.
Pat: Let’s get the most important issue out of the way first: is it even possible to say anything bad about this story?MOTHERFUCKING ALL OF IT. IT’S SHAWSHANK, BITCH.
Andrea: Not really.
One thing bothered me–at the beginning, Red mentions that he married his wife because she was pregnant. That child is never mentioned again. He didn’t die in the car because they said he was serving time for three lives. Did he live?
Pat: I don’t know, why don’t you bring it up with your Mothers Who Read And Can’t Overlook A Child That Was Mentioned ONE FUCKING TIME support group?
Or you could write to the ladies of The View.
Andrea: All my book group ladies quit the book group. Because they are swinging single bar workers who don’t have time to read.
Pat: They probably wanted to get away from discussing whatever child was mentioned in any book.
“I loved Cloud Atlas, but what about the kid that was described passing the main character on the street on page 256? Did he ever grow up? Get married?”
Pat: You’re going to end up writing fan fic about the children obliquely mentioned in popular books. That will be your niche.
Andrea: I hate you so much.
I just wanted to know! Did he have any family left? Siiiihghhghghghghhghghgh
Pat: He’s an Irish dude in New England. I imagine he had tons of family.
Andrea: They just wrote him off, what with the murderin’.
Pat: Pretty likely. Or because he was in jail for life.
Andrea: The characterization is really sharp in this book. Partly what makes it such a level above The Running Man.
Pat: See Dick Run is a level above Running Man. (more…)
Pat: Let me tell you, I have no idea if this is right of me, but every time I see “awhile” when King means “a while,” I want to shoot blood lasers out of my eyes.
Andrea: I think “awhile” is legit.
HE IS USING IT TO MEAN AN ACTUAL INCREMENT OF TIME.