skygiants: the princes from Into the Woods, singing (agony)
[personal profile] skygiants
It's hard for me not to unfavorably compare every Isabelle Hollington Gothic to Trelawny, the one with the identical non-identical constantly-swapping twins, but The Marchington Inheritance runs a reasonable second for batshit plot resolutions.

Our Heroine is a children's book illustrator named Avril, which would be fine if she were not ALSO notable for her family reputation as a Strung-Out Sulky Counter-Culture Fight-The-Power Teen Rebel with constant Rage Against the Preppy machine, which meant that I had "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" stuck on rotate in my head for the entire duration of this novel. THANKS, ISABELLE HOLLAND.

Avril also has a Dark Tragedy in her past: during her strung-out counter-culture teenage youth, she had a baby daughter who was promptly kidnapped by her father while Avril was in the hospital and given up for adoption and is now Long Lost.

The A-plot kicks off when a school full of children moves in next door and starts YELLING every day at NOONTIME and DISTURBING the NAP of AVRIL'S ELDERLY AUNT GINEVRA. However, none of these kids are older than seven, so it is not possible that any one of them could be the plot's Significant Missing Child. However, the school is run by the most beautiful and classy woman that Avril has ever seen!

The B-plot kicks off when Avril's beautiful estranged sister, her wealthy businessman husband, and their two children turn up for an extended visit with Avril's aunt along with two more children: an equally beautiful but boring nine-year-old boy, and a sulky, rude and non-beautiful ten-year-old girl. HMMMMM.

AVRIL: I'm kind of sorry for my pudgy un-beautiful niece Michelle, it seems like her mother doesn't like her anywhere near as much as her beautiful brother? I wonder if we'll form a special un-beautiful bond?
MICHELLE: [is mildly rude]
AVRIL: ... or maybe Michelle's just a straight-up unlovable child? GUESS SOME KIDS ARE JUST THAT WAY.

Also hanging around is Avril's stuffy lawyer cousin, Julian, whom Aunt Ginevra is consulting for legal advice on The Interrupted Nap Problem.

AVRIL: Well, it seems we need your help, Julian, but I want it on the record that I don't LIKE you and I think you're a PREP and a STUFFED SHIRT who NEGLECTS his TWO CHILDREN who are NOT APPEARING IN THIS BOOK.
JULIAN: Well, I don't like you either, the whole Counter-Culture Rebel schtick really gets old after a while.
AVRIL: :O
AVRIL: :O!!
AVRIL: :O!!!!
JULIAN: Is .... that really a huge surprise .......??
AVRIL: It just never occurred to me that someone that I obviously and visibly dislike would dislike me also????
JULIAN: ....
AVRIL: Anyway I have the moral high ground here, all through my childhood you watched my dad bully me for not having the fabulously good looks that everyone else in the family has, and you said nothing!!
JULIAN: I mean, wasn't it enough that our other cousin, Charles, was kidnapped and brainwashed by terrorists years ago without you going all rebel on us too?
AVRIL: .... that seems like a weird thing to suddenly bring up in the middle of this fight, but OK? Anyway can we get back to talking about Aunt Ginevra's interrupted nap?

Sadly, Avril's attempts to solve The Interrupted Nap Problem only end up escalating the situation when she and Michelle save a beleaguered cat from the worst and loudest of the tots next door, and the only way that Avril can soothe tensions is by volunteering to teach all the tots art.

RANDY THE WORST TOT: Look, I drew the cat that I threw a stone at earlier!
AVRIL: ...well, you are definitely still the worst tot, but damn, that's a good cat for a seven-year-old! Well done, Randy the Worst Tot!
THE WORLD'S MOST BEAUTIFUL HEADMISTRESS: What is going on here!
AVRIL: Look, Randy the Worst Tot drew a really good cat!
THE WORLD'S MOST BEAUTIFUL HEADMISTRESS: What are you teaching these children? We don't allow artistic realism to stunt tiny imaginative minds in THIS school! ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM ONLY!!!

And then the World's Most Beautiful Headmistress confiscates Randy the Worst Tot's really good cat!

AVRIL: ...look, he may be the Worst Tot, but, like, it was a good cat??? D:

And then Randy the Worst Tot gets locked in the basement for awhile, and Julian turns up to help and is kind of weird about it, and it seems like an ACCIDENT but maybe it's NOT and then anyway the next major thing that happens is that Avril's brother-in-law is murdered!!

JULIAN: Did your husband have any secrets?
AVRIL'S BEAUTIFUL SISTER: Oh, yes. I mean he was extremely, extremely gay. Suuuper gay.
AVRIL: Oh, is that why your marriage always seemed weird?
AVRIL'S BEAUTIFUL SISTER: Well, that and the fact that we had to raise your illegitimate daughter, a fact which I always carried a deep resentment for.
AVRIL: ........
JULIAN: Okay, sure, but to go back to the thing about your husband being extremely gay, is it possible he was being blackmailed by terror--
AVRIL: Wait, so you and my sister have both known about this and watched me agonizing over my long-lost kidnapped daughter the whole time and never told me???
JULIAN: Look, I mean, it wasn't my call, it was your dad's, but you were kind of a mess at the time, and we all figured probably you'd just let a baby starve? And now, look, she's fine! Besides, you don't even like Michelle all that much.
AVRIL: Well maybe if I'd raised her, instead of my sister who RESENTS HER VERY EXISTENCE, she would have grown up to be LESS UNLOVABLE!

But before Avril can come to emotional terms with this and figure out whether to tell Michelle that she's secretly her mother, she gets recruited to help out with the concert that the tiny tots are holding at the UN to celebrate the signing of historic Israeli-Palestinian peace accords!

THE WORLD'S MOST BEAUTIFUL HEADMISTRESS: Please bring these boxes with you to the concert! They hold, um, sheet music.
AVRIL: OK kids, everyone remember to go to the bathroom TOGETHER and not to wander off to the bathroom on your OWN!
RANDY THE WORST TOT: [disappears off to the bathroom on his own and never comes back]
AVRIL: Julian Julian I still hate you but PLEASE COME HELP! I LOST A TOT!!!

Surprise -- the sheet music is actually: A BOMB!
And Julian is actually: A SECRET AGENT!
And Avril's brother-in-law was in fact actually: BEING BLACKMAILED BY TERRORISTS!
And the secret in Randy the Worst Tot's cat drawing was: THE TERRORIST LOGO THAT HE HAPPENED TO SEE that he'd faithfully drawn in the background of his very-good-for-a-seven-year-old drawing of a cat!
And the world's most beautiful headmistress is actually: AVRIL'S LONG-LOST COUSIN CHARLES WHO WAS KIDNAPPED AND BRAINWASHED BY TERRORISTS!!

(AVRIL: I can't believe I didn't recognize the fabulously good looks that everyone else in the family has but me!)

Fortunately, the Israeli and Palestinian representatives have a symbolic moment of working together to overcome the terrorists and all of the tots including Randy the Worst Tot are fine.

JULIAN: So now that all the terrorism is over, have you decided what you're doing about your daughter yet?
AVRIL: Eh, idk it seems like her relationship with the mom who resents her existence is really important to her, I guess I'm just gonna leave that where it lies for now? I dunno, I guess despite being my driving issue for most of the book it's not really that important to resolve my complex relationship with my sister and my new-found daughter.
JULIAN: Cool, cool. Seems like you don't care that much anymore that I was one hundred complicit in hiding her existence from you despite knowing it was the driving tragedy of your life?
AVRIL: Eh, I'm fine with it now.
JULIAN: OK, want to get married then?
AVRIL: Yeah, definitely seems like we're in love now and have been in love the whole book! That's sure a thing that happened!
JULIAN: Bummer about Terrorist Cousin Charles, though.
AVRIL: Kind of a bummer, yeah.

Date: 2017-08-17 12:43 am (UTC)
sovay: (Claude Rains)
From: [personal profile] sovay
And the world's most beautiful headmistress is actually: AVRIL'S LONG-LOST COUSIN CHARLES WHO WAS KIDNAPPED AND BRAINWASHED BY TERRORISTS!!

Do Gothics just have a high incidence of female characters with traditionally male names or is Beautiful Terrorist Charles trans?

Also, when the hell is this book taking place?

Date: 2017-08-17 02:20 am (UTC)
genarti: Baby sloth looking over edge of cardboard box, with text "...duuuude." ([misc] duuuuuude)
From: [personal profile] genarti
All I can say is: GOLLY.

Date: 2017-08-17 05:23 am (UTC)
st_aurafina: Rainbow DNA (Default)
From: [personal profile] st_aurafina
...wow. I am amaze. Also kind of hot for beautiful terrorist cousin Charles.

Date: 2017-08-17 07:13 am (UTC)
rachelmanija: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija
I read this and yet somehow forgot about 90% of the batshit, including Headmistress Charles. Mostly I remember everything that involved cats.

Date: 2017-08-17 09:07 am (UTC)
venetia_sassy: (MLP // shake it off)
From: [personal profile] venetia_sassy
... why do I bother trying to make my plots plausible?

Date: 2017-08-17 12:38 pm (UTC)
pedanther: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pedanther
!!!!

(Plus some additional !!!! for Trelawny, once I figured out that your link was missing the end bit of the URL.)

Date: 2017-08-17 05:08 pm (UTC)
vass: XKCD comic: Elaine Roberts plays drums, caption she even for a time took up drumming." (Riot Prrl 2)
From: [personal profile] vass
the sheet music is actually: A BOMB!

And here I was expecting it to be a choral arrangement of 'Complicated' and 'Sk8er Boi'.

Date: 2017-08-17 08:14 pm (UTC)
brownbetty: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brownbetty
Wow. That is... a lot.

Date: 2017-08-17 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] plinythemammaler
I READ ALL OF YOUR GOTHICS POSTS AND YET THEY DO NOT TRAIN ME WELL ENOUGH TO SEE THE TWISTS COMING

Date: 2017-08-18 12:49 am (UTC)
pedanther: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pedanther
If you can see the twists coming in a Gothic, the writer is not doing their job.

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