Beauty and the Beast? Oh, Please.

WARNING: Rant ahead. Containing strong language, and much disgust.

Are you prepared? Yes? Then let’s go!

As you may know, Mac is a closet romance fan. Yes. Make all the jokes you want. Go ahead.

My tastes have always been closer to romance as a side-genre, but while going through dramatic times and wanting something of a lighter nature to distract me, I decided to give romance another chance. What better way than a Kindle Unlimited account on Amazon? And a Beauty and the Beast retelling? Heck yeah!

This is where I stumbled across this lovely gem: Beauty and the Beast by Angela Fattig.

Security…
Safety…
Fuck them and leave…
And the most important one…
Don’t give them your heart.
For both Shannon Taylor and Jareth Stein it’s been the same thing. Day after day, year after year.
Shannon Taylor knows all about hurt and betrayal. It’s something she never talks about. Not even her best friend knows.
High school is a very unkind place. Hell the whole childhood thing is Hell. Aren’t fathers supposed to love their children not hurt them?
Jareth Stein knows the secret of life. Leave them before they leave you.
That was the lesson his mother taught him all those years ago when she left him in the hands of his abusive father for another man. Never to be seen again.
In addition to the issues Jareth and Shannon face already; Jareth’s mom comes back with a message:
If you don’t give me what I want I will destroy you and everyone you love; starting with Shannon.

It sounded great. Abused hero and heroine, and dealing with resulting issues? My catnip. Plus, all wrapped up in some Beauty and the Beast? Hell yeah! Not to mention this, directly from Amazon!

50% of ebook sales will be donated to fight child abuse. So when you buy a copy for $2.99 you are doing your part to protect a child.
Thank you for your continued support.

A book like this couldn’t go wrong, right?

So, let’s start with the language. Fuck is the first word. Now, I’m no stranger to all the curses despite my proper Christian upbringing, but this book takes it a little far. No, make that a lot too far. It’s always cock or dick, ass, pussy, etc. That’s when you start to really wonder how big the author’s vocabulary is.

That’s mildly annoying, but I can live with it. The horrid grammar mistakes, too. Like this gem of dialogue!

“If I wanted to get you into bed, all I would need to do is come up to you and tell you I was ready to fuck.” He says this in a low and deep voice that has my insides turning to mush and my panties soaked.
“If,” I question breathlessly. I can’t believe I’m still playing this dangerous game because he’s right.
He smirks. “You know I want to fuck you,” he says, “How could you not. You were ogling a hole through my cock only moments ago.”
I huff and cross my arms over my chest. “I was not ogling your cock,” I say although we both know that’s a lie.
He laughs. “Well,” he questions raising a brow.
Frowning, I say, “Well what?”
“Wanna fuck,” he asks his voice dropping even more.

This charmer who doesn’t know what a question mark is? Jareth, our hero. Yes, named after that Jareth.

He moves fast and goes right for the sex, right after our heroine, Shannon, was having a panic attack, nonetheless. Oh, but don’t worry. That was cured the moment she saw Jareth’s magic dick, and ogled it. Because that works every single time.

After one magical night of passion after this chance meeting at a coffee shop, they part ways. And then Shannon wakes up alone in the hotel room and realizes that gasp! they didn’t use a condom.

foreshadowing

Then we move onto Chapter One. Where Jareth, (who’s an FBI agent! And a cop! Don’t ask me how.) meets up with Shannon again at a club. And guess what? She’s two months pregnant! Betcha didn’t see that coming! It was a complete and total shock!

Oh, and when Jareth sees her, in a tight red dress, we get treated to how his cock’s gone “hard as a fucking rock, my temper spiking.” Why? Well, because he wants her body to belong to him, of course.

Ah, can he get more charming? But since it was still Beauty and the Beast, supposedly, I let it slide.

And they finally learn each other’s names! How’s that for exciting? But Shannon’s trying to convince herself that she doesn’t need Jareth’s magic dick, so she gets angry and storms off.

Next chapter! POV switch again! This time, it’s our villains! Jareth’s mother, Jolene, and his stepfather that she abandoned him for, Jack. Surprise! These two are planning to blackmail Jareth out of some money. The plot is afoot! The scoundrels.

Jareth catches up to Shannon, and she can’t stay mad at him because he’s such a good kisser, and in no time, they’re having sex again. This girl has no spine. She just needed the magic dick that much, I guess.

I lost the ability to read through the rest of it again, because I already gave the awful thing back to the Amazon pits where it belongs, and there’s no way in hell I’m actually paying for it, so I shall continue without the rich, beautiful quotes I had hoped for.

So, there’s much of the sexytimes, which I’m in no position (har har) to criticize. But wait! What about the plot? Well, there’s something about protecting Shannon’s friend, Alicia, who suddenly turned out to be Jareth’s half-sister, for no reason at all. And some mob boss Jareth’s trying to stop. He and Shannon keep fighting, and he keeps being right. Because the man is always right, right?

And the day after they met up again, she’s telling him that she’s pregnant with his kid, and then he tells her all about his Certified Tragic Backstory. Sexual abuse by Daddy, in short, starting at five. When he was seven, he tried to tell Mommy, who told him he deserved it somehow. But he knew that was wrong.

NOW HOLD ON, JUST ONE FUCKING SECOND.

When abuse starts that young, does a child ever know that they don’t deserve it? I had my fair share of childhood drama, and, let me tell you, I was always sure I was the one doing the wrong thing. Mother is God in the eyes of a child. Besides, who opens up that easily? No abuse victim I’ve ever known.

Oh, and don’t worry, it gets better. Shannon’s all, “Oh, Jareth, I’m so sorry I called you an asshole! I wouldn’t have if I’d known!”

NONONONONONONO.

Nobody gets a license to be an asshole just because they were abused. We’re adults. We grow up, move on, and make the decision to change. None of us get a free ride because of our victim card. If someone’s being an asshole, it’s your duty to call them out on it, and not take that shit.

Oh, and then she’s like, “I’ll never look at you differently!” Oh, bullshit. She was already looking at him differently, which was why she was apologizing for calling him out on being the asshole that he is. And there they go, pitying each other so touchingly. Or sickeningly, in my case.

And then, we hear Shannon’s story (was that before or after they had more sex? I can’t remember), It started when she was five, too! Almost the same thing! Her Daddy was getting drunk, though, and her Mommy found out one time when Shannon was fighting him off as a teenager, so Mommy got killed, Daddy got to prison.

After more sex (including some tongue in the butt, complete with chocolate flavored lube!),

we arrive to Jareth’s mom threatening him and Shannon, your typical cheating misunderstanding. And then, somehow Shannon gets kidnapped, by this guy who turns out to be her half-brother! And, of course, he wants to rape her, too. She’s just that sexy, I guess. Even though we don’t even know what she does for a living! And her appearance is mentioned once! (Oh, I guess it’s because her magical Jareth-fixing hoo-ha tastes like peaches. That’s gotta be it. Because Jareth isn’t the only one to mention it.)

And don’t get me started on the sappy dialog. At one point, Shannon actually says something like, “From the moment I looked in your heavenly blue eyes, I loved you.” Oh, please. Does anyone actually talk like that?

So, to sum it up, Jareth’s a controlling asshole who gets away with it because it’s supposed to be sexy, and he keeps his victim card on hand. Shannon’s a weak, cardboard-cutout abuse victim who always needs the big strong man to save her from everything. Everything is made better by magical sex, and the villains know they’re villains, and take pride in it.

I’d lost all the respect I might have had for this book within the first couple chapters, I only finished it out of a savage need to hate something. I’m so sick of the Rape As A Backstory angle with women in books. Yes, we know rape is evil, thanks. We get the picture! But using it as a crutch to give your character an easy gateway to drama is just wrong. And please, the magic dick is not a miracle cure!

There’s so much NOPE throughout that book. There wasn’t even enough WTF-ery to make it funny! I can’t say I’ve ever come across a book that I dislike more, but I won’t be discouraged by this drivel.

But Tim Curry makes everything better.

Friggin’ Depression, and Random Rambles

Welcome back to my Rantings, Ramblings, Ravings and Musings. Aren’t you so glad to be here?

Yeah, that makes two of us. I feel your pain.

My poor roommates. They’ve had to deal with me, since my job ended, being crankier than normal. Crankiness is me in the pits of depression. I don’t get sad, just irritable.

My counselor’s been working with me on this, helping me realize how this is quite often my inner child, triggered by that which I deem to be unfair. Because I didn’t have a very fair childhood, at all, and I wasn’t really allowed to just be a kid.

Oh, woe is me.

Anyway, I’m still cranky as hell. Because life is unfair. I have a headache. That’s unfair. Everything hurts. Also unfair. I don’t have a job. Also unfair. I can go on. And on. And on.

I went to a dance a few weeks ago. It sucked. First, because I had to go alone, and only knew one person there. Second, because depression. I had to go hide in a corner for a while and just chill, and then fend off the awkward “are you okay?” questions from concerned passersby who happened to stumble upon me.

Friggin’ depression.

My cat, Captain, had to have dental surgery, because of unfortunately rotten teeth. I’ve had that cat for twelve years now. He’s quite honestly the love of my life. And every day, I have to face the fact that he’s getting old, and I’m going to lose him one day.

That also sucks.

Friggin’ depression.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Scott, too. (Friend who committed suicide four months back.) It’s really hard, because I miss him, I’m pissed as hell at him, and I still have those wistful suicidal thoughts at night, but I annoyingly promised myself I wouldn’t do it, because he made me realize how freaking selfish it is, and I can’t do that to everyone. I mean, think of the funeral costs. That’s enough of a deterrent. But, honestly, I’m still perfectly okay with dying. I’m just not actively seeking it.

Betcha know what I’m going to say next.

That’s right. Friggin’ depression.

I’m trying to watch my language, as my roommates have instituted a “Swear Jar,” and I don’t want to lose the money I’ve got because of a few strong words. Mormons, sometimes.

But, hey. At least right now it’s just the f-bomb. I can even get away with the blatant use of my middle finger, right now. So I’m okay. My freedom of speech isn’t in that much danger. But you can thank them for today’s use of milder language.

I’ve also discovered that I am a valuable resource to my fellow-writing roommates. For instance, one of these roommates was writing a literary story for a class, and I helped her make it less boring by putting excellent elements of drama into it, such as a narcissistic mother. I am their go-to person for abuse and mental illness research, even if they don’t freaking want it. I will shove it down their throats if need be!

By the way, any aspiring writers out there: RESEARCH IS YOUR FRIEND! ALWAYS DO THE RESEARCH!

Anyway, friends, followers, or random people out there, thank you for tuning in. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming. (Saying that makes me feel powerful, okay? Don’t judge me.)

And, just once more, for the sake of my amusement:

Friggin’ depression.

Dear Parents

(aka Dear Mac of The Possible Future)

  • Your children are not puppets. They are individuals. All of them have different wants and needs. Don’t project onto them, or place them on a pedestal.
  • Take the time to listen to them. They have a perspective, too, and they’re not always wrong just because they’re the children.
  • Don’t try to tell them they’re extremely intelligent and capable of handling online high school classes when they can barely divide.
  • Don’t forbid them from seeing friends—they’ll usually just find a way to go behind your back, if the friendship is strong enough.
  • When they ask why they aren’t allowed to do something, give them a good, honest reason, not “Because I said so.”
  • Don’t ever try to hide from Child Services, or isolate your children in other ways—especially not from peers. Psychologically, children need to form social connections, or their brains don’t develop correctly.
  • If you’re going to homeschool your children, make sure that this is actually done. Properly. Patiently. Don’t yell at them for not understanding. Make sure you understand, first.
  • Don’t tell them to stop being so sensitive.
  • Don’t talk about people behind their backs to your children. Especially not other children or the other parent.
  • Don’t make it all about you.

Devil Child

Get the holy water! Pray for mercy! DELIVER US FROM EVIL! Why? Because, dear readers, I’m officially the devil child!

After so many years of trying to get away from my original Golden Child state, I have finally succeeded, and things are as they should be. Everything is right in the world. My sister, who is always feeling guilty about things and is most definitely the nicer one, is finally being recognized by my mother for her efforts. You know where that puts me? As the evil one. And oh, how I love it!

It’s so liberating, really, being the scapegoat. I’m an adult. I’m old enough to realize that my mother is full of shit. So I just don’t care. . . especially now that I have a Prozac prescription to fall back on. I don’t feel guilty. So I’ll drive like a maniac, hate knitting, blare my evil rock music, play my evil video games, wear the black that depresses my aunt, swear like a sailor, watch all the horror movies I want, talk about autopsies at the dinner table, tell people the truth to their faces, flip them the bird, tell every dam joke that enters my head, call little dogs Cat Snacks, belch as much as I want, laugh at dirty jokes, wear tank tops, and snap heads off. It offends my mother and my aunt, but who cares? Auntie Darling hated me even when I tried my hardest to be the Little Angel, so screw her. Done caring. I’ll wear all the black, all the ratty clothes, and all the skulls I want, and I refuse to feel bad about it.

They’re going to complain about me anyway, because that’s how they work. So, I might as well really give the two of them something to complain about! Besides, being evil is my natural state of mind! All my hard work must be recognized!

In the immortal words of the great and terrifying Dark Helmet: “Evil will always triumph—because Good is dumb.”

Lessons Learned From A Haunted House

Ah, October! Season of so many things dark and horrific! Everything that is beautiful! The one holiday I adore! How it makes me reminisce, back to my younger days, working in a haunted house. And the things I have learned from it.

After transitioning high schools, adjustment was tough. I was friendless again, and trying not to make all the stupid mistakes I’d made in junior high. So, what was a poor girl to do? Be nice to everyone, rule number one. Second, try to join some clubs. Through my short-lived association with the drama club that year, I found out that the local haunted house needed actors. Well, having been a fan of suspense and horror for the last couple years, I was quick to fall for the idea.

Haunted House

Yes, the haunted house in question looked just like this.

At the meeting I was directed to, however, were not a bunch of drama geeks. Nah, these were the kids I’d always been afraid of—and admired a bit. The rebels. The goths and emos. And there I was, probably the only person not wearing black!

But I got in with ease, and devoured the cast manual. Though I failed in my first role as an asylum patient, I was given a new role within two weeks. Zombie.

And that was when I met her. My haunted house role model. A very short goth in her early twenties, who didn’t take crap from anyone. She was the queen of that room, and we all appropriately worshiped her. Her motto, which I instantly absorbed? “Suck it up and deal with it.” Or, sometimes, “Go hard or go home.”

I only got to work with her a few weeks before my throat gave out and I had to be transferred to a quieter role, but those weeks formed my perception of my work at the haunted house. According to the owners, I became one of the best, most versatile actresses they had. I didn’t whine if I wasn’t given the role I wanted. And I did my best, every single night of every single season for five years. I got bruised, cut, groped, suffered allergic reactions, and lost my voice repeatedly. It didn’t matter. I sucked it up, and dealt with it. I emulated her take-no-crap attitude.

Since then, of course, I’ve learned. You can’t always suck it up and deal with it. Sometimes, you can’t give your all. But sometimes, you can. And when you do, you shine. Heck, you’re freaking made of moonbeams!

As to the other lesson in the plural title of this post, you know why I love horror, even though I’ve now got a pretty permanent fear of the dark? It’s looking that fear right in the face. Acknowledging it. I’m facing something that’s meant to scare me, and staring it down. Telling it that it can’t. Proving I’m stronger than that. Pushing back against my fear with everything I’ve got.

Beyond anything else, I think those were the most important lessons I learned in those five years.

Beastly: A Book/Movie Comparison

Today, I thought I’d talk about one of my favorite modern day fairy tales. Alex Flinn’s Beastly, which had a movie made of it in 2011. And, well, let’s meet Beauty and the Beast!

In the book, we have Kyle Kingsbury. Gorgeous son of a famous NYC news anchor. Sure, his dad never talks to him, but he shuts up and deals with it. He knows he’s hot stuff, and looks down on everyone else. Doesn’t even notice a lot of people. One day, he pisses off a witch named Kendra, who transforms him into an all-out beast. Hair covering his whole body, no lips, big teeth, claws. A legit beast, he can’t go anywhere without people freaking out, and trying to kill him.

Disney's Beast

Yeah, that’s about right.

Playing opposite him, Linda Owens (Lindy for short). A plain redhead and literature enthusiast, at a private school on scholarship. Works part time to make sure the rent gets paid, because her dad’s an addict. Wears t-shirts and jeans all the time, her hair in a braid. Kyle himself describes her as a nobody.

The movie gives us Kyle Kingston. Running for the president of the high school Green Committee because he’s gorgeous and he knows it. That’s his whole campaign, with no beating around the bushes. One day pisses off a witch named Kendra (played by Mary-Kate Olsen), and she. . . gives him tattoos. And scars. And makes him bald. He is hideous.

Alex Pettyfer in Beastly makeup

Wait, what?

He falls for Lindy Taylor (played by the gorgeous Vanessa Hudgens). A scholarship student who knows how to look cute. Her hair is always perfect, and she cares about the environment, too, because she becomes the Green Committee’s treasurer. She loves Jujy Fruits and coffee from a little coffee shop in the city. She gives to the homeless. While walking down the street with her headphones on, she starts singing out loud. Isn’t she cute? And Kyle sees it, too. When a picture is taken with him and the gorgeous, cute Lindy, he can’t help but stare at her. And she even has a cell phone! Wow, she’s so poor!

Wait a second. . . .

Wait a second. . . .

So, Kyle is shut away in a house in Brooklyn (book). Or an apartment outside the city (movie). He spends time sulking, with only the maid and the blind tutor his father hired as company. He eventually agrees to let the tutor, Will, teach him, builds a greenhouse, starts calling himself Adrian, and grows roses (book). He stalks Lindy, going by the name Hunter (movie).

Due to circumstances made possible by Lindy’s addict father (in the book, he breaks into the house, in the movie, Kyle sees him kill someone), Adrian/Hunter gets Lindy to live with him, through blackmail. She’s angry, at first, but then they start talking face-to-face. So he invites her to take Will’s lessons with him. (Except in the movie, he only starts studying because she’s there. And then he builds a greenhouse and plants roses because she likes roses. Not because he does.)

Without going blow-by-blow for the rest of the differing plots, I’d like to say the movie is shallow. After all, it’s Hollywood. Nobody can be too ugly, right? Unfashionable doesn’t exist in a teen romance! And classic literature? Who’s into that stuff? A cute nerd would be into contemporary poetry, coffee, Jujy Fruits, music and saving the planet! Plus, the climax lost all of its muchness. Quite frankly, it’s disgusting, and ruined one of my favorite books.

This isn’t to say I have a problem with the actors. I thought they all did well, particularly Mary-Kate Olsen as Kendra and Neil Patrick Harris as Will. But the plot itself? It doesn’t get what Beastly is really about.

In short, when choosing between the two, go with the book. It’s much more rewarding.

Christian Weirdness: Mormon vs. Catholic

Tonight, I took the opportunity to expand my Christian horizons by going to a Catholic mass.

Now, there are those among the Mormon church who believe Catholicism is the whore of Babylon mentioned in Revelations. That’s incorrect. The whore of Babylon is not necessarily a denomination, just a state of mind. Opposition to righteousness.

That in mind, I decided that I needed to stop just thinking Catholics were weird (besides wrong, of course), and that I was so much better than them, and actually try to understand. Besides, I’ve always found Catholicism somewhat interesting. Maybe because the majority of demonic possession movies have a Catholic background. Plus, the stained glass windows and cathedrals are beautiful.

So, tonight, I attended mass, dressed as I would for an LDS service—in a skirt. I was advised by the Internet that it was the only way to dress for Catholics as well. Imagine my surprise when people started showing up in jeans!

In the LDS chapel, we have hymn books out for the congregation. In this chapel, they had three song books and a missal and a book for you to follow along. I was having a hard time switching back and forth between them all.

LDS church is composed of three different meetings: Sacrament meeting, Sunday school, and the age- and gender-specific classes (Primary for children up to twelve, Priesthood for males over twelve, Young Women for girls twelve to eighteen, and Relief Society for women eighteen plus). A total of three hours, sitting down except when traveling from one to the other. Our Sacrament meeting is most like a standard church meeting, gathering in the chapel, taking the sacrament. It’s really a very simple organization. Opening hymn, opening prayer, ward business, sacrament hymn, sacrament, first speaker, second speaker, hymn or musical number, third speaker, closing hymn, closing prayer. Mass isn’t anywhere near that simple. I couldn’t keep track of all the prayers and hymns and things sung! Most of it was routine. And plus, there was so much sitting, standing, kneeling. Good way to stay awake, I guess. Bravo to Catholics for figuring that out! Maybe us Mormons could use a little more of that, and a little less of the classic elbow in the ribs.

To say I didn’t feel comfortable? An understatement. All in all, I found it too formulated, leaving too little room for revelation. See, Mormon’s don’t really use formulated prayers very often. Just for things like baptism, confirmation, the sacrament, and so on. I guess you could say our prayers are free verse. Reciting something like a prayer will never feel right to me. Also, I found a bit of it was really showy—more of the body than the mind and heart. Beyond that, I was depressed by the limited amount of scripture: just the Bible. I’m so used to the classic Mormon quad: The Bible, the Book of Mormon (testament of Christ in the Americas), the Pearl of Great Price (miscellaneous things, including the books of Moses and Abraham, and the Joseph Smith translations of the Bible), and the Doctrine and Covenants (establishment of the LDS church, and related revelations). To be cut down to one. . . is weird.

Now, I can’t tell you I felt the Spirit there. And I can’t say I didn’t. I’m not very spiritually sensitive. But the pastor did say some good things, and I had good notes to take.

After mass, I talked to the pastor long enough to give him my name and tell him I was Mormon. He made sure I felt welcome, and introduced me to another girl, who introduced me to basically everyone else. To be perfectly honest, I was overwhelmed by how included they made me—how nice everyone was. I’m a Utah Mormon. Here, Mormons can be nice, but they can also be very judgmental and cliquish, for lack of a better term. But I saw so little of that in the Catholics I met tonight. They invited me to an activity later in the week, and I think I might have to go. Because, honestly, in my own ward I haven’t ever felt so included.

My conclusions: Catholics are still weird. Their religion seems to be as steeped in tradition as Judaism. And, of course, I won’t ever believe the Catholics have it right. But they’re wonderful people—far better than I’ve been led to believe by Utah Mormons.