Note: I’m going to take a blog break to recharge from now until after Christmas
Are you ready to read more about America moping around a big fancy house? Well buckle up, because have I got the chapter for you.
IN THE MORNING I WOKE not to the sound of the maids coming in—though they had—or my bath being drawn—though it was. I woke to the light coming through my window as Anne gently pulled back the rich, heavy curtains.
This is such a clunky sentence. She wasn’t woken by the sound of the maids coming in, but the she was still woken by them.
Yes, I’m nit-picking. Shut up.
(Also if someone came into my room and opened he curtains while I was sleeping, I’d deck them)
She hummed a quiet song to herself, absolutely happy with her task.
I find this characterization utterly baffling. Why are the maids so thrilled to perform acts of menial labour for America? Is there any reason for it? And come to think of it I still have no idea what these characters look like or even what ages they are. I’m picturing Anne as an older women with grey hair and glasses, Lucy in her twenties with blonde hair, and Mary around America’s age, but there is absolutely no basis for this in the book itself. In fact America refers to them all as “girls” which makes me assume they’re not much older than her at the very most, although–again–we haven’t actually been told this.
I wasn’t used to being naked around other people—not even Mom or May—but there seemed to be no way around it.
Well gosh, couldn’t you just tell them to go away while you’re having a bath? They work for you, and you’re now much higher than them in the hierarchy.
Jesus Christ, I hate passive protagonists.
With bows and smiles, they wished me well as I went to leave. Lucy’s hands were trembling again.
The book keeps harping on Lucy being really nervous all the time. This seems like it could potentially be hinting at something–are the maids treated poorly if they don’t do their jobs well enough–although maybe that’s just me grasping for anything interesting.
Even when Silvia came to escort us downstairs, we still had to wait for Celeste and Tiny,
I can’t remember who the fuck Tiny is, even though she must have been introduced in the previous chapter. That’s how unmemorable these characters are.
I caught a glimpse of myself next to Marlee and Tiny. I looked positively plain.
But at least I looked like me, and that was a minor consolation.
There’s a fairly large disconnect between what the books seems to think it’s doing here, and what it’s actually doing.
What it thinks it’s doing is highlighting the fact that America stands out because she doesn’t try to hide who she is or change herself to appeal to people.
What it’s actually doing is highlighting the fact that America is naturally superior to all the other girls, so she still stands out from them even without trying. We know this is the case because side characters keep falling over themselves to tell her how gorgeous she is–in fact, half of them seem to exist just to do this.
Marlee was in the row in front of me, and Ashley sat to my right.
Who is Ashley, again? I think she’s like Marlee, except…not Marlee?
Yet another mistake on my part. That giggle caught the attention of Silvia,
I swear to God I’m not trying to be funny here, I legit can’t remember who any of these people are?
We weren’t to speak unless spoken to. Of course, we could talk quietly to our neighbors, but always at a level befitting the palace.
This part seems to indicate a level of patriarchy and traditionalism in Ilean culture, but if that’s the case I wonder why America hasn’t encountered standards of “ladylike” behaviour before.
Maxon saunters into the room, and America expects him to be angry with her over the previous night even though he didn’t seem mad in the slightest at the time. He has a short five-minute interview with each girl (is he speed-dating?) and the book continues to make him seem utterly unappealing as a romantic lead.
“Oh, please don’t cry!” Maxon’s whisper was marked with a genuine worry. “I never know what to do when women cry!”
Don’t you just want to swoon?
America offers Maxon a trade of sorts: if he lets her stay at the palace for a week so her family can get money, she’ll be his confidante and help him choose one of the Selected.
This is actually a pretty good idea for a romance–Maxon falls for the one girl who’s supposed to be off-limits–but the way it’s being presented here is so boring and lifeless, with America and Maxon just telling each other their plans and motivations.
“Do you think,” Maxon asked, “that I could still call you ‘my dear’?”
“Not a chance,” I whispered.
“I’ll keep trying. I don’t have it in me to give up.”
This dude is a such a weenie.
They all go into the dining room for breakfast (ROYAL PANCAKES) and we discover that eight of the girls were eliminated from the competition and sent home after the interviews. Including Ashley, so now I don’t have to bother trying to remember who she is, hooray.
Why weren’t any of the rules of this competition explained beforehand? None of the Selected have any idea what they’re going to be doing or what’s expected of them from moment to moment, and there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to when eliminations happen. If this is meant to be a Big Brother-style reality TV show, wouldn’t it be better to have designated times for eliminations?
Clearly, no one has thought this arbitrary nonsensical competition to select the country’s next queen through.