Adolescents in the System: HINDSIGHT, p. 30

If there’s one thing Hindsight: Coming of Age in the Streets of Hollywood, by former student Sheryl Recinos, is making self angry about, it’s about the way children are treated as pawns by the juvenile system.

Recinos was one of five siblings. One of her brothers was given to foster care when he was 13 (Why? Because the parents needed money and took a German exchange student in his place). Recinos never saw her brother again.

She was sent to an adolescent psych ward at 11. The timing is suspicious: it was the start of summer vacation, when she’d be home all the time. She and her new stepmother did not get along.

The other patients in the psych ward were teenagers. A boy named Keith was kind to her.

p. 30:

Keith left. He was sent away to a boys’ group home a few hours away. For boys with anger issues. I’d never seen him angry. He probably had a fake diagnosis, too. After all, we were in the land of TV commercials showing how you could “fix” your difficult teens by shipping them off to a hospital.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Committed: HINDSIGHT, p. 28

Hindsight, Ch. 5 (Hospital)

I stood up, staring out the window. I was on the dreaded Seventh Floor. The place where they locked my mom away whenever she lost it. When she tore out windows and painted the walls with ketchup and mustard. When she marched her kids into the mountains and left them. Where my stepson went, when she was so depressed that her naughty step-kids wouldn’t eat her nasty bloody chicken.

The window was reinforced, and there were strategically placed screws and nails in the framework. Even if I managed to open it, I would have to travel seven floors down. My bed only had two sheets. I wouldn’t make it.

Dysfunction

Hindsight, Ch. 4 (Married Again)

I was winning. We could stop this.

My father looked at us both, disappointment heavy in his eyes. “What would people think?” he asked.

“I don’t care,” I told him.

We argued for the rest of the day. I didn’t want this woman moving into our house. Something about her was unkind, cruel. I sensed her disdain towards me.

The day of the wedding came.

 

Older Sister: HINDSIGHT, p. 13

She wanted to stay to protect us, but she wanted to get away, to protect herself.

Her 2019 Reading Year

Top reading year, this is turning out to be.

Her Favorites, by Month:

  • February: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and November Road by Lou Berney.
  • March: Becky Chambers’ Record of a Spaceborn Few.
  • April: Milkman by Anna Burns; Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday; and Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush.
  • May: Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges by Antony Beevor and Northanger Abbey.
  • June: Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lily: ONCE UPON A RIVER, p. 153

Lily is rather simple, and self is moving slow as slow through this deliciously rich narrative (which means, she is enjoying this novel immensely):

When she had done the laundry (and ironed the sheets and scrubbed the tiles and filled the log baskets and got the soot off the hearth and polished the furniture and shaken the curtains and knocked air into the cushions and gone round all the picture and mirror frames with a feather duster and put a shine on all the taps with vinegar and cooked the parson’s dinner and set it ready on the table under a cloth, and washed up and cleaned the stove and left everything in the kitchen neat and tidy), Lily went and knocked again at the study door.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: 1st Tuesday of June 2019

Once Upon a River, p. 133

The photographer is waking up!

His thoughts on ascertaining there is a woman in the room:

There was an assurance in her footsteps and movements that told him she was neither very young nor very old. Was she fair or dark? Pretty or plain? She must be plain, he thought. Otherwise, she would be married, and if she were married she would not be here nursing a strange man alone in a bedroom.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Certain Favorites: ONCE UPON A RIVER

Trying hard to keep this post spoiler-free. Don’t worry, she’s only a third of the way through this novel. She’s not giving away any big secrets or anything.

We are at a Vaughan chapter. Self has to admit, this character is one of her favorites. (How lucky is she that she just finished Northanger Abbey and then stumbled into another great novel. This doesn’t happen often. That is why she appreciated discovering Phillip Pullman and reading His Dark Materials all in one go.)

Setterfield is really good at describing sows, pet pigs, etc First there was Maud the Sow, who was kidnapped (Who kidnaps a sow? a character asks. Yeah, WHO?). Martha, a pig, Maud’s daughter, becomes a replacement confidant for one of the characters (There are so many pigs on farms in the Philippines and no one’s ever written about them. Or turned them into characters. Why not give it a try, self?)

Vaughan had a disorienting encounter several chapters ago with Mrs. Constantine. He lost his daughter — “taken” — when she was four. He’s just been going through the motions ever since. Then someone rescues a man and a four-year-old girl from the river. A servant tells his wife the news before Vaughan gets a chance to tell her himself, and then his wife takes off, just like that, to the inn where the drowned/rescued girl has been taken.

These actions, while thrilling, are so perfectly in character. Self finds herself nodding over the pages, saying “Yes, yes. Go on.”

As for Vaughan, he couldn’t go on. He went on.

As for the man who was rescued with the little girl, he has remained unconscious for all these pages. He made a big, dramatic entrance in Chapter 1, lost consciousness, and has been lying flat on his back on a table at an inn since forever. All self knows about him is that a nurse practitioner (or whatever you called healers in that time, in England) came and examined his entire naked body very thoroughly, and deduced that his injuries were survivable, and also that he was a photographer.

She only heard of Diane Setterfield at the Fowey Festival of the Arts. She went to Bookends of Fowey and asked if they could recommend a book by Setterfield “to start with.” Once Upon a River was out of the question because it was hardcover and very thick, and self had still weeks of travel to go. She bought it, though, just before leaving London.

In another piece of luck, self has been back from London for two whole days, and her weirdo neighbor has not made a peep (until this afternoon, when she heard muffled stirrings from the other side of the fence. UGH. She’s confident he’ll never discover this blog, because he doesn’t seem to do anything all day, and has no friends. He has stuffed animals lined up in his living room window, and seems to think self has a crush on him. She’ll be really distressed if he shows himself, frankly. It will ruin her plans for the summer, which are: to remain entirely, unreservedly, stress-free. One day when she was running out of conversational topics with Dearest Mum, resident of Manila, she told Dearest Mum about this neighbor. True to form, Dearest Mum giggled and said she was so happy to know that self had an admirer!!!)

Something is going to happen. Stay tuned.

Jonathan: ONCE UPON A RIVER, p. 110

Jonathan’s birth:

I couldn’t take my eyes off him, little fairy creature that he was. He gave a blink and the way his eyelid — you know what it is like, not straight like yours and mine, but set at an angle — it closed over the eye not quite like a normal baby, but nearly. I thought, What does he make of this strange world he’s come to? What does he make of me, his foster mother? He moved his arms, not altogether like my baby girls used to, but more floppy — like he was swimming. A baby frown came into his face and I thought, He will cry in a minute. He’s cold. Beattie hadn’t wrapped him up or anything. Fairy children can’t be so very different from the ones I know, I thought, because I can tell he’s getting cold. I put my fingers against his little cheek and he was all wonder, quite astonished! When I took my finger away his little mouth opened and he mewed like a kitten to have it back. I felt my milk rise at his cry.

For the first time in forever, dear blog readers, self has no inclination to read spoilers on goodreads or Twitter. She’s caught firmly in the fictive net of this novel.

Stay tuned.

Maud, the Sow: ONCE UPON A RIVER, p. 61

It was amazing how a man’s mind might remain half in shadow until the right confidante appeared, and Maud had been that confidante. Without her, he might never have known certain things about himself, about his son. On this spot, some years ago, he had shared the disagreement between himself and his wife about Robin and the theft from the bureau. As he retold the sorry tale to Maud, he saw it anew and noticed what he had registered but not paid attention to at the time.

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