Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Prologue: In Which I Get a Little Overzealous

I want to first preface this blog with the idea that I'm reading this book for the first time. These synopses don't involve reading it through all the way and then reading through it again. I want my surprise and disgust to be documented in a true fashion. Also, I don't particularly care about One Direction; I literally own only one of their songs (What Makes You Beautiful) and when the only other one I like (Story of My Life) comes on the radio, I'll listen to it. I'm attracted to hot British guys just as much as the next person, but I don't see how this is fan fiction of the band, and I don't see why a 25-year-old married woman would be interested in writing it. I also don't see why it's okay for young people to think that it's okay to be treated like they're worthless just because the guy is hot and "tortured." Hence my involvement.

I'm strangely excited for this, and with the idea that this is basically a New Adult (read: college-age peeps) version of Fifty Shades of Grey, I'm almost giddy just thinking about tearing this text apart. There may be times where I over-analyze (like in the prologue), but I just can't help myself. Let us begin...

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

No, wait, that's another fandom. A better fandom. At least the Star Wars people are nerdy enough to keep to themselves and secretly hope that Disney won't completely wreck movies 7, 8, and 9 like LucasFilms did with the prequels. One Direction fans on the other hand have no shame, apparently. This becomes clear from the success of Anna Todd's "After," in which the front cover boasts "1 BILLION READERS ONLINE--NEWLY REVISED AND EXPANDED." Joy. On top of that, the rights to make it into a movie have been sold. I hope Paramount sees the lack of success that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie accumulated on Valentine's Day Weekend and drops the whole idea. You may say I'm a dreamer...


NOTE: I've recently learned that the Wattpad version does not include a prologue. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet... 

Ah, yes, the prologue. I rarely enjoy prologues, especially ones written the way that this one is, where the narrator is looking back on all that has transpired. It often gives too much away, and, while I think it's meant to put the reader in suspense for some later moment in the book when the couple pages of thinly-veiled foreshadowing come to pass and suddenly make sense, Todd's version is left wanting.

I'm just getting my feet wet with all of this, so... here we go.

From the get-go, Todd's writing boasts of a high school education, and a high school education only. In a self-interview on Wattpad, where the story was originally posted, Todd admits, "I never edit, (besides typos) and I barely ever reread the chapter before posting..." She claims it's because she over-thinks things, but in truth it's likely because it's fan fiction. That was one of my issues with FSoG (Fifty Shades of Grey); James basically did a find-replace on the names of the characters, tried (and failed) to get rid of all the vampire stuff that would link it to Twilight, and then didn't change anything to make it better. Anna Todd doesn't appear to be any different.
"From an early age I was taught, trained really, to prepare for my education."
I won't even say what was grammatically wrong with that sentence (the editor in me is dying inside already and we're only on the third sentence), but this book is quickly speaking volumes on how Tessa's relationship with Harry Styles (oh, I'm sorry, Hardin) is going to be. Just like in FSoG, Tessa never gets to be who she wants to be. She gets to be trained in how she should be. I hope his prized horse wins the race.
"I had no idea there would be more to college than academics."
Honestly, what did you think happened, Tessa? I wonder if the author just plopped Tessa into existence right then and there on that first page, because I have to think she would've watched Animal House by now, or at least heard horror stories of partying on college campuses. But, wait, she's probably just as innocent (read: uncultured) as Anastasia Steele in FSoG.
"I was naive then, and in some ways I still am. But I couldn't have possibly known what lay ahead of me."
I hate it when authors do this. It's the same thing like when Ducky looks at the camera in "Pretty in Pink," giving a nod to the viewer, like "hey, I know you're there, and I just want to acknowledge you, even though my character does not exist in real life and the things that are about to transpire aren't happening anywhere except in a make-believe world."

These two sentences are also much like the Twilight prologue ("I knew that if I'd never gone to Forks, I wouldn't be facing death now."), but at least Stephanie Meyer doesn't write like she's sixteen years old. Oh, how the ripping off of Twilight continues...

Talking about her soon-to-be friends:
"They were so different from anyone I had ever known and I was intimidated by their appearance, confused by their pure inattention to structure."
Are you confused by their "pure inattention to structure" because you've never met anyone, ever? If structure is not having tattoos and expressing yourself, then I guess myself and many of the people I know also lack inattention to structure (side note: I don't have any tattoos, but I know people that do.) In fact, the best people I know have a pure inattention to structure, and I love them for it.
"And that's when he crept into my heart."
Oh, mysterious he! Who could he be!

Also, crept? Sounds a little creepy don't you think? Like the lion falling in love with the lamb... Wait, I've read this before.
"From our first encounter, Hardin changed my life in ways that no amount of college prep courses or youth group lectures could have."
Let's break this down. First, from this moment on, Hardin shall hence-forth be named as Hard-On. I'm not sure what possessed the author to make her think changing the -ry to a -din would do anything but make you wonder who in the hell kind of person is named Hardin. Oh, but wait, the part she took away and added, amount to a misspelled version of  riding (like, in a sexual way, of course). I wonder if she thought of this, but probably not. In fact, definitely not. Just like EL James made no connection with calling her main character who's anorexic Ana.

But I digress.

Next item of business here is that we now know that Tessa has been privy to many a youth group lecture. For those of you not raised in a Catholic-Christian household, youth group is when you're usually in middle school and high school, and you get together outside of school (or in school depending on if it was a public or private education) to talk about God and Jesus and how even thinking about sex before marriage is sinfully wrong. Great set-up here, Todd. Let's make this girl as innocent as possible; her transformation will be so original.
"At times I am grateful, so utterly lost in the moment of passion that my judgment is clouded and all I can see is him. Other times, I think of the pain he caused me, the deep sting of loss for who I had been, the chaos of those moments when I felt as if my world had been turned upside down, and the answer isn't as clear as it once was."
I get the feeling this book is going to be riddled with a lack of conjunctive words, which is one of my biggest pet peeves.


Does this passage sound at all familiar? Like the entire premise of FSoG perhaps? No? Anyone? Yay for another male dominating character who's a total asshole changing the personality of a young, inexperienced and submissive girl.
"... my life and heart will never be the same, not after Hard-On crashed into them."
Ha. What?

I know that my nickname for him makes it even funnier, but I'm imagining him actually crashing into her heart, and for some reason I just feel like that would hurt...

Well, that was the prologue... so far - unimpressive.

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