More Than You Dreamed (or how I fell back off the Gilles Seidel Love Wagon…)

“If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas – no wonder my words have been impetuous” Job.

It was a short love, brief and lilting like a summer’s breeze, only to turn grey and cold and bite me in the ass.

Dear More Than You Dreamed.

I don’t know if you remember me, but I am the individual, who just last week, threw you at my wall and left you lying awkwardly and splayed in the corner of my lounge-room. I apologise sincerely for any injuries sustained in the course of this event, and I have since (you will note), picked you up, unbent your cover, generally un-smooshed you and placed you high on a shelf in my study. You may be wondering about the highness of the shelf, its relative distance from my lounge room, and its relative closeness to the two daddy long-legs that are inhabiting the corner of said study… If this is the case (and no one has ever said you weren’t quick to catch on) you also may have had a fleeting and ephemeral feeling that I might have been less than satisfied with your exposition.

And you would be darn tooting right.

I have questions More Than You Dreamed, and I would like answers.

First. Jill.

OK – what is with Jill?
Sure, she’s got back story, she has issues, she is a nuanced and multi-faceted character. But do you know what I remember about her? Blah blah blah immensely wealthy, blah blah blah so very rich, blah blah blah, look at my very expensive clothes that I could afford because of my wealth of riches, blah blah blah blah MONEY.

But, More Than You Dreamed, do you think perhaps there was (just maybe) slightly too much emphasis placed on Jill’s money? Don’t panic, I’m just throwing it out there….
At this point, I would like to submit some evidence for your perusal:

  • No of times wealthy was used as a descriptor: 12
  • No of time millionaire was used as a descriptor: 16
  • No of times the word money was used in conjunction with Jill: 95

Are you sensing a theme here perhaps, More Than You Dreamed?

Now, every time I think about her – I see this:

Sure, she had issues: about being loved because of her money, being too popular because she was all together too fabulous and too wealthy, too much of a leader and just TOO NICE.

I would like to bring your attention to the group therapy sessions where everyone just talks about how much they looked up to and wanted to be Jill’s friend (I mean – really???) And the weird vibe between Jill and Cathy Cromatie? That was just…something.

I submit for your perusal evidence 1.2:

Quotes from group therapy:

She had joined the group on the same day as Cathy Cromartie, another woman also in her late twenties. At that first meeting the two newcomers had sat side by side. They never had again. Jill did not dislike Cathy, not at all, but the dynamics of the group had set up a polarity between them. The contrast had been too strong. Cathy was tiny, dark-haired, quivering with tension, a simmering kettle threatening to explode into a furious boil. Compared to her, Jill was a cool, long-stemmed lily.

For  more infomation on how AWESOME Jill was, and how try-hardy Cathy was please turn your attention to pg 87. I won’t quote it, it just makes me want to kick a puppy.

More quotes from group therapy:

Cathy turned back to her questioner. “Because like everyone in this room, I want Jill’s approval—”

Jill stared at her, horrified.


“But it’s more than that,” someone added. “You’re [Jill] always so interested in everyone else, so open…’


Cathy’s eyes met Jill’s briefly. Jill thought she saw an apology there, an apology for having brought this up. “I think there’s always a magic about people with… people who are so very attractive. Jill’s wonderful to watch; her movements are so graceful. I adore her clothes. That presence gives people power.”

Jill started to squirm; then, suddenly self-conscious about these allegedly graceful movements, she froze.

Second. Also Jill.

Why More than You Dreamed did you feel the need to CONSTANTLY describe Jills long legs and torso. For one thing, it made her sound like a freakishly out of proportion mannequin, for another – it was kind of …weird. Ok – so she has an abnormally long torso and super long legs – so much so that you describe them with epithets like ‘chorus girl legs’ and ‘show-girl legs; Doug Ringling is constantly ‘eyeing off’ her legs (cos that doesn’t sound skin-suit creepy at all); and then this gem:

‘During the last half hour of the movie Jill had sat forward, pulling her legs in, wrapping her arms around her knees. It was not a position most women would have found comfortable, but most women did not have her lean torso and long legs.’

FINE – we get it. Now every time I think of Jill – I see this:

Third. JILL.
How benevolent you are More Than You Dreamed, to bestow upon Jill a governess and nanny who could teach Jill all the mundane, ordinary things in life that obscenely wealthy people have no concept of (like cooking and washing dishes, and using a washing machine); but why, if she was so intent on making her life on her own terms, who lived out of home for who knows how many years, is she completely incapable of purchasing clothes from (gasp) a high street-non-designer store???

She had to instead, call her also obscenely wealthy mother, and ask her to help her (gah!) enter said chain store and purchase clothing that wouldn’t immediately take her embarrassment of riches in dislike and try and strangle her to death with a sweater sleeve. Was your decision to make Jill a disliker of clothes and shopping an attempt to make her less like:

cher-clueless
and more like:

Either way – she totally urked my ukulele…

Fourth. Doug.

Of courese it was important to shock Jill out of her insulated cold storage of a personality, and to do this, you had to not only make Doug the most UBER person ever; but also make him a dead ringer for the only man-crush Jill ever seemed to have… but

Why, More Than You Dreamed, why did you insist on inflicting him (and the rest of his family) with the name RINGLING??

Were you intent of killing every last vestige of sex appeal out of the man?

Because now every time I think of Doug, I think of:

Ringling Bros

So thanks for that.

Fifth. Jill…

Why, More Than You Dreamed, did you have to make her so dang perfect at everything?

It felt like every single thing Jill had to do was something, her nanny/governess had taught her when she was young.
Sure, it is convenient, but wouldn’t it be nice if Jill occasionally encountered obstacles she couldn’t solve by herself and her wealth and general fabulousness???

Also, for a person attending therapy, Jill has to be one of the most put-together, unaffected persons I have ever come across.
It makes me wonder if, More Than You Dreamed, you have ever actually seen people in group therapy. Cos they are not pretty. Maybe it’s because I’m in Australia, and it is different here, but I have worked in this field and I have to say 98% of them are madder than a bag of cats, and 99% of them do not look like/act/speak like any of the people in Jill’s group, or even Jill herself. Sure, she was supposed to be all kinds of cut up over her father’s death, but you only ever told me about it, More Than You Dreamed, you never showed me.

Also, what was with the flower arranging/selling scenes? People were surprised Jill could arrange flowers?

Puhullease bitch – she’s rich – that should be one of the only things she good at… after all, if we are TOTALLY buying into stereotypes, don’t rich women just stand around and arrange large bouquets of flower on superfluous side tables???



(only because arranging birds is much more taxing.)

Frederick-Carl-Frieseke-The-Open-Window-Aka-The-Bird-Cage-

No?

Oh, my mistake.

I realise of course, More Than You Dreamed, that so much more happened in this novel than I have touched on, and whilst one could argue that these are only minor points in a grander scheme, I was just unable to embrace it.

I did not care about Doug or his baseball career. I didn’t care about Jill, her eternal search for the lost screenplay or the movie that her father was so famous for. I didn’t care about their love or attraction or individual growth (scoffs quietly to oneself). In the midst of all this IRKSOME-NESS, Doug & Jill were like two amoebae, floating in a rainbow coloured river of their own awesomeness.  They made me break out in hives.

In short, More Than You Dreamed, or in long, because this took more space than I thought… I am deeply disappointed with you. I don’t hate you. I am perplexed, befuddled, bothered and bewildered by you. But I don’t hate you.

To show you how much I don’t hate you, I am placing you next to my also-smooshed copy of Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry. While her other one was too uninteresting  to bother me with any real emotional resentment, this second one managed to upset me enough to where I’m forced to remember it exists. This is also how I feel about you. So this is where you are to be left.

PS: The Daddy Long Legs names are Ricardo and Henrietta. They like small bugs, spinning threads, and long walks across my study ceiling.

They don’t read. I’m sure you will get along fine.

Sincerely,

ValancyBlu: currently revoking her fan-club t-shirt order….or making them into tiny clothes for mice.

🙂

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