Friday, February 6, 2015

Michelle Remembers, Chapters 8 and 9

Chapter 8

Chapter 8 is also pretty short and doesn't have much going on. Michelle is at home, tape recording furiously away, but it's just not the same without Dr. Pazder there, dammit! Meanwhile, Dr. Pazder is on vacation in Mexico with his wife (the one who's not Michelle).

Then Michelle starts to have another breakdown and goes to Dr. Arnot, who advises her to call Dr. Pazder. Well done, Arnot. You've successfully avoided getting caught up in this sordid little psychodrama.

Then Michelle decorates Dr. Pazder's office with some potted plants she grew and calls him in Mexico. Apparently several times. And Pazder stays on the phone with her, despite "the distance and his wife's obvious confusion as to why he was sitting with the phone to his ear for a quarter of an hour without saying anything."

You know, it's a shame this book wasn't written by someone other than the protagonists. In the hands of the right writer, this could become a gripping psychological thriller about two people slowly becoming dangerously obsessed with each other. Without any of the evil-cult-is-totally-real bullshit, of course.

Chapter 9

Dr. Pazder returns from Mexico and goes to see Michelle the very next day because he can't wait to get in her pants she's a speshul dellycate widdle snowflake who needs his immediate attention.

Michelle says she's remembered so much while he was gone that she has to "talk really fast and jump around." Oh joy, more incoherence.

So Michelle is still in the hospital. Late one night she's awakened from a sedated sleep to meet her new "special nurse."

     "...I saw this pretty lady all dressed in white, and I started to smile--and's horrible!...I recognized her...
    "It was...she was that lady! You know, the lady, the one who'd been at the house the night the lump was killed...the lady in the black cloak who did those things to me with the colored sticks..."

Oh, hey, that weird high priestess lady from a few chapters back works at this very hospital! That seems awfully convenient. Still, I'm gonna give Michelle a teensy bit of credit here for imagining her Satanists as people with regular jobs instead of implying that they just hang around their creepy Victorian mansions doing evil all day.

Evil!nurse tidies up Michelle's room a bit and then ostentatiously takes the crucifix off the wall, telling her, "You won't be needing this crucifix anymore." That's a strange way to put it. No one really "needs" a crucifix in their hospital room. I realize that if you're Christian--and we've been explicitly told that Michelle (supposedly) wasn't raised Christian--its presence could bring you comfort, but it's not like you can, I don't know, take it off the wall and use it to call God's personal phone line or something. As far as Michelle is concerned, it's pretty much just a strange wall decoration.

Also, if I was an evil death-cultist I'd leave the damn thing up during my scary torture-rituals so my victims could see it and be reminded that THEIR PUNY GOD FAILED THEM MUAHAHAHAAA! Damn it, Michelle Remembers Satanists, I'm just an amateur and it's still obvious that I'm way more competent at villainy than you are.      

Anyway. Michelle's mom is there too. She gives Michelle a gift-wrapped box which turns out to contain a doll with its eyes "poked out," apparently as some sort of bizarre threat. Also:

"I took it out of the box...and underneath it...there was a dead bird! It was my bird, my budgie, all dead!"

Wait, since when did she have a bird? Also, why do the Satanists let her have a bird? Granted, most budgies aren't very expensive, but you also have to buy a whole bunch of other stuff, like food and a cage and toys, to keep the bird alive and happy. And although this website describes the budgie's voice volume as "quite" (I think they mean quiet), even "quiet" birds can still kick up a pretty big din when they're bored or excited. Also they can "talk" and imitate random sounds. If you're a clandestine evil cult grooming a child for sacrifice, I imagine you'd probably prefer to give said child a much less gregarious pet to keep her company/use to extort good behavior from her.

Michelle implies that her mother gave her the grisly box o' bird corpse on the orders of someone else, either the nurse or Malachi. She also describes her mother vaguely apologizing to her that "this had to happen" and fidgeting nervously, which makes me suspect that she is very much not calling the shots here and you should probably stop hating on her so much, book.

Oh, and the dead bird was disgustingly rotten and crawling with bugs. I guess Malachi and the nurse really liked Un Chien Andalou (WARNING: Gross-out link). I would think that the nurse at least would seriously object to such a thing being brought into the hospital where she works for fear of getting caught. Smuggling stank-ass old bug-infested animal carcasses into sterile areas strikes me as pretty solid grounds for firing a healthcare worker on the spot.

Then the nurse sneaks into Michelle's room at night and forcibly gives her an enema, causing her to soil herself. Just because. Then she puts "bars around the bed" (I'm having a hard time picturing this. Did she put Michelle in a giant crib of some kind, or in one of these?) And apparently makes her sleep in the mess. Because...evil, I guess? We're never given any reasoning behind her actions.

Michelle's session then ends with the revelation that (gasp!) the reason she blacked out so much while she was in the hospital was because her mom was fiddling with the valve on the oxygen tank and trying to suffocate her! What a bitch, amirite?


What if we look at the scene another way? If she's been forced into this life somehow (and the fact that she's been so passive so far seems to suggest that), she might not see a way out. She might not see any way to protect her daughter from daily abuse by the cult.

Except, say, by mercy-killing the kid so the cultists can't hurt her anymore.

It's not a very good solution. But it may be the only one she feels is available to her.

Besides, it's way more than anyone else is doing to protect Michelle. (I'm looking at you, stupid, Malachi-believing, Chief Wiggum-ass cops.) And let's not forget, none of this shit actually happened and Michelle's mom didn't join an evil cult or try to kill her daughter and this book is slandering a real human being for the sake of selling some idiotic crusade against imaginary forces of evil. If you're going to do that, at least have the decency to make her a complex, interesting character with real, comprehensible motivations for doing the stuff she does, for fuck's sake.

Seriously, book, stop fucking hating on Michelle's mom. It's really starting to piss me off.

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