I’m starting to wonder how much time Jimmy or his editor spends on these things. I mean, more than I was before. Let my demonstrate by quoting a line right from the beginning of chapter 45.
Angel stared and stared and stared at Jeb Batchelder.
Jimmy’s editor cried and cried when she read that line. That is if she even read the damned thing instead of whipping out the rubber stamp of approval before diving head first into a oil drum full of cocaine. Just as long as people keep buying this tripe she doesn’t care how stupid it sounds.
I mean, seriously Jimmy. Why did you write it like that? Why not ‘Angel couldn’t stop staring’ or have Jeb point out that she’s staring. You’re telling us, rather than showing us Jimmy, again.
Apparently Angel remembers him. The last time she saw him, Angel was four and he was just the perfect father figure. And whatever she didn’t know Max was more than happy to fill in for her. I think it’d be interesting if Angel had the wrong idea about Jeb because Max worshipped him. It’d be an amusing twist that would force Angel to learn that the people around her are not infallible. But that would be hard and I’m sure Jimmy will just have Jeb look like a double agent but he’ll be secretly a triple agent must to our chagrin.
She couldn’t get a single thought from his head—it was a gray blank. That had never happened before. Also, he was wearing a white coat. He smelled all antisepticky.
You know what I love about telepaths? Nothing, not a goddamned thing. But I always groan when that scene comes up. You know, where the psychic goes to read someone’s mind and they can’t and they’re shocked that there’s just nothing to find. This is supposed to be rare but it doesn’t make any sense.
The author assumes that every brain everywhere is formatted exactly the same. Sure, most of us have certain specialized areas that do the same thing from person to person but that doesn’t mean we could just read the thoughts of others once we were hooked up. That’s like saying that two computers should be able to talk to each other because they both have CPUs and a network cable.
I like to think that reading someone else’s mind would be a little bit like trying to view every file on your computer after changing all the extensions to .avi. Sure, some of them will play and without any complaint but then you’ll stumble on something that wasn’t meant to be opened like that and you’ll just smell burning peanut butter or hear seals barking while your arm starts to hurt.
Also I’m amused at how Angel thinks in improper English when Jimmy is trying to maker her cute. I’m picturing him saying that line out loud and now matter how hard I try I keep seeing an Amber Alert going off. Of course she always uses proper grammar and words without any problem normally. It’s just when Jimmy wants to remind us that she only a kid.
Jeb offers Angel some food and says they haven’t been feeding her right but he’ll fix that. Angel, being stubbornly stupid and in character for once, refuses and says nothing. Jeb tries to coax her into eating, Angel says she hates him and Jeb says that’s perfectly fine. If I were any more riveted to my seat I’d be part of an aircraft carrier. And so we switch chapters before my heart explodes.
“I. Am. In. Heaven,” I said, inhaling deeply.
Dr. Martinez laughed. “Watched cookies never brown,” she teased me.
To make my Mayberry holiday complete, the three of us had actually made chocolate chip cookies—from scratch—after dinner.
And we’re back with Max again, as if you couldn’t tell. We’re also back to calling Vet Dr Martinez. For a moment I was worried that consistency would start popping up and I could move on to only criticizing the story and the technical details.
In a painful bout of narration that would make Otis proud, Jimmy describes Max eating a chocolate chip cookie. Apparently she’s extremely happy and makes a mental note to tell Angel and Nudge to bake her cookies. Vet says Max acts like she’s never had a cookie before and Max says that she hasn’t.
Which doesn’t make any sense. Considering that Max is culturally aware enough to mention Mayberry in the proper context then she has to have watched a lot of TV. That means she also has to have heard cookies mentioned enough times that she’d become curious and look them up or steal some from the store.
Again, I understand what Jimmy’s trying to accomplish. He’s trying to show us how Max differs from humanity in the small experiences as well as the large. But he already accomplished that when he had her get excited about seeing a school bus. You don’t need to keep hammering us with it Jimbo.
Vet and Ella want Max to stay but Max says she has to leave and that people are counting on her. Ella wants to know if Max will ever visit and, instead of answering, she starts telling us how they’re the first humans she’s ever connected to and how Ella is like a relative.
Plus her mom was so awesome. She was strict about some things—don’t leave your socks lying around —but so not strict about other things, like calling the cops about my bullet wound. Unlike any other parent I’d ever heard of, she didn’t press for details, didn’t lecture, and believed what I said. She actually accepted me. Like she accepted Ella, for who she was.
What? Who is Max to be casting judgment on someone’s parenting skills? At least she explains why she likes Vet so much. It’s because Vet is the kind of parent Max would put up with, the kind that doesn’t care to ask questions, get involved or doubt her but always pays the rent, buys plenty of groceries and gives her lots of praise. And when she’s not supplying something Max wants she goes back to her closet to wait.
Max brushes her teeth and feels sad about leaving her adopted family. She does what Jeb told her though and uses her brain to think. As it’s never been used before, Max blacks out as she collapses in a heap of stupid and feathers.