Tags: git lit

Snarky Candiru2

Young Elly and the great refusal.

Lynn might not actually realize that she's confirmed it but her biography makes it rather clear that Mrs Ridgway was a product of her time. As such, she clearly believed that spoiling a child was the worst possible thing she could have done. It was held as a common-place that doing so would create a weak, dependent child with no sense of initiative. It was harsh and hard but it was held to be necessary in order to give the child the best possible start in life. While every bit of evidence we have tells us that she loved Lindy, she refused to spoil her because that was how you did things. What's more, she didn't apologize for it because her love for her child manifested itself in a way that confused, embittered and angered Lynn and still does. After all, Lynn made a crap-load of money and married a great guy so it's clear that not coddling her kid worked so why apologize for success just because of some freakish need for hugging and soppiness?

The problem is that Ursula was incapable of realizing why it was that her daughter hated her and never grew out of spouting rage-filled accusations that she was a vicious monster who delighted in her daughter's pain and suffering and never had any love for her or faith in her. It made no sense that someone would never grow out of the need for constant reassurance and praise and cuddling and all the other things that would surely destroy Lynn's future. Since we're dealing with a mainstay of every family (specifically, the embittered eccentric who can't and won't shut up about a perceived slight so is best left to rant because she won't change), it's clear that the more Lynn thinks about her childhood, the angrier she gets at her mother because she feels cheated because she refuses to admit that she's either somehow defective or that she's made a life and living of misunderstanding her mother.

What this means for any sort of series about a younger Elly series is that we'd have a recurring theme: a studied refusal to consider that Marian is anything other than a cruel monster who delights in inflicting pain and tearing Elly apart. The series bible and the writer would drop broadish hints that Marian is fiercely proud of and genuinely concerned for her beloved daughter but the dialogue coming out of El's lips would paint much the same picture as Deanna's please despise my mother letter. Every move the woman makes would be gratuitously misunderstood by our unsympathetic clod hero because we're dealing with someone with a fatal flaw: a hole in her soul where the ability to feel gratitude is.
Snarky Candiru2

The body, the language and the ignored hero.

I think that it's rather safe to say that John is actually the first person Elly Richards seriously dated. While Lynn spent a lot of time and energy insisting on the fact that cohabitation would have destroyed their parents' reputation and made them societal outcasts, it often occurs to me that much like Deanna, the only way she'd ever agree to have sex is if she's Mrs Somebody first. It has little to do with anything like religion or what Mother might think and everything to do with what she thought Society at large thought of her. The Quality Women wanted her to get her MRS degree and maybe pick up her BA later on in life just to scratch some sort of itch and by Hell, she was going to do it and Mother be damned. This, as I've said, is owing to her deliberate refusal to consider the idea that her mother didn't want her to die old and alone and have nothing because of the insane grudge she has against Marian.

How this would manifest itself in a sort of Young Elly series of books pitched at the Adrian Mole set is that we would have her throw herself at an endless series of unattainable males who are either bad for her or are already in a committed relationship with someone else. The writer would point out this out without actually pointing it out by having her deliberately misinterpret what girls with the body and the language are saying to her. We'd have her crying on her pillow about how all the 'good' ones were taken just because she isn't some pretty Barbie doll with perfect hair, perfect teeth, a perfect figure and perfect everything telling their selfish lies about how she's too quick to take offense and too slow to admit error and how that's why no one really wants to date her.

This thinking that if she were to be cuter, she'd be more loved would also allow the writer to hit people over the head with the body image issues that have always crippled Elly. Thanks to the habit they have of illustrating these things, we could compare the dishy little thing she really was with the butt-ugly monstrosity Elly has always seen in the mirror. Alternately, we'd have her talk about how much money it must take to make her class pictures look like a movie star when she's really Frankenstein only to have someone who's lying in a doomed attempt to make her feel good say he didn't spend a dime. Fathers are supposed to say that, darn it!

We could even have her ignore or be totally unaware of a proto-Anthony who might actually love her for who she is. Any sort of flash-forward to the present day would depict him as being a good man doing good things in the world wondering whatever happened to that poor girl who was always down on herself and angry for no sensible reason.
Snarky Candiru2

Elly Richards: Also a Git Lit Hero.

Another thing that an enterprising mind could do is to create a series of books based on the childhood of Elly herself. This is because her younger self looks like the very model of a modern sixties unsympathetic female comedic protagonist. While the male git seems to regard his being a sullen, slow-witted, antagonistic rebel without a brain as making him a really great guy who gets into trouble for no reason, the female git is a shrill, bratty, melodramatic pain in the ass who bounces from one self-induced calamity to another out of sheer idiocy. We have your Georgia Rennisons, we have your Nikki Dorkdiaries and we can jolly well have your Elly Richardses.

She seems to be a rather appealing character to me because of her messed-up self-image and vindictive nature. A good author would manage to drop broad hints that we're dealing with a scowling idiot ready to take offense and slow to admit failure. A good author would show us that Elly makes a lot of her own trouble because she's sort of clueless and sort of misreads the room. She'd even manage to point out that Elly had an Anthony of sorts who might actually have made her happy when she was off chasing any number of idiots who made her feel bad about herself but made her look good doing it.

Of course, what really sells her as a hero is that your standard git-lit hero is usually the child of parents trying their damnedest despite having a trying child. Mike doesn't qualify really because there are no reasonable authority figures in his life. Elly is an angry, self-pitying scold, John is a thin-skinned bully, Phil is a temperamental shmuck who uses the adjective 'treacherous' to describe children who don't understand the bebop slop coming out of his fat yap and who also let their home life get in the way of devoting all their mental capital to the adoration of an irritating Peter Pan clone and his grandparents are distant nothings. Elly has loving parents who she hates because she refuses to admit that Marian fears spoiling her children.
Snarky Candiru2

Mike Patterson: Git Lit Hero.

The odd thing that I've noticed about novels directed at the tween set is that we're dealing with an endless array of irritating children who it's really hard to sympathize with. Said irritants have the following repellent character traits:

  1. An inflated and unrealistic self-concept: While the author drops broad hints that the 'hero' is not especially popular or likable, the person boasts about what a great person he is. The example that comes readiest to mind is the hero of Patterson's Middle School series who insists that he's not some stubborn, antagonistic git who would be happier and live an easier life if he'd drop the idea that he's this really awesome guy.
  2. Self-defeating behaviour: Said 'hero' has any number of bad habits that lead to his inevitable downfall. The best example is Wimpy Kid and his being a lazy fool.
  3. Imbecile anarchistic tendencies: A default disrespect for authority figures they see as being space monsters who live to destroy a happiness they cannot feel. There's some dumb kid who squeals like a pig because he has to 'waste' his life reading books because bad people want him to believe their evil lie about how he doesn't know anything.
  4. Obliviousness: The 'hero' is very poor at anticipating how people will react to his swinishness and has little curiosity as to why he's disliked. This applies to pretty much everyone of them.
  5. Aesop amnesia: No matter how many times it's made obvious that if said 'hero' were to just buckle down and do what's expected of him, the buffoon fails to learn because of that narcissism thing I mentioned. Again, it's all of the above.
  6. Evasive thinking: When he isn't complaining about how unfair a well-earned punishment is, the yapping little git searches through the ranks of his accomplices in the quest for a fall guy to shield him from having to face a horrible truth about himself.

The reason that I mention this is that any enterprising creator could easily make a series of light novels about a teen aged Mike because he's got all the attributes to be a success as a cautionary example. We know that he thinks that he's better than everyone else when he's actually not all that spectacular or smart a person. We know that he's a gullible fool who can be talked into acting against his own self interests when someone flatters him. We know that he doesn't understand that people who say things that hurt his squishy little feelings might have his best interests at heart. We know that he doesn't understand or care why people act the way they do and we know that he never learns from his mistakes. We know that he blames other people for his own misery because the truth that it's all his own fault would hurt too much and would require him to wonder why he wasted his life on folly. If Lynn and Katie hadn't managed to antagonize her American publisher by cooking up the bio without their input or approval, we could well see a new hero of Git Lit.