Friday, March 21, 2008

Barely saved by the makeover scene, or Lifted Up By Angels

Let's tackle the second book in the angels/Amish trilogy, Lifted Up By Angels (published 1997), because for some reason Lurlene thought we didn't have enough the first go around.

Do you want to know what it's about? Yay, because I would like to tell you!:
This inspirational novel follows the story of Leah and her friendship with the Amish family she met while hospitalized for cancer treatment. When Leah takes a summer job near their Amish community, she is happy to be near Ethan again. He is now at the age at which an Amish young man is allowed a taste of non-Amish life before committing to the adults' rules. Will Leah and Ethan's feelings for each other overcome family obligations?
Before you guys get all enthused about rumspringa, this is kind of a faux rumspringa. Just lettin' ya know!

What does the cover look like? Is it lovely? Will it draw you in? Wait no longer to find out!:

Ethan doesn't really look Amish, does he? Oh, maybe this is when he's EXPERIMENTING with CRAZY ENGLISH WAYS... except in that part of the book (SORRY TO SPOIL YOU GUYS) he's all into T-shirts and shit. So basically I deem this cover MISREPRESENTATIVE!

Now, of course, the book is published in a thick-ass trilogy:

Again, boring, but at least Amish-y!


So Leah's all off to have her own apartment, work as a maid at a hotel, and all so she can be near her Amish friends. She turned down traveling with the fam to Hawaii and Fiji for this, which, sorry, to me sounds way better than a crappy job and Amish-adjacency. Then again, I never fell for an Amish hottie, so it's a tough call.

Nappanee, Indiana, is a real place where there are real Amish people! You guys, it's true, I looked it up on Wikipedia! So I'm giving you a point, Lurlene, for accuracy. I dole out my points very sparingly where you're concerned, Lurlene, so consider yourself very, very lucky.

So Leah rolls into town in her hot convertible, and goes off to visit her Amish peeps right away. Charity's thrilllllllled to see her, as is darling Rebekah. Oh man, I love Rebekah, she's the cutest. It's awesome that spider didn't kill her last time around! Since Rebekah lives on a farm and everything, wouldn't it have been cool if the spider was like Charlotte (of the Web), and gave her advice on how to win some kind of competition and also how to save her own life? NOT TO SPOIL ANYTHING FOR YOU GUYS!

Of course the second Leah glimpses Ethan, her heart and her loins are all "OH YEAHHHH" and she knows the whole friggin' reason she's there is for him, which, uhhh, couldn't any of us have told her this? Do you have any friends, Leah? Friends that aren't angels or Amish? I think it could be a good thing to perhaps DISCUSS this stuff.

By the way, Amish boys say some pretty hot stuff:
His brow knitted. His startling blue eyes stared directly into hers. "My eyes have been hungry for the sight of you."
Holy HELL I'd be gone. Swooooon.

So Leah meets Ethan's whole fam, including the grandparents. None of the adults except Ethan's mom seem too wild about her, but, whatev, she's near Ethan, she's happy. Still, she goes to Charity and is all "WHYYYY DO THEY ALL HAAAAAATE ME?" and Charity explains that A) the Amish aren't into "idle chatter" which basically means I'd never survive a moment without severely testing the pacifist nature of the Amish with my jibber-jabbering ways, and B) Ethan is not baptized yet, which confuses me because they go into the whole "WHEN YOU'RE SIXTEEN YOU CAN GO WIIIIIIIIIIIIILD" but, wait, Ethan's seventeen, so... is that okay? Oh, all right, whatever. Basically Ethan's dad's concerned since he hasn't totes committed to Amishness yet, and a hot English girl like Leah could obvs lead him astray.

Leah gets a little concerned maybe she's just something exotic for Ethan to sample while he's livin' the wild life, which I was kind of shocked by. I mean, that's totally what I would be worried about in her shoes, so, again, REALISM IN THE LURLENEVERSE?! The world's FLIPPED, people, FLIPPED.

So, totally random, Leah is out driving and RUNS INTO ETHAN'S YOUNGER BROTHER SIMEON. WTF! She just KNOCKS INTO HIM WITH HER FUCKING CAR! He's on skates! WHAT???? He has a job delivering packages. Oh, ALL RIGHT! Anyway, he's fine, and he's not going to wear pads or a helmet because those things are for "showy, not plain" people. Yeah, showy that you have a freaking BRAIN. Without a helmet, it's more like, MY BRAIN: LET ME SHOW YOU IT.

So Leah takes Simeon back to work (ummm after getting hit by a car I don't think I'd be all LET ME SKATE OFF TO DELIVER MORE PACKAGES) and Ethan comes with, and after dropping Simeon off, Leah offers to show Ethan her apartment. BOOM CHICKA WOW WOW. (Is that right, for porno music? I've never typed out porno music before!) Ethan gets all embarrassed because he sees Leah's underwear strewn about, that wanton slut! Anyways, they talk about the barn dance coming up, and Leah's all concerned because Martha, this Amish girl that Ethan once took home in his buggy (for serious, you guys, that isn't a euphemism) is going to be there, and she's all jeaaaa!loussss! Dude, I'd be too. You know the Amish and their buggies!!

The kids at the barn dance are all Amish, except for Leah, though some are totes going through AMISH GONE WILD!! so they're in English clothes and drinking beers and listening to "funky music", white boy.

No one's very welcoming to Leah, including this dude Jonah, who is Martha's brother and has "hands the size of footballs" which is basically the weirdest descriptor I've ever heard. Like, doesn't that put the weirdest picture in your head? Anyway, Football Hands is all "YOU HOLD YOURSELF SEPARATE AND PROUD" to Ethan, which, dude, just STFU. You're the one at a fucking BARN DANCE so I don't know why your crappy English clothes and beer-drinking makes you so special!

So Leah starts her crap maid job with this girl named Kathy Kelly, who is always talkin' shit about the Amish, and how they're all separate and cliquish and, shut up, Kathy Kelly, I don't like you either.

After an exhausting day at work, Leah heads over to the Amish house, where THE CUTEST THING HAPPENS. Rebekah gives Leah a baby chick she promises to take care of for her. Oh my god, you guys, if an adorable little Amish girl gave me a baby chick and raised it for me, I would melt away in a pile of dead-from-cuteness. Rebekah is totes my favorite character.

Uh-oh! Rebekah tells Leah that Gabriella told her she'd see Rebekah again. Uh, Rebekah, I know you like Gabriella and all, but if that isn't a death sentence I don't know what is.

Double uh-oh! When Leah's driving back later and stops for gas, she runs into Football Hands! I friggin' hate you, dude. He's all BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH, DO NOT LEAD THE AMISH ASTRAY! Ugh, shut up. Can you guys believe Charity's been in his buggy? Gross. I wouldn't want to be touched with football hands!

Ethan shows up at Leah's place bright and early Sunday morning, and she's all, fool, we don't all keep FARMING HOURS, but, please, she's got the hottie at her place, she's not complaining too much. Ethan changes into English-style clothes but isn't quite ready to get his Amish locks styled.

Ethan wants to watch movies, so watch movies they do. Leah notices Ethan doesn't get verbal humor, just laughs at pratfalls and such, and that would be a big turnoff for me, but whatevs for Leah. She's got Amish fever!

After all that movie-watchin', they head to The Rink; yes, Lurlene capitalizes "The" just like that. It's a roller rink and game room! Also you can eat there. Honestly, I would go there in a heartbeat; rollerskating's a damn good time. Anyways, outside, this is amazing:
She drove into a parking lot filled with cars and Amish buggies. Several of the buggies looked less than plain. They bore tassels and reflective tape cut in fancy designs. The harnesses were studded with ornamentations. Even the horses looked fancy.

I totes picture them like this:

Or, in keeping with these modern times, maybe they look like this:

I would basically give up everything in my life to see either of these horses pullin' an Amish buggy.

So Martha's there and obviously wants Ethan back, but is still welcoming to Leah after she realizes they're together. Go Martha! I'm glad you weren't afflicted with football hands. Leah bitches to Ethan about what a loser Football Hands is, and Ethan's all, whatever, once he's done with his fling he'll be back to another day living in Amish paradise. Leah asks if anyone ever doesn't return to their Amish ways, and Ethan blushes ten zillion shades of red and is all YES. Duuu-huuuude! Tell us more, Ethan! But, alas, he's all mum's the word! Methinks this will be important later.

Leah and Ethan take a trip to the bustling metropolis of Indianapolis for Leah's oncology checkup. One of her knees has been giving her a lot of trouble, which, uh, Leah, you're in the Lurleneverse, you are soooo screwed. At least she gets to say hey to Molly, who is still as nice as a person can possibly be even though they once told you you're just like their sister who died from a disease related to the one afflicting you. Thanks, Molly! Molly wants to get her sister's diary published as a book to give kids with diseases hope. First of all, this is such a friggin' Mary Sue moment for Lurlene, who's gotta be patting herself on the back so hard right now she's got suspicious bruises, and also, uh, HOPE HOW? YOUR SISTER DIED YOU DUMMY. I guess she had a great attitude? I'd rather have a craptastic attitude and not be dead, but that's just me.

Leah has fond memories of Gabriella while at the hospital:
She fingered the bindings, half expecting to see some reminder of Gabriella. There was none. Nothing at all to reflect that strange and wonderful night when the woman had come into her room, talked to her and touched her.
Whoa! She DOES sound like a heavenly creature, now that you mention it, Leah.

Believe it or not, Leah's aching knee is just inflammation from working so hard. OH MY GOD HER CANCER IS NOT BACK! I mean, I know there are three books in this series and she's most likely gonna die eventually, but, WHOA. I am pretty shocked.

After that round of good news, they head to the mall, where Ethan is all super judgmental about all the stuff stores sell. He totes flips out over this bikini, which irks me, because he's all I WOULD NOT WANT YOU TO WEAR SUCH A THING LEAH and she knows it's wrong for him to act that way but she's also kind of "oh, you're so cute", and, uh, no. The thing is, though, he knows he shouldn't feel that way, so, well, okay, FINE, I still can't hate on you, Ethan. You make my job tough!

Leah buys Rebekah a little wind-up chick, and tells Ethan she'll like it because girls likes things that are cute and small. I am not down with gender stereotypes, but once a good friend of mine told me he believed that girls would like anything that was a miniature version of something else, no matter how mundane or uncute the original item was, and I have to say this is often true.

Ethan gets his Amish locks cut in an English style, so of course he's hotter than ever. Leah knows his dad will be angry, and asks why his dad is so weird about Ethan hanging out with her. Ethan's all "HE HAS HIS REASONS". DUM DUM DUUMMMMMM. But then when she drops him off, he gives her a little porcelain bunny, based on Leah's comment that girls like stuff that is small and cute. Aw, Ethan, that is awfully sweet. Guys, I'm so glad I didn't read this when I was younger, talk about wayyyy unrealistic standards for real boys to live up to.

So there's this co-ed Amish camp-out coming up. Ethan asks Leah, and even though she doesn't want to go because stupid Football Hands is gonna be there, she agrees because it'll be nice to be there with Ethan, and also because Charity can only goes if he goes, and he only wants to go if Leah does. What the hell is this, the Taming of the Shrew? Charity asks if Leah will help give her an English makeover for the event, and she agrees. Oh man, you guys, imagine how good that scene would be if this was a movie!!! I love a good makeover scene in a movie, and my favorite episode each cycle of America's Next Top Model is the makeover episode (especially if anyone cries due to short/shaved hair). An AMISH makeover scene? That would be the BEST EVER.

So there's some carnival coming up, and Kathy's all Grumpy McBitchface because the tourists all come and stare at the Amish, and also she hates the Amish, so basically she hates everyone. She goes off on this HUGE tangent about sometimes the tourists drive badly and RUN INTO THE AMISH so of course we all know that's gonna happen to SOMEONE now, right??

CARNIVAL TIME! MAKEOVER SCENE! Goddamn Football Hands is there, of course, and he's all "I LIKE WHAT I SEE" to Charity which is basically just creepy, right? Of course it is. He's gonna paw her to death with those pigskins. I hate you, Football Hands. He gets super drunk at the camp-out which is held immediately after the carnival, and starts yelling at Ethan to drink beer with him. Ethan refuses, and Football Hands is all "ELI WOULD HAVE DRUNK BEER WITH ME" and so of course Leah wants to know who Eli is!

Of course we all saw this coming, right? Eli is Ethan's older brother, who got himself all edumacated, and therefore SHUNNED FROM AMISH SOCIETY. When he left, he told Ethan since he's the next in line that he can therefore NOT leave Amish society or it'll totes kill their dad. Oh MAN Eli, that's way too much to dump on a person.

So a few days later, Leah's driving through town when she notices police cars and ambulances near the Amish produce stand. OH YOU GUYS I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN! Of course it's Rebekah who was hit!!! OH MAN. Rebekah is in a friggin' COMA you guys!! Believe it or not, Lurlene doesn't go nutso with medical terminology, but she does KILL OFF REBEKAH, the cutest fictional girl in the Lurleneverse. You guys, it's so unfair! Why does Simeon, who, let's be honest, we don't even care about, get hit by a car and then go right back to work while sweet chicken-tending Rebekah diiiies? The Lurleneverse is so unfair.

At the funeral Leah sees Gabriella walking off with Rebekah, who is waving a handkerchief. Leah tells Ethan's family, and they all think she's batshit until Ethan's grandma is all OMG I TOTES PUT A HANDKERCHIEF IN HER HAND AT THE FUNERAL so now they know it's true. ??? All right, sure.

So Leah's mom and stepdad show up to help her come home, as the summer is ending, and Ethan's all WE WILL BE TOGETHER, though Leah wonders how. And that is how the book freaking ends. I have no idea what this book was even about. I mean, okay, fine, I just told you guys what the book was about, but there was no real story arc, it was just kind of a bunch of Amishness with OF COURSE A DEATH THROWN IN and the freaking ANGEL and then it's just OVER? I don't know what the lessons are, I don't know what we were supposed to get from any of this other than that Ethan is the hottest and most tragic boy in the Lurleneverse who doesn't have his own disease/injury, that angels are real, and that if you're not important to the story you can skate right away from a car accident.

I don't want to spoil you guys, but I read the first few pages of the conclusion to the trilogy, and it was so outrageous I laughed and laughed and got super excited about sharing it with you. You will NOT be disappointed.


Anonymous said...

Sheeyeah, hot stuff! If a guy I’d previously snuck away to share a cinnamon-scented “velvet soft” kiss with told me his “eyes have been hungry for the sight of [me],” I’d bust a gut laughing… and then tackle him right then and there. (Actually, I’d probably just lift my eyebrows suggestively and ask whether his “loins” have been echoing said sentiment, but I like the mental image of the first reaction better.) 10 bucks to the first person who works that into a conversation! Hehe.

What cracked me up most about this recap is that my playlist suddenly – and randomly – started playing the theme from Angels in America the moment I started reading.

… I didn’t notice until I got to the “showy that you have a freaking BRAIN” line, and I don’t know which made me laugh harder. Though, maybe it was the My Little Pony pics… or the snotty comparison to The Taming of the Shrew… or the idea of an Amish makeover (Background music now stuck in my deranged head: “Makeover, makeover, makeover, makeover, makeover, makeover, MAKE-O-VER!”)… or the hilarious (and true!) rant at the end… Thanks for these, Ames, seriously. You’re kind of devastatingly awesome.

I cannot WAIT for the last book of this weird-ass trilogy.

Sophia said...


Though now reading it yeah it is sort of farfetched. My parents sure as hell wouldn't let me LIVE IN AN APARTMENT OVER THE SUMMER TO DATE A GUY.

You may have busted a gut reading some of the last book but gah, it's my favorite one by far. I haven't read it in years but GOD I cry every single time.

I never realized how bad it was in the first book in how they approach faith vs. science in terms of curing disease. But that's what you're here for! Thanks for totally making my week, I'm at my parents til Sunday and I need entertainment in the suburbs!

Jujube said...

"My eyes have been hungry for the sight of you."

What a Romeo :p

ames said...

Dammit, I wish I'd read the entire trilogy while listening to the theme from Angels in America!! I'd say "next time" but I find it incredibly unlikely I'll be revisiting any of these! (Sadly, "unlikely" but not "impossible"; these books are bizarrely readable.)

Anonymous said...

My eyes have been hungry for the sight of this recap.

So I'm confused about how angels are all significant to these books, the titles and everything, only Gabriella seems to barely make an appearance here? I mean is the point the angels or the Amish? It's just weird. Apparently when you're writing "inspirational fiction," almost nothing otherworldly or otherwise inspiring necessary!

I think Ethan's disease is Amishness and the only cure is a little more bikini.

ames said...

Yeah, wouldn't you assume that since the angels are mentioned both in the trilogy title and in the title of each volume that they'd be SUPER IMPORTANT? Wait until I get to the third!

Anonymous said...

Those My Little Pony pictures made me laugh so hard I nearly had soda come out of my nose. And pointing out all the plot problems is just great- i never noticed this when i first read them. I love seeing all the things I never noticed about these books pointed out with such brilliant snark! along with 1bruce1, this is one of the blogs that never fails to make me laugh

Anonymous said...

I about died laughing when I saw the pony pictures! I have to confess that I have never read these books, but I absolutely adore your site!

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