Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Boring zzzzzzsong, or One Last Wish: Mourning Song

Let's turn our attention to one of the earlier books in the One Last Wish series, Mourning Song (published 1992). I totally read this one, and since I don't have any memories of it, I'm assuming even then I found it a little bit as boring as I did this time around. Oh my god, you guys, this was like Dawn Rochelle-level boring with even more BORING!

Here's the new/current cover:

Uhhhh why are the girls Photoshopped on top of each other, all... magically? It's creepy! I don't understand; if there isn't room to show both of them, maybe they don't need to be SO LARGE or maybe one could stand in front. Maybe this book is about the disease of invisibility? Or teleporting? Beam me up, Lurlene. STUPID COVER.

I can't find a picture of the edition I have, but it's boring so you guys will live, trust me. By the way, I have lived in my house for over a year and a half, and I still can't find the cable that connects my scanner to my computer. Maybe if I move again it'll show up! That said, you guys really aren't missing anything, believe you me.

Oh, so what's this one about? LET ME TELL YOU IT:
You don't know me, but I know about you.... I can't make you live longer, I can't stop you from hurting. But I can give you one wish, as someone did for me.

It's been months since Dani Vanoy's older sister Cassie has been diagnosed as having a brain tumor. And now the treatments aren't helping. Dani is furious that she is powerless to help her sister, and she can't even convince her mother to take the girls on the trip to Florida that Cassie has always longed for. Then Cassie receives an anonymous letter and check. Dani knows she can never make Cassie well, but against all odds she dares to make Cassie's dream come true.
Oh, yeah, rare, but in this book, our protag is not the dying girl. CRAZINESS. Can you guys cope? Let's hold onto each other and get through it TOGETHER.

So like the synopsis said, Dani's sister Cassie has a brain tumor and isn't getting better. In fact, she's dying, but their mom doesn't want her to know. WTF! Stupid parenting. By the way, because I haven't yet detailed enough of my childhood issues to you guys, I read enough books like this when I was little to sometimes wonder if I had a bad disease and my parents just weren't telling me. Considering I just had a normal amount of checkups and other doctor appointments, I'm not sure how I even though this was possible. Such was the depth of my illness fixation though. I guess I can thank Lurlene for this one too. Dear Lurlene, please provide me an address so I can forward you my therapy bills.

Also, Cassie's doctor is their mom's boyfriend from college (their policeman dad was killed in the line of duty when the girls were little), which, uh, is that really okay? They are totally OBVIOUSLY dating again. I don't think that's exactly ethical. New doctor!

The unethical doc tells them, in terms of treatment:
"At the very best, all we can do is retard the tumor's growth."
There's gotta be a better way to say that.

Cassie is all depressed because she missed her senior trip to Florida, being busy dying of a brain tumor and all. She is super into the ocean! She makes Dani watch some boring nature special on TV about loggerhead turtles. I can't mock because I'm always watching random educational programming on TV; isn't that the point of having cable? I mean, obviously, besides America's Next Top Model marathons?

At school Dani's all depressed, but gets cheered up by her hot friend Austin. I wish that had happened whenever I'd gotten depressed at school! I didn't even HAVE a hot friend Austin!

Back at the hospital, Cassie asks Dani if she wants to know a secret, and of course she does! Who among us can resist the allure of a good secret? Anyways, obviously you've seen the title of the book, so you should know the secret is the One Last Wish letter (you can go to this recap to read all of it). Cassie isn't sure yet what she wants to do with it.

Dani suggests to her mom that the three of them go to Florida because it's one of Cassie's dreams, and obviously Cassie doesn't have a lot of time left for fulfilling dreams. Wow, I bet you guys are really wondering what on earth that money's gonna get spent on! Her mom says no, that Cassie needs to stay in the hospital and get all the treatments she can. I can't necessarily say I'd disagree in her shoes; you'd probably feel like your kid would be the one to beat the odds (or get fondled by some magic angel).

Dani plots out a plan to take Cassie to Florida, and enlists Austin to help. Obviously they have to sneak Cassie out of the hospital to make this happen. I don't know how I feel about this. Like, yeah, Cassie is dying, and their mom is being really hard-headed about this, but, uh, if she'd come clean to Cassie about the fact that she's dying and then let Cassie make this choice, it would be best. Cassie getting taken from the hospital without any care on the way there and while there isn't exactly genius planning! Everyone in this book is pretty dumb, honestly. I know, you guys are shocked!

So they sneak Cassie out and begin the drive down. They have to do crazy stuff like drive by night and camp by day so that they won't get followed or whatever. I can't believe stuff like this happens in the book and yet it is still so mindnumbingly boring. Even when Austin finds out the police are looking for them, I'm not interested.

During the drive, obviously Dani and Austin have lots of time to talk. He admits that because he's a minister's son, kids can treat him differently, and he hates that.
"Is that why you wear your hair long?"

"Maybe. I'd get an earring, but Dad would croak."
Oh, Austin, you rebel you!

Finally the kids make it to Florida! Cassie is thrilled to see the ocean! Cassie is also thrilled to read in the paper that a loggerhead turtle release is going to happen there soon! Austin's all BORING but Dani lets him know this is Super! Important! to Cassie. Goddamn, these turtles are like the only VAGUELY interesting thing in the whole frigging book.

Cassie wants to have fun, so she takes Dani to a bridal boutique where they pretend Cassie is getting married and she's the maid of honor. Even though the salesperson offers Cassie an option of dress colors, she's all NO OF COURSE I WANT TO WEAR WHITE. Ugh ugh ugh! I think I need a new category for posts, you guys, with all this fucking white worship. Of course the girls look lovely, and it's SO SAD because OBVIOUSLY Cassie is going TO DIE and therefore NOT GET MARRIED which is OBVIOUSLY the most important thing a girl could ever do!

The salesperson is SO AWFUL. I know this was written just so we could all go OH IF ONLY YOU KNEW STUPID SALESLADY but OMG:
"I know just how you feel, my dear," [the salesperson] assured her. "It isn't easy losing a sister. But getting married is the natural order of things. People start new lives. It's inevitable."
Okay, besides the whole fact that NO IT IS NOT INEVITABLE PEOPLE OFTEN DON'T GET MARRIED IT IS NOT ACTUALLY REQUIRED BY LAW, what the hell is with this whole "LOSING A SISTER" business? I hate you, salesperson. Like, lots.

After this outing, Cassie reveals to Dani that she knows she's dying. Dani's all "HOW?" and Cassie is nice enough not to say something like "BECAUSE I'M NOT AN IDIOT YOU IDIOT." Ugh. I am so over all of you characters.

So Austin says it's time for Dani to call her mom, and like a good lady, Dani listens to the man and does so. Actually, it totally IS time, but, ugh. Her mom shows up WITH THE UNETHICAL DOCTOR though that's good because at least he can treat Cassie's growing pain. Everyone argues a bunch, but it all gets resolved OF COURSE.

The fam goes to Disney World, where Dani gets all freaked out by the fucking Haunted Mansion. I know Lurlene is trying to be all deep with thoughts of the afterlife and all but OH MY GOD THE FUCKING HAUNTED MANSION? If there's anything NOT scary, it's the Haunted Mansion. I've never visited it, you know, with a dying relative, but I'm pretty morbid AND easily frightened, and yet I have never had so much of an eerie thought there.

Cassie goes blind and is nearly paralyzed, so it's time for her to go to the hospital. Unethical doctor can't treat her, since he's out of state, but he can act as a consult. Dude, you should have left this case the second you started sleeping with the mom, that's all I'm saying. Whatever.

So of course Cassie dies, NONSHOCK! Dani persuades her mom to stay a little longer in Florida to watch the loggerhead turtles, for Cassie's sake. They do, and everyone lives happily ever after. As happily ever after as you can, after your family member just dies at a young age from a brain tumor!


Anonymous said...

'They do, and everyone lives happily ever after. As happily ever after as you can, after your family member just dies at a young age from a brain tumor!'

Oh Ames! If I it were scientifically possible to LOL myself into having an aneurysm, I'm sure it would be on reading this.

Actually it's a shame aneurysm deaths are so quick, Lurlene could have had a whole new field to write about.
If only she could retard its effects.

meredith said...

Was that Arrested Development humor I spied?? Amazing! Really helped perk up the plot. Too bad Cassie didn't have an uncle Tobias.

That "losing a sister" shit is really annoying. Reminds me of all the Cosmo/Dear Abby/Seventeen advice columns in which they caution young women about the inevitable decline of friendships after you meet that special someone. (Okay, yeah I read trashy magazine advice columns. My little sister gets subsrciptions! Don't judge me...) Anyway I always hate that. Like, never mind that lots of people don't marry, probably the reason so many marriages lose luster is because of spouses who look to each other for TOTAL FULFILLMENT. It's crazy!

Thanks for another great recap!

(And haha I once fell ASLEEP at the Haunted Mansion!)

ames said...

Hey, Nancy, there's an aneurysm in Briana's Gift! Retard away!

Maebetonight, yes indeed it was an Arrested Development reference! Sadly, if Tobias existed in the Lurleneverse he would probably be dead from AIDS! Sorry to put that sad thought in your head.

Anonymous said...

Some of these covers would make me, as a future graphic designer, shudder. Hell, they already make me shudder. But the books are even worse! It's glurge. Like taking something really yummy, like hot dogs, and adding candy to it! Over-BOARD!

Jess said...

"Doctors who are getting it on with their dying patient's mothers...on the next Geraldo."

That is so uncool, Lurlene. Plus, I see that we have once again totally jumped back into the politically incorrect sexual inequality. Gotta love her. At least she's consistent.

Fabulous re-cap, Ames...as always.

Fear Street said...

Damn. These people really ARE dumb.

Sarah K. said...

oh god, yeah, totally creepy cover. and i never understood why every lurlene mcD book had to be soooo frickin DRAMATIC with all the diseases, etc. overboard much??

Fish said...

So this comment is only two years after this was posted but I just found this blog and obsessivly reading all the entries, starting from the oldest. Yeah, I can't help it.

But, the random "fear of the Haunted Mansion" made me think of this: http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/index.php/disneyland%E2%80%99s-999/

charmecia said...

i actually liked this book
i thought tobias was a cool character but i agree with most that he probably wouldnt last long in the lurlene mcdaniel universe.

such a shame the girls wasnt shown in the final one last wish book "reach for tomorrow"

good book though