Friday, January 23, 2009

They Call Him Mellow Yellow, or One Last Wish: Let Him Live

Continuing in this One Last Wish vein, let us take a fond look at One Last Wish: Let Him Live (1993). I can't promise it will be any more exciting than our last journeys through the wondrous land where dying or totally didn't die after all kids get a shit-ton of money, but - regardless - onward ho!

If you want to know what this book is about, too bad. Amazon or the publishers couldn't invest that kind of effort:
A candy striper helps a 17-year-old boy deal with his uncertain future as he awaits a liver transplant. Together, they use his "One Last Wish" money to build a center for terminally ill kids.
Wow, way to be vague AND spoil the ending at once. I had no idea that was even possible!

(Also that's not even frigging accurate!)

The copy I used to own (OK how horrifying is that? At the beginning of 1993 I was FIFTEEN PEOPLE FIFTEEN WHAT THE HELLY HELL) looked like this:


Sorry it's so small, that's literally the only picture of it I could find. I could hardly even find any images of the new cover, so aparently this is like the least popular One Last Wish book ever. I don't like the sound of that!

Anyways, it looks like this now:


Uhhh why does he look all rednecky now?

So the book starts out with our fair heroine Meg and her red convertible. I know Meg is probably going to have some snotty attitude problems (or her parents will) due to this selection of car. Only arrogant rich assholes drive red convertibles, after all, in the Lurleneverse. Luckily this is not true in the real world or I would miss my little car so frigging badly.

(I love thinking about the character assassination Lurlene would do of me based on my car, my location, and my dress size. Then again I have this running joke that because I once almost hit Aaron Sorkin with my car (his fault, jaywalker!) that if I'd succeeded there would have been a whole plotline in Studio 60 where, who knows, some Diablo-Cody-looking girl named, I dunno, JAMES would have run over Matthew Perry and been a royal dumbass bitch about the entire thing. Also he would have worked in some way I am morally flawed, like, dude, Aaron, I KNOW. GOD I HATED THAT SHOW.)

So Meg is all ready to volunteer as a candy striper at the hospital where her dad is some great doctor. I'm glad I never had to volunteer at the lumber company where my dad was some great salesdude. Anyways, it's not Meg's idea, but her therapist, who thinks it'll help Meg with her grief over her BFF Cindy's death in a car accident. If one of my BFFs died in a car accident I don't think I'd want to hang out in a hospital to get over it but that's just me!

So Meg's dad is giving the welcome speech to the new candy stripers, which is not exactly how I think top docs spend their time (more like breaking their penises in supply closets or whatever) and he says that volunteers like them and "[their] faithful Pink Ladies" are vital to the welfare of their patients. OMG now I totally want to go to this hospital!

A tall, slim girl named Alana Humphries introduces herself to Meg. I like that Lurlene doesn't shoehorn it in immediately that Alana's black, or make her talk like she's mentally disabled. Meg and Alana chat about both being assigned to pediatrics while eating powdered sugar donuts. NOOOOOOOOOO! Anyway, Alana, whose name I keep typing as "Alma" so WTF is up with that?, thinks Meg's dad is the most wonderful man in the world because he put Alana's brother Lonnie in the hospital's transplant program to get a donor kidney.

Alana is surprised Meg's not all doctory herself:
"You're kidding? I thought medicine would be in your blood."

"I prefer doughnuts [this is how it's spelled, I myself prefer the spelling "donuts" but considering that I just spelled "myself" as "mighself" I'm not sure I should make any judgment calls!] in my blood."

Alana giggled. "Honestly, girl, you're such a comedian."
Honestly, girl, you need to get out more.

So they're checking out the pediatric floor when a boy shouts "Get out of the way. You're in the middle of the drag strip!" because apparently we're in the 1950s?


And just because I found this picture while searching:


Anyways the boy who shouts this is of course a hottie because this is the Lurleneverse. He's playing with some little kid named Mark, which is the most popular name in my entire family. Fifty percent of my immediate family is named this, and I am not kidding or exaggerating!

Speaking of names, the hottie is named Donovan Jacoby because apparently his parents watched too many soap operas or something. Meg notices that besides possessing The Hot he's all yellow-tinged and stooped. She's all, maybe you should get back to bed, when he says something incredibly disturbing:
"That's where I'm supposed to be, but it's pretty boring in my room. I was walking the hall looking for action when I saw Mark."
WHAT!

Despite this creepy utterance, Meg goes to Donovan's room to hang out with him. She learns Donavan's mom and six-year-old brother Brett moved here to Washington, DC so he could be at a good hospital. Meg reveals her dad is never home but then laughs and is all HA HA JUST KIDDING I MEAN HE'S AWESOME.

Meg checks in at the nurses' station, where an older nurse tells Meg this about Donovan:
"He's one nice kid. Has a friendly word for everybody and a special affinity for the smaller kids."
GROSSSSSSSSSSS!

At the end of the day Meg talks to her dad, who says Donovan's sick and "has less than six months to live". HEY LURLENE SINCE THIS BOOK ACTUALLY SAYS IT WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL THIS ONE THAT HUH?

OK so I was just about to make a joke about, "What did Meg just think Donovan was just a big fan of Coldplay and that explains his color?" BUT THEN IT HIT ME that the guy who sang that "Mellow Yellow" song in the '60s was named DONOVAN OMG this is amazing! I really hope Lurlene subconsciously named a jaundice sufferer after this song:



Anyways, obviously Donovan is all mellow yellow, not because he's just mad about saffron, but because he needs a liver transplant! Oh noes!

The next day Meg meets Donovan's mom and brother Brett. Brett's all "yeah he said you were pretty" because little kids will repeat anything. This is exactly why I don't tell little kids the people I'd like to jump. Later in the day Meg takes Donovan outside in a wheelchair where they talk about boring stuff, mostly that Donovan's all I RUINED EVERYTHING BY GETTING SICK and Meg thinks of how her dad says Donovan doesn't realize he's dying, which means Donovan's a frigging idiot because how else does he think he got on that transplant list? For funsies?

Meg offers to bring Donovan a pizza from the outside world, and he's fine with that because the doctors would be happy for him to gain weight. Meg's all WELL YOU CAN HAVE SOME OF MINE and he's all WAIT YOU LOOK FINE but apparently Meg has always struggled with her weight WAIT A MINUTE THERE IS AN OVERWEIGHT BUT CUTE AND BOY-WORTHY GIRL IN THE LURLENEVERSE WHAAAAAAAAAT!

Anyways so Meg comes to the hospital on her day off, and Donovan's all OMG I MUST GO OUTSIDE NOW and he's clutching some shaving kit like a freak. He even 'fesses up to freakish behaviour, to which Meg says:
"Not at all. How exciting can games and a video movie be to a guy who has a death grip on his shaving kit?"
YOU GUYS. A VIDEO MOVIE WHAT.

Sadly there is nothing that exciting in his shaving kit, just the OLW letter (you can read it in this entry if you so desire). Donovan is all secretive because he thinks if the hospital knows about the check he can't get care for charity anymore. Honestly, that is one of the first logical concerns a character in the Lurleneverse has ever had.

Meg does some more whining to herself about her dad's work schedule, and I'm just happy for once a protag bitches about her dad's career and not her mom's!

This is really boring, but it plays into the plot later, so I should tell you there's all this talk about poor Donovan's mom and Brett having to commute so far on the bus to see Donovan at the hospital, and whyyyy ohhh whyyyy isn't there a nearby place for families to stay??? OK, I fulfilled this obligation. Meg tells her dad, and he tells her to figure something out, so Meg pleads her case in front of her mom's Junior League.

Meg takes Donovan to visit his mom and Brett at their shitty apartment where it's only decorated with "meager possessions" and you can hear babies crying, and the meal is "simple but tasty", like, seriously, Lurlene, have you ever BEEN to an apartment? I have been to plenty of houses shittier than my apartment! Anyways, when she gets home and goes to sleep, she's woken up by her dad because there's an accident victim at the hospital who's a match for Donovan. The damn victim isn't dead yet though! They rush to the hospital! The kid DOES die, but the parents won't donate his organs. PEOPLE COME ON! I guess this is something I just don't understand. There are few good things that can come out of a kid dying, but organ donation is one. People, do it!

The only good news is apparently the Junior League does want to help build a house for patients' families to stay at. Hey, is this like the Ronald McDonald House? It's got to be better inherently since it's not sponsored by a clown, nor will its logo likely be a touching clown hand.


Anyways, the venture is gonna cost $2 million, so everyone's doing their best to come up with fundraising ideas. At the same time, Meg is also - at Donovan's request - trying to buy a house for his mom and Brett to be purchased with the OLW money, so they can live closer to the hospital. They find a lovely Victorian house, and Donovan puts down a down payment immediately.

The Junior League holds a moonlight cruise to raise money, and Donovan and Meg go together and end up kissing. The Lurleneverse is like the best place to find a hottie, though to be fair they're usually at death's door.

So Donovan gives the house to his mom, and of course she's thrilled. Too bad later the same day he's brought into the hospital unconcscious!! Ruh roh, Donovan! His kidneys are failing now, and we all know what multi-organ failure means, right? (Man I watch too many medical shows.) Goodbye, mellow yellow one.

FLASH FORWARD! What do you guys think happened? Of course Donovan's mom donated the house, and families can stay there now! WOO! Also now Meg wants to be a doctor. AWESOME.

This book wasn't exactly thrilling, but it was also not offensive in any way. Small victories, people, small victories.

15 comments:

Taren said...

Oh my gosh, I never connected the whole Donovan/yellow/jaundice thing before. Lurlene has a sick sick mind.

Molly said...

I hope Lurlene did the Donovan thing on purpose. She'd gain a ton of cool points with me.

I barely remember this book. But how big WAS the house that it could put up a bunch of families? Why would you buy a house that size for a two-person family?

ames said...

If Lurlene did the Donovan thing intentionally, I'm on her side again. It is far too awesome for words. If subconscious, holy hell.

(Then again, the subconscious stuff I've done in my own writing is pretty cracktastic so.)

I know when Meg and Donovan were exploring the house to buy it, they were all OOH IT'S SO BIG but, seriously, a big house for a few people to live in is WAY different than a big house where multiple families will reside.

maebytonight said...

Wait, so rich people weren't inherently evil and black people didn't have to learn a lesson about white middle class values? This is truly a first for Lurlene! I'll even overlook the apartment-hating for the folksy-singer-songwriter nod!

zanne said...

I also live in an apartment and have been to houses that were much shittier than my apartment.

I don't remember Donovan's mom donating the house at the end. So the Junior League built a house AND they got the smaller house too?

I thought Meg was pretty cool.

ames said...

Zanne, the Junior League was raising money to get land and THEN build a house on it. So they just got this one instead.

girlonthepark said...

Hehehe. The whole video movie thing reminds me of that old cartoon show "Home Movies" where one character's mom keeps referring to movies as "video films."

RollingStone said...

Why do the candy stripers wear PINK uniforms? I used to be one myself and we wore red and white striped uniforms, which I always thought was the norm because that's why they're called "candy stripers" in the first place. Did the colors run together in the washing machine or something?

Lenore said...

Awesome.

Sadako said...

I never realized, before this blog, how creepy the clown hand was.

Children of the Nineties said...

I definitely had the book with the original cover, what's with the new one? You're right, he does look extremely rednecky.

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charmecia said...

i dont know why this book was the least popular
the book was alright
and i liked meg
especially since she makes another appearance in reach for tomorrow
the last book of the series.
(plus i liked the chemistry between her and morgan,who starred in sixteen and dying).

nothing wrong with living in a big house with only 2 people.


and jacob does look indeed rednecky type. is lurlene trying to make jacob turn into a redneck?

Admin said...

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