Countingcrows’s Blog

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Do YOU know the capital of Borneo? January 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morgan @ 11:53 pm

Why does Mr. March keep asking Madeleine “Do you know the capital of Borneo, little girl?” I don’t understand what the point of this question is. I dont even know what Borneo is? How would an 8 year old girl possibly know that? And there isn’t even a capital of Borneo anyway. I suppose it could be his way of making madeleine feel like she should be mistreated, and like she doesn’t deserve to have a hare in school. I don’t know, but whatever his reason is, it bothers me. 
Speaking of madeleine, not only is she feeling undeserving, she is also beginning to feel a lot of anxiety. She knows that something isn’t quite right at school, with her marks going down, and her teacher keeping her after school. Especially when her teacher is making her do things like exercises, and making her touch his ‘muscle’. This is revolting. What I am confused about, is how he isn’t worried about being caught. He is touching little girls after school in his classroom, not only touching them, but actually sexually abusing them. What kind of excuse could you make up to worm your way out of that one? THERE ISN’T ANY! This makes me feel sick. And Madeleine knows that it isn’t right, but she just doesn’t want to hurt or embarrass her family by telling them anything. It’s almost as if she thinks that they will be dissapointed in her, and it’s not only that, i think she is also confused about what is means, especially since he tries to give her chocolate afterwards, like a bribe not to tell anyone or to make them think they did something right.
I thought maybe something would have been done, however, when madeleine started to tell her father about the exercises. I thought that maybe he might figure out that something odd was going on, until she told him she was doing them on her own, and not after school, with Mr. March. She could save herself so much grief if she could just tell someone. Yet she seems to take it out with violence, like yelling things at Colleen, the very interesting, yet seemingly decent (particularly when she takes Madeleine fishing), sixth grader with the knife, and not only that, she vandalized the school, beat up Marjorie, and is thinking thoughts like ‘I will bash his head in with a rock’ in regards to a passing car and its driver.
However, I have to admit, i think that Marjorie deserved to be punched in the face. I have had enough of that child and her horrific rude comments! I think it would’ve taken all I had when I was 8 not to punch her, so I just can’t be upset about that. And what I don’t understand is why Marjorie can be acting to normal about the whole ‘exercise group’? Is Mr. March on physcally touching Madeleine, and not the other girls that he keeps behind?
One thing that drives me absolutely crazy, is that Jack could have caught Mr. March. After Madeleine had told him about her tortoise in school, he decided to have a word with her teacher. WHY DID HE FORGET ABOUT IT??? It crushed me, reading that part. He was just so close to stopping something horrible.
But as for stopping something horrible, I would have thought that Mimi might be a little more concerned about finding blood on Madeleine’s underpants after Mr. March violated her. She just let it pass when Madeleine told her she hurt herself on a bike. Well, that must have been one hell of a fall, because i have been riding and falling of bikes a good majority of my life, and have yet to bleed ‘down there’ as a result. And as for it being her period, well, she is 8 for god sakes! I haven’t heard of an 8 year old girl with her period. Although, i am sure it has happened. I just think, that as a mother, i would be a little more concerened, maybe not thinking of something as bad a Mr. March, but i would definitely be thinking something was going on. And maybe Mike would be concerned too, when his sister wets the bed, although, when you are young, it probably isn’t that un common. I was just glad he helped her, and did the thing that a good brother should. It made me like him a little bit more.
Why did Mr. March stop keeping Madeleine after school? Is it because she confessed to the vandalism, and therefore he thought perhaps she would tell people about his doings? I suppose she indirectly told Claire’s parents about the excercise group by writing a note telling them that Claire, who seems truly lovely, was being kept after school, and it was signed ‘the human sowrd’. I personally think that was amazing, but i am not quite sure of the significance of the name that she signed it with. Is it an old childrens story or something? Nonetheless, the note worked, seeing as Mr. March never asked Claire to stay again. But Grace starts coming home with bruises. Is he becoming sexually and physically abusive now?
And I think it may be claire who gets murdered. She does have the fitting charm bracelet…
But when Madeleine confessed to Mr. Lemmon, the principle, about vandalizing the school she did find out something interesting… Henry Froelich is Jewish (aha! I predicted right!). And when she told Jack, he felt awful, particularly about all the ‘typical german’ banter. I couldn’t help but kind of feel kind of embarrased for Jack, because it seems that he enjoys Henry’s company. However I would prefer it if he didn’t notice the way Henry’s wifes breasts curved in her shirt. Not appropriate! Is something going to happen with those two?
Of course, Mr. Oskar Fried has to come into the picture as well. What I don’t like, is how unfriendly he is. You would think that a man in a strange country would want companionship, but instead he is an unfriendly rude jerk of a man. There is something about him that just doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t like him, and I get the feeling that Jack doesn’t either.


The 4 m’s- Mimi, Marjorie, Madeleine and Mr. March January 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morgan @ 5:53 am

I am slightly bothered by how awkward Jack was around Karen Froelich. I don’t like how he got red while he was shopping and saw her, and how he kept thinking about how she was pretty ‘in a way’. I know he is very in love, or at least it seems that he is very in love, with his wife, Mimi, however, he was just a little to interested in Karen. It struck me as a little odd… not that its unusual for a man to find another woman attractive, he just kept thinking about it. But while Jack thinks shes ‘fine’, Mimi thinks she is below average. Mimi is very judgemental about Karen, particularly at the barbecue where she is thinking about her ‘faded black stirrup pants’ and how Mimi herself disapproves. I suppose in a life like that it would be hard not to be judgemental, but Karen strikes me’ as the only woman who is being herself
As for Jack, I am not to pleased that he has to lie to Mimi about Oskar Fried. I feel like he is being led into something bad, that he may not be able to worm his way out of, and Simon is just NOT giving him enough information to make it seem like its safe. Maybe if Simon wasn’t so secretive about it, I might be a little more comfortable with it.
What about the character Marjorie Nolan? Oh dear god help me, she is absolutely horrific. A little tiny know it all with a horrible attitude. I am interested as to why the author has decided to stick such an ‘utterly delightful’ character into this novel. Telling Madeleine horrible things about people like the fact that “[Grace] has 4 older sisters and they’re all sluts” as well as telling her that she shouldn’t wave at Grace as “that’s like petting a stray dog.” What kind of 8 year old child says things like this? What must her home life be like that she feels the need to act like this? How I would love to know…
As for the barbecue, all the chat about war is difficult to get through. Although I like the passion that Henry Froelich has when he is talking about things like war. Is it possibly that Henry is jewish? He got awfully silent when all the men were discussing Hilter and the Holocaust and anti-semetism. Another thing I noticed at the barbecue is how kind Madeleine is to Elizabeth. It shows a good side to someone, particularly one as young as Madeleine.
However, as this section of the book continues, I have noticed that little Maddy has a bit of a morbid side to her. For example, when her father, Jack, tells her the story of the Pied Piper, the one thing that she focuses on after he is finished is the fact that, while the kids are staying young, their families grow old and die. This makes me feel sad, as I want Madeleine to feel happy, and not be concentrating on the sad parts of life.
And now… for the big one. Mr. March. This man is the most repulsive, disgusting, utterly horrifying man I have ever read about in my life. His soft body and open mouthed breathing makes me want to vomit. Not only is he gross, but he also has some interesting classroom rules. He has almost split the students into an old school ‘class system’ with his hares, dolphins and tortoise distinction. I don’t like that he gives the students these labels. I believe that they make the students feel bad about themselves. The only thing students should be expected to do is try, especially in grade 4. So now the worst part… the exercises. Why does this man even have permission to teach? Anybody who keeps little girls after school to do ‘exercises’ has very serious problems.’


The First 82…Pages, that is. January 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Morgan @ 5:26 am

Within the first chunk of pages, I can’t help but find myself becoming bored. I must say, that I feel that the description of the car ride down to Ontario, was dragged out for far too long. I am aware that, possibly, it was the authors way of drilling the idea of a ‘perfect family’ into our heads, but I am sure that that could have been done in a shorter, more interesting way. I also find those side comments that are supposed to be coming from Madeleine’s Bugs Bunny doll incredibly irritating. I really don’t need the input of a stuffed rabbit, particularly since I have found Bugs Bunny an immensly obnoxious character throughout my own personal childhood.
Although, as the story continues I find myself quite enjoying the McCarthy family. I like how in love Jack and Mimi are, and how stunningly witty Madeleine is. Particularly for such a young girl. It is un-common to find an 8 year old girl who is so quick on her feet. I have yet to grow an attachment to Mike. I’ve had my fill of young boys, seeing as I have three brothers. I don’t need to be reading about them too. Although, I do think Mike can be quite kind to his sister, which is something that I like about his character.
But I am not feeling good about this ‘Oskar Fried’ person. I have a sneaking feeling that Jack is getting pulled into something that he doesn’t need. I don’t want his family to fall apart.
And Henry Froelich… he seems a bit mysterious. I am curious about what part he will play in this novel.
So I suppose I have to come to the conclusion that, although the beginning dragged me by my heels through every word, it is becoming a page turner. And it makes it even better seeing as I am incredibly attached to that family, if not protective of them.