Monday, September 15, 2008
Into the Dark or "Awesome Paulette Needs More Common Sense"
I feel that for once, R.L. has put a pretty positive message in one of his books. Our main character Paulette (terrible name) has a real disability but still manages to be indistinguishable from the rest of R.L.’s female characters. Which means of course that even though Paulette is blind, she’s still batshit crazy! So, we should all learn a valuable lesson here: just because someone is blind, they can still make terrible decisions, just like the rest of us.
The cover art for “Into the Dark” is good, but I feel like the artists could have chosen something a little bit more jazzy. It looks like poor Paulette is going to tumble down into the basement, when we know from the book, she’s very capable at getting around. Jeez, ghostartist! Way to make Paulette helpless! Also the book never mentions her wearing sunglasses. I guess they added that to really drive home the point that she’s blind. Why not add a trusty guide dog on the cover too? (* I’m actually VERY glad Paulette did not have a guide dog, because you KNOW that dog would have been horribly murdered) The tagline also leaves something to be desired. “See no evil…” It’s okay, but I was really gunning for a “Sometimes seeing too little can be MURDER” or “The dark can really be a KILLER”.
So Paulette is blind. Did I mention that? O I did? So I don’t need to mention it in every paragraph? Are you listening, R.L.?? I actually got it the first time. Paulette is blind, her parents are super over protective, but she doesn’t really mind because she doesn’t know what she’s missing. Good for you Paulette! Although Paulette makes some AWFUL choices throughout the book, she’s still a pretty rad girl. For a Fear Street character. Anyways, Paulette is being driven to her piano lesson by her sycophant friend, Jonathan, who I think has some unresolved feelings for Paulette. She meets a boy outside the Shadyside Music Academy (?) and is pretty much instantly in love. Jonathan warns her though that this “Brad Jones” has a bad reputation, he may have gotten kicked out of his last school! Oh Noes! Luckily, Paulette doesn’t care and give him her number anyways.
So Brad calls her that night and acts like a typical Fear Street boy. So like a complete and total effing creep. He tells her he can’t stop thinking about her, that she’s the one he’s been looking for, and then demands Paulette to say the same things. When she doesn’t know what to say (um… never call me again?) he “harsh, ragged” breathes into the phone and hangs up. HA! Dear lord, that’s like an obscene phone call! Paulette’s all “hmm weird, o well!”
The next day Brad and Paulette have lunch together and Brad is totally back to normal. I immediately think of Split Personality Disorder or Evil Twin Syndrome, both of which make appearances in multiple Fear Street books. Paulette is unfortunately not on the same wavelength as I am, and thinks it’s great that Brad is back to normal. She touches his face to “see” him and notices he has a scar in his eyebrow. Will this be important later? O foreshadowing, how I love you. He confesses he practices piano in an old abandoned house on … FEAR STREET. Jeez, Paulette, this guy is creepy! Cut your losses and RUN.
Paulette goes home and hangs out until her other friend Cindy comes over to study. When they get to Paulette’s room, Cindy is horrified since someone had vandalized it! Poor Paulette was hanging out in a room that said “You will be dead, blind girl” on her walls! That’s just terrible. Of course they do the right thing by calling the police and her parents. Wait, I’m lying! Paulette doesn’t want to worry her parents, so they repaint her wall and say nothing. UGH. I hate Fear Street girls! I understand that they are independent and think they can handle stuff on their own… but really, with the amount of murders that occur? I would take death threats seriously!
The next day, while walking to school, Paulette hears someone behind her and then gets PUSHED into traffic! And who happens to be conveniently there? Brad of course! And even though Paulette CLEARLY felt someone push her, she believes Brad when he tells her that no one was there and she just tripped. Um, Paulette? I actually can’t believe how stupid you are. Like, for real. Later at lunch, Brad invites her over to the abandoned house on Fear Street to listen to him play piano. He’s also confused when Paulette mentions their conversation that morning. O MY GOD. Seriously, if the two of them had just discussed their confusion, then this book could have been over by page 43: “I never talked to you this morning!” “But if it wasn’t you, then who was it?” “Ooo, I know who!” I guess that’s why Fear Street characters never discuss anything…
So Paulette and Brad go to the abandoned house (WARNING, WHAT A TERRIBLE IDEA). He doesn’t tell her how a new guy in town knew about an abandoned house that just happens to have a working piano inside. And then Brad actually LEAVES her there. The blind girl, in a rotting house, in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. WTF, Brad? Luckily, her kinda creepy friend Jonathan had been FOLLOWING her, and is there to drive her home. Yay, I guess? I’d be creeped the fudge out by both of them. The next day at school, Brad doesn’t explain why he left her there, and then tells her he can never see her again. Booo, hiss! Brad sucks!
But Paulette kinda sucks too, because she doesn’t want to leave her house, in case she misses a call from Brad. Paulette, you could be so awesome! Forget about sinister Brad! She goes to bed early and is woken up by a noise at her open window. When she goes to close the window, there is a PERSON there who grabs her and tries to pull her out! Dear god, that is scary! That is scene that I will have nightmares about, possibly even tonight. She screams for help (finally) and the intruder lets go and runs away. However, when her parents come in, she doesn’t tell them what happened. WHAT? This is the time that overprotective parents come in handy! You need protection from the man that wants to kill you Paulette! Common! O right and the intruder dropped a ring. Brad Jones’ ring. Paulette is not creeped out by this as she should be, but wonders why Brad didn’t identify himself. Dear LORD Paulette.
So Paulette, Jonathan and Cindy are out at Pete’s Pizza, which I could really go for right now, when a gunman comes in and robs everyone! And shoots Jonathan! (Just in the arm though). Paulette doesn’t recognize his scent but once his mask gets ripped off, everyone says it’s the new kid, Brad Jones! Hmm he *looks* just like Brad but Paulette is convinced it’s not because of his smell… What could possibly be the explanation…
The next day Paulette goes to study and suntan in her backyard, when someone comes into the backyard. They won’t say who they are so Paulette gets understandably freaked out. She tries to go back inside, but the person in the back yard is moving all the furniture around and she gets lost! By this point, I would have lost my mind from being so scared, but Paulette proves how awesome she can be by soldiering on and calling threats to her attacker. Go Paulette! Paulette finally finds her way inside. I think I would stay inside, possibly forever. But I’m not as sweet as Paulette (when she’s not around Brad).
So Brad calls and finally confesses to what we’ve known for a while: Evil Twin Syndrome, and his name is Ed. Ed was always jealous, blah blah blah, life ruiner, blah blah blah. Brad says he’s in the abandoned house and Ed hurt him. He needs Paulette to come rescue him, but not to bring the police. Hmmm, how very NON-suspicious of you, “Brad”. No-longer-awesome-Paulette of course goes right over to rescue “Brad”. He convinces her that “Ed” is about to come in to finish him off, so together they knock him out and tie him up.
But wait! “Ed” wakes up and says he’s Brad! Who is the real Brad? Paulette touches “Brad’s” face and realizes her mistake. No scar… so that makes “Brad” Ed and she just tied up real Brad! Whatta mess! Couldn’t she have smelt the difference? I don’t know, who cares for continuity! Paulette convinces Ed that she loved him, not Brad and she wants to go with him. He’s like “Oh okay!” (Poor, unloved Ed), but she really just smashes his flashlight, leaving him in the darkness to even their playing field! Go Paulette! In the dark, she kinda flings him down the rotten staircase and kills him. Well… that’s pretty badass! Paulette leads kinda-still-knocked-out Brad out of the house.
“He turned to Paulette. ‘I feel as if I’m finally coming out of the dark,’ he told her”. Way to rub it in her face, BRAD. The book ends there, without an inappropriate kiss. I feel ripped off.
Alright so Paulette was a pretty cool, unless you got her around Brad. The ending was a little contrived, especially since R.L. went on and on about how strong her other sense were. I think rad Paulette should have been able to hear and smell the differences between the two boys. Having said that, this book had an EVIL TWIN. So it really doesn’t get better, unless the evil twin was a zombie or something. For giving us an almost-likable heroine who actually does save people and kick ass, and also for giving us an EVIL twin, this book get four non-existent guide dogs out of five! Go Paulette!