Friday, April 17, 2009

Random Thoughts on a Friday

4 Thoughts on my VC Andrews Challenge Progress*

* contains spoilers

My Sweet Audrina is unusual in that it's a stand-alone title from the VCA canon. No sequels or prequels; all the long-winded exposition occurs in this single book. The opening is quite a teaser: seven year old Audrina has no idea what day it is, how old she is, or even what time it is. This is the fascinating tidbit that carried me through to the end of the book, despite the thread being completely ignored after the first quarter of the story. She lives in a giant mansion with her gorgeous mother, gorgeouser father, evil aunt and eviller cousin. Damian Adare works in a stock brokerage while his wife sits at home in transparent peignoirs reading romance novels and eating bonbons. Truly. Aunt Ellspeth, who was shamed by having a child out-of-wedlock which is a major no-no in VCA Land, is treated like a servant in exchange for room and board for herself and her 12 year old daughter Vera who is being raised as Audrina's sister although they are actually first cousins (not!).

Audrina, she is told repeatedly, is not the First and Best Audrina. That young girl perished at the age of 9 after being raped and killed in the woods by three horrible boys. As a consequence, the Second and Lesser Audrina is scared of sex. So let's examine some of the more heinous sexual issues in this book, shall we?

1. Arden Lowe, Audrina's future husband and who is eventually revealed to have taken part in the humiliation of the First Audrina, falls in love with 7 year old Audrina while he himself is 12. Um, ew!! Even when we find out that the Second Audrina is actually the First Audrina, that makes her 9 when she re-meets him. Nine? Why is a 12 year old having sexual feelings for a 9 year old? And vice versa? Ew!!

2. On their wedding night, Arden badgers Audrina into having sex with him, to the point of breaking down the bathroom door and later, nearly raping her. This is love? This is the man we WANT Audrina to be with?

3. In keeping with VCA tradition, Audrina watches her cousin/half-sister Vera have sex with her piano teacher. It is rough sex, more violence perpetrated by men against women in the name of "love" and serves to promote the idea in Audrina's mind - and VCA's young female readers - that men are supposed to inflict pain upon the women they care about.

4. After seeing Arden's mother Billie (legless Billie in VCA Land) in her father's bed, Audrina immediately blames Billie for the transgression, even though later she admits that she shouldn't have, that she should be angry with her father for getting another lonely woman in his bed. In response, Billie begs Audrina's forgiveness and, saddest of all, tells her that if she can have even the tiniest amount of affection - not love - from Audrina's father, she will have lived her life to its fullest, regardless of how badly he treats her otherwise.

Lord help the girls who read VCA as instructional in regards to sex. These books will have spawned an entirely new generation of women who think men bashing them around means they love them. Great.