Setting the Scene: Laurel, aged almost-14, is spending the summer at her parents' cabin while they are abroad, being looked after by her 20-something brother and sister. It's up by the lake in a remote area, several miles from town and apparently with no connection to the outside world beyond the telephone and maybe a radio. One day she's wandering through the woods by herself, as you do, when she finds that the most remote of cabins - one which is normally deserted - has been rented out to a single father (age 26) and his baby daughter.
Fun Stuff: Within about five minutes of meeting her - after a little misunderstanding in which she thinks the baby has been abandoned, and she tries to take it somewhere safe only to be grabbed by the man who thinks she's kidnapping it - he randomly offers her a summer babysitting job. Sounds good to me! Then on the first day of her new job, which she has not bothered to discuss with anyone, he's all "I think your hair would look beautiful in a French braid!" so she sits down and lets him start braiding. Dude, how is this not activating your "this is creepy as hell" radar?
Twenty pages later, he's a hippie artist or something - oh! Almost forgot; he wants to make a sculpture of her because she's so darn captivating, and he fancies himself Pygmalion? - and he decides to wash the laundry in the lake. So while she's standing out there with the baby and helping him, she creates this mental fantasy and thinks how, if this were a hundred years ago, she might have been his young wife and this could be their baby. Yeah, she's still 13. OH MY GOD. THIS BOOK IS SO CREEPY I DO NOT EVEN KNOW IF I CAN FINISH IT.
Except I did, which is how I know this disturbing fantasy of hers eventually manifests itself into love - not a crush; she knows the difference! - and then she actually asks him if he loves her, because she's sure he does, and is all upset when he gently brushes her off. I would mock her harder if "Ivan" hadn't been sending out disturbing vibes to the contrary the whole time. Including at the end when he tries to play on her fantasy and suggest that the three of them run away to Canada together, so desperate is he to keep the baby away from his horrible wife (who was going to - get this - cruelly take his daughter, whose deafness he has been totally denying exists, away from him and live somewhere with a special program for the deaf!).
Man, this book and the epic lolz, they never end. I swear, I went in with a positive frame of mind looking for a good summer story and everything.
In other news, shockingly, it looks like I am actually going to watch the Torchwood miniseries this year ON TIME because I've finally downloaded and listened to the radio play. (I know, I know; I've sworn the show off, but turns out binding curiosity isn't just for U.S. shows, and the fact that it's supposedly all going to air over the course of a week means it doesn't actually count as investment)
* First, the format! It's kind of fun. It ensures that my eyes won't be assaulted, and furthermore, as far as I can tell, my ears were not assaulted by unsavory language even once! I can't decide if it's better or worse than an audiobook; on the plus side you've got all the proper voices, but on the minus side, you have to rely on music, tone of voice and sound effects for description. Then again, those things are all very good - it's like a glorified table read, which was quite fun on "The Class."
It's actually fun to be forced to conjure up all the visuals yourself, although it requires a distraction-free environment to really focus. I recommend lying in bed at night, or stretching out on the floor with an arm wrapped around a large log of a dog. (Sitting outside in the sun might have been fun too, but I couldn't test this theory because after weeks of ultra-dry weather, yesterday decided to be all overcast and rainy.) Anyway, I've got such clear images in my head that I keep forgetting they don't exist in tangible form.
* All that being said, it's a good thing I'm not emotionally invested in this show anymore, because otherwise I might have felt cheated out of the fact that there were no visuals, no expressions - no screencaps - to deal with the aftermath of Tosh and Owen. I can't remember how much they addressed at the end of Doctor Who, but I don't think it was a whole lot; the majority of it is obviously happening here (not least because, you know, their "ghosts" are calling out).
* It was a good story, I'll grant you that. To that end it really felt more like a tie-in novel, with not much going for it beyond the story, but it was entertaining with just the right amount of spookiness.
* Martha being in it at all was pretty much the best part. Even if she did have to spend half her time awkwardly playing grief counselor because none of the others talk to each other about Serious Things.
* Did we really have to drag Lisa out of the depths of history? Because the concept of "Ianto + heterosexuality" just sort of makes me fall down on the floor, laughing myself into fits.
* Was Ianto always this snarky? Because all of a sudden he's making me laugh more than I ever remember doing; maybe it's a blessing when I can't see his annoying face. Gwen's getting rather good at it too...see my favorite exchange:
I: My bike has a bell. *rings*
G: I'm very pleased for you.