TSoA: Chapter 9: Nothing to Do with Anything
Shari has something in common with her mentor/secret lover, Michael Murphy: they both think that helping others is good because it keeps them from thinking about their own problems.
That’s a whole psychology paper right there, isn’t it?
So our favorite research assistant is psyched to meet juvenile delinquent Tiffany Baines, though quite surprised to see that Tiffany is a pretty blonde who is just ZOMG TEH CUTEST THING EVAH!!
Tiffany also either plays dumb or IS dumb (Shari can’t decide), because she is wearing a Tar Heels sweatshirt, but doesn’t know what the term “tar heels” means. Shari lectures her on the Civil War variation of the story, as though it is the only one that is obviously correct. For all I know, it may be, but what’s important about this scene is NOTHING IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING IT DOES NOT DEVELOP PLOT OR CHARACTER OR BUILD THE WORLD ALL IT DOES IS SHOW THAT BOB PHILLIPS KNOWS HOW TO USE THE WIKIPEDIA ON THE INTERTUBES.
Finally they get around to talking about Tiffany’s problems with her father.
Well, the book tells us she does, anyway:
[Tiffany] proceeded to tell Shari about her fights with her father and all the trouble she was getting in from hanging out with the wrong crowd.
Yeah, I’m sure that’s how Tiffany put it: “I’ve been hanging out with the wrong crowd.” Not that we would know, since Tiffany doesn’t get to talk.
After all, it’s not like her pain is important. What’s important here (if anything is) is the retcon of Shari’s family history. And her need to go on and on and on about it when someone else’s problems are supposed to be the topic of discussion:
“My father and I had a lot of confrontations. It got pretty bad in my senior year of high school. I threatened to run away from home a number of times. I even began to experiment with drugs and alcohol.”
Okay, this is so not true. This is nothing like what we read in Babylon Rising.
I think Shari’s making it all up. She is a lying liar who LIES.
Let’s check out what was said in the first book:
[Laura (Murphy’s now-dead wife] thought back to the long sessions they’d spent in her office talking about the pain Shari still felt years after her mom and dad had died in a five-car pileup on the interstate, her dad at the wheel with half a pint of Wild Turkey inside him. How she’d tried to help Shari make sense of it all. Help her work through the anger she felt toward her dad and try to reconnect with the love that had once been there. Help her find a way of giving thanks for everything her mother had been and would always be.
Okay, see that? YEARS. “Years after her mom and dad had died.”
LOOK GORAMMIT, YOUR PREDECESOR SAID IN THE FIRST BOOK THAT SHARI’S PARENTS DIED YEARS AGO AND NOW YOU’RE ACTING LIKE IT HAPPENED LAST MONTH
Shari tells Tiffany that she didn’t become a Christian until her freshman year of college, and that after that happened, she patched things up with her dad (because all relationships are magically healed when you’re a Christian) and they had “a year and a half of great times before he was killed.”
“I asked my father for forgiveness for my attitude. It was wrong. Even though he had done wrong, I had too. I apologized for my part. He began to cry and asked me to forgive him.”
And then, according to Shari, things were peachy keen until some freak accident claimed the lives of her parents, and her father’s drunk driving was apparently TOTALLY NOT INVOLVED.
I just…I don’t get the point of the retcon, since as the story stands, there is no reason for it. So, the only conclusion I can figure is that Shari is lying to Tiffany to make their stories more similar.
So Shari, SHARI, sits there crying, and effectively guilt-trips Tiffany into heading off to talk to her dad, because one one-sided conversation is all it takes to mend a relationship.
Can I just close by saying that this is an absolutely brilliant strategy on the part of Bob Wagoner? He had some ministering to do, neatly pawned it off on not just one, but two of his flock, thus freeing his day for the vitally important tasks of stuffing his face with chili fries and playing a few rounds of golf.
What a great pastor.