I read, therefore I despair

When I was a young(er) man I picked up Robertson Davies’ Deptford Trilogy because I seemed to see it everywhere and it looked “interesting”. Now I have what I consider to be a bad habit which is that, once I start a novel, I have to finish it no matter how bad it is (a recent exception being The Emperor of Ocean Park which was horrendous beyond belief). And so it was that I read and read and read Davies’ trilogy only to finish one day and say, “What the fuck was that about?” Okay, maybe I just didn’t get it but, crap, I was reading the Williams (Gass & Gaddis) and Borges at that time, and I didn’t have any trouble with them. And yet there was this cult thing about Davies in those days so I just nodded and smiled and called Deptford “complex” and directed the conversation elsewhere lest I be found out.

Which brings me to today’s America’s Worst Mother&#153.

I don’t get it.

I mean, all the usual elements are there: the kids (Jamocha, Lovecraft, Colander, and Glabella) being strainingly semi-cute, Mr. Meghan being semi-wise and helpful, the odd anglicisms (“mummy”, “porridge” – does anyone else in America eat porridge? Jesus, would it kill her to give the kids a friggin’ Eggo?), the kid gibberish:

“Did you know?” Paris interrupts, “Caroline is part chicken. She likes chickens and she likes to act like a chicken, so she’s part chicken.”

My husband and I laugh. Molly rolls her eyes.

“She’s really a chicken?” Violet asks interestedly.

“Part chicken.”

“What about you?”

“I’m part cheetah and part monkey,” he says firmly, and drains his glass. “Patrick says he’s part machine gun, but I don’t really believe it.”

…and we wonder why she’s going to homeschool him.

And, of course, the smug “my kids may only have fun if it’s educational and that makes me a better mom than you” moment:

“Of course he will,” Molly interjects, with a sidelong look at me, “And not only that, but I bet in Canada the Easter Bunny will be able to give us Kinder Eggs.” These, if you haven’t had the thrill, are hollow German chocolate eggs filled with tiny toys that one assembles oneself, and that don’t seem to be available in the U.S.

Oh. Groan.

Anyway, I give up this week. Life’s too short to try and make something out of nothing. Not that that has ever kept Meghan from making her deadline every two weeks…

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