I Call Shenanigans

June 28, 2009 at 1:04 pm (Writing) (, , , , )

I was rereading Shirley Darsgaard’s series last night when I came across a section in “Witch Hunt” in which the protagonist’s friend, Darci, is putting up with a MAJOR red-flag guy. Ophelia, the protagonist, notices this and immediately bitches and moans about it. Her grandmother, Abby, is supposed to be this loving mentor figure who understands everything.

And, guess what? Ophelia points out Danny’s red flag behavior and all Abby has to say about it is to the effect of, “Some men just want to be the center of their partner’s universe. That’s Darci’s problem, not yours.”

Seriously, ma’am? I get that you’re older and were raised in the Appalachians and whatever other stupid-ass excuse you can come up with. But how DARE you hold Abby up as a prime example of good female knowledgability and matronliness, and then have her say something like that?

Danny is a red flag male. He controls Darci, pushing different clothes and different beliefs on her. He tells her what to think and what to say. He tells her it’s “for her own good.” He isolates her from her friends and loved ones and forces himself on her by pushing Darci to let him move in with her after a murder occurs in her house instead of letting Darci find other real estate. That kind of behavior is a warning sign of future abuse to come, and you basically have your character green-light this because it’s “Darci’s problem”?

I call bullshit. I feel angry enough about this to actually write to the author.

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1 Comment

  1. John Coxon said,

    When Abby tells her granddaughter that Darci’s relationship troubles are ‘her problem’, I do not believe she is saying that Darci’s boyfriend’s attitude or controlling personality is Darci’s problem. I believe what she is saying is that it’s Darci’s job to recognise that this is happening and seek help for herself.

    I have been in relationships with people who were very, very bad for me without realising it before, and when my friends and loved ones tried to point that out to me, I ignored them because I had feelings which prevented me from seeing the issue objectively. I have a friend who’s 25 currently, and when she was 23 she started dating a guy who was a controlling shit. He was completely and utterly evil on every level. I tried to tell her that and it ended my friendship with her for eighteen months, because she needed to work it out on her own before she could trust my opinion of him over hers. Now she’s worked it out, and she’s gotten rid of him and we’re friends again, and she’s completely cut up and issuey about it but there was nothing I could have done unless she asked for my help.

    What Ophelia needs to recognise is that even though Darci is with someone who is controlling and an idiot and making her miserable, that really is Darci’s decision, and Ophelia interfering will not make anything better. If Darci asks Ophelia for help, that is the point at which Ophelia needs to make her valiant stand – before that point, she just has to stand and watch, as horrible as that sounds.

    So, all in all, I believe that Abby’s advice, coming from a grandmother who had probably had extensive experience in the issue of relationships, was perhaps ill-explained but nonetheless the right thing to say.

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