A Review of ‘No More Daddy’s Little Girl’ by Karen Lee

For the book summary, refer to this link.

Why you should read the book?

Karen Lee holds a corporate job with Hewlett Packard and she also had a stint with IBM previously. From a tender age of 6, Karen realized that she was naturally attracted to females. This book is collection of some of her major life events in chronological order and the various relationships she had with her friends/lovers. As a reader, I could empathize with the struggle she faced of coming out as a full-fledged lesbian in a conservative society like Singapore’s.

Karen expresses her thoughts very vividly and one can almost feel for her and the difficulties she faced when embracing this lifestyle. This book is eye-opening for those who are not familiar with the LGBT community or do not have gay/lesbian friends. It presents things from Karen’s perspective and also the rationale behind the decisions she took along the way. Most of the decisions she made were intuitive in nature and the good thing is that Karen was truly honest in following her heart and doing what she think was best at the point in time. The book also showcases how life in Girls Brigade in a Singapore school was like.

Some of the experiences she has been through such as drinking frog soup, being robbed, surviving a small fire, visiting gay bars/pubs are certainly very unique and uncommon. Readers can only see how such events affected her life. Humans are always unpredictable and the book will demonstrate how she navigated through such relationships with her roommates and emerged stronger.

A big part of this book also involves her struggle between her faith in Christianity and coming out as a lesbian. It was certainly not easy to be a full-fledged lesbian when such behavior is not unacceptable by God. Another big struggle for her was when she finally came clean on her sexual orientation with her parents. Having grown up in a conservative Christian family, she had to face some shock and resistance when she finally revealed the truth.

The issue of juggling between co-curricular activities and studies is also a theme prevalent early on in this book. This is something that many modern students might be able to relate to. Karen’s adventurous spirit and global mindset is something to be admired. She had no qualms about travelling to Sweden to meet up with someone she chatted with from IIRC and later, also openly married a Canadian lady, Dorothy.

Who is this book meant for?

This book is suitable for just about any adult. As the LGBT theme is sensitive in nature, children may wish to avoid reading it just yet. Advocates of the LGBT community may be highly motivated by this book to also share their story and have courage to love, not barring societal pressures. Heterosexuals or bisexuals will also understand the life of a lesbian by reading the book.

What is the book like?

It is an autobiography and Karen recounts key events in her life and takes on the pronoun ‘I’ throughout. The linguistic style is easy to read and very reflective, brooding in nature. At some passages, italicized text is used to reflect her innermost thoughts. Consisting of 180+ pages, the book can be read in about 4 hours at ordinary reading pace. Events are often well described and the book is presented in a sequential order, from her life as a pre-schooler till the day she got married.

What can I learn from the book?

The first is to empathize with the struggles of people in the LGBT community and their difficulty in order to gain acceptance into society/religious beliefs. In a country like Singapore where gay marriage is not legalized, gay and lesbians may have to work harder to obtain eventual acceptance. There is a big debate as to whether people are born gay or whether they turn gay due to environmental factors. However, this is not covered in the book.

The next important fact is to learn to respect the LGBT society as they have the right to love and attain happiness through romance. As in Karen’s case, she clearly describes the pleasure and love she felt during the courtship and subsequently marriage with Dorothy. Being more open-minded will allow you to better understand others and learn to walk in their shoes.

For Karen and perhaps some of the LGBT community, much exploration may be needed before one can eventually settle on a same-sex life partner. From the book, one can appreciate Karen’s fear of commitment issues that are associated with marriage. Before her marriage, she also had other girlfriends. It is important to understand that physical attraction and sex do matter in relationships even for LGBTs. So are issues like infatuation, flings, platonic relationships etc. Relationships are an art and always requires hard work to make them flourish. This is so whether for bi/hetero or homosexuals alike.

Finally, you can live by your decisions more easily if you gain the respect of your community/religion. Whilst this is important, it is also crucial to be able to take a stand and stick by your decision. If your heart and mind are in sync, you will be less likely to look back with regret. This also involves the need to have a strong value system to ensure that your actions will be consistent with your values.

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No More Daddy’s Little Girl by Karen Lee

The book is an autobiography of her life. The author, Karen Lee, is not shy from standing up and putting her views across. A main theme of the book is about her life as a lesbian, how she how society viewed her and how she has gained acceptance. The aim of the book is also to advocate the LGBT community and to share her experiences with others.

Han was my boyfriend when I was 6. I was the smart, cute girl in school. Since young, I was closer to my Grandma as compared to my parents. My mum abandoned my sister, Joyce, and I and she was not stable emotionally. She was a born Christian. When I was 6, a middle aged man tries to seduce and rape me. Thankfully, a passerby chased him away. My parents reconciled when I was 10. I was jealous of my younger sister’s achievements at school. When I was 11, I had a crush on a female teacher but she didn’t stay in the school for long. I liked to draw attention to myself and disturb the entire class. Sammy and I were platonic friends. I was the tomboy while she was the girly one. I met a girl named ‘Christabel’ in church. As I didn’t know which group I fitted in, boys or girls, I was kind of confused sometimes.

The girls brigade (GB) days were my formative years. There was plenty of cheering during orientation. An American who was a transvestite in his youth gave a speech and that influenced me. The faith and belief you have in God will carry you a long way.

We had to work for badges in GB. I won the ‘Best Recruit of 1991’ award for the hard work I put in. GB taught me discipline and leadership. I was selected to attend a promotion camp known as National Commissioned officers. It was a tough routine to say the least. Overall, it was a worthy experience.

I was the Head Librarian and was also the assistant chairperson of the drill committee. I headed for a missionary trip in Bangkok, Thailand. It was an eye opening experience and we got to learn about the Thai culture. That included having to drink frog soup. I couldn’t bring myself to swallow them. Child prostitution was rife in Thailand. It was enlightening to help others and see their lives improve.

I was promoted again in GB and there were additional responsibilities. However, I couldn’t handle the stress and my school work was suffering. My dad wanted me to seek help for my facial condition. After some professional help, it cleared up. I got to meet Julie from the missionary trip. She had many suitors and had this mysterious persona. I tried my best to be closer to her. She was always on my mind. I had a big crush on her. We often clashed in terms of ideas during a school camp. I secretly admired her for 5 years but never came clean. We spent a lot of time chatting. I got rejected by Julie when she admitted that she doesn’t feel things would work out. I took very long to get over this episode and hoped things would be better when I was in Perth for my studies.

I got along with other Singaporeans in Perth. I shared a bond with a girl named Deborah. Jeanie started slashing on a wooden box with a knife and pretended that nothing happened after that. I was shocked at her demeanour and wanted out. It was like a cult celebration of Christ and his teachings. I started house hopping and couldn’t find a place. I saw Sandra preparing breakfast.

Till this very day, I am still unable to comprehend the logic behind a balance sheet. If they are called balance sheets, then why can’t they balance on their own? It’s really silly for anyone to have coined such a term. – Karen Lee

Becky offered her place to meet and I immediately accepted it. Ray was an attractive female who seemed to have many partners. She knew she was a lesbian. Later, a group of us started hanging out at a gay bar. It was all a very novel experience for me. I passed out one night at a bar due to over-drinking. I promised not to get drunk again. Jeanie and I grew closer together and I liked her. However, Deborah also had a crush on Jeanie and things didn’t end well. I also engaged with the lesbian online chat groups in IIRC. One day, I set the house on fire. Thankfully, the landlord let me off with a small fee and Becky was willing to accept me again.

Becky’s house was a lot more spacious now. Later, I bumped into Ray and the other girls in a restaurant. I decided to kiss Becky so as to make Jeanie and Deborah jealous. I signed up for a gym membership for a year and was thrilled at my new found physical fitness. Trish was my personal trainer back then. One day, we were robbed. It was a broken mess and we all slept through it. Becky’s wallet was gone. Break-ins were common at that time. Following the incident, Becky and her boyfriend improved security in the house.

Was being gay honest to myself? It is condemned by Christianity. I realized that it was not a passing phase. I also came from a conservative family. It was a huge dilemma but I decided to go straight to please God. It didn’t last long. I sought help from a clinical psychologist. I didn’t go after a while because the rates were too expensive. There was this constant struggle in my head. For that reason, I stopped attending church. I had a virtual relationship with someone on IIRC. Later it developed into phone calls. She was from Sweden and I made the crazy decision to fly over. Her real name was Sumi and she was an alcoholic. She wasn’t tall and slim but rather short and stumpy looking. Sumi’s roommate was Wolfe. At first glance, she wasn’t my type at all. She started touching me in bed. The next day, she brought me on a city tour. After a while, we experienced sexual pleasure in bed. The next day, she brought me to an adult shop. Sumi also prepared sumptuous meals for me.

Time flew by and I already had spent 10 days with Sumi. She was upset by the fact that I was leaving. My parents still didn’t know my sexual orientation. Dee, an Australian lesbian, was looking for a roommate and I immediately applied. She was very open with her sexuality. Sumi and I stopped contacting each other. Also, I quit using the Internet chat. We explored the Gay Village in Perth and it was a brand new experience for me. I still needed time to decide if I liked her. Later, I spoke to a server named Carmen and was attracted to her.

Dee found out that I was contacting Carmen and was pissed. It turned out that Carmen already had a girlfriend. Dee and Carmen also had a difficult past. Trish was Dee’s partner. I dropped by Carmen’s place. However, Seth chased me away and we had a quarrel. Later, I would be heading to Canada for an exchange programme.

Astrid, a girl from Germany, was my new roommate in Canada. I toured the campus. House parties were a common sight. Astrid was not my type of girl. When I was bored, I would turn to Internet chatting. Michael, Deborah and Allison were my room-mates. I called a girl named Dorothy over the Internet chat and she lived in Toronto. She was a nurse by profession. I felt connected to her. I was going to visit her in Toronto and she would show me around the city.

The weather was extremely chilly. She was fairly attractive. She also stayed with her family. Dorothy was fit as she often worked on a farm. We visited the zoo. The more knowledgeable she was, the sexier she seemed to be. We visited her place and she offered me a few delicious muffins. Later, we indulged in some light kissing.

Later I bunked in 5 other females on campus. Dorothy and I often made out, even in a packed cinema when it was dark. I joined her family for a Christmas dinner. We stayed in a treehouse for a while. Luckily, we were not caught by her family members when we made out in the barn. Our relationship was filled with fights and sex. After 3 months, Dorothy proposed to me and I was in a shock. I said yes. After I went back to Australia, we were in a long distance relationship for a year. I stayed with a bi-sexual woman back in Perth.

The last semester was easy. One day, I met Annie and was attracted to her. She was training to be a body-builder and was a friendly person. She was a bi-sexual and had a boyfriend. Annie and I took part in the Pride Week and it was my first pride march. Not long after, Dorothy’s mum passed away. I tried my best to offer emotional support. It was sad to see Nat and Annie go as I had to head back to Canada.

I landed a job to be a technical analyst with IBM. Later on, I moved to their sales division. Dorothy joined me in the Toronto Pride March. Everyone at work later knew that I was a lesbian. Our relationship lasted 7 years. In 2004, I agreed to marry her. I finally came out to my parents. I was very grateful that dad accepted me for who I am. Mum was not so accepting and discouraged me from getting married. My dad was strongly against it and I was deeply traumatized.

To be honest, I wasn’t ready for marriage. I didn’t know why I had doubts even though I loved her very much. Gay marriages were finally legalized in Canada. We hired an entertainer from a pub for the wedding. It was nerve wrecking and the preparations were immense. We recited our wedding vows. We were finally married!

My family also came to visit. Thankfully they were on best behavior and we had breakfast together the next morning. I was delighted that they came. Next, Dorothy’s family visited and both our families interacted. My family was generally very accepting of everything that happened.

nomoredaddy'slittlegirl

Life quotes 51 to 100

  1. “Optimistic bias can be both a blessing and a risk, you should be both happy and wary if you are temperamentally optimistic… Of course the blessings of optimism are offered only to individuals who are mildly biased and who are able to ‘accentuate the positive’ without losing track of reality.” Daniel Kahneman
  2. ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.’ Upton Sinclair
  3. ‘Tom Sawyer had discovered a great law of human action, namely, that in order to make a man covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.’ Mark Twain
  4. ‘In the DRM studies, there was no overall difference in experienced well-being between women who lived with a mate and women who did not…Women who have a mate spend less time alone, but also much less times with friends. They spend more time making love, which is wonderful, but also more time doing housework, preparing food, and caring for children, all relatively unpopular tasks… Experienced well-being is on average unaffected by marriage, not because marriage makes no difference to happiness but because it changes some aspects of life for the better and others for the worse.’ Daniel Kahneman
  5. ‘It is only a slight exaggeration to say that happiness is the experience of spending time with people you love and who love you.’ Daniel Kahneman
  6. ‘Rewards and punishments, promises and threats, are all in our heads…They shape our preferences and motivate our actions, like the incentives provided in the social environment. As a result, we refuse to cut losses that could lead to regret, and we draw an illusory but sharp distinction between omission and commission, not doing and doing, because the sense of responsibility is greater for one than for the other.’ Daniel Kahneman
  7. 把重但卸下,一切顺其自然就好~ 心情放开了,人间何处不逍遥啊!
  8. 鱼总是最后一个看到水
  9. ‘你无法掌控别人的行动,但你能掌控自己的想法。你无法掌控每天的气候,但你能掌控周围的气氛。你无法掌控自己的长相,但你能掌控自己的表情。你无法掌控生命的长度,但你能掌控生命的宽度。’ 何权峰
  10. ‘每次你想他有多讨厌时,他就掌控了你的念头;每当你跟朋友报怨这个人时,他就掌控了你的交谈;每次你听到他的名字或与他相关的事情,他就掌控了你的心情;当你改变计划避开他时,他甚至掌控了你的行动。’ 何权峰
  11. “慈母手中线, 游子身上衣,临行密密缝, 意恐迟迟归,谁言寸草心 , 报得三春晖。” 孟郊
  12. ‘To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.’ Soren Kierkegaard
  13. ‘Poker is the only casino game where you’re playing against other players instead of the house, so as long as you’re better than the average player at your table, you can actually win in the long run.’ Tony Hsieh
  14. ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.’ – George Bernard Shaw
  15. ‘Basically, we are not human. We are not normal guys. We are from outer space.’ Yohan Blake, a Jamaican sprinter.
  16. “I am a living legend; bask in my glory”. – Usain Bolt
  17. 吃得苦中苦 方为人上人
  18. ‘When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die.’ Bane to Batman
  19. ‘First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’ Gandhi
  20. ‘There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.’ Morpheus, The Matrix
  21. It is said that the pupil of the eye is the window to the soul. It will dilate whenever one engages in a difficult task, meets someone attractive etc.
  22. “Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required.” Winston Churchill
  23. Unconscious Incompetence (blissful ignorance) –> Conscious Incompetence (time to buck up) –> Conscious Competence (learning phase) –> Unconscious Competence (ability to perform the skill with little effort)
  24. ‘You cannot prejudge people in this business. Prejudging is the kiss of death. You have to give everyone your best shot. A green salesperson looks at a customer and says, “This person looks like he can’t afford a car,” which is the worst thing you can do, because sometimes the most unlikely person is flush (with cash).’ Bob Golomb, an outstanding car salesman.
  25. “Loneliness is the difference between your desired contact with people and the contact with people you actually have,” says Prof Vanessa Burholt, from the Centre of Innovative Ageing at Swansea University.” This explains why some people with lots of friends still feel lonely. It’s a subjective thing.”
  26. ‘For a marriage to survive, the ratio of positive to negative emotion in a given encounter has to be at least five to one’ John Gottman
  27. It takes a while to decide whether you like something or not.
  28. It is a quirk of human behavior that the more difficult something is to see, the more some people want to see it.
  29. ‘No amount of observations of white swans can allow the inference that all swans are white, but the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion.’ David Hume
  30. ‘In any event, it is good for every individual to remember. You will occasionally do more than your share, but it is useful to know that you are likely to have that feeling even when each member of the team feels the same way’ Daniel Kahneman
  31. ‘The tendency to collect information before making up one’s mind, the tendency to seek various points of view before coming to a conclusion, the disposition to think extensively about a problem before responding, the tendency to calibrate the degree of strength of one’s opinions to the degree of evidence available, the tendency to think about future consequences before taking action, the tendency to explicitly weight pluses and minuses of a situation before making a decision, and the tendency to seek nuance and avoid absolutism’ Keith E. Stanovich on sound decision making
  32. ‘Laughing is not an instinctive physical response to humor, the way a flinch responds to pain or a shiver to cold. It’s an instinctive form of social bonding that humor is crafted to exploit.’ Steven Johnson
  33. Fact of life. ‘Whether someone has a network of good relationships or is alone in the world is a much stronger predictor of happiness than any other objective predictor.’ Roy Baumeister
  34. ‘Above all the other necessities of human nature, above the satisfaction of any other need, above hunger, love, pleasure, fame – even life itself – what a man most needs is the conviction that he is contained within the discipline of an ordered existence’ Walter Lippmann
  35. Love is like a fart. If you have to force it, it’s probably shit.
  36. ‘Birthdays were invented by Hallmark to sell cards’
  37. Richest man in Japan, Tadashi Yanai, on the need for companies to innovate. ‘Change or Die’
  38. “The analogy I use is, if a man takes a woman out 85 times and then she’s not your girlfriend at the end of it, you’ve wasted a lot of time. You measure success by achieving things.” ex Man U defender Gary Neville. Hard truths.
  39. “In the beginning, I was afraid all the time but what I love above all (about the lifestyle) is not knowing what will happen tomorrow.”
  40. ‘There was something about the man, something that all great leaders have. It is a quality you can’t put your finger on. Not only is a great, great manager, he is a great man and that is maybe the part people don’t realise. It is an honour to know him.’ Tony Fitzpatrick, on Sir Alex Ferguson
  41. ‘He was 13 and just floated over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.’ Sir Alex Ferguson, when he first saw Ryan Giggs play. 26 years later, Giggs is the most decorated and capped Man U player with 939 appearances. Lol.
  42. ‘My greatest challenge is not what is happening right at this moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their perch. And you can print that.’ Sir Alex Ferguson (1993). 20 years later, in 2013, his club surpassed Liverpool. Wow.
  43. ‘Sometimes you look in a field and see a cow. You think it is a better cow than the one you see in your field. It never really works out that way. Some players like to think the world is better somewhere else. It never really works.’ Sir Alex Ferguson, on Wayne Rooney’s transfer request in 2010
  44. ‘If they cannot find jobs, what is the point? You own a degree, but so what? That you can’t eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless.’ Khaw Boon Wan (on advice to ITE and poly grads)
  45. ‘One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil.’ Friedrich Nietzsche
  46. ‘We don’t live to work, I think we work to live. It’s part of the process. Work is not an end in itself. So if I were to ask all of you now and I would suggest not just the students, all of you here, what is your purpose in life? Being clear about what we want out of life will help us to think about the type of jobs that we may be able to do.’ Tan Chuan Jin, addressing polytechnic students
  47. ‘A false path in life is generally something we are attracted to for the wrong reasons – money, fame, attention, and so on. If it is attention we need, we often experience a kind of emptiness inside that we are hoping to fill with the false love of public approval.’ Robert Greene
  48. ‘Don’t think about why you question, simply don’t stop questioning. Don’t worry about what you can’t answer, and don’t try to explain what you can’t know. Curiosity is its own reason. Aren’t you in awe when you contemplate the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure behind reality? And this is the miracle of the human mind – to use its constructions, concepts, and formulas as tools to explain what man sees, feels and touches. Try to comprehend a little more each day. Have holy curiosity.’ Albert Einstein
  49. ‘It is a great folly to hope that other men will harmonize with us; I have never hoped for this. I have always regarded each man as an independent individual, whom I endeavored to understand with all his peculiarities, but from whom I desired no further sympathy. In this way have I been enabled to converse with every man, and thus alone is produced the knowledge of various characters and the dexterity necessary for the conduct of life.’ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  50. ‘No eggs, no omelette. And it depends on the quality of the eggs. In the supermarket, you have eggs class one, class two, class three. Some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem.’ Jose Mourinho (on the state of his Chelsea squad, shortly before his departure from the club)

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Looking for Alaska by John Green

Before

136 days before. I left home in Florida and headed to boarding school in Alabama. My mum wanted a going-away party and decorated the house. I was Miles Cavalry or Miles Halter. Marie Lawson and her boyfriend, Will, came to visit. Only two people showed up. I wasn’t good and fond of small talk. My parents thought I wanted to leave because I was anti-social or that I didn’t like them. ‘I go to seek a Great Perhaps’ at the boarding school.

128 days before. The heat in Alabama was unrelenting. There was no air-conditioning in my room in the boarding school. My parents were sad to see me leave. I imagined that others would come up to me and start chatting. I started unpacking and also took a cold shower. The heat was unbearable. I was very short for my age and appeared scrawny. Chip Martin was my roommate. He was a muscular dude. His dad was an alcoholic and his parents were divorced. He could rattle off the names of countries on the world map. Chip liked morbid stuff and I liked to memorize the last words of others. It was his third year at Culver Creek and he was one of the top students. He started setting up the PS2. There were two kinds of kids. The regular boarders and the weekday warriors (the rich kids). Chip wanted to be addressed as Colonel and I was known as Pudge. We came to Alaska’s room. Man, she was hot in a tank top. Justin touched her boob even those she was with Jake already. Colonel wanted me to buy cigarettes from her. Meanwhile, she went to look for Takumi. Mr Starnes (Eagle) was the dean and everyone was scared of him. Colonel admitted that almost every kid got into trouble somehow. When he left, I tried smoking. Alaska came over and we started chatting. She talked about Simon Bolivar and I was impressed. I began to appreciate her curves. She had a life’s library in her room. She taught Chip some pranks in school and he was known as the Colonel because of his planning ability. In a deal, I had to figure out what labyrinth was and she would get me laid.

That’s the mystery, isn’t it? Is the labyrinth living or dying? Which is he trying to escape – the world or the end of it? – Alaska

127 days before. Jake was at Vanderbilt on a scholarship. The café only served fried room. I realized that I was starting to like Alaska. I met Takumi in the café today. Marya was supposed to be Alaska’s roommate, but she got kicked out of school. Paul had sex with her and got caught. When I was asleep, I was grabbed by 3 guys, of which one of them was Kevin. They brought me to the beach and tied me up. They taped my mouth shut and told me not to hang out with Colonel. Next, I was flung into the water. I managed to find my way back to shore. I decided to head to Alaska’s room instead. Normally, the boys were supposed to just throw you in the sea without tapping you. Colonel promised that he would deal with those boys.

126 days before. ‘Well, now it’s war’. Those boys also pissed in Colonel’s shoes. It was my first day of classes and it was very tough. I kept noticing Alaska in class. She seemed moody yesterday when I dropped by her room. I managed to identify the bullies in class. Dr Hyde was the teacher who would teach religious traditions. He would explain the meaning of life to us. I started to take religions seriously after the class. Sara was the Colonel’s girlfriend. Alaska later told me I had to be tough.

122 days before. Sara was at my room door. She looked like a bitchy movie star. She was upset at how crumpled Colonel’s shirt was and they decided not to head out that day. Apparently, the boys peed in his shoes because Colonel ratted out Paul and Marya. He was upset and couldn’t believe he was being accused of such a thing.

110 days before. I was getting better at school work. I was ushered out of class by Dr Hyde for daydreaming and not paying attention. Alaska spoke up for me and was also ushered outside. To her, Dr Hyde was an asshole although I thought he was a genius and was smart. She gave me a clover for luck. We came upon an oasis by the creek. Alaska was upset at the way I was treated by Dr Hyde. Takumi was a rapper and a good one at that.

You’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die. – Alaska

109 days before. Meat Loaf was Maureen’s greatest failure. People played basketball in the fall and Colonel wanted me to join. I was bad at sports all my life. Hank was the star basketballer for my school and he was always on weed. We visited the school gym. We had an encounter with Kevin and we built a truce. Colonel led some of the cheers during the game. The opposite coach complained about Colonel. Colonel was thrown out of the game, just like in every game.

108 days before. Dr Hyde wanted me to be present in class.

101 days before. I started feeling cold. We went into class and Alaska gave me a note. I met a girl named Lara and I wrapped my hands around her because Alaska was speeding in the car. We went to McDonalds and we learnt mathematics from her.

100 days before. Her tutoring really helped me and my grades improved. When she was younger, Mary was her name. When I was 7, I chose my own name, Alaska. It meant ‘that which the sea breaks against’. She didn’t want me to kiss her.

You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present. – Alaska

99 days before. We headed to the lake late at night to smoke. The Eagle caught us in the act and we were in trouble. Alaska was philosophical about it all.

Sometimes you lose a battle. But mischief always wins the war. – John Green

98 days before. There were 12 students on the Jury. The Eagle was the Judge. Alaska advised me not to talk at all. Alaska and Colonel had to do 10 hours work cleaning dishes in the cafeteria. Takumi and I got away scot free.

89 days before. Alaska said she found me a girlfriend. The colonel liked metaphors and was reading Moby-Dick. Lara had perky breasts and thought I was cute. Alaska suggested a triple and a half date, where only Takumi would be alone.

87 days before. Jake was a good looking guy and Alaska started kissing him. I wore a green starched shirt. We were all planning to watch the basketball game. I wanted to be Jake as he was kind of charming. Colonel insulted the Beast, one of the opponents on the field. I started running after the Beast stared at us. Soon, I was hit by the basketball. I suffered a mild concussion. Later, I threw up on Lara’s pants. Lara was horrified. Takumi drove me to the hospital. Lara came to visit me at the hospital too, if I remembered correctly. Colonel’s girlfriend left him. He was a little sad after the breakup even though they often quarreled.

84 days before. It was raining now. It kept raining, day after day. I saw Alaska alone in the cafeteria and I went over to talk to her. She was not in the mood for answering questions and left.

76 days before. The colonel felt better now. We received the exam topic from Dr Hyde. ‘What is the most important question human beings must answer? Choose your question wisely, and then examine how Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity attempt to answer it.’ Suddenly we saw Alaska running towards us. All her books were ruined by the weekday warriors. She was deeply upset.

67 days before. Takumi brought me a snack. I went with him on a walk now. We headed to the smoking hole to smoke. Alaska ratted out Marya. It turned out that she was not very loyal and I was surprised. Colonel didn’t know about it yet. Colonel and Alaska were probably planning for their next major prank and I was warned.

58 days before. Alaska started talking to me while she was playing video games. She was really unpredictable. Now, she was on my bed and really close to me. Jake didn’t want her in Nashville. She had a prank list to show me. It turned out to be a list on why I should stay here for Thanksgiving. However, I needed to convince my parents. I got my parent’s blessings to stay on campus. I couldn’t believe I ditched my parents for a girl with a boyfriend. Now, I tossed pebbles into the river. Now, I felt homesick and miserable. I would indeed be spending Thanksgiving with her.

52 days before. Colonel’s mum came and picked him up. The campus was now very quiet. Alaska ordered me to dig on the ground and soon we found a bottle of pink wine. The Eagle wasn’t on alert during this break. I started drinking on campus. She read Cat’s Cradle to me. Now, she placed her hand on my leg. She started talking about the labyrinth. Suffering was universal.

The labyrinth was suffering. Doing wrong and having wrong things happen to you. That’s the problem. Bolivar was talking about the pain, not about the living or dying. How do you get out of the labyrinth of suffering? – Alaska

51 days before. It would be 7 days before everyone else got back. We ventured to the weekday warrior rooms. They looked their money and hair. They were all macho assholes who were concerned about their looks only. We wanted to prank their scalp. She thought about acquiring industrial strength blue dye.

49 days before. She wanted to go porn hunting. We made our way to the dorms. She pulled out the King James Bible. We found many porn magazines among the mattresses. We watched the porn movie. I didn’t have the courage to tell her that I wanted to sleep with her. In some ways, she seemed too good for me.

47 days before. ‘Nights falls fast. Today is in the past.’ She tossed a book at me. It was a poem from Edna St. Vincent Millay. She was Alaska’s hero. It was about depression. We continued burning candles etc. I saw a small green car in the parking lot. It was Colonel who invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner. The house was rather small. The trailer was so small that I couldn’t believe the colonel stayed in there. Alaska helped Dolores with dinner. Dolores was a better cook than Maureen. I wanted to meet Alaska’s family someday too.

46 days before. It was the best thanksgiving food I ever had. Later, we listed down our gratitudes. Alaska admitted that it was her best Thanksgiving in a decade.

44 days before. It was the last day of our vacation. Alaska wanted to flirt so that she could get us more booze. She managed to get us cigarettes and loads of booze. Suddenly I found her crying and her lamenting that she screwed everything up. She was upset about everything, especially ratting on Marya. She didn’t have a home. Now, she was a crazy sullen bitch and I didn’t like her. It was Christmas. I received a nice watch and wallet as presents from dad. My parents felt guilty that they went on holiday during Thanksgiving. My parents were such lovely people. They professed their love for me and I was deeply touched.

8 days before. Alaska walked and sat beside the Colonel on the couch. They were talking about a pre-prank on Kevin and his friends. Puking on Lara made me vulnerable. We would be staying at the barn. I felt like a fool following Alaska around when she didn’t care about me.

4 days before. In my essay, I wrote about why people wanted security.

People, I thought, wanted security. They couldn’t bear the idea of death being a big black nothing, couldn’t bear the thought of their loved ones not existing, and couldn’t even imagine themselves not existing. I finally decided that people believed in an afterlife because they couldn’t bear not to. – Miles Halter

3 days before. The finals were finally over. We walked over to the Eagle’s house. We were planning to visit the Eagle’s house over the weekend. Even Lara was joining us. We were all on sleeping bags. Pre-prank number 1 would be to light a fire under Eagle’s ass. They wanted to heck the computer network and inform Kevin’s families that he failed some of their classes. None of us could screw up or else the plan wouldn’t work. We all had individual itineraries. I stuck with Takumi and we would act as distractions. Takumi wore the fox hat and thought he was invincible from then on. My heart was thumping wildly. After the fuse was lit, we fucking ran out of there. We ran like cheetahs. The firecrackers exploded. We kept running when the Eagle threatened to call the police. There was a slight error in the route and we were too close to the lake. I saw the swan swimming towards us and it made a hell load of noise. The swan bit my ass. We lit nearly 23 strings, of which some were duds. Despite this, we felt invincible. There were cuts on my arms. We finally returned to the barn. We fucked up. Lara inserted industrial dye into Kevin’s and friends’ bottles. Alaska also did her job well. Takumi and Alaska promised to take the fall if they were caught. Hating people took up a lot of energy. The booze felt great that day. The threat of expulsion lent excitement to our lives.

There are a lot of people here like that. You know? Fucking blowup-doll rich kids. – Alaska

2 days before. We spent the next day hiding. We started rapping under guidance from Takumi. We kept drinking and I felt like puking. Alaska suggested we play the game Best Day/Worst Day. I admitted that the best day of my life was today. Lara’s best day was when she visited the zoo with her parents when she was younger. Takumi’s best day was when he lost his virginity. Colonel didn’t believe he experienced his best day yet. It would be when he could buy his mum a house. Takumi started to sip on the wine bottle. Colonel’s worst day was when his dad left after he cheated on his mum. Dad never came back. My worst day was when Tommy pissed on my gym clothes and I was forced to wear them. I had to wear it for the entire day and it was extremely miserable. We all laughed at each others’ pain. I felt like kissing Lara at that very moment. Takumi’s worst day was when his grandma died in a car accident. It was Alaska’s turn now. Her worst day was when her mum died from Aneurysms and Alaska thought she was asleep and didn’t call for help. I sympathized with Alaska. Everything was fucked up. At that moment I felt how powerless she was. We are all going… Her inaction caused her to move into perpetual action. Alaska puked because she was too drunk. I touched Lara. A little later, we started kissing. We continued to make out in the night. She agreed to be my girlfriend. It was a good end to the best day of my life.

There’s your labyrinth of suffering. We are all going. Find your way out of that maze. – Miles Halter

1 Day before. It was time to wake up and go. My head throbbed like crazy. Alaska admitted she was a deeply unhappy person. Takumi puked in the morning also. The fox cannot summit Strawberry Hill. I slept 18 out of 24 hours that day.

The last day. Kevin had blue hair now. He shaved his head so it wouldn’t be so obvious. There was no truce yet to be formed between us. I spent the evening with Lara. Lara wanted to give me a blow job. She wanted to bite me and I immediately rejected such an advance. I couldn’t explain why I liked last words so much. We played truth or dare now. She dared me to hook up with her. I agreed and we started kissing. She felt asleep on my chest instantly. We didn’t have sex. Colonel warned me that I was in trouble and that things wouldn’t go well. She woke up the next day and was in deep regret. She couldn’t believe what she did and wanted to get out immediately. We brought Alaska after and set firecrackers to the Eagle’s house.

After

1 day after. The Eagle came to our room the next morning. We were screwed. Something terrible had happened. We all headed to the gym. Dr Hyde suddenly appeared. Alaska wasn’t there. The Eagle started crying, unexpectedly. Alaska was killed in an accident, according to him. Everyone was stunned and stayed silent. I tried to puke but I couldn’t. I was convinced that she was still alive in the woods. Everyone was all very upset. The Colonel started screaming. The Eagle witnessed the accident. People do not just die, I thought. I would never know her last words. The colonel was very apologetic.

2 days after. I didn’t sleep that night. I told my parents about her death and they comforted me. I went to spoke with Colonel. He didn’t believe that she could be so stupid. The pain wouldn’t go away. Nothing is instant. What does instant death mean? I fantasized of having sex with Alaska. Her funeral would be on Sunday.

4 days after. He walked to Montevallo and back. He kept walking in the cold and turned back when he couldn’t take it. The reason why he did it was because he couldn’t take the dreams. I held the Colonel’s hand as he fell asleep.

6 days after. It was the funeral. There were chartered buses to the event. I cried profusely. The casket was closed and that was that.

7 days after. It was Martin Luther King day. Anger just distracts you from sadness. Colonel and I entered Alaska’s room. Her life’s library were all ruined. We wanted to hide things from her aunt as she would be clearing the place. I wanted the General in His Labyrinth. Although it was soaked, I tried my best to read it. Her death was a mystery.

8 days after. Even the weekday warriors were surprisingly quiet. What happens to us after we die? Dr Hyde pulled out her script. How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering? Alaska. Those people whom she didn’t know her all appeared very caring.

9 days after. Colonel came up with a theory. Someone called Alaska moments before she started driving. We were all curious on who called her. Jake also disappeared. Colonel had a plan on investigating her death.

13 days after. We walked to the police department to look for eye witnesses. We spoke to the cop who crashed into Alaska. The strange thing was that Alaska didn’t swerve at all. It could have been an accident. There were tulips in her backseat. Maybe she just wanted to die with white flowers. It might have been suicide to some extent.

14 days after. We researched on reasons why people committed suicide and their warning signs. Alaska’s mum passed away and she was angry and unpredictable at times. Colonel always believed there were answers. It didn’t appear like suicide because it wasn’t planned.

20 days later. The colonel and I had food at the convenience kiosk. He wanted to call Jake. I was pissed as I didn’t want to know about her relationship with Jake. He complained that I didn’t care about her. I flung a chair at the wall and screamed. I wanted to be the last guy she loved. Would I still remember her long after she passed on? I wanted to know her better so that I could remember her better. The colonel wanted to pursue other avenues first.

21 days after. The afterlife mattered a lot to me. I wanted to know where she was now. Takumi also missed her dearly. I also stopped dating Lara and found it difficult for myself to do something like that anymore.

27 days after. We were planning to steal the breathalyzer from Eagle. Takumi found some booze and we were going to talk about Alaska the next day. I managed to distract Eagle and Colonel stole it. He got drunk and wanted to test it. He only hit .16 on the meter and already felt like puking. Suddenly Eagle came into our room. I had to see the jury tomorrow and the Colonel got away scot free. After drinking more booze, the colonel hit .24. He was smashed. I tested his reflexes by making him walk in a straight line. Despite this, Colonel could only see one of me, although he felt really sleepy suddenly.

28 days after. What was the significance of the white tulips? Takumi suggested that Alaska might have wanted to visit her father. Colonel was going to call Jake tomorrow.

29 days after. Takumi didn’t like how stuck up I was at wanting to be the last guy she loved. The eagle was in the room but he didn’t check our shower and we were safe. It was actually the Colonel who knocked on their door. Jake bought the white tulips. Jake and her spoke for 5 minutes when she freaked out. She told him that she’d talked to him later, but not see him. She sounded impulsive that night. We had to figure out what was in her mind when she freaked out.

37 days after. I went into Lara in religious class. I still found it difficult to talk to her.

45 days after. Takumi and I didn’t do well for precalc test. We were still sad sometimes and continued thinking about Alaska. We visited the liquor shop. The lady at the shop had an ugly mole with a strand of white hair growing for it.

46 days after. Finally I decided that I should talk to Lara again. She said that I could have been her friend and not her boyfriend. She forgave me and hugged me. We walked to the lake and started talking about Alaska. It was a good start. Colonel threw a pack of cigarettes in the water for Alaska. I followed suit. We needed more evidence. We were dying in terms of leads and needed some bright idea from somewhere.

51 days after. I wish I could be enlightened over her death and see the truth. Buddha believed in things falling apart. Suffering was caused by desire. Memories would eventually fall apart too. Maybe she just fell apart, that would be the only explanation.

62 days after. I decided to call my parents. My parents met Mrs Forrester at a party. When talking to mum, I saw the drawing of a flower. I think I might have discovered something. She was just doodling flowers before her death and then she freaked out. She looked at the doodle and then remembered something. Now, the question was what she forgot.

69 days after. There would be a playground built in her memory. We wanted to think of an Alaska Young Memorial Prank.

83 days after. The colonel had sketched out an elaborate prank. He explained his plans to everyone. We had to find a stripper too.

84 days after. It was Speaker Day. I needed Dad’s help to disguise as a professor and be the speaker for Speaker Day. He would play Dr. William Morse. We sought Eagle’s approval now. He called my dad and blindly agreed. We were in luck.

102 days after. On the actual day, a guy named Maxx, who was a stripper was the actual speaker. However, on the actual day, Maxx was late. He was articulate and professional and rehearsed the script. I knew I could cover myself if I got caught. Lara wanted him to take off his clothes and commented he was hot. Now, Maxx stripped and showed off his abs and danced to the music. There was a standing ovation for him. Eagle ushered him out of the hall. We pushed the blame to Alaska. It wasn’t us. We glowed in our success. Eagle knew it was us and warned us not to do it again.

114 days after. Summer had returned. Jan 10 was the date she died. Jan 9 was the date her mum took her to the zoo. We predicted that the flowers made her trigger thoughts about her mum and that she wanted to visit her grave. She missed the death anniversary. That cleared things up.

118 days after. We grew closer during our investigation. Colonel wanted to drive in the middle of the night to replicate the feel. I felt her death was pure and it strangely felt a little good. We drove past the exact accident spot and we were still alive.

119 days after. We studied hard for the final exam.

122 days after. The Old Man held classes outside for once. He gave us the question that Alaska wrote. ‘How will you – you personally – ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering? Now that you’ve wrestled with three major religious traditions?’ He wanted to know how we would navigate through life in spite knowing about suffering. Straight and fast.

136 days after. I opened the door to my room and noticed a slip of paper. It was from Takumi. He was not staying for graduation. The truth was that he spoke to Alaska moments before she died. She was in the soccer field trying to look for flowers for her mother’s anniversary. She was just so sad. Takumi was sorry that he hadn’t stopped her. His bunk was empty now. I forgave him and realized that forgiveness was essential in the labyrinth. There is no need to pretend the labyrinth didn’t exist. I forgive her and I also know she forgave me for all the dumb things I did. I believe in an afterlife. She was not just matter. Thomas Edison’s last words were ‘It’s very beautiful over there’.

Things that did not go right, things that seemed okay at the time because we could not see the future…If only we could see the endless string of consequences that result from our smallest actions. But we can’t know better until knowing better is useless. – Miles Halter

I believe now that we are greater than the sum of our parts…There is a part of her greater than the sum of her knowable parts. And that part has to go somewhere, because it cannot be destroyed. – Miles Halter

We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail. – Miles Halter

alaska

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The narrator ‘I’ has cancer and spends a lot of time at home. I have a limited time to live. Mum suggested that I attend a weekly support group to treat depression. The group met every Wednesday in the basement of a church. Patrick was the leader who liked to talk about Christ. I’m Hazel, aged 16, and I have both thyroid and lung cancer. Isaac was a skinny guy who had eye cancer. I could communicate with Isaac, through sighing most of the time. I made friends with Augustus Waters. Suddenly, I wanted out from the support group. However, mum was resistant and wanted me to continue. I needed the help of an oxygen tank to live. Suddenly, a guy was looking at me. He was a hot and good-looking dude. Isaac was about to go for a surgery that would make him blind. Augustus was 17 and had osteosarcoma and was Isaac’s friend. He feared oblivion. I didn’t have proper friends apart from my parents. I encouraged Augustus to ignore his fear of oblivion and comforted him that Earth will die when the Sun dies out anyway. Peter Van Houten, author of ‘An Imperial Affliction’ was a good ‘friend’. Patrick often prayed for the group. Augustus started speaking to me now after the session. He believed that they were all in the heart of Jesus. Now, he started praising me for my beauty. I was started to get attracted to him and his mannerism. Augustus invited me to his place to watch V for Vandetta. Isaac had a girlfriend, named Monica. Augustus started smoking without lighting up the cigarette.

Augustus didn’t drive well at all. Your chances of survival largely depend on whether your parents still put you in school despite the illness. I wasn’t schooling for 3 years already while he still attended school at North Central. I had stage 4 cancer and my lungs were all infected. However, I was given a drug called Plalanxifor and I started to get better. In the past 18 months, the tumors shrank but I still had to rely on drizzled oxygen and daily Phalanxifor. His parents started preparing dinner for me. Augustus liked reading motivational quotes and encouragements. I do not eat meat. I explored the basement in his house and found a lot of basketball memorabilia. Augustus used to be at basketball before his legs got amputated. Deep inside me, I liked Augustus. I wasn’t very positive or enthusiastic about life, unlike him. My favorite book was an Imperial Affliction. Augustus wanted to read it as well. In exchange, I would read The Price of Dawn. Without Pain, How Could We Know Joy? Now, I felt like kissing him. He wanted to see me tomorrow for a second date.

Don’t tell me you’re one of those people who becomes their disease. I know so many people like that. It’s disheartening. Like, cancer is in the growth business, right? The taking-people-over business. But surely you haven’t let it succeed prematurely. – Augustus to me

My mum could tell I liked Augustus. It was my 33 half birthday and it called for a huge celebration. I was planning to meet Kaitlyn for a movie. Now, I also bought sequels for the Price of Dawn. My mum was always reading medical stuff and handling paperwork. I went shopping with Kaitlyn after a brief conversation. Kaitlyn was a good friend, but somehow after I missed school, we kind of drifted. I started reading Midnight Dawns before mum would pick me up. I liked the main character who always lived his life like an adventure. For those who knew my pre-existing condition, talking to them would never feel like normal. I liked being alone and indulge in my own fictional world.

I re-read AIA again. The book is about Anna and her one-eyed mom. Anna has a rare blood cancer and started a charity ‘The Anna Foundation for People with Cancer Who Want to Cure Cholera’. Her mom falls in love with the Dutch Tulip Man. The Tulip Man claims to have cures for cancer and can help Anna. However, Anna doesn’t trust him very much. The author left the story hanging in mid-air without an ending. I called him to share about my readings and vice versa. Now, I was planning to watch a movie with my mum. Augustus was surprised by the lack of ending of AIA. Isaac was sobbing tremendously. Isaac was in a midst of a psychotic episode. The both of them were playing the Price of Dawn and Isaac was acting like a lunatic. It could have been relationship trouble between him and Monica. You will not die in vain. Monica couldn’t handle that Isaac would lose his eyesight. Isaac was deeply upset with this. Isaac started slamming the pillow and chair in the room. I still haven’t heard from the author of AIA on what the ending would turn out to be. Isaac slammed the trophies with Augustus’ permission.

All salvation is temporary. I bought them a minute. Maybe that’s the minute that buys them an hour, which is the hour that buys them a year. No one’s gonna buy them forever, Hazel Grace, but my life bought them a minute. And that’s not nothing. – Augustus

Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway. Don’t you believe in true love? – Isaac

That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt. – Augustus

I met Kaitlyn and her boyfriend for coffee. I also attended classes at MCC 3 mornings in a week. Worry is a side effect of the dying and I started to worry. Augustus thanked me for the book and analyzed it deeply. Maybe the book was meant to end halfway and abruptly. The author was a recluse. He started writing to the author and received a reply from his assistant. Is there a point to living? Is there meaning in suffering? The author replied that he could not be continuing on this book. I started writing to the author too. Caroline Mathers was Augustus’ ex-girl friend. However, Caroline passed away. Okay will be our always. Isaac was free from cancer after the surgery. However, he was blind. Isaac wanted to leave the hospital. He still was thinking about Monica. Isaac’s mum was in the room by his side now. I bought Isaac some flowers. The author finally replied me. However, he refused to answer my questions on the book’s ending but welcomed me to visit him at his place. I immediately had the urge to head to Amsterdam to visit the author. However, I had to find a way to raise the funds since my parents were broke. I already used my wish from the Genie foundation to head to Disney. Augustus called me when I was at home. He brought a bouquet of bright orange tulips to me and suggested heading for a picnic. My dad and Augustus related well on topics like basketball. I was still worrying about the upcoming PET scan. He brought me to a park and then a museum. Everything Augustus brought was orange and it meant to represent Holland. Augustus reprimanded me on my short term thinking for my wish. He wanted me to preserve the integrity of the Wish as an idea instead. He hadn’t used his wish yet. He wanted to visit Amsterdam as well. The genies were ready to grant them their wishes.

But I believe in true love, you know? I don’t believe that everybody gets to keep their eyes or not get sick or whatever, but everybody should have true love, and it should last at least as long as your life does. – Isaac

My mum was surprised about the Amsterdam trip. The doctor advised my mum to follow us on the trip as well. I told Kaitlyn about my encounter with Augustus. Kaitlyn had just broken up with Derek, her boyfriend. Caroline Mathers died from brain cancer. I realized how similar I was to Caroline. Pain is a blunt and nonspecific diagnostic instrument. I didn’t want to hurt mum anymore. I started reading Caroline Mather’s little notes. Augustus touched me.

I felt a sensation of sharp pain inside of my brain now. I screamed in pain. I was now admitted into the ICU. Alison was my nurse. Now, the hospital again drained the fluid from my lung. There was no tumor growth spotted. Augustus was waiting at the hospital for me. I eventually returned home after 6 days. Sleep fights cancer. I finally met Augustus since my episode in the hospital. The Amsterdam trip had to be postponed because of my illness. ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves.’ I desperately wanted to travel despite the new setback.

I missed you, too. I just don’t want you to see…all this. I just want, like…it doesn’t matter. You don’t always get what you want. – Hazel

Dr Maria admitted that the drug has side effects but she will continue administering it to me. It was a Cancer Team Meeting. The problem was that taking the drug caused fluid accumulation. I hated the cancer team meetings as it was depressing. The fluid draining became more frequent. My parents banned my travel until I was better. Augustus has the ability to make me laugh and delight me. I looked at the swing set my dad gave me when I was young. Augustus visited me to view the swing set. We placed an ad for the sale of the swing set. ‘Desperately lonely swing set needs loving home’. ‘No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can’t go all the way around.’ I sold it to a guy named Daniel Alvarez. The author was expecting me in a week’s time. My parents eventually allowed me to travel.

I headed to the Support Group. Michael had passed away. Isaac and his mum showed us for the support group as well. ‘Living our best life today’. I visited Isaac’s house. We started playing a game where Isaac gave the instructions and I directed him. I didn’t want to get together with Augustus because I will hurt him eventually.

Mum and I shared a suitcase. We were now busily packing before our departure. Dad cried when he was sending us off. Augustus came to the door when we picked him up. They were on their way to Amsterdam. Augustus went to get a burger and didn’t return. Soon, he came back. Augustus has the habit of placing cigarettes in his mouth without smoking it. I kissed Augustus on his cheek. We ended up watching 300 together. He was now re-reading AIA. Augustus loved me and he confessed.

It’s a metaphor. He puts the killing thing in his mouth but doesn’t give it the power to kill him. – Hazel

I happen to know the answer to that question. There are seven billion living people, and about ninety-eight billion dead people…There are about fourteen dead people for every living person. – Augustus

I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you. – Augustus

We reached the Netherlands. Amsterdam was a city of both sin and freedom. Augustus wore a black suit and I wore a beautiful sundress. Amsterdam looked nothing like the US. Now, we took the tram and travelled to Oranjee, a restaurant. There were 2 bottles of champagne waiting for us. We were over-looking the river. The champagne tasted great in my mouth. The asparagus was awesome. The food was simply too good. It was like a perfect date night. It was actually Augustus’ death suit. Cremeux was served for dessert. The author paid for their wonderful meal together. I thought about the possible endings to AIA again. Now, we were watching the canal from the park. Caroline liked to play alone in the playground in the past. She was always moody but he liked it. After chemo, Augustus started to marvel at the world and the excitement it brings.

Yes, I believe in an afterlife. Yes, absolutely. Not like a heaven where you ride unicorns, play harps, and live in a mansion made of clouds. But yes. I believe in Something with a capital S…Always have…I don’t believe we return to haunt or comfort the living or anything, but I think something becomes of us. – Augustus

…but I believe humans have souls, and I believe in the conservation of souls. The oblivion fear is something else, fear that I won’t be able to give anything in exchange for my life. If you don’t live a life in service of a greater good, you’ve gotta at least die a death in service of a greater good, you know? And I fear that I won’t get either a life or a death that means anything. – Augustus

Oh, I wouldn’t mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you. – Augustus to Hazel

I started to get nervous. Today was the day when we would meet the author. My mum wasn’t joining us and was heading to Rijkmuseum and Vondelpark. Peter wanted them out at once as he hated Americans. It was his assistant who promised that Peter would meet them. Peter was very mean towards them and commented that Augustus had developmental delay. He never read many of my letters. Peter was a douche. Peter had a drinking problem. It was his assistant who used his money to treat me and Augustus. There are only two emotions, love and fear. Zeno was famous for his tortoise paradox. I was satisfied with his answers and I wanted to know the truth. The hamster gets adopted by Christine. The Dutch Tulip Man wasn’t a con man but was God. I kept insisting I wanted closure for the characters. I smashed the scotch from his hand and it smashed across the ground. Augustus quickly pulled me out from the room. I started crying and Augustus promised me he will write an epilogue. Now, his assistant wanted us to visit the Anne Frank’s House. She drove us to the house. Peter has become a monster and was an embarrassment to his family. Apparently, the world is not a wish-granting factory. Now, we watched a video of how the Nazis invaded Frank’s house. It took me a great effort, but I finally reached the top of the house. 103,000 Dutch people died in the Holocaust. I prayed for the war survivors. Anne almost made it, but she didn’t. I kissed Augustus in the house. Otto Frank was surprised by the depth of Anne Frank’s thought. Most parents don’t really know their children. Now, we were back at the hotel. We kissed again in the elevator. We were now in Augustus’ room. I removed his shirt. I allowed my arm to feel his stump, the thick scarred skin. Augustus was too tired and he fell asleep.

You are a side effect of an evolutionary process that cares little for individual lives. You are a failed experiment in mutation. – Peter van Houten

It was our last day in Amsterdam. Now, we tried the Dutch coffee. Amsterdam was a beautiful city which supported cycling. Augustus wanted to head back to the hotel. Augustus felt that I was more than human. We were in my room now. His PET scan results were bad and he suffered a relapse. He was sorry he didn’t inform me earlier. I hated the injustice of this all. ‘The world is not a wish-granting factory.’ Augustus. Now, Augustus was condemned to not leading a life of meaning.

I lit up like a Christmas tree, Hazel Grace. The lining of my chest, my left hip, my liver, everywhere. – Augustus

I don’t think you’re dying. I think you’ve just got a touch of cancer. And it is my privilege and my responsibility to ride all the way up with you. – Hazel

We were on the flight home now. We had champagne into our glasses. Augustus’ chest started to hurt. My dad knew about the cancer relapse in Gus. My dad read AIA in his free time and was disappointed in the lack of an ending. Even the Universe wanted to be noticed. The next day, I visited Augustus at his house. He was receiving new treatment to try to find a cure. Monica completely dumped Isaac and failed to contact him again. I was the healthiest as compared to Augustus and Isaac. I bought a dozen eggs under his instruction. We drove to Monica’s house. They started throwing eggs at her car. Monica’s mum realized it and hid in her home.

I visited Augustus in hospital after a chest infection. His heart was working too hard and he had to be confined to a wheelchair now. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. Two weeks later, we met at the park to drink champagne again.

Augustus had late-stage cancer now. He puked out his breakfast. He recited me what he thought of the ending of AIA. Nostalgia is a side effect of the dying. He had to be tube-fed. We kissed again in his bed. Now, we played Counterinsurgence 2: The Price of Dawn.

The next day, I visited his house again. He pissed on the bed. Now, he was getting increasingly tired. He always thought he was special. I always felt he was in his own way.

I don’t care if the New York Times writes an obituary for me. I just want you to write one. You say you’re not special because the world doesn’t know about you, but that’s an insult to me. I know about you. – Hazel

I just want to be enough for you, but I never can be. This can never be enough for you. Now this is all you get. You get me, and your family, and this world. This is your life. I’m sorry if it sucks… – Hazel

Augustus called me at 2:35am. He was stuck at the gas station and wanted me over immediately. He didn’t want me to call 911. His G-tube was malfunctioning. Now, he was covered in his own vomit. Augustus visited the gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes. He was humiliating. Now, he was pitiful and miserable and desperate. Cancer just wants to be alive.

A few days later, he was moved back home. However, he was under increased dosages of medication. He eventually woke up and wanted to go outside. It was a cloudy day.

This was the Last Good Day convention. I had to prepare a eulogy before heading down. I chided my parents as they tried to prevent me from heading to the convention. I drove to the church. Augustus was now ghoulishly thin.

Augustus Waters was a self-aggrandizing bastard. But we forgive him. We forgive him not because he had a heart as figuratively good as his literal one sucked, or because he knew more about how to hold a cigarette than any nonsmoker in history, or because he got eighteen years when he got eighteen years when he should have gotten more. Augustus talked so much he’d interrupt you at his own funeral. And he was pretentious: Sweet Jesus Christ, that kid never took a piss without pondering the abundant metaphorical resonances of human waste production. And he was vain: I do not believe I have ever met a more physically attractive person who was more acutely aware of his own physical attractiveness. But I will say this: When the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him. And then, having made my rhetorical point, I will put my robot eyes on, because I mean, with robot eyes you can probably see through girls’ shirts and stuff. Augustus, my friend, Godspeed. – Isaac

I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s 0.1 and 0.12 and 0.112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful. – Hazel

8 days after the pre-funeral, he passed away. Still, I was shattered. It was unbearable. His FB wall page were filled with condolences. I started reading them. I was angry as many of them did not know Augustus well and did not make an effort to keep in touch. You get all these friends just when you don’t need friends anymore. My parents held on to me for hours on end.

It was the funeral procession now. I walked up to his body. His eyes were closed. I placed a pack of cigarettes into the coffin. Peter was there and he graced the funeral. Without pain, we couldn’t know joy. Funerals, I had decided, are for the living. Someone started playing his favorite song. Initially, I didn’t want to continue attending the session because it felt like an ordinary funeral. However, my parents wanted me to show respects. Peter hitched a ride from our car. Peter van Houten continued drinking his whiskey. I thought the world only consists of two types of people: Peter van Houtens and my parents. I felt that I had already seen all pure and good in the world.

Omnis cellula e cellula: All cells come from cells. Every cell is born of a previous cell, which was born of a previous cell. Life comes from life. Life begets life begets life begets life begets life. – Peter van Houten

I visited Isaac’s house to play games with him. Isaac now talks to a computer with voice. I still couldn’t get over the death. Isaac mentioned something about the sequel to the book. I was hoping Augustus wrote it. I wanted to head over to his house. I was shocked when Peter was in my car. Peter wanted to apologize. Peter mentioned that I reminded him of Anna. ‘Pain is like fabric: The stronger it is, the more it is worth.’ Peter also lost a family member. He had a daughter who died from leukemia, like Anna. The book was all about her. He left. Augustus’ parents allowed me to search his computer. There was no trace of any sequel. I decided to leave after that.

But what we want is to be noticed by the universe, to have the universe give a shit what happens to us – not the collective idea of sentient life but each of us, as individuals. – John Green

Gus’ dad found a black notebook near the hospital bed. Unfortunately it was empty with the first few pages torn off. I headed to the support group next day. I started searching the place for the missing pages but couldn’t find anything. Isaac started chatting about love. I headed home and refused to eat dinner despite my mum trying to persuade me to. My mum was taking social work and was taking exams. She was keen on helping others in her line of work. My mum would be the new and better Patrick. My parents vowed to stay together no matter what. My dad wouldn’t be Peter van Houten.

Kaitlyn was on the phone. She suggested that Augustus might have mailed the missing pages to van Houten instead. I contacted his assistant for help. It was Bastille Day today. We headed to the park for a picnic. Later that day, I visited the cemetery to see Gus again. Peter’s assistant replied via email and there were 4 emails. Gus was obviously sick when he wrote the 4 letters. He wrote a eulogy for her. A lot of people want to be remembered at their death.

It occurred to me that voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again. – Hazel

The marks human leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion. – Augustus

Hazel is different: She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the Earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either. People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten. It’s triumphant. It’s heroic. Isn’t that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm. – Augustus

You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you. – Augustus

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The Underachiever’s Manifesto by Ray Bennett

The Guide to Accomplishing Little and Feeling Great

Underachievement are lost in pressure of success. We are all wired to strive for success. Always give your best or give 110%. What if it takes a toll on your personal life? This book will teach you to maximize happiness. It will teach you how to be happy even when you’re not achieving results or not giving your best.

Achievement is a dangerous addict. Mediocrity is the key to happiness. You are only 1 soul out of 6 billion and no other cares about your achievements. How you are doesn’t matter to anyone else. Think globally; underachieve locally. Even your friends might want to compete with your success. It might even harm them.

Your happiness is tied in relation to those around you and is not absolute. If you move to the third country, you will feel good about your salary. Striving is suffering. We always compete with those better than us. From young, we thought that achievement was our friend. Even if you are better than your friends in golf, you won’t be the next Tiger Woods. We always want to feel superior and this becomes an addiction. All these achievements may leave behind failed relationships etc. It’s like a disease. Achievement is an addiction. One needs to retrain their mind and soul.

The Ten Principles of Underachievement. 1) Life’s too short; 2) Control is an illusion; 3) Expectations lead to misery; 4) Great expectations lead to great misery; 5) Achievement creates expectations; 6) The law of diminishing returns applies everywhere; 7) Perfect is the enemy of good; 8) The tallest blade of grass is the surest to be cut; 9) Accomplishment is in the eye of the beholder; 10) The 4% Value-added principle. 1. Life is short. You can either relax or work hard. You choose. 2. Control is an illusion. Not everything is in your control. Your genes and place of birth have bearing on your success in life. If you don’t have those, it’s not your fault. 3. Expectations lead to misery. Treat a wedding like a party more than a play. Setting high goals leads to disappointment. 4. Great expectations lead to great misery. Same as above. 5. Achievement creates expectations. Companies’ stock get hammered if they can’t meet earning expectations. 6. Law of diminishing returns. Material items bring short term success. Is a $100 bottle of wine 10 times better than a $10 one? Benefits accrue at different rates. If you visit 10 temples in a day, you will forget the first 6. . 7. Perfect is the enemy of good. It is subjective. Good enough is good enough.. 8. The tallest blade of grass is the surest to be cut. Fly under the radar. Success will lead to envy and resentment. 9. Accomplishment is in the eye of the beholder. Who cares about your achievements even if you boast about them? If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing half-assed. 10. The 4% Value-Added Principle. We are 96% similar to chimpanzees, whether you’re successful or not. Being alive is your greatest achievement.

Too much achievement is dangerous. People like to scramble to take credit for their achievements. Sometimes, the culture is to defend your turf. Underachievers can just complete the work without a lot of complaining. You can accomplish more if you don’t aim for perfection. If you can’t get super rich, then don’t work so hard. Going the Extra Mile Leads to Exhaustion. As you become more successful, it will be harder for you to compete with those people at the top. With more time, you can take up more hobbies. Conversation is a lost art now. Speed dating is for over-achievers. Ugly people can have good sex too. You must settle for someone that less than perfect as a partner eventually. Do not expect too much from your spouse.

For example, if you’re going to spend weekends at work all the time, you’d better be making wheelbarrows full of money to compensate for all the time you’re not spending with your friends and family. Face the facts: you’re probably not going to be a millionaire, so why kill yourself? Go home and spend a lazy weekend with your kids. – Ray Bennett

It’s a safe bet that if you go all out and spend lavishly on your lover’s birthday, the same will be expected the following year. If you don’t pony up the big bucks again, you’ll have some explaining to do, and it won’t be pretty. It’s probably also a bad idea to be in a relationship with someone who expects you to keep upping the ante. – Ray Bennett

After a few weeks of responses like “I’d love to, but I have an important project to finish. Call me next week,” you’ll find your friends won’t bother calling anymore. – Ray Bennett

Don’t stick to a strict diet regime and spend a lot of money on clean foods. Consume in moderation. Don’t kill yourself over sticking to a strict diet.

Intense physical activity might actually shorten your life. No pain, no gain = no brain. Those bulking up are actually doing so to make up for shortcoming elsewhere in their live. Do not around yourself with very fit people or fitness books. Underachievers can walk and exercise their upper body. Do some stretching and sleep a lot.

Money’s great but it is worth working super long hours for it? Everyone is chasing for undervalued stocks and this led to a stock market bubbles and crashes. Index funds are more successful than actively managed stocks. Underachiever don’t have to invest to impress. What you have/what you want. Enjoy the peace of mind and not buy growth stocks.

Underachievement promotes healthier relationships. Don’t stress your children out by sending them for too many classes. The family that underachieves together stays together. You can find the balance to family harmony.

Religion might be linked to war, hatred, intolerance among other faiths etc. The problem is caused by the overachievers. They might feel one God is more superior as compared to another. In this sense, faith becomes an achievement. Some people only want others to subscribe to their world view of things.

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Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

Miss Polly was 40 now. She was Nancy’s mistress. Polly was often rude to her. Nancy was like the maid. Nancy’s mum was widowed and left behind 3 children. Polly was known to be a stern woman. Her niece, Miss Pollyanna, aged 11, would be moving into the house shortly. Polly didn’t seem too pleased about Pollyanna’s imminent arrival. Pollyanna’s dad passed on recently. He was a pastor. Her sister was Jennie. Jennie married the man who was not the family’s first choice as he was not wealthy and had a humble background. Polly’s parents had passed on and was lonely in nature. She admitted she knew it was her duty to take care of her niece although she didn’t like it.

Polly often lost her temper with Nancy. Nancy also was quite hot tempered too. Old Tom was the gardener. Polly was quite unpopular then. Tom knew about Polly’s love affair. He admitted that she had the choice on whether she wanted to look good.

Oh, I’m so glad, GLAD, GLAD to see you. Of course I’m Pollyanna, and I’m so glad you came to meet me! I hoped you would. – Pollyanna

Polly ordered Nancy to go pick Pollyanna up the next day. Timothy was Tom’s son and was good natured in mannerisms. They all hoped that Pollyanna would be nice. She started dancing. She gave them a check from Mr Gray. Pollyanna had plenty of questions. Mrs White and Mr Gray took care of her back then. She was glad to have Nancy, whom she confused for Ms Polly. She liked to pay compliments. Pollyanna expected the house to have carpets and ice-cream. Her room was pathetic. She commented that the house was perfect.

Pollyanna flung herself into Polly’s lap. She started explaining about her dress. Aunt Polly didn’t like it one bit when she mentioned about her father to her. Polly was glad to place the child in the room as she would not run around and destroy things. It was hot and stifling in the attic. Pollyanna was frightened. She stood still and stared at the bare room. She did not comprehend why her dad had to pass on. Nancy and her started unpacking. Pollyanna was glad to have the room because of the lovely view of the window. Nancy started crying. She opened the window and flies flew in. The next time, she started climbing outside the window and swung from tree limbs. She came upon the gardener at the back of the house. It was 6pm but Pollyanna was not back yet for dinner. Polly wanted to teach her a lesson by not rewarding her food. Nancy realized that Pollyanna was not in her room. Nancy went outside of the house to look for her.

Nancy found her at the big rock. Pollyanna told Nancy that she didn’t worry at all. She was glad for the bread and milk and admitted that she still liked it. She was playing the ‘just being glad’ game. It turns out that she played it when she was younger. When she received a pair of crutches for a present, she was glad too that she did not have to use them. It is always challenging to be glad over every situation. It usually doesn’t take her long to be glad. Miss Polly thought it was odd that her niece enjoyed the punishment. She went back to sob in her room.

The game was to just find something about everything to be glad about – no matter what it was…You see, when you’re hunting for the glad things, you sort of forget the other kind. – Pollyanna

She started talking to the birds in the morning. Pollyanna admitted that she was glad to be alive. She hugged her hunt. Old Tom started talking to her. It was time for breakfast now. Flies entered the kitchen and they flew in from Pollyanna’s room. Polly was angry at her for not having shut the windows. Polly ordered screens for the windows and it was Pollyanna’s duty to shut them. Pollyanna was still very enthusiastic even in her room. Miss Polly examined her wardrobe. Her aunt wanted to send her to school, where Mr Hall would be the principal. Pollyanna was good in reading but not in music. Now, Polly wanted to make her read to her, learn cooking and sewing and music. Polly didn’t want her to be ungrateful. She wanted to remove all of Pollyanna’s clothing too. To the girl, existence loomed ahead of duty.

I’d be BREATHING all the time I was doing those things (cooking, music), Aunt Polly, but I wouldn’t be living. You breathe all the time you’re asleep, but you aren’t living. I mean living – doing the things you want to do… – Pollyanna

They went shopping for her new clothes. Pollyanna got to chat with Old Tom and Nancy. Old Tom said good stuff about her mother. She wanted to sleep outdoors. She slept on the tin roof at night. The screens hadn’t arrived yet and she could still see the stars. Polly detected someone on the sunroof. Timothy was the first to locate her. Aunt Polly offered her bed to Pollyanna and she was delighted. Once again, the punishment was treated as merit. This left Polly helpless.

You see, lots of times; you get so used to looking for something to be glad about. And most generally there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it. – Pollyanna

2 to 6pm was Pollyanna’s free time. Although she did not get to visit other kids, she didn’t mind. She loved people. She often met the Man. The man didn’t like how enthusiastic she was but finally spoke to her. He didn’t reveal his name yet. Pollyanna was tasked to deliver food to a weird lady as an errand. She was Mrs’ Snow. Nancy admitted she hated running that errand. After delivering jelly, Mrs Snow wanted lamb broth. The woman sat erect in her chair. Pollyanna complimented Mrs Snow that she was pretty. She fixed her hair before giving her a mirror to see it for herself. The curl would go away but she can come again the next day to do it for Mrs Snow again. Mrs Snow finally released the curtains in her room to let some light in. She also wanted to wear a night dress now.

Pollyanna met the man on the street again. The man ignored her and was angry. He had other things to think about other than the weather. He asked her why didn’t she had other friends to talk to. She liked the old folks as well. The man strolled on. The next day, the man greeted her with a smile and complimented the sunshine. The man was John Pendleton and he lived in a big house himself. John inherited wealth from his father. However, John was thrifty and didn’t spend much of them. John also goes on spiritual trips and writes books. Pollyanna was glad that he was speaking to her now.

Pollyanna went to visit Mrs Snow again. She wanted her yesterday though. Pollyanna was her usual cheerful self. The woman brought her something. She no longer had many wants. However, she did wish for something. She wanted chicken. Mrs Snow was in a bad mood as she couldn’t sleep well in the day. She tried to move about in bed to keep herself active. Mrs White was deaf. It is always possible to play the game and aim to be glad at every moment. Sometimes, Pollyanna would have difficulty to think about what to be happy about. It’s more fun when it is hard. Polly wanted Pollyanna back home. Polly wanted both profit and happiness. To her, being glad wasn’t profitable. Pollyanna loved company. Pollyanna dreamt of carpets and rugs. Now, Polly allowed her to sleep in the room downstairs. The girl proclaimed that Polly wasn’t glad over anything.

It was August. Pollyanna brought a stray cat home. Her aunt was displeased by that fact. Pollyanna could empathize with the cat and thought it was lonely. The next day, she brought back a dog. In a week, Pollyanna brought back a small ragged boy. The boy was by the roadside when she found him. His name was Jimmy Bean and appeared apprehensive at the beginning. He left the Orphan’s room because he didn’t like it there. Fluffy and Buffy were the names of the cats and dogs. Once again, the aunt was in utter shock. Her nerves snapped. Pollyanna went to her room now. The boy was upset that he couldn’t stay there. The boy kept emphasizing that he was not a beggar. Pollyanna would present his case in front of the Ladies’ Aid. The boy was willing to put in a hard shift and work if necessary. Polly felt a little desolate after rejecting the boy.

Pollyanna was having a difficult time at the Ladies’ Aid meeting. Her aunt was not there. She told her story and was subject to questioning. No one agreed to take him. However, they considered channeling funds to his education instead.

She visited the woods after the chapel speech and wanted to relax for abit. It was delightful. Nature was beautiful. Mr John’s dog was there. The dog was acting strange. He was whining and dashing wildly and there was a man lying motionless at the foot of a steep. Mr Pendleton was not dead, he was just enjoying the sunshine. He directed her to a phone in his phone and she was to call Dr. Thomas Chilton. In actual fact, John had a broken leg. The house was massive. She went to accompany John after calling the doctor. A man with a stretcher came to pick John up.

Pollyanna was late when she got home. Her aunt wasn’t home though. Her cousin passed away suddenly and she would be away for 3 days. It wasn’t right to play the game during funerals. Pollyanna would write to the Ladies’ Aid and try to persuade the others to accept Jimmy. Pollyanna wanted Mrs Snow’s to be under someone else’s care now. Now, she wanted to take jelly to John instead of Mrs Snow for once. Her logic was that Mrs Snow will get her jelly the next day and so on. Polly wasn’t agreeable to this as she didn’t like John as a person. Now, she relented but Pollyanna was not to say how she was affiliated to Polly.

Pollyanna visited John again at his house with the calf-foot jelly. The doctor risked it by letting a visitor in. The nurse was impressed by Pollyanna. Dr Chilton imagined a world with more Pollyannas. John scowled and appeared unhappy when he saw Pollyanna. He won’t have the broken leg till doomsday, unlike Mrs Snow. He was pissed by how his maid cleaned the place. She revealed that she knew about his saving habits from Nancy and Aunt Polly. John was shocked on learning that Pollyanna lived with Polly. His face was ashen. The doctor wanted to send Pollyanna home. She didn’t think people didn’t need to learn how to live. She thought being a doctor was one of the gladdest professions out there. He thanked her for her advice and that tonic. Her aunt Polly was unhappy when Pollyanna mentioned to John that she didn’t send the jelly over.

I like to do almost everything that’s LIVING. Of course I don’t like the other things very well – sewing, and reading out loud, and all that. But THEY aren’t LIVING. Aunt Polly says they’re “learning to live”. – Pollyanna

Aunt Polly had black curls and her niece thought they looked lovely. A feeling of helplessness swept past Polly. She wanted to comb her hair now. Pollyanna kept complimenting Polly on her nice hair. She commented that she knew what she was doing. Polly’s cheeks were a pretty pink and her eye sparkled upon seeing how she looked. She placed a lace shawl over now. Polly was upset over how she looked. The doctor wanted Pollyanna to visit John today. Pollyanna was now finding it difficult to understand why Polly didn’t like her new look. That thought bothered her for a while.

John greeted her with a smile. He wanted to express his gratitude at what she had done for him. She had to retrieve a box full of his treasures and memories. He wanted her to visit more often from today onwards. Pollyanna recounted her stories to Nancy. Nancy was surprised at how she could get so close to someone who was usually very angry and quiet. Initially, Pollyanna reminded John of something he tried hard to forget. It turns out that they had a bit of history. John was Polly’s lover as it turned out. However, there was a quarrel that made them drift apart. In real life, Polly and John were actually all very downcast and bitter people. Nancy thought it would be good if they could reconcile their differences.

Pollyanna didn’t think John changed much when she visited. She wanted to bring happiness into their lives. Polly often liked to change topics of conversation and it was difficult to please her. She noticed a manufactured rainbow in John’s room now. With the help of prisms, John created a rainbow in the house. John didn’t know about the game and Pollyanna told him about it now.

Perhaps; but I’m thinking that the very finest prism of them all is yourself, Pollyanna. – John Pendleton

Pollyanna entered school in September. Going to school was living. She made new friends, but never forgot the old ones. John missed her and was a little displeased that Pollyanna was visiting less frequently. He wanted Pollyanna to play the game for him. But it doesn’t work that way. He wanted Pollyanna to stay with him and bring Polly along too. It turns out that he was still longing for her. John was taken aback with Pollyanna suddenly. He was not prepared to let Polly stay with him.

Dr Chilton wanted to speak to Pollyanna. John wanted to see her too. The doctor didn’t know that John and Polly were lovers. John wanted to make up for the quarrel. Now during the meeting, John denied that he ever liked Polly. He actually wanted Pollyanna’s mum. However, she didn’t love him back and eventually went together with your father. Since he couldn’t get her, he wanted Pollyanna to stay with him now. Pollyanna was shocked. He needed her to play the glad game. Although Polly was good to her, it might not mean that she wanted her at home. Polly was the dutiful kind of woman.

Pollyanna headed back to her house. Her aunt was worried about her. Nancy admitted that Polly did indeed care for her and was not so dutiful anymore. Nancy mentioned that Polly would definitely miss her if she wasn’t around. Polly had changed subtly over the period she was around. Pollyanna made up her mind and had to tell John. She didn’t even consult Polly when making that decision. John was upset with her decision. Pollyanna suggested that John take care of another child, Jimmy. He had the child’s presence. John immediately refused the offer. He had a skeleton in his closet and was embarrassed by it. Now, he was willing to listen to Pollyanna on the little boy. Pollyanna wanted him to have a home to live in.

Rev. Paul Ford visited John. A few women of the Ladies’ Aid quit due to gossip and a scandal. He wanted to pray and meditate. The church workers didn’t want to work and he had to do something about it. He rehearsed his sermon for next Sunday. Pollyanna saw him weeping by the tree. Pollyanna’s dad was a minister too. She asked whether Paul liked being a minister. Her dad, most of the time, liked being a minister. He liked those rejoicing texts more than anything else. There were 800 texts on rejoice. Her dad used to play the game too. Rev Paul read a beautiful passage and was inspired by it.

People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts. If a man feels kindly and obliging, his neighbours will feel that way, too, before long. But if he scolds and scowls and criticizes – his neighbors will return scowl for scowl, and add interest! When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good – you will get that! – Reverent Paul

Pollyanna visited Dr Chilton’s office. It takes a woman’s hand and heart to make a home. She wanted him to take Jimmy Bean. He was not willing to share about his love life any further. Late, Pollyanna was involved in an accident and was unconscious. Aunt Polly and Nancy were by her side after the incident. There was a cut on Pollyanna’s head. A nurse would also tend to Pollyanna. Ms Hunt introduced herself. Pollyanna couldn’t get up just yet and she already wanted to go to school. She took her medicine.

A week later, Pollyanna was back to full consciousness. She was glad that she could walk again. She was also grateful for the warm care that Aunt Polly gave her. Her eyes were full of tears now. John Pendleton was in the parlor with Polly now. Polly described Pollyanna’s injuries to John. There might be paralysis from the hip down after the accident. John admitted to Polly that he wanted her niece to live with him. He wanted to adopt her legally. Polly thought about it silently. Polly didn’t agree but promised to update John about her situation once she was better.

Polly wanted her niece to see a specialist in New York. For some reason, she didn’t want Dr Chilton to be on the case. It was rumoured that Polly liked Dr Chilton. The doctor from NY was ill and did not arrive. It was a waiting game. Polly changed her dress sense and didn’t look that old anymore. Old Tom didn’t want to reveal who was Polly’s lover. Now, Tom and Nancy were chatting. Polly was growing old and pale too. Pollyanna still couldn’t get out of bed. Nancy was upset for Pollyanna’s situation.

Dr Mead, the specialist from NY, finally visited. He knew more about broken legs than Dr Chilton. Only time will tell. Pollyanna heard from the other door that the doctor was explaining that she would never walk again. Aunt Polly fainted. Pollyanna cried out loud and was feeling down. The nurse tried to reassure her that everything was okay. The nurse thought that the doctor made a mistake.

Nancy conveyed the news to John. Poor little girl. It was his little prism girl. Pollyanna couldn’t seem to be glad anymore and it was sad. John covered his hands over his eyes. The town was stirred by Pollyanna’s accident. It all seemed too cruel and unfair. There were many visitors that came to visit her. John came to visit Polly and Pollyanna. John told Polly that he agreed to take Jimmy and adopt him. He turned around and left. Pollyanna’s face lit up on hearing the news. Polly seemed very disturbed when her niece admitted that Dr Chilton wanted a woman and a child.

Milly Snow came to visit as well. She wanted Polly to convey the fact that her niece was special. Mrs Snow was a more positive person after interacting with Pollyanna. Pollyanna should be glad that she got to touch Mrs Snow’s life. Even the saddest lady in town, Mrs Benton, wore a blue bow instead of a black dress. Mrs Tarell was also glad that Pollyanna influenced her life. Mrs Tom Payson came to visit as well. She lived on the rich Pendleton Hill but Pollyanna would still interact with her kids etc. Mrs Payson basically said similar things as the other women. Polly wanted Nancy to tell her what the game was about. It was a game that Pollyanna’s father taught her how to play. Nancy explained everything to her. Pollyanna asked Polly what a divorce was. Polly wanted to play the game with Pollyanna now. It turns how that the whole town was playing the game. Pollyanna was very pleased now.

Why, Aunt Polly, there is something I can be glad about, after all. I can be glad I’ve HAD my legs, anyway – else I couldn’t have done – that! – Pollyanna

Pollyanna learnt to knit wonderful things. There were always the love messages. Jimmy was doing fine, thanks to John’s care. John received a call from Chilton one day. Dr Chilton and Polly had an affair before, many years ago. He was desperate to see Pollyanna and there might be a chance he might walk again. He knew some special study that might give her a chance. Jim overheard their conversation and ran down the hill.

Jimmy visited Polly. Dr Chilton has some contacts which might be able to help Pollyanna. Reluctantly, Polly allowed Dr Chilton to visit. Dr Chilton finally visited. Polly and Chilton were finally reunited and eventually got married. Next week, Pollyanna would be brought to try a treatment recommended by Chilton’s friend.

Fast forward to the future. Pollyanna managed to walk 6 steps today.

I don’t think I shall ever want to ride anywhere anymore. It will be so good just to walk. Oh, I’m so glad! I’m glad for everything. Why, I’m glad now I lost my legs for a while, for you never, never know how perfectly lovely legs are till you haven’t got them. – Pollyanna

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