Holes by Louis Sachar

It was a dry, flat wasteland (Camp Green Lake). It was deserted without any people. Warden has a shade. Scorpions and rattlesnakes won’t bother you if you ignore them. One has to avoid getting bitten by the yellow-spotted lizard at all costs.

Boys would go to the Lake to dig holes. Stanley was a poor guy. He was handcuffed in the bus. Stanley thought he could have friends in the camp. He was overweight. Sadly, he was accused for a crime he didn’t commit because of his dirty and cunning grandfather. Stanley’s father was an inventor but he didn’t have much luck. The grandfather was often used as a scapegoat for everything. Every child was named Stanley Yelnats. Not all Stanleys were failures in their lives. However, most of them didn’t fair well. Stanley finally reached Camp Green Lake. It was not green and it felt like a desert.

His throat was dry and it hurt. The land was barren and desolate. CAMP GREEN LAKE JUVENILE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY. He had to meet the guard. The man in the cowboy hat was the guard. Stanley was given two sets of clothes and a towel. He had to wear orange jumpsuits and white sneakers. The guard made him dig 1 hole every day and each must be 5 feet deep and 5 feet across. After the hole has been dug, the rest of the day was his. There was no fence and the guard challenged him to run away. There was no water for over a hundred miles. ‘Well, you better get used to it. You’re going to be thirsty for the next 18 months.’ Camp Guard

Stanley stayed in the D tent. Mr Pendanski was the counselor (Pen-Dance-Key). The Warden was very mean and Stanley was warned. Stanley was introduced to Rex and Alan. The kids were all dripping with sweat. Stanley got to sleep on Barf Bag’s cot. The 3 other boys were Jose, Theodore and Ricky. Stanley was afraid of getting bullied.

Everyone was allowed a 4minute water shower. There was no hot water. Dinner was stewed meat and vegetables. Stanley admitted he stole a pair of sneakers from Clyde Livingston. He was a famous baseball player. No one believed Stanley when he proclaimed his innocence. The cot smelled like sour milk. When walking home one day, a pair of sneakers felt from the bridge and landed on Stanley. Stanley kept it. Suddenly, while running, a police car came and arrested him. The shows were meant to be sold at an auction to raise funds for the homeless. His parents agreed to send him to Camp Green Lake.

The shovel was heavy in his hands. Digging was hard and Stanley found it tiring. All the shovels were five feet long. The whole lake looked like a moon crater. Digging helps build character. Five feet was awfully deep and wide. Soon, a blister formed on his finger. Now, his hole was 3 feet deep. The sun came up and it was warm. New blisters began to form and the sun was scorching hot now. The first hole was always the hardest. Stanley thought about quitting. The hole was their bathroom too. Elya carried a full grown pig up the mountain to impress Myra in order to get married. Zero, the smallest kid finished digging. All of them spat in the hole before heading back to camp. It felt like digging your own grave. Elya ended up falling in love with Sarah Miller in America. It was his great grand father. Now, his hole was deep enough, but not wide enough. Stanley was almost done with it. Stanley felt a sense of achievement.

The yellow spotted lizards liked to live in holes and wait before pouncing on their prey. Stanley didn’t shower with the soap. There was a room called Wreck Room. A lot of the entertainment facilities were broken. The pool table was not flat. Stanley didn’t want to get in a fight with a boy named the Caveman. X-Ray and Armpit came to his rescue. There was less fun in digging the second hole. Stanley wrote a letter to his mum.

Stanley woke up the next day. Every part of his body was aching badly. The second hole was even harder than the first. Stanley grunted and persisted. Stanley found a rock with fish fossils and believed that it was a lake previously. Now the truck came. Stanley gave the fish to Mr Pendanski. The warden wasn’t interested in fossils.

Stanley returned to his pathetic hole. X-ray wanted Stanley to give him everything he found. His logic was that he was there for a year and he deserved the rest. X-Ray was one of the smaller dudes around. Stanley was now the biggest. He was given the nickname Caveman. Stanley imagined that the ex-bully in school wouldn’t stand a chance against his new friends.

Stanley was the last one to complete. X-ray mentioned that the third hole is the hardest. Mr Pendanski emphasized on the importance of having goals. It was the first time Zero smiled. What do you want to do with your life? Zero said he liked to dig holes.

I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. Nothing in life is easy. But that’s no reason to give up. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish if you set your mind to it. After all, you only have one life, so you should try to make the most of it. – Mr Pendanski

It was the next day and Stanley worked on the next hole. Stanley started losing some weight from the physical exertion. His skin was tougher now. Stanley sifted through his pile and found a gold tube. Later he saw the words K B etched on the gold tube. The tube somehow looked strangely familiar. Zigzag and the other boys came to look. Stanley had been in the camp for 2 weeks already. X-Ray collected it. He would present it the next day. Stanley was allowed to move up the line when collecting water.

X-Ray announced to Mr Pendaski that he might have found something. He thought that X-Ray might be able to get the day off. He would be given the day off. The Warden was a lady. The Warden wanted Stanley to go over. She was angry at Mr Pendaski for not following instructions. However, she let him off after a while.

He had to continue filling the canteens. The warden wanted zero the best digger to take over X-ray’s hole. Stanley had to transfer anything he found on the wheelbarrow. The dirt was to be shoveled on the wheelbarrow. The Warden didn’t want them to miss anything. Now, it dawned on Stanley that they were digging to find something.

X-ray was excited when he had the day off. Everyone worked harder after lunch. Now, Stanley tried to tell the Warden where the gold tube was found. Now, Stanley received a letter from his mother. His dad was trying to invent a way to recycle old sneakers.

The digging didn’t reveal anything and the boys had to work longer hours. In the meantime, the Warden was getting impatient. The boys continued to dig. The warden had a pitchfork. She wanted to cut down on their water supply. Stanley was hurt by a shovel. He felt blood along the side of his ear.

The boys started digging their own holes now. Zigzag’s shovel hit him yesterday. Now, Stanley spat in the hole. Tomorrow, they were going to learn rock climbing. Zero wanted to learn to read and write and wanted Stanley to teach him. Zero didn’t have anyone to write too. Stanley finished a letter to his parents.

Squid was crying. He had allergies. There were no racial problems. X-Ray, Armpit, Zero were black. Stanley, Squid and Zigzag were white. Magnet was Hispanic. Someone threw sunflower seeds in Stanley’s hole. He quickly dumped dirt in his hole. Stanley admitted that he stole the sunflower seeds from the truck and ate them himself. It was a lie. Sir would report him to the Warren.

He was a condemned man. Stanley entered the cabin door. The Warden removed her makeup case and showed it to Stanley. She applied the bottle of nail polish made from Rattlesnake venom on her skin. Mr Sir got slapped by The Warden and the venom sunk in. He let out a scream and his body was in agony. The Warden mentioned that he wasn’t going to die. She didn’t care about his sunflower seeds.

Suddenly, Stanley saw a rattlesnake. Luckily, he took evasive action in time to escape. After he took the blame, the other boys finished his hole. It seemed like only Zero did it for him.

Zero liked digging holes. Zero helped Stanley because he didn’t steal the seeds. Stanley wanted to teach him. Zero was delighted now. It started with alphabets. It would be difficult and time consuming to teach him. In exchange for that, Zero would dig Stanley’s hole for a while. ‘I’m not stupid. I know everybody thinks I am. I just don’t like answering their questions.’ Zero .Now, Stanley recalled that he saw the gold tube in his mother’s bathroom. K.B. stood for Kate Barlow, he wondered?

In the past, Green Lake was the largest lake in Texas. In the past, Katherine Barlow made peaches. She was also a schoolteacher and a very loving and caring person. Trout Walker liked her. He was the son of the richest man in the county. He was also rude and stupid. The Walkers had a new boat. He wanted to bring KB around but she rejected his invite.

Mr Sir’s face had swollen. He didn’t want anyone to comment on his face. Stanley kept working on his hole. The first water truck was driven by Mr Pendanski and the second by Mr Sir. Mr Sir didn’t fill any water for Stanley and mocked him by splashing his share of the water on the ground.

Sam was the doctor in the town of Green Lake. Mary Lou was 50 years old and carried onions. Sam was extremely old and liked to eat onions. He had many unique forms of treatments. Sam helped to fix KB’s roof in exchange for her spiced peaches. KB liked to hang out with Sam. They soon fell in love.

The schoolteacher kissed the onion picker. Trout Walker termed her the devil woman. Someone grabbed her dress. KB went to the sheriff, who didn’t do much help at all. KB declared that she needed to leave the place immediately. They set fire to the schoolhouse. Sam and KB headed off on a boat. Sam was killed when Walker’s boat eventually caught up with them. Mary Lou the donkey was shot too. KB was captured. Since 110 years ago, not one drop of water fell on the land. 3 days later, KB shot the Sheriff. Since then, she was one of the most feared outlaws around.

Mr Pendanski gave Stanley more water now. The other boys were jealous that Zero helped to dig his hole for a while. The swelling on Mr Sir’s face went down. Mr Sir finally gave him water. Stanley was suspicious and didn’t want to drink it. Hector Zeroni was Zero’s real name.

KB returned to Green Lake after 20 years. Everything was gone. Suddenly, Trout Walker’s came one day and threatened her unless she told them where the loot was. It is rumoured that KB robbed banks. KB refused to them him where she hid them. They made her keep walking barefoot in the hot sun. Linda hit KB with the shovel. A lizard bit Kate’s bare ankle and this caused her to collapse to the ground. KB died laughing. Legend had it that treasure was still buried.

The weather was becoming ever warmer than ever. A storm was on happening off the east. The boys wanted rain to come. KB robbed Stanley’s great-grandfather. The image of a fist and thumb were in Stanley’s mind.

It was Zigzag’s birthday the next day. Stanley dug his 45th hole in the camp. Zigzag started treating Stanley better on his birthday by volunteering to help him dig his hole. He was actually trying to tease him. Mr Pendanski wanted Stanley to teach the bully a lesson. Now, Zigzag jumped on top of Stanley. Now, Zero had his arm around Zigzag. All the counselors came from their officers. Zigzag was angry that Stanley didn’t have to dig the holes of by himself. The Warden learnt that Stanley was doing this trade with Zero. Mr Pendanski and the Warden started quizzing the boy and started laughing at him. The Warren cancelled the reading lessons and forbade Zero from helping Stanley. Zero then challenged by refusing to dig another hole. Stanley was angry too as he wanted to teach Zero. Zero took the shovel and smashed it on Mr Pendanski’s face. The warden ordered an investigation. Zero started walking away. Stanley knew that he needed water. Before the end, the warden wanted the remaining 6 members to dig 7 holes.

Isn’t it more important for him to learn to read? Doesn’t that build character more than digging holes. – Stanley

Stanley was angry at everyone and mostly himself. Now, he wanted to help dig Zero’s hole. He dug at the hottest part of the day. He was thinking of making a run for it. He also thought about telling the Warden where the gold tube was. The next day, Zero didn’t return. Zero needed to find God’s thumb and climb the mountain. There should be water there. The Warden ordered the destruction of all of Zero’s records. She didn’t want to think prisoners died here. No one cared about Hector Zeroni.

Two days later, Brian was assigned to Group D and his nickname was Twitch. He occupied Zero’s belongings. He stole a car and ended up in Green Lake. Stanley still couldn’t help not thinking about Zero. Stanley was fidgeting and wanted to drive the water van to look for Zero. But it was almost 4 days since he left. Mr Sir spotted him now. Stanley faster took off. The airbag exploded in his face. He had driven into a hole. Stanley was feeling extremely guilty and thought that it was the end of the world. Now, Stanley ran off.

Stanley slowed to a walk. No one was chasing him. His plan was to look for Zero and return to the camp once he needed water. The holes stretched out over great distances. The warden wasn’t sure where it was and kept making the boys dig. Later, he spotted some red lizards and he kept running. Thankfully, they didn’t chase him. Later, he found an stack of empty sack of sunflowers.

The sun was overhead now. He knew he had to turn back soon. Soon, his eyes played tricks on him as he saw a mirage. Now, he saw the thumbs up size. Now, he could make out the shape of a large lake. It turned out to be an abandoned boat. There were the words on the boat ‘Mary Lou’. There was a tunnel and a small hand emerged from it.

It was Zero who had been hiding there. Zero didn’t want to go back to camp. Zero realized that it was cooler under the boat. Zero took his shovel with him before he left. It was much better under the boat. Zero drank some water from under the boat. It felt like heaven. However, there were no jars left. Stanley insisted on taking him back. Barf Bag stepped on a rattlesnake on purpose. Mary Lou was the name of the boat. Zero was suffering from stomach cramps and it hurt badly. Zero was prepared to die out here and Stanley was soon a little resigned to that fact.

 When you spend your whole life living in a hole, the only way you can go is up. – Zero

Now, they headed out. Now, Zero had another attack and he collapsed. The two of them continued. It was like chasing the moon. Zero wanted to sit down now. He collapsed. As long as Zero could go on, Stanley felt that they could. Stanley now felt he could handle the pain of death. It would be his parents and friends that he would be letting down. Now, they reached a cliff and started climbing it. They devised a plan for both of them to go up the cliff. Zero had gashes on his hands now.

Stanley could see the base of the mountain. Big Thumb was their only hope. The ground got steeper and steeper. The two boys didn’t have strength to swat off the bugs. Now, Zero threw up. There were weeds and bugs nearby and it was an indicator of water.

Zero collapsed again. Zero dangled in front of him. Now the ground flattened. Now, Zero fell and ended up in the muddy ditch. Now, Stanley started digging in the soggy soil. Stanley dragged him to the hole for water. It was an onion. The both of them ate it.

Zero wasn’t doing well and he was shaking violently. Stanley was planning to head down to retrieve the shovel. Zero admitted he was the one who took his shoes. He was referring to the pair which landed Stanley up in jail. Zero apologized.

Stanley found the onion now. He ate it. Flashback. The onion tonic could heal people. Over the next 2 days, Stanley and Zero ate onions and splashed dirty water in their mouths. Stanley headed down the mountain to look for the shovel. The onions gave him strength back. Stanley found the jars and the shovel and climbed back up the mountain.

Thankfully, Zero’s condition was improving. Stanley slowly peeled an onion. Zero liked sleeping outside. He admitted that he took the shoes from the glass case. Later, he placed the shoes at the top of the parked car. However, he kept stealing sneakers and eventually was caught.

Stanley had heard or read somewhere that right before a person freezes to death, he suddenly feels nice and warm. He wondered if perhaps he was experiencing something like that. – Louis Sachar (Holes)

Their hole was size feet deep. It was eventual that they had to return to the camp. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt happiness. Zero was sleeping near him now. To Stanley, it felt like destiny that he was in Camp. He actually felt happy for once. Stanley wanted to return to the camp and steal food etc. Now, Stanley wanted the treasure since he knew where it was buried.

Zero remembered as a child, he had a yellow room. They wanted to head down the mountain to dig. Now, the both of them felt scared. Stanley suddenly fell but thankfully he was alright. Some of the onions in the sack fell off. Zero finally spotted the Mary Lou. Zero didn’t know why his parents left him. They finally came to the Camp and could make out sounds from the Camp. They made sure it was late and there was no movement from the camp before they headed off. Now, they waited for the camp to fall asleep.

It was pitch dark outside. Zero wanted to refill their water jars. It was hard to even see what he was digging. The aim was to make the hole wider. Zero took over the digging. Now, they hit a hard object on the ground. It was metal or a treasure chest. It was a box like object. The plan was to dig a hole underneath it to try and release it. It now felt like a metal suitcase. They got it. Suddenly the Warden came to them and thanked them.

The suitcase was on Zero’s lap. Mr Sir, the Warden and Mr Pendanski were all there. Two lizards crawled on the suitcase and Zero froze. Now, Stanley was freaked out because he could see 6 lizards around him. The Warden was elated because in the past, her parents and her had to dig holes. The lizard on his neck now.

One lizard headed towards Mr Pendanski and Mr Sir shot it. The warden wanted to fabricate a story where it would seem like Stanley and Zero died by accident. Stanley didn’t move and thought about his younger days. It was day break and the lizards didn’t go away.

There were 8 lizards in the hole with Stanley. The Warden wanted Mr Sir to take the suitcase from Zero. A tarantula came along. A lizard attacked and ate it. The lizards now returned in the hole and were now on his stomach, legs and feet. There were 2 on Zero. Suddenly two cars came and a man in a business suit and cowboy hat emerged. The other person was a woman holding the briefcase. It was Stanley’s lawyers. They wanted to file for child abuse. The Warden starting lying to the lawyers. Luckily, Stanley managed to escape from the hole. Zero still held the suitcase. On the suitcase, it had the words STANLEY YELNATS.

Now, all of them walked back to camp. The tall man was the Texas Attorney General. Stanley’s lawyer was Ms. Morengo. The Warden kept twisting the story and nobody believed her. She claimed her belongings were in the suitcase which Stanley stole. The AG issued a piece of paper to Ms Morengo and Stanley was free to go. The AG promised that Zero was fine and that a full investigation would be launched. AG demanded for Zero’s file. Mr Pendanski couldn’t find it. The Warden knew she had disposed for it. Everyone realized Cavemen (Stanley) and Zero were alive. It was said that the boys didn’t have to dig holes already. The AG wanted Zero to follow him too.

The lizards don’t like onion blood. Ms Morengo took the suitcase with them. An investigation was conducted that revealed Stanley couldn’t have stolen it as he had an alibi. Zero confessed to stealing it. For the first time in a hundred years, a drop of rain fell.

The AG closed Camp Green Lake. In a few years, it will become Camp Green Lake. End of Story. There were sparkling jewels in the briefcase. However, they won’t worth a lot. The briefcase also contained stock certificates, deeds of trust, promissory notes etc. They were worth more and Stanley and Zero walked away with a great deal of money. Stanley used the money to buy a new house and a laboratory. 1.5 years later, they had a party. Clyde had smelly feet and soon was advertising for Sploosh, the product that Stanley’s Dad invented. Clyde was invited to the party as well.

The End!

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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

It was dark and stormy. Margaret Murry (Meg) was in her room in the attic. Meg was suffering in school with poor grades although she had brilliant parents. She was often bullied in school. Sandy and Dennys were her twin brothers. Her father had disappeared and she looked for him. Charles was her baby brother. Everyone else was sleep in the house. The family owned a kitten and Meg talked to it. Even their dog, Fortinbras, was barking. Mrs Buncombe was the constable’s wife. Meg walked around the house and feared that the tramp would enter their house. Charles was surprisingly awake and prepared breakfast for Meg. It was amazing. Charles was shy, but extremely intelligent inside. In the past, Meg thought her development rates were too slow. However, based on IQ tests, Charles and her fared well. Charles was so young but already so impressive. Mrs Murry was both a scientist and a beauty. That week, Meg fought with a guy and got a bruise to prove. Meg lamented that she was an oddball. Mum encouraged Meg to be patient. It turns out that Charles knew Mrs Whatsit and her two friends. Suddenly, the dog was growling at the lab door. Someone came to visit their house. It was Mrs Whatsit. Mum invited her home as she seemed lost. Meg started preparing food for Mrs Whatsit. Mrs Whatsit was new to the neighbourhood and was curious to explore. She was the one who took Mrs Buncombe’s sheets. Charles was very intelligent and sometimes people didn’t understand him. Mrs Whatsit knew about a pet called tesseract. Now, mom’s face turned pale. Everyone was surprised at how Mrs Whatsit knew about tesseract.

I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be. – Mrs Murry

Meg had a bad dream. Charles was asleep. Tesseract was a concept. Sandy and Dennys disliked Meg and Charles for their intelligence. Once, Meg was sent to the principal because she was rude in class. Meg missed her dad, who was a physicist. Meg was pissed with the principal, Mr Jenkins, as he kept asking about her dad. Charles wanted to look for Mrs Whatsit. Charles was good at mind reading and could predict what Meg and mother thought. A boy called Calvin O’Keefe came to visit them. Calvin just wanted to get away from his family as he was excellent at biology. Calvin admitted that he simply a compulsion to visit their house. Later, they all headed to a haunted house nearby. The house was mysterious. Later, they met Mrs Who. Calvin felt like he was going home.

There hasn’t been anybody, anybody in the world I could talk to. Sure, I can function on the same level as everybody else, I can hold myself down, but it isn’t me. – Calvin

I always believe things have an explanation. But I think that with our human limitations we’re not always able to understand the explanations….Just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist. – Mrs Murry

Meg felt happy even though they were exploring the woods. Meg introduced Mrs Murry to Calvin. Calvin had a difficult relationship with his parents and admire Meg for being lucky to receive love. Calvin admitted that he liked Meg’s dad from the photos provided. He did badly at physics and needed tuition. Calvin liked Meg and Charles. Sometimes, learning too many shortcuts aren’t necessarily good. Calvin was super knowledgeable. He seemed to think that talking to her family could him somewhere. Everyone was impressed by his athletic ability. Mrs Murry was sad and missed her husband. Everyone admitted that Charles understood more stuff than ordinary people. Mrs Murry admitted she was not as smart as Charles. But that was life. Mum liked Calvin too. Calvin took Meg out for a walk. Apparently, dad did top secret work for the government. Dad used to be at New Mexico and then Cape Canaveral at Florida. Later, father’s letters stopped coming. Apparently dad was on an important mission and couldn’t communicate for a while. That left everyone worried. Meg hated herself for being emotional. Calvin really liked Meg. Charles saw them and he admitted that they should look for Father. Later, Mrs Which appeared.

…But people are more than just the way they look. Difference isn’t physical. It’s in essence. – Mrs Murry

Un asno viejo sabe mas que un potro. An old ass knows more than a young colt. – Charles

Qui plus sait, plus se tait. The more a man knows, the less he talks. – Mrs Who

There was a strong breeze and there was complete darkness. Suddenly, she lost Calvin’s hand and Charles was nowhere to be seen. She felt in a void now. Her heart was thumping wildly. Later, she heard Charles exclaim ‘That was quite a trip!’ Luckily all of them were safe from the journey. Now they were all in a sunlit field and the scenery was perfect. There were the three of them there. Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. The three of them were sorry to scare her but they were serious as well. Not just their dad’s life was at stake. They were in Uriel, a planet in the spiral nebula Messier 101. Calvin was shocked at the speed they arrived. Actually, they did tesser or wrinkle for that matter. Charles knew what was going on. Their father wasn’t here unfortunately. This was a resting point to get to their dad. The ladies told Meg to be patient. Everything was safe on Uriel. Now, Mrs Whatsit transformed into a horse like figure. She would carry the children on her back. They started flying across the landscape. They all needed to sing to gain strength. They were each instructed to take a flower, which would be of use later. The flowers formed a hollow bell shape. Later, they all moved upwards. To survive, the children needs to breathe through the flowers at higher altitudes. They came upon one of Uriel’s beautiful moons. Later on, they encountered something that looked like a shadow. The atmosphere was increasingly thin. The shadow was still there. After a while, they headed down again. It was perceived that the dark thing was what dad was fighting against.

La experiencia es la madre de la cinencia. Experience is the mother of knowledge. – Mrs Who

The enemy was behind the darkness and no one could see him. Meg was crying but everyone told her to stay strong. It was time to wrinkle again so that they could appear behind the shadow. Meg was reluctant. To tesseract meant to travel in the fifth dimension. The fourth dimension was time. The tesseract would be to travel through space in the quick way. They had to travel alone this time. Her lungs were squeezed during the journey. They had arrived at a two dimensional planet and needed to leave it immediately. They all almost died. Mrs Which apologized for nearing causing their death. Meg started to worry about her mum and her twin brothers back home. They came upon a dark cavern and wanted to explore it. Later, they found a fire in the cave. Later, they met a woman wearing a beautiful turban. The lady was known as Medium. She held up a ball and the children looked into it. She showed them an image of the planet Earth. The three ladies actually chose the black thing to be on Uriel first as compared to Earth. It was the power of darkness. Some of the best fighters were already on planet Earth, like Jesus, Leonardo da Vinci etc. Dad was on a planet that had given in. She urged the children to be strong.

The Thing appeared again. Later, a light shone through the Darkness and it disappeared. Later, only stars and starlight remained. The Medium said that the Darkness can be overcome. Later, it was revealed that a star gave up its life in battle with the thing. Mrs Whatsit used to be a star. She was actually not a human. Medium was exhausted and started to sleep. Now, they wanted to continue looking for Father. The Medium showed the children a crystal ball, where they could see their mum. Meg started tearing up after seeing her mum writing. All the children kissed the Medium and thanked her. They started wrinkling again. They landed on Camazotz. The planet was scenic and lovely. The three ladies would now leave the 3 children alone to explore. Dad would be on the island. Before she parted, she gave Calvin the gift of communication, gave Meg her fault and gave the resilience of childhood to Charles. The ladies encouraged the children to stick together and go to the town together. Charles was warned not to wander around alone. The children reached the town. All the children there played in a fascinating rhythm. Calvin was starting to feel afraid. They came upon a young boy who couldn’t bounce the ball in rhythm. The mother in the house admitted that nobody drops balls as their children are all perfectly trained. Later the boy grabbed the ball from Charles and ran back into the house. Everyone seemed so afraid of the three visitors. Even the newspaper boy threw the newspapers with unerring accuracy. Apparently, to walk around the town, you need to have your entrance papers processed. They were an oriented city, where there were no trouble. The Central Central Intelligence is located here. Later on, the children saw adults on the streets as well. The children came upon a large building. No one had a clue on how to look for Father. Charles insisted that they needed passports. The people in the town were certainly not robots. Charles attempted to perform mind reading, but failed to succeed. Calvin had a feeling that entering the building would bring nothing but danger.

The children held each others’ hands. A man mentioned that they needed to present S papers in the B slot in the wall. He brought them to a place where they would be re-processed. They entered a room which was full of machines. They were brought to a man on a platform. That man had eyes with a reddish glow. The man admitted that they would have no reason to fight him as he would save them from pain and trouble. The man started reciting the multiplication table. Meg revealed that they were here to look for her dad. Charles, in a moment of rage, went to punch the man. Charles mentioned that he couldn’t feel him, like it was someone other than him that was speaking. After Charles stared at the man’s eyes, he seemed to be hypnotized. However, Meg managed to stop him. Meg requested for food from the man but did not promise to stop interrupting him. There were men who entered and brought a roast turkey. The food tasted alright. The man wanted to read Charles’ mind. After a session, Charles seemed to be possessed now. It wasn’t the old Charles anymore.

The man explained that Charles was a happy man now. Calvin suggested that they hold on to him now. To Charles, he said that the 3 ladies were the real enemies. Calvin gripped Charles and did not let go. Charles liked the planet for its stability and lack of any troubles. The man indeed hypnotized Charles. The man had the identity of a Prime Coordinator. Charles would lead the way and Calvin and Meg would follow. Calvin would try to use the gift of communication with Charles. In Camazotz, there was no illness and deformity. They entered a room now. Charles could make walls open now. In their town, everyone was alike and differences create problems. Calvin liked being different. IT was the boss and he was the Happiest Sadist. Charles threatened to send them to IT if they didn’t follow him. Everything was efficient in Camazotz. They saw that the boy who couldn’t bounce the ball was undergoing more training. Later, they were brought into a transparent column. It was Dad!

Father? What is a father? Merely another misconception. If you feel the need of a father, then I would suggest that you turn to IT. – Charles

We let no one suffer. It is so much kinder simply to annihilate anyone who is ill. Nobody has weeks and weeks of runny noses and sore throats. Rather than endure such discomfort they are simply put to sleep. – Charles

But nobody’s ever happy here, either. Maybe if you aren’t unhappy sometimes you don’t know how to be happy. – Meg

There was a layer of glass and they couldn’t enter it. Dad didn’t look at them. He looked like a shipwrecked sailor. It was like a peephole. One could look at him, but he couldn’t look outside. Later, Charles punched Meg when she was getting violent. Charles said the only way to save father would be to go to IT. Calvin kept staring at Charles and that made him uncomfortable. Charles was shaken and saw at the corner whimpering. Meg quickly wore the glasses that Mrs Who left behind. Later, she was in the transparent door and got through it. Meg hugged her dad. Dad responded her and he seemed elated too. Dad was apparently blind and couldn’t see them. Dad tried the glasses and finally he could see. Finally both of them used the glasses to exit the transparent column. Charles proclaimed that ‘IT was not pleased’. Dad was insistent that Meg shouldn’t have to see IT. They were all heading to see IT now. Everything seemed to be very frightening and unpredictable. IT was actually a brain. It was a real nauseating sight. Everything was in a constant rhythm and if anyone gave in, you would be under control of IT. IT’s power was too strong and even anger wouldn’t help her. Meg started reciting nursery rhymes, which didn’t work. She kept arguing against what Charles and IT had to say. Meg would now recite the periodic table. However, it was too rhythmic. Dad later tessered together with Meg.

Calvin and her dad were still around her. Thankfully, Meg was still alive and kicking. IT was unused to being refused. It was extremely difficult to fight IT because he made you feel it was wrong to fight him. Charles got possessed because he thought he could go into IT and then return. Time seemed to be inverted on Camazotz. Matter and energy were the same thing. Meg finally regained consciousness. Charles was not with them. They didn’t know where they were now. Meg wanted to return to Camazotz so as to save Charles. Meg was devastated. She was angry at Dad for not being able to tesser properly. There were 3 alien like creatures heading to them now. They had long tentacles. The creature started to cradle Meg and Meg suddenly felt good and safe.

The beast started talking to Calvin. Dad began to recount his tale. The beast wanted to kidnap Meg. They claimed that Meg would be in trouble. Meg felt a sense of security in the beast’s presence. To her, the beasts were good. The beasts had saved her, not her dad. Father and Calvin were somewhere else eating. Meg admitted that humans couldn’t see without light. The beasts agreed to help Meg find Charles. Their advice would be for Meg start behaving in a calmer manner. The beasts started feeding Meg and taking excellent care of her. They started singing. Aunt Beast was asleep. Their planet was Lxchel. Aunt Beast bathed and dressed her. She took them to Calvin and Mr Murry. Everyone was devising of a plan to save Charles. Suddenly, Mrs Which’s voice could be heard.

Life is like a sonnet, with a strict form, but freedom within it. You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you. – Mrs Whatsit

All the 3 ladies appeared now. Mrs Whatsit couldn’t do anything on Camazotz. Calvin volunteered to go save Charles. Meg volunteered to go to save her brother. They kept quarrelling over who should eventually go down. Aunt Beast wanted to go and help Meg too. Everyone said goodbye to Meg. Only Mrs Which would be going with Meg. Mrs Whatsit gave Meg love and her blessings. Later, Meg tessered to the same hill on Camazotz. Meg was all alone and started walking to the doomed building. The trick, Meg thought, would be to resist IT. Finally, she encountered IT again. Charles was still possessed. The trick was to constantly be angry at IT. Love was something IT didn’t have. Meg suddenly decided to hug Charles and confessed her love for him. That helped to conquer IT. Later, they were all tessered back to their home. The twins and their mum were alright. The entire family rejoiced and were reunited. The three ladies came to say their goodbyes, before leaving.

THE END!

I heard a famous author say once that the hardest part of writing a book was making yourself sit down at the typewriter. I know what he meant. Unless a writer works constantly to improve and refine the tools of his trade, they will be useless instruments if and when the moment of inspiration, of revelation, does come. – Madeleine L’Engle

Very few children have any problem with the world of the imagination; it’s their own world, the world of their daily life, and it’s our loss that so many of us grow out of it. – Madeleine L’Engle

A book, too, can be a star, “explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,” a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe. – Madeleine L’Engle

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Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Neil moved into his new flat in Sussex, South of England. There was a door that opened and a brick wall was on the other side. The book was for my daughter who liked scary stuff. In the story, Coraline would end up rescuing her parents. Although I took very long to complete writing it, people still liked it and the book managed to win awards. It was about being brave and doing the right thing

Being brave didn’t mean you weren’t scared. Being brave meant that you were scared, really scared, badly scared, and you did the right thing anyway. – Coraline

Coraline discovered the door in the old house. Miss Spink and Miss Forcible lived below her. They used to be famous actresses. There was an old man who was planning a mouse circus living above her. He wouldn’t show her how the mouse performed. Coraline explored the garden, the well and looked for animals. Her mum cooked for her but Coraline liked to explore the house. Her parents worked from home. Her dad allowed her to explore the drawing room but warned that she should not touch anything. Coraline took a count of every door, window in the house. There was a door which opened to a brick wall. She didn’t lock the door. Deep in the night, she heard a creek. It was a black shape and it was in the drawing room. Later, when she switched on the lights, the black shape disappeared and there was only a brick wall. The black shapes started to sing but Coraline ignored them and went to sleep.

Coraline met Miss Spink on her way out of the house. She explored the area and went back after a while. The old man above her waved at her. It was misty and they started chatting. The mice warned Coraline not to go through the door. Coraline tried to kill time by drawing. Her parents were busy and she played with Miss Spink and Miss Forcible instead. Miss Spink read her future and warned that she would be in serious danger. To her, many adults didn’t make sense when they spoke. Miss Spink gave Coraline a stone with a hole in it for safekeeping.

Her dad headed to London for a business trip. Coraline went shopping with her mum. She wondered what was in the empty flat beside their house. Her mum later left to run errands and left Coraline alone at home. Now, she grabbed the keys and entered the empty room again. When she opened the door, a dark hallway awaited her. The interiors were exactly like her home and she was confused. There was a lady who touched her, her skin was like paper and she much slimmer. It was her other mother. Her other father was also in the house. The food was wonderful and the three of them had a meal together. Later, her other mother would let her play with rats and she grew excited. There were many objects that caught her attention. The rats gathered and started to sing ‘We have teeth and we have tails; We have tails we have eyes; We were here before you fell; You will be here when we rise.’ The rats returned to the old man and he welcomed her to visit anytime. Now, Coraline started to explore the house on the outside.

She met a cat who could speak. The cat seemed familiar. Coraline said that they could be friends. The cat appeared arrogant. The cat mentioned something about her bringing protection…. Later, Coraline continued exploring and came into a dark theatre where a dog started speaking to her. Later, the dog directed her to an empty seat. All of the other members of the audience were dogs and they were watching Miss Spink and Forcible perform. Later, Coraline volunteered herself on stage. Miss Forcible was blindfolded and she, thankfully, threw a knife on a balloon perched on Coraline’s head. She gave the chocolates she won to the dog. Later, she walked out of the theatre and saw her parents. Now, her other parents persuaded her to stay in the other house forever. Her other mother placed her hand on her and Coraline backed off. Then, she made her exit and headed back to her real home. Her heart was pounding wildly as her other parents tried to stalk her.

Cats don’t have names. Now, people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names. – The Cat

Coraline was home now. Her parents were not in for the entire day and she entertained herself. Her parents seemed to have disappeared. A cat led Coraline to her parents, who were in a mirror and appeared sad. They wrote this message ‘Help Us’. The police refused to take action as they didn’t believe her story. Coraline was talking to the cat about how brave her dad was in the past. His dad let Coraline run first so that not many wasps would sting her. She wanted to go back into the dark world to save her parents. Her other mother saw her and hugged her tightly. She demanded the return of her real parents. Her other mother promised to take good care of her. Her other parents were tired and went to sleep. The cat admitted that her other parents wanted someone to love and that is why they were so fond of Coraline. The cat advised Coraline to challenge and play games with her.

Coraline woke up after her night of sleep. She changed and placed the stone in her pocket. Her other mother locked the door and prevented from going back to her real house. There was a bowl of glass on the mantelpiece. Later, Coraline explored the trees outside the house. A cat approached her suddenly and they started conversing. It seemed like the world was something the other mother created and everything was not real. The rats were apparently the spies of the other mother. The cat caught a rat in that moment. Coraline went back in the house, only to be confronted by her other mother. She wanted to play games with the girl. All this while, Coraline acted very rebellious. Her other mother ate beetles for a snack. She was pissed at Coraline’s behaviour and threw Coraline into a dim space behind the mirror.

She was placed into a small closet. Later, she heard a voice. There were little children in the closet who refused to reveal their names. The other children suffered the same fate as Coraline and some of them never saw their real parents again. They encouraged Coraline to flee. The other mother would remove your heart and soul and make you feel meaningless. There were 3 other children in the closet and Coraline was starting to feel hungry. The other children didn’t think they could escape because their hearts were stolen and they could not be exposed to light.

One day, the other mother came to pick up Coraline. Coraline challenged her to a game, where if she lost, she would continue staying with her. If she won, Coraline would get reunited with her real parents and the children would be released. The game would be to explore and find her real parents. Coraline started to comb the house with the stone in hand and attempted to look for the souls. Now, she looked through the stone and everything appeared grey except a bright orange object on the floor. The orange marble was one of the souls she uncovered. There were still two more to go. The weather worsened and the sand gushed in the wind. Once she entered the abandoned theatre, Coraline searched the room for a soul. There was a sac in the theatre and had the form of a monster. After looking through the stone, she concluded that it was a soul and that she had to approach it even if she was extremely fearful of it. She grabbed the marble from the creature. The creature resembled the other Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and woke up as soon as Coraline grabbed the marble. Thankfully, Coraline escaped in the nick of time.

Coraline returned to the house and updated her other mother that she found 2 souls. Her other mother seemed furious and cross. Although she did provide love, she was not real and Coraline had to leave her behind. Later, she handed Coraline a key to an empty room. It seemed like a trick but Coraline did explore the room. There was a cold ring set in the floorboards and she tugged at it. Then, after tugging, a trapdoor opened and Coraline continued to explore. After much difficulty, she found a foot sticking out from the curtains. It was pale and puffed up, but had the shape of a human. Coraline retreated in horror. It was her other father. The other mother punished him for telling Coraline too much initially. When the other mother was unhappy, everyone else would suffer. The thing approached her now. Later Coraline plucked out his other button eye and the thing wailed in pain. She managed to close the trapdoor and prevented the thing from following her. After she exited the room, the other mother was not waiting for her.

Now, Coraline explored the topmost flat, where the crazy man lived. A part of her feared entering, but she felt nothing could trump her previous experiences. Many mice were staring at her and there was a terrible stench. Everything was all made up by the other mother. The snowglobe on the mantelpiece gave Coraline a clue. The voice encouraged her to love her new world, where it was more exciting. The voice was coming from under the old man’s hat. Coraline knew that he possessed a soul after looking at him through the stone. Later, all of a sudden, the man disintegrated and many rats ran about. The largest one of them was holding the remaining soul. She kept her focus on the one with the marble and followed it. Coraline was hurt after a fall while chasing the rat and the rat eventually got away. As she started to wallow in self-pity, the rat appeared. Well, the cat actually attacked it and brought the dead rat to her. With the three marbles, all she needed to do was to find her parents. The thing was that the other mother couldn’t create anything new, but could only transform, twist and change reality. The appearance of the house was appearing like a drawing instead of a photograph now. The cat was weak and trembling and Coraline carried it. The door shrank much but Coraline still managed to enter it.

You really don’t understand, do you? I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted? – Coraline

The other mother appeared and talked to Coraline. Her other mother stared at Coraline while she entered the drawing room. She was awful-looking and didn’t resemble her mother at all. She challenged Coraline to look for her parents and suggested that they might be in the cellar. Coraline said they were in the passageway between the houses. Now the other mother smiled on hearing Coraline’s answer. She started drawing the key to open the door. Coraline backed away to the mantelpiece. Coraline threw the cat on the other mother and it started scratching and attacking her. Black stuff oozed out from her other mother’s face. In the meantime, Coraline grabbed the snowglobe on the mantelpiece. The cat followed her into the corridor. Now, Coraline closed the door. With the help of the other children, the door shut even though the other mother tried to open it. Coraline started on her uphill run. She managed to make out the 5 figures in the vicinity, there were three children and two adults. The world now seemed normal and the scenery outside was beautiful. Now, Coraline felt into a deep sleep.

It was her real mother who woke her up the next day. Her parents didn’t realize what had happened. The marbles were still in her pocket intact. It certainly wasn’t just a dream. Coraline ate the pizza that dad made for her.  To be safe, she kept the key around her neck. She dreamt in her sleep now. It was a picnic setting with three other children. The children were very grateful for the experience. Later, everyone headed to the meadow to play. Everything they did was a pure joy to watch. They were grateful for Coraline’s help. The boy started holding her hand. The boy advised her to be wise, brave and tricky in order to survive. The children headed off to the huge moon. There was a rustling noise outside her room now. Apparently it wasn’t over yet. Something was heading to the front door. It was like a crab scuttling around. It was her other mother’s right hand which was looking for the black key.

It was the next day. The marbles now looked like dead eggshells once the children had been released. Hamish the Scottie dog was injured while fighting with a hand. The old man’s mice were scared and didn’t want to play any musical instruments too. In the night, the hand crept to her window ledge. Coraline grabbed her picnic items and headed out to the meadow. She removed planks in the ground to reveal a brick-lined hole in the ground. Coraline wanted to give others the impression that was enjoying herself. Then, later she checked on Hamish’s condition. Now, Coraline held the key and sauntered through the woods. She placed the key on the tablecloth which covered the well. It was all up to the hand now. The hand did come and it leapt onto the tablecloth. The weight of the hand caused it to drop into the well. Coraline covered the well with the planks. Soon after, the cat appeared all excited at what Coraline did. When she returned to the house, the old man promised that she could watch the mice perform. She returned the stone to Miss Spink and Miss Forcible. Everyone thought that Coraline was an extraordinary girl. Coraline could look forward to school with optimism. Nothing fazed her anymore.

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the perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

August 25, 1991 to October 28, 1991

My friend is Michael. He stopped going to school after a while. I realized he passed away. Apparently, he committed suicide. The guidance counsellor was afraid that we might commit suicide. My name is Charlie. It was suspected that Michael killed himself. I started crying. I had a brother in school too. To me, other people have much worse problems than me. I also had a sister. ‘There are other people who have it a lot worse.’ I was a good student in school with good grades. My mum is emotional and my dad is hardworking at work. I loved Aunt Helen, my mum’s sister. I am starting high school tomorrow and I really dread the thought of school. I didn’t like school and my friend Susan was ignoring me. Michael and Susan were best friends apparently. I hurt a guy named Sean after he was mean to me. My bro was a football player. My whole family was emotional when my brother was featured on television. I hated doing the dishes at home. One day, the boy who liked my sister hit her. I didn’t feel that they were very compatible in the first place. There was a guy named ‘Nothing’ in my class. I got a C for my book review of ‘To kill a mockingbird’. I think interviews of actors are extremely fake. Aunt Helen has already passed away. My entire family was crying when she moved on some time back.

You know…a lot of kids hate their parents. Some of them got hit. And some of them got caught in the middle of wrong lives. Some of them were trophies for their parents to show the neighbors like ribbons or gold stars. And some of them just wanted to drink in peace. – Charlie

I went to a football game alone after Michael passed away. Patrick and Sam said hi to me during the game. Sam was a very attractive girl. The two of them were already together. Actually they were only siblings. I had a dream where I would fuck Sam. I had a nice warm conversation with Sam. Sam admitted that I was too young and that I should not bother to chase her.

I mean it’s not like in the movies where girls like assholes or anything like that. It’s not that easy. They just like somebody that can give them a purpose. Girls like guys to be a challenge. It gives them some mold to fit in how they act. Like a mom. – Patrick to Charlie

The thing is some girls think they can actually change guys. And what’s funny is that if they actually did change them, they’d get bored. They’d have no challenge left. You just have to give girls some time to think of a new way of doing things, that’s all. Some of them will figure it out here. Some later. Some never. – Patrick to Charlie

Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve. – Bill

I was never good with girls. Bill was my good friend at school. My parents didn’t allow my sister’s boyfriend to see her anymore. My sister hated me for telling Bill about their episode. I did believe in God, but I didn’t really visit church that much. My dad talked to the boy’s parents. I am very introverted in nature. My brother threw a house party when my parents weren’t around. Soon, the police visited my place because we were creating a ruckus. Dave raped the girl. I feel infinite. I attended another party and enjoyed myself. Sam always took great care of me. I spotted Patrick kissing Brad during the party. Patrick wanted me not to say anything about what I witnessed. I was a wallflower because I see things. I keep quiet about them. And I understood them. The whole group toasted to me. Brad had a girlfriend named Nancy. And in that moment in the pickup with wind blowing in our faces, I swear we were infinite.

November 7, 1991 to Jan 1, 1992

Mary Elizabeth liked to smoke and led a Zen lifestyle. Patrick and Brad met at a party and they were bored. Later, they ended up fooling around when they were drunk. Patrick now really liked Brad after a few more similar episodes. Later, they had sex. Brad was the female in the relationship. Later, Brad kept crying and his parents sent him to rehab. He liked to get stoned a lot of them. At least now, he didn’t need to get drunk to feel loved. I got a B for my paper on Peter Pan. I wanted to write for a newspaper instead. I started working for a fanzine called Punk Rocky. To be honest, I love Sam. The problem is she is going out with a guy named Craig. Craig and Sam act in the same play. Sam has a low esteem and I wanted her to stop seeing Craig. My brother was super passionate about football. My dad loved to tell stories about his younger days and his football. My bro couldn’t make it back for Thanksgiving. Sam and Patrick would come to my place for dinner. Michael’s parents were getting a divorce. I liked holidays with my uncle and aunt. However, there will be quarrels between them occasionally. Secretly, my dad doesn’t like our grandpa. My grandfather cried when he saw my brother play football on TV. I consoled him.

I had to buy Patrick a present for Christmas. I wanted to get him a mix-tape. Asleep by the Smiths. I loved the books which Bill gave me. Patrick loved the mix tape. I also gave him some magnets and a set of watercolour paints, a harmonica and a book. It was called ‘The Mayor of Castro Street’. I met Sam and Patrick’s parents. Everyone was super friendly during the dinner. Patrick gave me a suit. Everyone else exchanged gifts too. I gave Sam a card and she kissed me, saying ‘I love you’. Sam bought me a typewriter. It said ‘Write about me sometime’. However, she was not ready to see me as she still had a boyfriend. I still remembered Sam’s kiss. Bill gave me a book ‘The Catcher in the Rye’. I hope Sam and Patrick would call me on my birthday, 24 Dec. My family watched ‘It’s a Wonderful life’. I didn’t know what to buy for my dad. He doesn’t read or watch many movies. My mum comforted me and said I could buy anything. My family bought me really nice presents for my birthday. My bro started dating a girl named Kelly. Dad liked the MASH tv series set I bought him. They met at a restaurant called Ye Olde College Inn. My brother was more rude and crude after his stint overseas. Kelly liked Walden by Henry David Thoreau. My brother started saying mean stuff to my sister. My dad gave me the wheel even if I didn’t know how to drive yet. I felt sad looking at some old photographs. We were going to visit grandma’s place. I will never know if Aunt Rebecca or grandma forgave Dad for moving out.

Usually, we visit Aunt Helen’s grave. We want her to know that we miss her deeply. Something bad happened to Aunt Helen in the past and I wanted to find out. She was molested in the past. Aunt Helen had a drinking and drug problem in the past. But after that, she took good care of us. She passed away on Dec 24, 1983, in a car accident. I never had the chance to say a proper goodbye to her. Up till today, I still missed Aunt Helen. I told Aunt Helen about my life at her grave. I was having my New Year’s Eve party tomorrow. I felt very upset all of a sudden after visiting her grave. My mind started spinning. I heard Sam and Craig having sex in the room.

January 4, 1992 to April 26, 1992

I dropped a letter off at a mailbox. I started throwing up and fell ill. My parents brought me in the emergency room. My family all showered me with extra attention. I didn’t want to take LSD again. If was said that people don’t really get out of LSD once they talk it. I was suffering from schizophrenia. The roads appeared like waves, and my face was plastic. I tried a cigarette from Sam. I was up to 10 cigarettes per day

You feel really bad, and then it goes away, and you don’t know why. I try to remind myself when I feel great like this that there will be another terrible week coming someday, so I should store up as many great details as I can, so during the next terrible week, I can remember those details and believe that I’ll feel great again. – Charlie

My psychiatrist was a nice man. I read On the Road. I was now finding out more about Bill. My date was Mary Elizabeth during the Sadie Hawkins’ dance. Craig and Sam didn’t show up at the Rocky Horror Picture. I was slated to play Rocky at the last minute. I really enjoyed the experience of acting on stage. Mary Elizabeth praised me for my performance. I had an erection after the play. Mary Elizabeth announced that she liked me. Sam gave me advice on dating. Mary had many previous boyfriends. Mary wants to get 2 degrees and wanted to explore lesbian relationships. I agreed to go out on another date with her. Sam and I was alone for a while. My sister was crying after her boyfriend didn’t dance much with her and left abruptly. We hugged each other and later she admitted she was pregnant. The boyfriend broke up with her. She wanted me to accompany her to the clinic as well. I was at the waiting room of the clinic. I could not concentrate on any of my readings. I vowed not to tell my parents about the pregnancy for now. My sister finally caught me smoking too. We both laughed over it. My parents didn’t suspect anything. My parents wanted to find out more about the girl I dated. I told him about Mary Elizabeth. My dad wanted me to use protection. Mary and I went out on a date again. Now, Mary started touching me. Now, she started to touch me and kiss me. Mary knew mentioned the record to me.

I don’t understand that. I would give someone a record so they could love the record, not so they would always know that I gave it to them. – Charlie

Patrick and Sam were coming over to my house for dinner. My parents kept talking to Mary instead. Mary wanted to control me. Be honest about your feelings. Mary was kind of attention seeking. She liked to call me all the time. I returned the book she gave me to the store. Back at home, I started crying. Now, I should start getting honest with my feelings about her. I gave her ‘To kill a mockingbird’. I didn’t want to reveal anything about myself to Mary. When I was asked to kiss the prettiest girl in the room, I kissed Sam instead of Mary. I was true to myself. Mary walked out and everyone in the room felt terrible. I started to cry and Patrick took me home. Mary wasn’t interested in my life but she kept talking about hers. The best thing for me was to keep away for a while. I admitted I would date Patrick if I were gay. There was something wrong with me, but I didn’t know what it was. Mary didn’t want to get back with me and I apologized. I truly was. Craig was angry at me too. My sister met a new guy in her life. I was ‘passive aggressive’. I wanted people to tell me what was wrong. I bought pot from Bob.

April 29, 1992 to June 22, 1992

I was trying to avoid the world and escape. I was thinking about changing schools. I realized I didn’t like the feeling of not talking to anyone in the past 2 weeks. One day, Susan came along and I talked to her. She didn’t reply when I asked her whether she missed Michael. I was pretty stoned during that period. I went to Bob to get more pot. He believed in karma. After a while, he keeps saying the same stuff. Brad father’s realized his son was together with Patrick. Brad stopped going to school. I realized thinking too much made me hurt on the inside even more. My sister’s new boyfriend was Erik, a junior in school. Bill gave me a new book, ‘The Stranger’.

Brad returned to school after a while. Brad and Patrick were still not on good terms with one another. Later, I found Patrick crying. Brad called him a ‘faggot’ and Patrick was mad. Patrick punched Brad. I also got involved once Brad’s friends joined in. Patrick was suspended for a week. However, Patrick and I got a month’s detention. Sam was waiting for me after detention. Sam wanted me to apologize to Mary face-to-face. I started to cry. Finally, I apologized and we were now friends. Mary dated Peter now, one of Craig’s friends. Patrick quit the Frank ‘N Furter play.

I was spending a lot of time with Patrick now. I was in his car and we were heading somewhere. We went to see a movie, ate pizza, played golf, drank wine etc. We shared stories with one another and it was great. When we were heading home, Patrick kissed me. We kept kissing each other and I listened to him talk about Brad. Patrick brought me to a gay park. A guy came to chat with me in the park. It was the guy who does sports on the TB news. Patrick brought me to try a Karaoke bar and drugs in an aerosol can. When he saw Brad with other guys, his expression changed. School was ending and prom was coming. Bill gave me another book to read ‘The Fountainhead’. I was only 16 years old. I enjoyed the fountainhead. The seniors were planning a prank. Patrick was going to the University of Washington and wanted to be a musician. Sam got into the college of her choice and a safety school. She ended up in Penn State, the same school as my brother. My sister was going to Sarah Lawrence, a liberal arts college. Mary Elizabeth was going to Berkeley. ‘I would die for you. But I won’t live for you.’

Something like that. I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people. – Charlie

It was the last day of high school. I started running after the sun. Patrick performed his last Frank and Furter. The party at Craig’s was excellent. Patrick was with Alice now. It was prom night. Now, most of my friends were out of school. I didn’t have anyone except my psychiatrist. I hope everyone would be happy and everything would turn out great. I had two final exams now. Bill invited me to his place. Last night, Craig and Sam broke up. The thing was Craig was cheating on Sam by flirting with other girls. Peter encouraged Craig to reveal the truth to her. Peter threatened to tell Sam if he refused to take action. Sam was crying and she was devastated. We drove Peter home and prevented a fight. I visited Bill at his place. Bill thanked me for the fact that he enjoyed teaching me.

Charlie, you’re one of the most gifted people I’ve ever known. And I don’t mean in terms of my other students. I mean in terms of anyone I’ve ever met. That’s why I gave you the extra work. – Bill, the teacher

He thought I was special. I started crying a little and told him he was the best teacher I ever had. I believe everyone is special in their own way. It was the last day of school for me. My brother came home and he had a beard. I looked out for Patrick and Sam in their graduation caps. My sister had to give a speech on stage after she came in 2nd in class. My mum cried with tears of joy. It was a great day, apparently. I visited a dance club in the evening just to see Sam. Sam and Patrick later appeared and we hugged one another. I danced with Sam on the dance floor too. I wanted the clock to stop now. Later, we went to Peter’s apartment. ‘On the road, Naked Lunch, The Stranger, This Side of Paradise, Peter Pan and a Separate Peace; To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, Walden and the Fountainhead.’

Sam was leaving in a week’s time. Craig finally reconciled with Sam. We entered Sam’s room as she wanted to pack some stuff. Sam was wondering why I didn’t ask her out after the Craig episode. I realized that I wanted her to be genuinely happy.

It’s great that you can listen and be a shoulder to someone, but what about when someone doesn’t need a shoulder. What if they need the arms or something like that? You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love. You just can’t. You have to do things. Like take their hands when the slow song comes up for a change. Or be the one who asks someone for a date. Or tell people what you need. Or what you want. – Sam to Charlie

I needed to be more honest with others. Sam was also afraid to do certain things when she was together with Craig because he might think differently about her. I kissed her and we ending up kissing. We touched one another. Sam admitted that I was her best friend.

I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to be who I really am. And I’m going to figure out what that is. But right now I’m here with you. And I want to know where you are, what you need, and what you want to do. – Sam to Charlie

August 23, 1992

I was in the hospital for the past 2 months. I was in the couch in the family room completely naked. The doctor helped me to sort out my relationships and I loved visitors. Patrick and Sam wanted to drive me through the tunnel when I was better again. I received mail from grandma, grandpa etc.

I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them. – Charlie

Sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there. I was finally discharged from hospital. I was very comforted to have friends all around me who offered their support. Sam, Patrick and I finally drove in the tunnel. It was great to have close friends and family. I started crying and smiling at the same time. Tomorrow was my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to participate more in the school activities.

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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

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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

the_fault_in_our_stars_by_grodansnagel-d6rujir

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

PollyannaDVD