Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dreadful Sorry by Kathryn Reiss

#20 Dreadful Sorry by Kathryn Reiss
Copyright 1993
Harcourt YA Time Travel/Mystery
340 pages
Finished 2/22/08

What led you to pick up this book? I was in the mood for something creepy but light. Dreadful Sorry is a young adult novel, so I knew it would be a fairly quick read that I could probably continue to concentrate on well enough to read between swim events, this past weekend (provided that I remembered to take earplugs to the natatorium). I assumed it would be suitably creepy because I've read one other book by this author and the other book was just spooky enough to please me.

Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending. ***Possible spoiler alert - not certain, but skip the next two paragraphs if you think you'll read this book. I may have given a bit too much away.***

Molly has been afraid of water for as long as she can remember, plagued by nightmares of drowning. She has no idea why she has the nightmares, as she's never had a bad experience or an accident in water. But when she comes close to drowning at a pool party and her mother still doesn't understand the depth of Molly's paranoia, Molly decides to visit her father and his young wife in Maine. With her father in charge, she can escape her mother's continued attempts to force Molly into learning how to swim.

In Maine, Molly is jolted by the discovery that her father's house is the setting of some of her nightmares and her visions begin to escalate. When Molly is repeatedly thrown into scenes of a past in which she is literally looking through the eyes of a young woman who lived in the house over a century ago, Molly decides to investigate. Who was Clementine and what does she have to do with Molly and the ancient house? In order to free herself from the memories of a ghost, Molly must figure out exactly why she's being haunted and what she needs to do to set Clementine to rest.

***End possible spoiler alert***

What did you like most about the book? This may sound strange, but what I liked best about the book was the story. I thought the novel was rather sloppily written, and yet the concept was quite fascinating -- the idea that Molly was seeing past events as they occurred through the eyes of the person who experienced them. I was sucked in and just had to know what was going to happen to Molly and Clementine. While I don't think a connection between Molly and Clementine was ever firmly established, I did reach the point that I felt it didn't matter.

What did you think of the characters? I liked Molly, although she kept herself distant from people because she was so disturbed by her visions. There was a sense that she would be fine, once she figured out the meaning of her mental jaunts into the past. Jared was another character who seemed to be driven by his own confusing glimpses into the past and whom I thought would turn out to be a decent individual in spite of one frightening incident. Molly's mother, Jen, was annoying. Her gentle father and bubbly stepmother were both likeable, sensitive characters and I was sort of relieved when they took over the parenting from Jen. Clementine was the kind of character who gets under your skin like an annoying itch. I understood her desires, but I still wanted to kick her in the shins.

Share a favorite scene from the book: I didn't mark any specific scenes or quotes, but I think the point at which I realized I was really going to enjoy the book was the moment when Jared dropped Molly into a swimming pool. At that point, it became obvious that there was something bizarre and spooky going on with both of them and they'd have to unravel the problem.

In general: A very interesting story that kept me enthralled in spite of average writing. I think the author has a talent for crafting a story but it did seem like this was a case in which the young adult audience may have possibly been an excuse for poor writing. Still, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to those who savor young adult historical fiction with the creepy factor thrown in. Thumbs up - I'd say about a 3.5/5.

Just walked in:
The Last Single Woman in America by Cindy Guidry - thanks to a drawing at The Hidden Side of a Leaf (and a Fed Ex man). Thanks, Dewey!!
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (from Paperback Swap)
A bunch of ARCs - our library was giving them away, again!!! Photo in tomorrow's Wahoo! Wednesday post.

Number One Reason I Should Have Taken My Camera to the Library - Firefighters washing the truck at the firehouse next door -- one of my favorite sights. Taut young buns, tight pants . . . great combination and loads of fun to photograph (but you have to be sneaky).

Five Days till The Iditarod!!! Wow, it's difficult to believe there's a place where the ice and snow are still thick enough to race around on sleds (says a gal who goes outside to dance in the snow when there are flurries -- which happens maybe once every 2 or 3 years; yeah, we don't have a realistic viewpoint of winter, I know).

Best Lost Calendar News: I think I may have at least managed to piece together the titles of everything I've read in February, thanks to casual snippets about finished books at this blog (Blogging Saved My Life, film at 11:00) and the little book pile beside my computer. The calendar is still missing and I don't have all the usual info, such as number of pages read and copyright dates (some of which I'll have to look up, since the books have already been swapped or returned to the library), but at least I've got another calendar that I'm slowly filling in and I can function. Wahoo for that.

What do you think? Is it a sacrilege to paint over a poppet's natural coloring (meaning the decoration painted by artist Lisa Snellings-Clark)? I'm curious what you think, because one of my new poppets got chips in the paint on her skirts, after just a few minutes of bopping around in a bag with several other members of my Poppet Family. The other gals are just fine, but Choxie just doesn't look right with those white flecks. I think she got a Toyota 2003 paint job (I gave Toyota a severe chewing-out about that paint when they made the mistake of sending me a survey form about what I liked and did not like).

Favorite scents: Cinnamon, peppermint, apple, lemon, lavender, rosemary, sandlewood.

Smell I wish would go away: The scent of fabric softener coating my shoes because someone decided to do laundry while his wife was away, in spite of being told numerous times Do Not Do Laundry, and then that same someone whose name shall not be mentioned but whose identity is obvious because I'm only married to one guy left the fabric softener container open and precariously perched where a balance-challenged wife could easily knock it over. Yes, I confess to having a part in the Fabric Softener Disaster. But, really, he should know better.

Off to work on that blue puddly mess,

Bookfool in Mountain Fresh scent


  1. OMG-I almost spat out my water when I got to the firefighters comment, and then i almost lost it again at the Blogging Saved My Life aside. And then, just when I thought I was safe, I came to the Fabric Softener story and that sign off. You're on a roll today Nancy!

  2. Now this book sounds like something that I'd indeed enjoy! I'm sure it made it even more creepy since you were reading it during swim meets! Onto the wishlist...which I just looked at by the way and is approaching 150 books in length! Sheesh!

    The mystery of the lost calendar continues, eh? Strange indeed...is it a small calendar? Best of luck on getting everything back together.

    On painting poppets..I've always wondered the same thing. Luckily, it's not happened to any of mine, but what does one do if a poppet chips? I'd say a little touch up is ok....but don't tell Lisa ;)

    And sandalwood is one of my favorite scents too! Mountain fresh fabric softener...not so much.

  3. Eva,

    I don't know what to say. You've made me blush with joy. :)

  4. Chris,

    You've just described the reason I call my own wish list the "wish brick". It's so big and heavy that the word "list" just sounds too innocuous. Sorry, yeah, this does sound like it's right up your alley.

    It's a BIG calendar! You know what I think happened? I think my husband threw it away or moved it (almost as big a disaster -- I'm pretty sure he was responsible for my missing Nabokov, last year). He has this habit of grabbing piles and indiscriminately tossing them into a trash can or just moving things aside. When we returned from Laurel, I noticed my favorite conditioner was missing and he had to go scrounge in the trash can. Har.

    I won't tell Lisa. But, I think that chocolate color would be really, really hard to match. I mixed a similar color for one of kiddo's projects, last year, and it takes a little bit of everything to make brown. I'll have to give it some thought. I do have paint. No, no, don't tell Lisa that, either.

    Yep, I love, love, love sandlewood and Mountain Fresh is particularly distressing in quantity.

  5. I was going to suggest dipping Choxie in melted chocolate but I guess that would get a bit messy. Or you could go with pink to match the spots and make a half circle at the bottom where the chip is? Hmm... tough one. I still haven't figured out what to call my choco poppet. Any creative suggestions? Oh and since receiving Little Pink a few days ago, I've become quite attached to her. Creepy yes, but very cool too.

    I love cinnamon too, and rosemary, mint, lemon, etc. Too bad about the fabric softener in the shoes though. That would drive me batty.

  6. I can relate to Molly. I have a fear of drowning.

    Oh no, not Choxie! I'd say paint her.

    If I see a report on the news that a lady has been arrested for stalking the fire department, I'll know who it is.

    Your fabric softener story is too funny!

  7. Nat,

    Choxie doesn't like the idea of having ants (or worse bugs) nibbling at her skirts, anyway. :)

    I'm considering silver airplane paint and stars for an entirely different look. Her name will have to change, of course.

    Hmm, I thought of a great chocolate poppet name *after* I named Choxie and now I don't remember it. Godiva sounds good, but that wasn't the name I'm referring to.

    The shoes may need a bath. :)

  8. Chris,

    Aren't you sort of surrounded by water? I would think that kind of fear could be problematic anywhere, but particularly where one is so near to the ocean.

    I think I will paint Choxie, but I'll have to consider what exactly I want to do -- try to match her coloring, add a larger pink space (as Nat suggested), or just give her a completely new color.

    Stalk? Me? Well, maybe with my lens, but only the guys with the cutest buns need fear.

    Thank you. The smell is not humorous. And, the fact that we have *half* the flooring put down right where the fabric softener fell is a big problem. It rolled under tiles and over and under the plastic liner. Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. It's going to take some time to fully clean up.

  9. There were firefighters washing the truck and you didn't have your camera?????

    I'm deeply deeply disappointed. Sad even.

  10. Oh, I wish you had gotten a photo of those firefighters. That just sounds delightful!

  11. I know, the irony! I have a love/hate relationship with the ocean. I love to look at it but won't swim in it over my head. I paddle around near the shore. Plus, my ancestors were fishermen. Go figure.

    My hubby is part fish, I'm sure. Hopefully my girl will take after him.

  12. The flooring: well, that just sucks. That would annoy me too.

  13. Well, the book sounds intriguing and I do like that sort of story.

    Firefighters can be a sight, can't they?

    Oh, and btw, we could hold that race here with little problem this year.

    I'm glad to hear you've replaced the calendar. It seems like the least painful way to deal with things, though not the best. The best would be to find the old one, which you may very well do now that you've replaced it!

    I love lemon and apple but I have to be very careful with scents - they're a migraine trigger for me.

    Oh, and the blue puddly mess is funny... but I can imagine how horrid it would be to deal with!


  14. Suzi,

    I know. So sad. I like to think of such photos as keepsakes. :)


    It was delightful, all right. I'll try not to go out without my camera, again!


    The really funny part is the ancestral fishermen. Imagine what they'd think if you could travel back in time to meet them!

    We're half and half on the kids, here. Eldest was afraid of sticking his face in the water. Younger kiddo was just born a fish. I hope yours turns out to be a fish, for the sake of the entire family!

    The flooring situation is awful. We have part of a kitchen floor and part of a den floor, but the husband decided he screwed up leveling the den floor and we're going to have to rip it up and start over. Horrors. We've been without a den for 3 months, already.

  15. CJ,

    In spite of the writing, I thought the book was fascinating and I found it difficult to put down.

    Oh, yeah. Love those firefighters. They're most pleasing to the eye.

    It looks like the Iditarod could easily be held in New Hampshire, as well. This has been quite a snow year, hasn't it?

    I had to replace the calendar. Honestly, I just can't live without one. And, I've updated my database. Things are improving. I'd still prefer to find the calendar for the sake of accuracy, but I'll live. :)

    Strong scents can be migraine triggers for me, but I can get away with lotions, candles and bath salts -- just not heavier scents like cologne. I feel for you.

    I may have to get a little help removing some of the blue puddle from under the half-installed tile, when hubby returns. What a pain.

  16. Firefighters! I worked at a small town fire station right after graduating from college and had a blast! (no, I was not a fire-woman, just the office manager). There were certainly several fun to look at guys in the department. Shhhh...

  17. Trish,

    Soooo jealous. I'd like to hang out around firefighters for the view. Making money while you do so would be a rather huge bonus. :)

  18. Oh, silver stars sound fun! :)
    You'll have to show us the end result whatever you decide.
    I don't think mine's a Godiva (too grand?) but thanks for the suggestion. Will have to wait and see what name finally sticks. :P

  19. Nat,

    I'll let you know what I decide. Don't hold your breath, though; I tend to be rather slow! :)

    Godiva isn't a very pretty name, actually, is it? I can't remember the other name I thought of, after I'd already chosen the name Choxie, but I think poppet naming is a bit like naming pets - it's kind of personal and when you hit on the right name you just know it.

  20. What to do if a Poppet gets damaged: Send it to Poppet Planet, where it can be repaired properly. We want to know when something goes wrong. We're both cheerful and helpful! Information will only help us make Poppets better.

    Don't tell Lisa? BWAAAHHHHAHAHA! Lisa might be everywhere Poppets are.

  21. Lisa,

    Okay, I may do that, but I had my heart set on repainting Choxie silver with airplane paint. Give me a day or two to adjust to the idea of Staying Chocolate.

  22. Anonymous8:58 AM

    awesome book!

  23. Anonymous7:26 AM

    I looooove Dreadful sorry unfortunately can't find a copy anywhere. :( wish I could find one in a booksale or wish someone would sell theirs. :(


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