Friday, January 30, 2015

The Quest for Forgiveness: Brianna's Terrible Support System

Last time, the news about Brianna singing at the MPAs was released and Sonya explained to the press that they had stolen her music. Then it jumped ahead to like a day later when everyone was theorizing about Brianna. Then it jumped back in time to Sonya picking Brianna up at the airport. So that's where we are.

The paparazzi doesn't manage to get a good glimpse of Brianna, but we do learn that the awards ceremony is tomorrow night.


And as we discovered last time, the MPAs are looking to fill advertising slots. Well, that or Rothdiener doesn't understand how TV advertising works and that if more people watch the ceremony, they'll magically make more money from advertisements they've already sold. Given how he explains it, this explanation might be the closest: "After seeing the worldwide publicity over the teen, they realized the monetary gain from advertisers around the world would be huge. The ceremony would draw an enormous audience."

If they work the way real TV advertising works, then I guess they haven't sold their last slots yet, in which case, yes, they probably can charge more for them (unless it's not legal to switch it up like that, though I'd imagine it would be).

Brianna tells Sonya that fame is easier than living on the streets, because now people use her to get to her fame, when before people used her to get to her body. Which, yes, I suppose is better, but it doesn't make their interactions any more genuine.

Sonya tries again to talk about 1) Ethan (multiple times) and 2) Christianity, and is surprised and saddened when Brianna shuts down the conversation... like she has EVERY SINGLE TIME THIS HAPPENS. In fact, what was that exchange Sonya and Brianna had a chapter ago?
“That’s part of my life I never want to talk about and won’t. Do you understand?”   
“No. I sure don’t, but there’s someone who does. I will abide by your wishes.”
So I was completely justified in assuming that Sonya was not in any way going to abide by Brianna's wishes like she said she would. Ugh. Sonya's the worst.
Sonya wisely changed the subject. “How about a man in your life, you know, a romantic relationship?”  
Brianna giggled.
Again, that's a WEIRDLY naive and innocent response to that question. I highly doubt you get girly embarrassed giggles about "romantic relationships" when you've gotten accustomed to men using you for your body and then discarding you.

Incidentally, this is just more proof that either 1) Sonya doesn't listen to Brianna, or 2) the author frequently forgets what he's already written. This exchange happened thirty pages earlier:
“You seem down on men.” 
“Down isn’t the word. If I never have another relationship in my life, it will be all too soon.” 
. . . “I’ve never seen a seventeen-year-old down on men as much as you are. Usually girls your age are gaga over guys.”
Sonya's conversations with Brianna seem to go something like this:

Sonya: "Let's talk about Ethan."
Brianna: "I don't want to. Ever."
Sonya: "What?! Fine, I won't. How about God?"
Brianna: "I don't need God."
Sonya: "What?! Fine, we won't talk about it. How about men?'
Briana: "I don't want a relationship."
Sonya: "What?! Fine, we'll drop it. How about Ethan?"

Repeat. Forever.

Brianna gushes in the book that talking to Sonya makes her feel like she has a true friend. But that's only because Brianna's life has been very sad and so she thinks Sonya's awful, insensitive pushing counts as friendship because it's better than what she had before.

Sonya brings in Brianna's new bodyguards, three men and one woman, who will act as a decoy on occasion. (Though SURELY no one could EVER be mistaken for someone as BEAUTIFUL as Brianna!) One of the bodyguards is Sonya's brother-in-law, who was with her husband when he died.
Brianna continued, “Isn’t seeing your husband’s brother hard on you? And Sonya, why do I need four guards? Isn’t one enough?”  
“My, you always have so many questions.”
Sonya's not used to people asking different questions instead of same three over and over again, so it just seems like a lot.

She then explains to Brianna that she will be super famous and will want some time to herself, and that's what the bodyguards are for. But then she talks about being alone like it's an impossibility forever if you're famous. Being alone in public, sure, that's tricky, but, um, doesn't Brianna get a home? Doesn't she even get a backstage area or a hotel room while she's on tour? Not according to Sonya.

So the bodyguards show up, and Brianna is instantly attracted to Bodyguard Conrad, who is Sonya's brother-in-law.

Cue new people commenting on Brianna's looks in 3...2...1...
He reached his hand out to his new client as he lost himself in her eyes. “Wow, she has a strong handshake. When Sonya said you were gorgeous, she wasn’t kidding. I can see why you need protection.”

Why do these people not understand appropriate lawyer-client or bodyguard-client behavior? I'm pretty sure that's considered unprofessional. Although at least he's talking to her instead of to Sonya about her.

Cathy and Jonathan are married bodyguards who served in the Marines together and they decide to chat with Brianna about relationships.
Cathy added, “A little advice from another girl. If you want to get the right man, run from him... eventually you will catch him!”

Brianna protests she doesn't need bodyguards, and Conrad tells her some stories about celebrities being killed by stalkers, and she's like, "Oh."
Brianna stepped closer to Conrad, and brushed her finger down his chest in a flirtatious gesture. “Do I have to be afraid of any of you coming on to me?”  
Without even a glimpse of a smile, Conrad spoke. “No Ma’am, you said it— we are all business.”
"Well, I mean, except for a minute ago when I got lost in your eyes and told you you were gorgeous. But FROM THIS MOMENT ON, I promise, all business."

Sonya tells Brianna to concentrate on sleeping and getting enough rest, and to avoid drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and men. At least until tomorrow night. Brianna says she hopes her real parents are watching.
“I’ve lied, cheated, stolen, sold myself and my talents. I have... I’ve destroyed people’s lives. I can’t stop now, or it will be all for naught.”
"All for naught" is some really old school speak for a 17-year-old who has been living on the streets the past several years. Also, isn't "selling her talents" the entire point of being in show business? It might not belong in the same category as lying and stealing.

Conrad cheerfully tells her that maybe her parents don't want to be found and don't want anything to do with her.

Yup. All business, this guy.
Brianna stopped her strumming and stared at Conrad, almost oblivious to the others in the room. “I can’t believe I’m talking to you about this. Who are you anyhow? You’re just a bodyguard.”  
She began strumming and with a voice of an angel, the lyrics flowed— words she had never penned. No one knew if the message came from her heart, head, or an experience from her past.  
Who are you, but just a man? You can’t possibly understand The heart of one searching, The love that I’m bringing This is the story, I’m going to keep singing
...Well, THAT'S unnecessarily insulting.

"Here, Mr. Just a Bodyguard, let me sing an improvised song for you about how YOU'RE JUST A MAN AND YOU'LL NEVER UNDERSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND ME!"

I feel like she's just pouting that he's not returning her romantic advances and so decides to be like, "Pffft, then I shall insult you and your lowly station in life and your lowly gender!"

Conrad reveals that he grew up in foster care until Sonya's brother's family adopted him, so he does kind of know what she's talking about, even if he's just a man/bodyguard. He also tells her about God, because that's typically well-received in a professional relationship you've just begun. Brianna is clearly not receptive to this, and Conrad gets sad about that and pushes further because sure, that's the best plan.

Brianna changes the subject and asks him about his real parents. Conrad says he found them and they were drug addicts and alcoholics, so that didn't go well.
“My, aren’t we on a roll? Am I going to have to listen to his lectures the whole time he protects me?” Brianna smiled at Sonya to help lessen her sarcasm.  
Sonya answered. “I’m afraid so. Conrad has been many places and done countless things in his short life on earth. His knowledge far exceeds one’s expectation. You may want to learn from him.”
Oh, great. Sonya hired a bodyguard not to protect Brianna but mostly to impart his wisdom to her. That's lovely.

Sonya says they'll be staying at her house that night.
“Your house?” Brianna questioned, her voice sounding sort of bewildered. 
“Yes, I figured it would be the safest place for you.” 
“Is it big?”
Brianna sounds about five years old right now. "Is it big? Does it have a pony? Is it red? Do you have a bathroom? Do you have a pool?"

Brianna says she wants to take a shower, and there's a really creepy exchange where they joke about the bodyguards showering with her. I forgot just how bad the flirting was in this book. It's the worst, guys.

We've covered about half of the rest of the chapter, so we'll finish up chapter eight next week. I've had all the terrible conversations I can take for one day.

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