Friday, March 13, 2015

The Quest for Forgiveness: A Busy Post-Conversion Evening

Last time, Brianna finally told everybody about Ethan and found Jesus, so Sonya got her way after badgering Brianna about it for four years. I seem to remember that it's all sermons from here on out, but I hope I'm misremembering, because gosh, that'd be boring. So... here we go.

So Brianna runs off to her concert and the press conference she was apparently just having before her concert for no reason.
As Sonya applied Brianna’s makeup, she asked the singer what she planned to tell her fans. 
“I don’t know what I’ll say. I guess I’ll let the Lord speak through me.”
I'd say it's funny that she's instantly picked up Christianese phrases like "let the Lord speak through me" but she's been speaking like that the whole book despite having no reason to, so this at least is consistent with her terrible characterization.

She arrives at the press conference and freezes because she's not sure what to tell them, so people start asking her questions.
A reporter piped up, “Which is your favorite song on the new CD?” 
“They are all my favorites! That’s why I wrote them.” She laughed.
The media had grown to love her wit and charm.
"So they were understandably disappointed by this mediocre display."
“The CD begins somewhat in a fantasy world, but the last one ends in total reality.” Brianna paused again, searching her mind for the right words. “Much like real life.”
Wait, what? Real life begins in a fantasy world? Does she mean like... the imagination of childhood? Because none of that describes Brianna's life. She's been pretty much stuck in an unpleasant reality for most of her life.
A familiar-looking reporter asked, “I understand that the CD is a one-of-a-kind combination, and the recording industry is predicting this is going to be your best-selling CD, possibly the biggest selling CD of all time. Why is that?”

Well, first, I have no idea what "a one-of-a-kind combination" means. Secondly, that's a HUGE prediction to make. I think it's a pretty safe bet she's not going to surpass Thriller. And guessing that it's going to surpass it before it's even released is a ridiculous suggestion. Especially since people don't really buy CDs anymore! If you look at Wikipedia's list of the best-selling albums of all time, the only one from this decade at all is 21 by Adele, and that's all the way down at #19 with about half of what Thriller made. So she's got a ways to go.

Third, "why is that?" Well, that's a good question. Why IS the recording industry predicting that? It's nonsense.

What is Brianna's answer?
“I think it’s because of the powerful message behind it. The double-disc collection consists of twenty-one songs and is almost a story.”
Is that what makes it a one-of-a-kind combination? That it's a concept album? Because while those are cool and I totally support them, they do exist already, so it's not like she's the first one to do it.
“It’s interesting that the last song on the CD relates to what happened in my life about an hour ago. You see, I was on a collision course with my past.”
Oooh, like the tagline for her book! Except that, for some reason, kept spelling it "coarse."

Brianna finally blurts out, "I found Jesus," and Sonya tells her to wrap things up because she needs to get to her concert. Good thing she didn't wait any longer to tell them, because then she would have run out of time and not been able to tell them at all.

She then says something along the lines of, "Oh, and I just decided I'm going to start touring immediately. I haven't cleared this with anyone. I'm just going to do it. I have to. Bye!" and runs off to her concert. Sonya asks her what's up with this surprise concert, and Brianna says she's doing it because, "I have . . . people I must see." And I guess she can't afford to go somewhere and see people if she's not on tour?

Brianna tells Sonya to prepare to do some traveling and that, for the unplanned tour, to "get a list of major cities throughout America, Canada, and Mexico. Set up dates, and get all the preliminary arrangements started." Seriously, if she can just be like, "Here, start a tour now, please," can't she also be like, "I'm going to go do some stuff while not being obligated to do a concert in every town I visit"? Also, Brianna kisses Conrad on the cheek and his heart goes crazy.
One of the ways she pleased her fans was with several wardrobe changes during a concert— this performance, she had seven.
Because as we all know, it's not REALLY about the performance or the songs -- it's all about the costume changes! You think Adele got the #1-selling album of the decade by wearing the same clothes at her concert? NOPE!

I mean, there are plenty of great performers who do a trillion costume changes -- one of Beyonce's tours had eight, and while I can't find a number for Lady Gaga, she has many as well -- but their image and their sex appeal are heavily a part of their brand. Given how squeamish and uncomfortable Brianna is about her self-image, I can't imagine she's pushing the sexuality as much as Beyonce does or the extreme artistic designs Gaga does. So why is she changing costumes seven times? *shrug* Hadonno. I wouldn't be as bothered by this if the entire book wasn't obsessed with how beautiful Brianna is while pretending it's all about the talent.

Before her final number, Brianna gives a LONG, rambly sermon that should just be a testimony but ends up also hitting weirdly heavily on the dangers of drug/alcohol addiction. She ends by telling people to follow Jesus, which is met by "sporadic applause that grew into a rumble", so I guess she was playing to a bunch of Christians anyway and just never knew it. Though the applause could also be because she started her song.

I was kind of hoping we'd get the song lyrics because I'm sure they're as bad as all of hers have been, but sadly, it skips ahead and Brianna leaves the stage to thunderous applause.
“I don’t have time for the dressing room,” she said, grabbing Conrad’s hand, and dragging him towards the back door.
Um, OK.

Turns out she's in a rush because she wants to go to a Saturday night church service, but when in the world WAS this concert that she can go to church after? Because most evening church services start sometime between 6 and 8, and most concerts don't start earlier than that. Bruno is SUPER confused by going to church, so I guess he hasn't been paying attention to anything going on in Brianna's life today.

As they drive to the church, Brianna tells Sonya that she needs her to go away and do other things for awhile, and says Conrad can take over managing her. Because, hey, if a lawyer who doesn't know anything about managing a musician can make her the most popular musical artist in the world about to outsell Michael Jackson, then definitely a bodyguard can be a manager! Brianna's task for Sonya: Find Ethan and her real parents.

They go to the church she got saved at, and the worship leader invites her to play with them. She says she wouldn't know the songs, and they announce that they'd been worshiping to her songs anyway!
“Think about it. The lyrics are the message. Many people can make a tune, but few can put words together to bring a truth that warms the heart, like you did in My Father’s Love.”
While I agree with this and I do frequently worship to secular music because of this, this is a cool and unusual church that regularly uses secular (or at least non-Jesus-specific) songs as worship in their service. I would totally go there. Although they apparently only use songs by Brianna, so I guess that'd get boring.

So the church has basically a Brianna concert for worship. Brianna holds Conrad's hand. Jeremiah is apparently not just the worship pastor but the real pastor, because he gives a sermon. And almost the rest of the chapter is that sermon. It's dry and boring and maybe if the characters were worth caring about I'd care about this too, but as it is... nothing. And I don't want to read it or dissect it because it's just boring, and so I'm going to skip it.

After church, Jeremiah pries into Brianna's back story with Sonya while Brianna meets with fans, including one little girl who is in foster care.
“She’s been in a lot of foster homes. We’re thinking of adopting her,” the foster mother said, noticeably moved. 
“Please don’t just think about it. Do it! Her life is wasting. This sweet girl needs good parents,” Brianna pleaded.
"Her life is wasting"? Uh, way to affirm self-worth for a little girl. "Your life basically just wastes away until you have parents."

The family says they don't have the money to adopt, so Brianna decides to make things happen. You don't find this out until a page or two later, at the end of the chapter, but she petitions the judge to let them adopt her and then just mails them the papers saying they're her guardians (despite the fact that they hadn't done any of the paperwork themselves -- I'm pretty sure you can't just adopt people on other people's behalf).

This gripping chapter ends:
Brianna’s Quest for Forgiveness had begun.
And only 65% of the way into the book. It's about time.

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