Friday, August 2, 2013

The Quest For Skye: Chapter 4

Recap: Doctors Morgan and Tammy Hamilton are on a 14-day Panama Canal cruise (with a super important childhood disease medical convention on board) to recover from the news they can't have children. In the last chapter, Morgan toured the ship, mocked people who ate meals, and met a gym worker named Kim who reminded him not to give up on God. As we left Morgan, he was on his way to the "children's area," where I guess they lock the kids in?

Morgan heads upstairs, freaking out again about the fact that he ate a snack once.
Morgan took the stairs one flight up to the children’s area. Any steps I take will be to my advantage, he thought, with chocolate crème cake on his mind.
In the children's area, all the kids are jumping in a bouncy house room, and then this happens.
His mind drifted to what it would be like to have a child of his own, but his thoughts were disrupted by a voice behind him. “Hey dude, you’re blocking progress. Either go in or step aside, please.” She drew out the word “please” for emphasis.
Morgan looked down at a charming girl. Her blue eyes sparkled and blonde hair bounced as she talked.

Yup, I hate her already.

I was going to comment anyway on the bizarre usage of "progress" meaning "people going in and out of the room," but seeing it being used by a child is really awful. I have a feeling she's going to talk nothing at all like a human being, much less a child. I'd chalk it up to Rothdiener thinking it was cute, which is already a bad writing mistake, but, frankly, the man doesn't exactly have a knack for finding appropriate voices for his characters. (His previous book featured a girl who had spent her childhood in a Middle Eastern orphanage, like a year of her life in a religious U.S. home, and then the rest of her teenagerhood living on the streets selling out her body, lamenting to a friend, "I was still sexually pure in those days.") So he may not have even thought about the fact that children speak differently than adults. And that adults speak differently than whatever he writes.
He was stunned by the girl’s boldness.
This guy's a pediatrician. He works with kids. A lot. And he has never run into a kid so bold to ask an adult to move out of the way? I mean, I understand kids who are sick may be shyer because they're scared, but, still, seriously. A lot of kids are pretty straightforward. If you're in their way, they'll tell you. It's not a "stunning" personality trait.

The girl tells him her friends call her Skye with an E because when she was born her dad said her eyes looked like the sky. (Sigh.)

When he asks what he should call her, she asks if he's her friend.
Her confidence took him by surprise.

She's not being particularly confident in asking him if she's his friend. Frankly, I'm a little surprised she didn't just declare he is or isn't her friend. That seems much more likely. Only somebody who had never ever interacted with a child would say this.

Hey, it's occurred to me that we've found Skye. The quest for Skye is over. That means the book can be over too, right?

...But, sadly, there is more.

Morgan tells Skye that, yes, they're friends because they know each other's names. Skye says she's nine years old (I was wondering when we'd finally get an age mentioned). The book tries once again to make sure we know that THIS IS THE MOST SPESHUL OF ALL THE SPESHUL CHILD FLOWERS IN THE WORLD:
Morgan was astonished by the young girl’s large vocabulary and wittiness.
(That's in response to this apparently super-witty and super-vocabularied sentence: "Isn’t [this bracelet] nice? My father gave it to me. He said it gives me personality.")

Oh, and now we meet Skye's father. Turns out her father is...

Doctor Layland Leontiou!

..."Skye Leontiou"? Poor kid.

Morgan and Doctor L. L. talk for awhile.
“Did you teach her to be so outgoing?”
“Me? Oh, no. She came about it naturally. Everything she does is instinctive, and she’ll even tell you that. Wait till she tells you a story. She leaves nothing out.” 
I... I don't even know what to do with this.

It seems outgoing = instinctive = detail-oriented when telling stories?

Doctor L. L. says he has a superpower where he can "pick out a man's occupation and character after [he] first say[s] hello." So, um, that's fun. He senses Morgan is a caring person, so clearly his superpower is broken. Morgan didn't care about Skye. He was just amazed that a nine-year-old existed who told adults to get the heck out of her way and made witty remarks by repeating her father.

Oh, shoot. It turns out Doctor L. L. was just joking about the superpower and he really just figured out Morgan was the guy who talked to Malinda, since he had all of his books. I was really kind of hoping there'd be a sudden sci-fi twist here.

Skye makes them jump in the bouncy room with her and Doctor L. L. invites Morgan to dinner, although he tells them Tammy probably won't want to come.

Morgan heads back to the room, where Tammy is putting makeup on. Apparently Skye raced over to the Hamiltons' room, invited Tammy, and ran away before Morgan made it back. Tammy has been brainwashed by the Mary Sue, thinks she's the most beautifultalentedspecial child of all time, and has agreed to go to dinner.

The chapter ends with Tammy enthusing about the dinner:
“I can’t wait to meet Skye’s father and mother. Malinda is a medical genius.”

Poor women. They never get to be doctors in this book. Just wives of other doctors.

(Chapter 5.)


  1. Personally Skye sounds quite rude to me. Calling an adult she hasn't meant 'dude'?

    1. Oh, no, she's not rude. Just bold! And confident! And witty! And bouncy-haired!