Guilt By Association: Plot Twist!

Chapter Six take two | Main | Chapter Seven part two Alright, my pretties. I had to take a bit of a break because this book was driving me batty, but now I’m back and ready to go so let’s jump right in to chapter seven. Rhonda is pacing the clinic hallways nervously while waiting for the results of a pregnancy test. PLOT TWIST! She’s pregnant! Now, maybe it’s just me, but I’d think that a doctor would be a wee bit more careful in the not-having-unprotected-sex-with-your-serial-cheater-ex-boyfriend department. You know, the whole STD thing and all. Since Farris hasn’t given us anything about her lamenting her failed birth control pills or a broken condom (something I half expected, all the better to carry on the contraceptives-don’t-work meme), evidently we’re supposed to assume that she just wasn’t using anything. I’m not much of a fan of storylines that require us to[…]

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Guilt By Association: You got served

Chapter Six take one | Main | Chapter Seven Last time we ended with me urging Suzie to run as far and as fast as she could away from the rest of our Merry Band of Protesters beforethey destroyed her life. This being a novel written by Michael Farris instead of me, of course that didn’t happen. Instead, Suzie triumphantly goes to call Author Avatar Peter Barron for help. Saintly Mom Gwen, now Gwen Barron, takes the call and seems utterly surprised that Suzie might call her from the other side of the state. Naturally, Gwen thinks Suzie must be joking when she says she’s being sued for a million dollars.   Let’s think about this a minute Gwen. You’re surprised to get a phone call from Suzie since she’s off in Bellingham, suggesting that Suzie must not call them up on the random while she’s at school. That’s a pretty[…]

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Guilt By Association: Here comes the lawsuit

Interlude | Main | Chapter Six take two Hello my pretties, are you ready to find out what happens next with our Merry Band of Protesters? I can’t wait! Remember last time we were left with Vince, who really needs to grow a mustache so he can start twirling it, and Rhonda meeting with the clinic owners and their lawyers in LA to plot out a lawsuit against our poor innocent protesters who have never done anything wrong (except of course forthe time that random college student protester tried to punch a guy, but we’llignore that because he was egged on by Stephen Vince). I still don’tthink a name partner at a major law firm would go along with knowinglysubmitting a doctored tape in to evidence, but whatevs. Creepy Colonel Control Freak is mad, very mad. He’s being sued in federal court, even after all of his control freak efforts to make[…]

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Guilt By Association: Kathryn gets meta

Chapter 5 part deux | Main | Chapter Six part one Sorry, no animated GIFs for this one. I want to take a moment to step back from reading the book to discuss a few things. This review series isn’t going as I expected, which I suppose is what happens when you set out to review a book before you’ve read anything but the book jacket. The initial plan was to write this series mainly as an experiment to get practice writing this style of book review with something that I knew I could get at least some mileage out of. Even though the book is about clinic protesters, I really didn’t even want to go into discussing the abortion issue because it’s a political wedge issue designed to get people to vote for politicians who are acting against their best interests, and it’s a fight I don’t want to have.  What[…]

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Guilt by Association: Now illustrated with Freddie Prinze Jr. GIFs

Chapter5 take one | Main | Interlude — Well kiddies, because I know you’re all dying to find out what happens next, I’ve decided to venture back in to be belly of the beast and power the rest of my way through chapter 5. I think I’m going to mix things up a bit since these long chapters of mind-numbing exposition aren’t lending themselves well to reaction comments as I read. Instead, I’ll write some overall impressions after I finish the chapter. Turns out I gave up on the chapter just before it got interesting. For one, now we know why Farris had Rhonda notice that Single Person Lisa wasn’t as attractive as Ginny (who I can’t really call “Handsy Ginny” anymore since she’s basically become a persona non grata in the story). It’s so that it’s plausible that Single Person Lisa is rapidly falling head over heels for Stephen,[…]

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Guilt By Association: Let’s build a strawman

Chapter Four | Main | Chapter Five and a half I think I’ve figured out why this book is bugging me so much. I spent the better part of the ‘90s—the decade when this was written—on the front lines of the pro-life movement. I know what that the movement was like in that time period because I lived it and the world Michael Farris has created is not the world I knew. My memories about that time and the people I knew are a mixed bag of good, bad, and indifferent, and I’m conflicted about a lot of it, but one thing I know for sure is that I don’t recognize any of it in our Merry Band of Protesters. It’s all cardboard cutouts. If Farris is doing anyone a disservice with this novel, it’s pro-life activists. With that bit of meta discussion out of the way, strap into your[…]

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Guilt By Association: Our Merry Band of Protesters demonstrates that they’re The World’s Most Naive Activists

Chapter Three | Main | Chapter Five — Welp, I made the mistake of trying to knock out a few days worth of posts in one day, and after taking a break to watch Agents of Shield (if you’re not watching it yet, seriously do, it’s getting really good), I decided to power on to chapter four. I now remember why livetweeting Anonymous Tip over the course of a few days was such a chore. Michael Farris’ writing style can best be described as, “trying to write a novel like it’s a legal brief.” The whole thing is stilted and not at all like people actually talk in real life. I’m pretty sure my middle school attempt at Hardy Boys fan fiction was more true to life, and that story included the Hardy Boys thinking someone was trying to sell them weed when they were really being offered “pizza hash,” a[…]

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Guilt By Association: Volvo-driving Doctor Rhonda’s backstory

Chapter Two | Main | Chapter Four — Well kiddies, today we get to meet the Volvo-driving Dr. Rhonda Marsano, abortionist at the wordily-named Whatcom Women’s Center For Choice. I can’t wait! Hmm, this doesn’t bode well for our Volvo-driving doctor, Farris is humanizing her. I mean, it could be possible that he suddenly learned how to write well-rounded characters instead of cookie cutter villains, but the first two chapters haven’t really supported that theory. However, killing her off in a fire as punishment for selling out and going to work at an abortion clinic sounds about right. We shall soon see. Anyway, Volvo-driving Dr. Rhonda grew up in a New York City bedroom community in New Jersey, to an NBC accountant father and part-time Rutgers librarian mother. Italian Catholics, because we’ve got to introduce tension and the idea that she should have known better. As I said though, it seems[…]

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Guilt By Association: Meeting the Merry Band of Protesters

Chapter One | Main | Chapter Three Before I delve into the next chapter, I wanted to go into something I left out of my review of chapter one. One of the most frustrating things about Michael Farris’ writing is hispropensity to write scenes where we, the readers, are supposed to empathize with his characters, but that end up making you dislike them. The first time I attempted to read Anonymous Tip, while I was in college, I gave up when Saintly Mom Gwen was contemplating kidnapping her daughter out of foster care and fleeing to Canada. We were supposed to feel for her and her distress about losing custody of her child, but all I got from it was that she was unhinged and there was no way I could root for her. When I finally managed to read all the way through, I ended up hating Saintly Mom Gwen[…]

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Introducing the new series: Ryn Reads “Guilt By Association”

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may recall the time that I livetweeted my reading of Michael Farris’ debut novel, Anonymous Tip. I’ve wanted to do something like that again, but I decided to mix things up thistime and blog my way through the sequel to Anonymous Tip, with the return of our hero, Author Avatar Lawyer Peter Barron (I’vedecided that’s his full name and I’m sticking to it), in the anti-abortion activism thriller Guilt By Association. Check out the Storify of my Anonymous Tip tweets to catch up on the adventures of our intrepid attorney Author Avatar Lawyer Peter Barron (and find out why I call him that). If you want something more in depth without actually reading the book, thus avoiding the lengthy and sleep-inducing section on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, blogger Libby Anne is currently reading and reviewing Anonymous Tip. Without further ado,[…]

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