Chapter 26: Nothing Says Girl Bonding Like Vomit
Wow. Over 200 comments. Thanks to everyone who's been reading. You guys are great. :)
Piper, Shiraz and Tookie go into Dylan's room to find the Likee sisters in their bed. The Likees say that Dylan is in the bathroom.
How did Dylan get there? Did she teleport from Catwalk Corridor? She must have, since none of the girls saw her in there in spite of being less than a minute behind her.
They find Dylan in the bathroom. She's been throwing up and managed to throw up all over the floor. She also has a bloody nose, bloodshot eyes and the front of her uniform is wet (most likely with vomit).
Again, the other girls were only a minute behind her. How the hell was there time for Dylan to get in this condition?
Tookie asks if Dylan is okay. Dylan then says this:
"I had it under control for three years. But what you were sayin', Tookie, and what Ci~L ... It brought it all back."
"I'm usually good now with the way I am, but that magnet forced me to stare at Zarpessa. And, well, I wanted to have what she has."
So Dylan is bulimic?
Dylan says that no one else in Modelland looks like her, and the others try to reassure her.
"Nobody tiny here like me either, Dylan," Shiraz said softly.
"And the last I looked," Piper said. "I was playing solo for the Albinism Modelland World Cup."
"Dyl, we all have our ... stuff," Tookie said quietly.
Dylan looked up, tears still in her eyes "Yeah, but that's the obvious stuff. It's not true vulnerability. True friendship is about bein' really
vulnerable. About sittin' around a toilet and, uh ... I don't know ... lettin' loose."
Wait, what? Apparently, I need to revise my definition of friendship.
friendship (n): telling intimate secrets about yourself in the bathroom while standing in your friend's vomit
Piper decides to share this with the others.
"I pretend to detest my mom because of her political views, but the truth? I hate my mom because she married my father, a person with albinism."
Okay, according to previous chapters, all the people of SansColor have albinism. So both of Piper's parents have albinism, and the only person she blames is her mother.
Piper is an asshole. (Also a Boomerang Bigot
, but mostly an asshole.)
"If she had just picked someone normal, I might not be this way."
Everyone in SansColor has albinism, which means it is
"I wouldn't have had to live in that damn dome. I wouldn't be a pale freak who had to worry about my skin burning or being eaten by LeGizzârds."
Uh, Piper? You aren't a vampire. You can walk in sunlight. You just have to be more caution about applying sunscreen than most people.
Do the LeGizzârds only eat people with albinism? Is that because they live in the jungle surrounding SansColor or are they just really picky eaters? Do they hate the taste of melanin? Does melanin even have
Add "Does melanin have a taste?" to the list of weird crap I've Googled for this blog.*
(Other entries include: "do people drink wombat milk" and "Spanish euphemisms for menstruation.")
Dylan then says that Piper's people are a bunch of geniuses, and Piper says that she doesn't want people to look at her and see her whole group. Then she shows them a photograph of herself wearing foundation and a wig to look "normal." (Even though albinism is
normal in SansColor.)
Piper tells Tookie she wants skin like hers and starts crying.
Tookie leaned over and wiped Piper's face with a tissue. Tears were streaming—quite beautifully, in a strange way—from her rose-colored eyes.
Then it's Shiraz turn for forced character development. She says that her parents were both tall, even though she's very short.
"Papa and I, we best friends. He called me his runt. Peanut. Dwarf. Preemie."
Shiraz says that these nicknames hurt, but her father considered them affectionate. She also says that the two of them were a famous singing show called Shih-Pappa.
Then, for no reason that we're given, Shiraz's father left his family.
"After Mommy died from sick, Papa die too. But not from sick. Die from broke heart. Which mean he no love his Shiraz Shiraz. Only Mommy. I just his runt, his midget, his dwarf, his preemie for road show."
This is actually a sad story, but it's hard to take seriously with the way Shiraz speaks. Shiraz shows them a picture of her and her father. She cut the face of her father from the picture because he left her.
Dylan then tells Tookie it's her turn. I'm pretty sure friends don't force friends to talk about painful memories if they don't want to. But what do I know?
Tookie goes and gets her T-Mail Jail to share a letter that she wrote. She has to breath on the page to make the ink appear. Which seems unnecessary when we've already been told that she writes in multiple languages in her journal. You'd think that would be enough to keep the contents secret.
Tookie then reads a hate letter that she wrote to herself.
I hope you go to sleep tonight and don't wake up. Oh, how beautiful the world will be tomorrow, with you dead. Oh, I can't wait ...
Please hurry up and end it.
Just go ... for all of us.
Dylan then feels guilty about having body image issues. Uh . . . why? It's not a freaking contest.
Suicidal thoughts and eating disorders are both serious problems. (And eating disorders often are linked to depression.) If you have problems with either (or both), you should be getting help.
Piper then tells Tookie that she's wonderful.
"Don't you realize how special you are? How amazing?"
The girls hug Tookie, and Tookie thinks about how much she misses Lizzie. For some reason. I guess so the readers don't forget that Lizzie exists.
Dylan announces that they need a group name.
Okay, this is freaking annoying.
We get: bulimia, depression, suicidal thoughts, self-hatred, and parental abandonment all brought up in this chapter, and then immediately dropped so the girls can give their group of friends a name. Any
of those issues could be the basis of a novel.
some glimmers of potential here. This could have been good
. We could have gotten a (semi-)realistic look at the modeling world, a compelling narrative of these girls' struggles . . .
Instead we get tripe.
They decide on one of Tookie's suggestions for their group name: the Unicas. "Unica" either translates as "the only person" or "unique" depending on whether Tyra was trying to use Italian or Spanish. (If it's supposed to be Spanish, it's missing an accent mark.)
The important stuff settled, Piper then says that they should take care of Tookie's lip, which has been bleeding this entire time. I would have told my friend to take care of a cut needing stitches before
we shared personal stories. But that's just me.
"That waterfall of blood flowing from your lips needs a stitch or two ... or twenty."
"I'll take her to the Fashion Emergency Department Store—the FEDS," Piper offered. "This sun-sensitive, pigment-free, pale-faced inhabitant of Modelland and
newly ordained Unica, who has many
burns healed there, knows the way."
Is it really that hard to just say: "I know the way because they've treated my sunburns?"
Dylan tells them to watch out for the "corridor catty thingamajigga," and Tookie laughs. She says that she wouldn't mind going back as long as she gets to see a cat pee on Zarpessa again.
What a charming way to end the chapter.
Random Facts About Modelland
New York Times Bestseller List
Modelland was #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list. In the "Children's Chapter Book" section.
For one week. Less than a month after it was published (i.e. before word-of-mouth of the book's quality could be spread).
So if you see something calling the book a bestseller, you'll know why.
Today - three months later - its sales rank is #4,264 on Barnes & Noble, and #14,704 on Amazon.
Modelland and America's Next Top Model
Last November, Tyra Banks used America's Next Top Model to promote Modelland
, devoting an entire episode to it by making the various models reenact scenes from the book.
I haven't watched it (since I'm avoiding spoilers like the plague), but CW has the episode available on their website
. Watch it at your own risk.