A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter seventeen


It’s a long chapter today. And I think it’s going to involve lots of stupid things. UGH. If we all get through this okay, I’m going to be posting another short story later. It’s not about Jakub and the wolf-woman (even though I said I would write another one with them…. which I will do, I promise) but hopefully you’ll like it just as much.

Anita comes back home to deal with Richard. Walking into her building, a door opens so she immediately pulls her gun out.

Anita’s more jumpy than someone working in a fucking war zone.

It turns out to be – shock, horror – Mrs Pringle, landlady and brilliant old woman all round. She’s actually got Richard in her apartment because they’re having a sordid affair she thought he’d prefer to wait for Anita inside. She’s a nice lady. Her Pomeranian, Custard, keeps trying to bite Richard’s ankles. LOL KOMEDY.

“He’s a nice young man,” she said. Her tone of voice said more than the words. “Nice young man” meant marry him. My stepmother, Judith, would agree with her. Except that Judith would have said it out loud, no hinting.

I get it, everyone treats you like a hag because you’re twenty four and unmarried. Meanwhile, over in Blighty at the same time and age, my mother was twenty four, unmarried, graduating university, working full-time and bringing up a small child on a wage of one hundred pounds a week. (It’s Mother’s Day, so I have to big up Mummy Smith today.)

My mum didn’t get married until her forties. No one was implying that she was this great hag because she wasn’t married. So GTFO with this pseudo conflict. It’s bullshit. (PLUS my mum is awesome. She would destroy Anita Blake with one glower.)

And you don’t have to keep saying ‘my stepmother, Judith’. We all know who she is and why she hates her.

Anita and Richard go up to the apartment and set up dinner, with a long laundry list of actions detailing exactly what they’re doing. I never knew how people settle down for a Chinese dinner! How fascinating.

A double order of crab ragoon sat on a plate between us. He had filled a saucer with sweet-and-sour sauce. It was the way we always ate Chinese, sharing a bowl of sauce.

Damn.

… uh, shit? Are we just saying random curses now? I mean, you’re not getting upset over a saucer of sauce because of a casual two month relationship, are you? It would rather undercut your whole ‘strong independent woman’ angle. I’m not saying people can’t get upset over silly things – it does happen to us all – but she has only been dating Richard for eight weeks. I’ve had a longer and more meaningful relationship with my local takeaway.

Anita launches into why didn’t he include her in the whole Marcus business.

“Jean-Claude involved you with Nikolaos. You told me how much you hated that. Resented it. If I brought you in to help me with Marcus, what would be the difference?”

That is a good reason. It’s sensible, and takes Anita’s feelings into account. It’s pretty considerate. Anita’s reaction?

“It’s not the same,” I said.

Yeah, acknowledging him trying to be kind would kill you.

Richard gets angry with her bullshit and asks whether she’d just rather shoot Marcus. An excellent point. Anita wants to know why he’s got a sudden problem with her gun.

“Alfred was my friend.”

That stopped me. It hadn’t even occurred to me that Richard might like Alfred.

Seeing as you thoughtlessly murdered him without thinking about whether he had a family dependant on him who might not appreciate him dying so you could prove a point, I am not surprised you didn’t think of this. What I am surprised about is that Richard is still considering dating Anita. I couldn’t date someone who murdered a friend of mine in cold blood and didn’t think twice about it.

Anita tries whining her way out of it, calling him a bully, and I want to hurt her. You shot someone for no reason. There was no justification for killing him. Stop trying to blame anyone but yourself. She follows up her whining by admitting that she’d shoot Richard without a second thought if he tries to hurt Irving. You know, if Richard lives by his society’s rules (which, admittedly, are stupid and do not follow wolf behaviour) it’s nothing to do with you Anita. It’s not your job to run around St. Louis and shoot anyone you think deserves it. You’re not Batman.

Though if you were, you’d probably look like this.

Richard says that he hasn’t done anything to Irving as he was under Anita’s protection which I guess means that Anita can shoot her boyfriend whenever. Anita counters that with that if he doesn’t trust her to know about his life or death struggle, how can they have a relationship?

I hate Anita. I hate her sense of self-satisfaction. I hate her conviction that she’s the centre of the universe and everyone’s actions and behaviours must be approved by her. Just…. MY GOD WHAT IS YOUR FUCKING PROBLEM I HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU SO MUCH. I HATE YOU MORE THAN BELLA SWAN.

Okay, I’m calmer now.

Anita goes on about how Marcus wants Richard really, really dead.

“One night and you’re an expert,” he said.

Check out the cojones on Richard. Careful mate, you keep this behaviour up, she might shoot you.

“Shit, Richard, what do you want from me?”

“I want to know if you think I’m a monster.”

The conversation was moving too fast for me.

Really? Reading it, it’s going at a snail’s pace.

“You’re accusing me of being a murderer. Shouldn’t that be my question?”

Richard’s not accusing you of being a murderer. YOU ARE A MURDERER. Anita, on the other hand, just sees this all as being sweet and needy and that he needs protecting. Yes, he’s having a crisis over whether his girlfriend thinks he’s a monster that she wants to kill like his friend that she murdered, and Anita thinks ‘awwwwww poor baby’.

I don’t think this relationship can last.

“You’re a monster, Richard.”

“Then why haven’t you touched me tonight, not even a hello kiss.”

“I thought we were mad at each other,” I said. “I don’t kiss people that I’m mad at.”

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They then promise each other to be totally and utterly truthful, for ever and ever, and to not kill anyone. Anita is amazed that Richard actually hasn’t killed anyone, ever, because all shapeshifters are awful, despicable bastards that kill without compunction.

“You’re almost casual about it. You killed Alfred last night, and you don’t seem sorry.”

“Should I be?”

“I would be.”

I shrugged. Truth was, it did bother me a little. There might have been a way out without Alfred ending up in a body bag. Or in the stomachs of his friends. But I’d killed him. There it was. No going back. No changing it. No apologizing.

What bothers me is that there are glimpses of character development for Anita that are promptly stomped into the ground because she’s a strong independent woman who shouldn’t be sorry for anything. And she’s ignoring the kid she shot in the gut so that he could be eaten alive by his friends.

Richard asks whether she can see him as being human, after being exposed to the shapeshifter world. Oh, I thought we were talking about Anita gunning down one of your friends? Now he’s more worried about if he can still get his leg over.

Anita snogs him and than BAM. Sex scene. It’s the first one and – oh. Well, let’s recap this for posterity.

Anita and Richard make out. He’s doing well because he clasps her buttocks and doesn’t grope her. He has to ask her to take the gun off and I burst into laughter. They start to strip and Anita suddenly stops Richard. Why?

“Because one night is never enough. You either have a regular diet of it or you go cold turkey.”

So, Richard and Anita haven’t been sleeping together? And she apparently doesn’t masturbate. It’s time for a tragic backstory!

Anita’s life seems to be solely built from pain, anger and penguins.

“I was always a good girl. I didn’t sleep around. In college I met someone, we got engaged, we set a date, we made love. He dumped me.”

… mysterious unnamed fiancé got engaged to you to sleep with you. Immediately after that he dumped you. This sounds very Victorian romance novel to me. The real kicker is that the real reason he dumped Anita was because of her Mexican mother. That’s right – Anita’s just a dirty Hispanic, no man can want her! Ugh. Anyway, her body missed him too much (wow, what an amazing connection you two had. He must have had a wonderful personality) and so she’s now waiting for marriage to ever have sex again.

There is so much irony here I can’t even begin to unpack it.

Richard then proposes to her.

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This needs a list.

  1. You have been dating for eight weeks. This is not sensible.
  2. This woman shot your friend.
  3. This woman has no soul.
  4. What part of this is meant to convince her that you’re not interested in just fucking her?
  5. You’ve been dating for two months.
  6. How many times do I have to repeat myself that you have been dating for fifty six days. and you want to get married.

“Yes.” The minute I said it, I wanted it back. I lusted after him a lot. I even loved him maybe more than a little.

Then if you’ve felt forced into it, why did you say yes? Why did you agree to marry him???????/??//???/vfdhjukfgiha\efhdefadefsdfbhjsdhsdfbsd

OUT OF CHEESE ERROR

RESTART NEEDED. CHARACTERS TOO STUPID.

Anita asks to see Richard change, if they’re going to be serious.

You’re engaged. I’d say that was pretty serious.

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4 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter seventeen

  1. Your mother looks so amazing! I’d rather read a series about her instead.
    Oh Richard…. hope you like your balls now, puppy. You’re about to be nurtured.

    • My mother is amazing, and not just because she makes me say it.

      I think she is one of my greatest influences. She taught me that strength comes from personality and what you have inside, and that you should never be content or constrained by what those around you will allow. She taught me that no matter what, I am strong enough to do it on my own. She gave me the gift of independence, from a very early age, and it’s something I am eternally and constantly grateful for.

      Plus, having punk rockers for parents is pretty cool.

  2. Pingback: A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘The Lunatic Cafe’ chapter seventeen | Zone DietZone Diet

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