A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Obsidian Butterfly’ chapter fourteen


Donna started crying out in the parking lot. Becca joined her. […] The more Donna cried, the more panicky the girl got, like they were feeding off each other. The girl was crying in those great hiccuppy sobs bordering on hyperventilation.

To me, that sounds like Donna was strongly triggered by those guys in the restaurant. A triggering event isn’t just feeling bad or depressed because something reminds you of a traumatic event – it’s bodily relieving the same event over again and not being able to stop it. I know that’s not a great explanation, but if you don’t have triggering events I can’t rely tell you what it’s like. Other than it’s completely horrible and I think Donna is amazing for holding onto her panic until this point.

Anita tells Edward to violently wrench Becca from Donna and drag her away. Um, I really don’t think that’s a sensible thing to do. Especially in a situation where Donna has received a death threat about Becca to her face. Besides, why is Edward taking Anita’s advice and not comforting his fiancée? Why does Anita get to be in control in this situation? She doesn’t know how to deal with children. She doesn’t get to decide that Donna cannot be with her daughter. She is not the authority in this situation.

I looked at Peter. He was watching her, and the look on his face was disgusted, embarrassed. I knew in that instant that he’d been the adult in more ways than just shooting his father’s killer. His mother was allowed hysterics, but he wasn’t. He was the one who held together in a crisis. Damned unfair, if you ask me.

Donna is allowed hysterics when SHE IS HAVING A PANIC ATTACK BASED ON A TRIGGERING OF A TRAUMATIC EVENT. Peter is not an adult. He does not hold together in all crises. You have no idea what their life is like. You only like him, Anita, because he is rude to Donna, who YOU decided to dislike based on nothing. No, based on the fact that she is the proud bearer of a vagina. Why can’t you be sympathetic to Donna? Why do you look at Peter and say ‘oh, I bet he’s the adult in the family’. He’s not the one bringing in the wage or making decisions about the future of the family. You know nothing.

I got a handful of that short, thick hair and pulled her head up. It hurt, and it was meant to. “Look at me, you selfish bitch.”

Anita, you were the one who’s reaction to a violent rape threat was ‘I didn’t even get my dinner. BUY ME DINNER RIGHT NOW’. Donna is not the one who is a selfish bitch here.

Anita tells Donna that she scared the children and should act like a grown up and that Anita is forbidding Donna from seeing her own child until she calms down.

I hate you, Anita Blake. You are a terrible character. Plus, she’s doing this all for PETER’S benefit. To make him feel better and to give him ammunition.

“Do you have children?” she asked, and I knew what was coming.

“No,” I said.

“Then what right do you have to tell me how to raise mine?”

exactly. Anita Blake has no goddamned right to tell Donna what is best for her in this situation.

Not that she knows that. Anita Blake is powered by complete and utter self-righteousness.

“I was eight years old when my mother died, and my father couldn’t handle it. We got a phone call from a state trooper that told us she was dead. My father dropped the phone and started to wail, not cry, wail. He took me by the hand and walked the few blocks to my grandmother’s house, wailing, leading me by the hand. By the time we got to my grandmother’s we had a crowd of neighbors, all asking what was wrong. I was the one who turned to my neighbors and said, “My mommy’s dead.” My father collapsed into the bosom of his family, and I was left standing alone, uncomforted, unheld, tears on my face, telling the neighbors what had happened.”

LIAR.

I read The Laughing Corpse where we learnt that Anita was in the car when her mother died. So she can’t have been with her father when he found it out. Because SHE WAS THERE. She was not at home to give this little grandiose fantasy reality.

And doesn’t this just show how much of a sociopath Anita is? She has no reaction to finding out her mother is dead. She’s an eight year old girl and she doesn’t react at all. She doesn’t cry. She has no emotional reaction it it. Her only emotional reaction is ‘why won’t anyone pay attention to ME?’. I know loosing a parent is hard and that seeing your parents cry is distressing, but the levels of anger thrown at her father for being upset that his wife is dead is not understandable, not in a twenty five year old woman. An eight year old maybe, but a twenty five year old woman? No. I can’t feel sympathy for a woman who can only react to her mother’s death by worrying about whether or not people are giving her attention.

I do not like you Anita. You are the worst person.

Donna has to grovel and apologise while Anita says that she has to ‘be a mother to your own daughter’ and look down on her while Donna sort of admits that she finds violence intensely traumatic to be around I WONDER WHY. Why is it that Anita’s pain cancels out everyone elses?

Donna then goes to be with her daughter.

I liked Donna less now –

WHY? BECAUSE SHE RECEIVED A VIOLENT RAPE THREAT TO *HER FACE* AND DEATH THREATS ON HER CHILDREN AND EMOTIONALLY REACTED? GOD FORBID PEOPLE HAVE EMOTIONS.

– but I knew now that Edward had to get away from this family.

Oh, yeah, because the fact that Donna can’t handle violence is the reason why it’s wrong for Edward to be involved with this family.

Becca then arrives in her sundress and plaits and I choke on how overboard and twee it is. Becca is so twee. She is so unlike any six year old I have ever met. Becca then goes on about how Anita ‘beat up that bad man’ and how ‘I didn’t know girls could do that’. Whatever. When I was six, I was playing games that mashed together Harry Potter and Buffy. I have never not known that women could beat up crass dudes. And I don’t need Anita Blake’s fucking smug as shit speech about how women can do whatever they want to do, and how Becca goes on about how ‘oh, I was told the bad men said mean things about me’ when she was right there.

Becca holds hands with Edward and Anita and they swing her, and undermine all of Donna’s work and make Donna into the world’s worst mother. While they skip off into the sunset.

“Mommy says I’m too big to swing now, but you’re strong, aren’t you?”

I smiled at her, but I looked at Edward when I said, “Yes, I am.”

Anita Blake is a terrible character.

And Becca is the least realistic six year old I’ve ever read about.

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12 thoughts on “A review of Laurell K. Hamilton’s ‘Obsidian Butterfly’ chapter fourteen

  1. But how is Anita able to swing Becca with Edward? After all, Anita is so short and tiny! Surely, there isn’t enough of a height difference for Anita to swing Becca properly.

  2. I had a panic attack once that sounds very similar to what Donna is experiencing. I was terrified that my little sister was hurt. My parents had to come and get me at school, and then call my sister’s school to get her on the phone, and then keep her on the phone while they held me until I calmed down. Because I couldn’t calm down and I couldn’t keep it together and I couldn’t stop crying. And I didn’t even have a trigger like Donna did. So, I hate Anita. I really, really do. Because not being able to cope doesn’t make you weak. Being scared doesn’t make you less of a person. There is no immediate threat here. Donna is allowed to break down. Edward should be trying to comfort her. And Anita throwing her own trauma in Donna’s face is disgusting. You can’t compare pain like that, it doesn’t work like that. And using your mother’s death as a weapon is disgusting.

    But again, Peter’s reaction is normal. He’s upset that his mother is upset, but he wants her to be strong and protect him. He feels like he has to protect her, because he was forced into that role when he shot the werewolf, but he doesn’t know how to protect her from this, and he resents that he feels that he has to. Normal teenage stuff.

    • Yeah, I have nothing against Peter. I have everything against Anita, who keeps looking at him as if she’s doing this for him in a weird way.

      It’s almost like Anita doesn’t care about her mother at all.

      • Anita cares about her mother in the sense that her mother’s death affected her life by bringing HSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS Judith into it. Judith who was so horrible and awful that Anita has hated all Caucasian women since meeting her. Well, all Caucasian women except hers–

        *GUNSHOT*

        I’M SORRY MISTRESS YOU ARE AN EXOTIC LATINA MISTRESS JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE PALE AND GHOSTLY AND FOLLOW NO HISPANIC CUSTOMS AND GENERALLY KINDA LOOK DOWN ON ANYONE WHO ISN’T WHITE DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T BE EXOTICALLY FOREIGN TOO!

  3. Wow this chapter is outright disgusting. And yet again I have to sit and watch as someone just pours utter contempt on to people who have PTSD and/or similar issues. Ugh.

  4. Hamilton? This kind of crap is not okay. It was not okay when Patton it, and he had the excuse of being in the middle of a war. Against Nazi Germany.

    And having the little girl say how Anita is “strong”, and her mother isn’t? Yeah, that was real subtle. Like a brick through a window. I’ll bet you were patting yourself on the back for that. Anita isn’t “strong” – she’s psychotic. She’s emotionally dead.

    Donna demonstrated more strength by managing to keep herself together until they were outside, where she wouldn’t cause a scene. Her having a breakdown right now is the opposite of selfish, because she’s clearly afraid for her family. She’s already lost her husband, her son has killed, and all she probably wants is to have a normal life. But no, the walking shit-storm that is Anita Blake has to enter her life, and then has the gall to call her “weak” because Donna actually has and expresses emotion like a healthy person.

    God, how does this series have fans? Is it the sex scenes? Because we have stuff to scratch that particular itch – it’s called porn. Or harlequin romance, which is essentially porn for people who won’t buy porn.

  5. I have un-lurked to say I love all the slapping gifs, but I love the one of Joffery getting smacked the most! Thank you for letting me see that again.

    Back on topic: I used to be a massive fan of LKH and Anita Blake. Of course, I was young, dumb and extremely sheltered from the realities of life, which is really the only excuse I have. It’s still not a very good one, knowing what I do now about triggering and panic attacks.

    Thanks for all your blogging/reviewing efforts, and reminding me that LKH was not really all that good, even before Narcissus in Chains.

    /un-lurk

  6. “Listen here, you selfish bitch–” Anita started, preparing to launch into a lecture.

    Donna’s eyes flashed. Still trembling, tears still falling, she yanked her head back and took a step away simultaneously. Since Anita wasn’t expecting it, the grip on her hair only pulled out a few strands and didn’t hurt too bad. Not that she was going to care right now.

    “Excuse me? Who the fuck do you think you are? I just heard a man threaten my children and myself. On top of that, you violently assaulted him in front of my SIX-YEAR-OLD daughter. Don’t you dare call me a selfish bitch. I am entitled to experiencing my emotions, it is not a weakness, and bottling them up is selfish. I would apologize for inconveniencing you with a goddamn panic attack but I’m not even sorry.”

    Peter was staring at his mother like he had almost never seen her before, wrinkle between his brows like he was still struggling to hold onto that resentment and anger. Donna tried not to look at him, but she couldn’t help it. She was all too aware of his feelings, and now that her fury had dampened the panic and over-whelming dread she had felt moments ago, she just wanted to take in the fact he was still there.

    But then her attention was back on Anita. “You might be a friend of Ted’s, but don’t you dare try to tell me how to take care of my own family.”

    Sniffling softly, Donna wiped at the remaining tears off her cheeks. “You alright, Peter?”

    He could only nod. “Fine, Mom…”

    “Good.” Donna glanced at Anita as if to say ‘And we’re done here’, before wandering off to where Ted was holding Becca.

  7. I was appalled when I read this initially but I do kinda agree with Anita that melting down in front of a 6 year old is not great parenting. Waiting until the kids aren’t faced with seeing a parent fall apart would be a whole lot better for the kids.

    Anita should’ve gently helped Donna to calm down. Becca and Peter do NOT need to see their mom falling apart. They need her to be the parent. Instead Anita is cruel and unhelpful. She didn’t support Donna in being a better parent. Of course, that’s Anita.

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