Jun 1, 2008

Caitlin: discovering the many purposes of cosmetics!

Caitlin
The Love Trilogy, Love Lost
Created by Francine Pascal
Written by Joanna Campbell
Published: 1985

These covers are pretty hideous, but it's a toss up between these and the reprints they made in the early 90s (yes, they actually republished these books for some unexplainable reason) involving photos of people attempting to act out these crazy scenes, so I'm not sure which ones are better. Here we've got another image of Caitlin's giant head hovering over the most infamous scene of the book, and quite possibly the series. Caitlin weeps in a gazebo while Jed stalks off in his white tuxedo, appearing to be walking down a very steep hill...or perhaps he's intentionally falling down...I can't really explain why his whole body is at that odd diagonal to the ground. Anyway. On to our melodramatic summary!
She'd stolen his love. Now she'd pay the price.

Caitlin. Beautiful. Dazzling. Charming. Outrageous. Rich. Unforgettable. And very, very clever. To everyone at her exclusive Virginia boarding school, she seems to have it all. But there is a secret need that haunts her life. A need for love.

None of the boys Caitlin's dated has ever made her feel so special or so wanted as Jed Michaels. Everything is perfect -- until the Highgate Prom, the night that suddenly becomes a nightmare. Has Jed discovered her terrifying secret, the lie that she's been living since the accident that crippled little Ian Foster and forced Diana Chasen to leave Highgate? And now Diana is hospitalized, dangerously ill and crushed with guilt over the accident she thinks she's caused. Only Caitlin knows the truth. How can she make amends? She has to save Diana, or she can never save herself -- or ever face Jed again.

When we last left Caitlin she'd decided she wasn't going to tell Jed about having accidentally poisoned and inadvertently crippled a child. She also decided that she was going to let Diana wallow in her misplaced guilt some more, because no matter how close Diana slips toward being committed for the rest of her life, Caitlin is still rich and privileged and above facing her fears. She has servants who do that for her, damn it! Besides, she's just so busy drowning her guilt-ridden sorrows in sappy declarations of love, fluttering hearts, and dazzling eyes lately that who are we to blame her? Caitlin's forgotten all about her conniving ways and is now a do-gooder, shoving sundaes down little Ian's throat and showering him with presents as she single-handedly pushes him through physical therapy.

So it's almost the end of the school year and everyone's all excited about prom and what they're going to do over the summer. Jed has invited Caitlin to his father's Montana ranch, which their friends aren't sure what to make of. People start to make fun of Caitlin breaking her perfect nails and wearing jodhpurs on a cattle ranch...clearly they do not recognize her transformation! Instead of snapping back some catty remark she just gazes at Jed, totally enamored and oblivious. Because they are IN LOVE and thus they have no time for petty infighting among their clique of followers.

Naturally, Caitlin's grandmother isn't too excited about her idea of going to Montana. Caitlin asks her and receives a "we'll talk about this after school ends." Caitlin doesn't seem to remember all her amazing efforts at persuasion in Loving, so she takes this time to feel dejected and disappointed because not getting an immediate "YES, oh GOD YES -- Go frolic in the Montana fields and skinny dip in the rivers!" is not good enough.

While Caitlin is off bemoaning her grandmother's delayed answer, Emily drops a bomb shell. Diana "has anorexia nervosa" and is in the hospital! However Caitlin doesn't have much time to let this nag at her, because her grandmother is back with a present: a red Nissan 280 ZX, an eighties car if ever there was one. Blinded by this ultimate show of material affection, Caitlin doesn't realize it's a bribe to get her to stay in Virginia for the summer. Jed is not so easily manipulated (um, of course not), but Caitlin ignores his worries. Instead they take the car back to Caitlin's mansion to drop off some boxes of books, and somehow that old poetry book containing the infamous letter winds up in the glove compartment. Because Caitlin is driving a sports car and needs gas every two minutes, they stop by a gas station and Caitlin foolishly leaves Jed with the car. Naturally he finds the letter, briefly considers destroying something with his bare hands, and then decides that breaking up with her now is too easy. Oh, no...he's going to wait for the prom, when he can most easily punish her!

During the prom Jed acts like an asshole who can't decide if he's attracted to Caitlin or disgusted by her. He's purposely late to pick Caitlin up, making snide comments at her expense whenever he can, but dances with her and acts like he's touching acid. It is so VERY uncomfortable. Everything comes to a head at the party afterward...when he tries to rape her in a gazebo. NO KIDDING. I'll transcribe some sections of that a little later, because it's priceless. However, his intrinsic goodness stops him from "using" her, which has got to be the silliest term for raping someone I've ever heard. Basically: "Stop!" "No, I'm going to use you!" Yeah. So, Caitlin starts crying hysterically, Jed vaguely alludes to what she's done to cause him to want to, um, rape her, and then he stalks off while Caitlin pretends to not understand what he's talking about.

After the lovely night in the gazebo, Caitlin goes home for the summer and finds out that not only is Diana anorexic, she's had a mental breakdown and is in some special hospital or whatever. I'm just waiting for someone to break out the phrase "loony bin" at this point. So Caitlin comes up with a plan. Follow along closely here, because it's pretty crazy:

1. dress up like an anemic librarian who hasn't seen the sun in fifty years (look accomplished with a severe ponytail, pale lipstick, pale powder, blue eyeshadow, dark foundation to apply under the eyes, and fake glasses)
2. wear baggy jeans to hide her glamorous figure

3. while wearing costume, become a volunteer at Diana's hospital

4. while wearing costume, cure Diana of anorexia without revealing who she actually is

Seriously. It's such a fantastic plan that I am SO SURE it will work! If not, I'm sure step five will be "prepare for lawsuit."

Caitlin proceeds to volunteer as "Karen Martin" and is assigned the task of bringing reading material to the patients, thereby starting on her task of finding Diana by checking every room in the hospital and offering reading material to whomever she finds inside. She finally finds Diana after two days of work, and it appears she wouldn't need a disguise because Diana's basically just a blond heap in a hospital bed, spending all her time staring vacantly at a wall. Yes, good times.


Caitlin decides to camp out next to Diana's bed, but nothing changes until Caitlin starts to vehemently tell Diana that it wasn't her fault. It was m...someone else's! That, of course, does the trick. Diana's no longer a vegetable. Once Diana's cogent, she sees through Caitlin's disguise without much trouble, but of course keeps this secret. THEN, Caitlin runs into the hospital director who of course had a relationship with her mother and is most probably her father. Only he has no clue Caitlin's mother is dead and was driven away by Caitlin's bitch of a grandmother. Oh, how will things turn out for our intrepid characters?

Caitlin tells Diana all about the incident with the shed and Diana immediately forgives her. We all saw that coming, so now Caitlin can finally wash off all that make up and go back to being glamorous. Diana's practically set to be canonized at this point. Diana tells Lawrence about Caitlin's admission, who reacts by immediately hitting on Caitlin. Jed still hates/loves/is prepared to rape Caitlin. Caitlin still sort of loves Jed, but now also really likes Lawrence. The hospital director, Gordon Westwood, reveals that he's Caitlin's father and Caitlin flips out and rejects him. Caitlin's grandmother reacts by showering her with more materialistic affection that Caitlin mistakes as actual love (hello pretty dress and black pearls!).

Now everyone is set to reconvene at Highgate. Caitlin with her new boyfriend, Jed still fresh with the rage, and poor Gordon will probably be stalking Caitlin and watching her sleep through her dorm window as he slowly slips into madness.

Oddities:

  • Bret, with his tall, dark looks, and Dorothy, sleek and blond... I was just waiting for some comment on how they were perfect because their looks are so different, a la Brad and Lavinia, only I forgot that only Jed and Caitlin matter in this series. Silly me!
  • Shouldn't you ask someone's permission before you start to shine fruit on their pants?
  • The decor in Caitlin's mansion is ice green and peach with Louis XIV gilded furnishings. I'll just let that sink in for a minute.
  • Who actually says "she has anorexia nervosa" when you're gossiping about someone?
  • Is Joanna Campbell trying to tell me that rich boarding school kids don't have phones in their rooms and have to use pay phones in the dorm hallways? Really? Is this possible?
  • Apparently Jed is so pissed off he's talked to no one and has gone into seclusion in Montana to round up cattle all day. Man, when people self-destruct in this series they don't hold anything back.
  • I love how everyone's writing letters as means of communication. It's like these people have never heard of a phone.
  • She was on a mission of good, convinced fate wouldn't allow anything to go wrong. Yeah, Caitlin, you and fate are on the outs recently, remember? You crippled a boy, your boyfriend found out about it and tried to rape you...you know? Perhaps you should quit while you're marginally not totally embarrassed and/or sexually assaulted.
And here's the scene we've all been waiting for:

But instead of gently caressing her back as he'd always done before, his touch was much rougher, more insistent. He pulled her tightly against his chest as he trailed a stream of kisses down her neck to the edge of the bodice of her dress.

They'd been together like this before, but this time Caitlin sensed something different in Jed -- an urgency that almost scared her.

But this was Jed, she told herself, her wonderful Jed. There was nothing to be afraid of. She wanted to enjoy his touch and his kisses.

His touch grew more daring.

His hand on her waist moved slowly upward. As his mouth recaptured hers, his hand reached the neckline of her gown.

"Oh!" she cried involuntarily against his mouth.

"Shhh," he whispered. "Let me touch you, Caitlin. . . let me. I love you so much."

His words were almost hypnotic. She couldn't deny the shivers of excitement that rippled through her body at his touch.

Caitlin felt her back arching and heard herself moan. Slowly, gradually, he leaned her back against the cushions. His hand drifted back down over her midriff, over her hip, and the skirt of her gown.

Again, Caitlin tried to protest, but again he silenced her with his mouth as his hand began moving in gentle circles. She was trembling with the sensations he was bringing her. She wanted him to stop -- yet something inside her wouldn't allow her to protest.

Sensing her resistance, he brought his lips up to her ear. "Caitlin, I love you. Let me show you. I've wanted to do this for so long."

"We can't, Jed. We can't."

"I'll be careful. Don't worry."

"No--I can't!"

"You love me, don't you?" he persisted.

"Oh, of course. Of course, I love you."

"We belong together...we always will. Between us it's good, it's beautiful."

"Oh, Jed, Jed," she cried.

He kissed her again, but this time his kiss was hard, violent. She felt as if he were bruising her mouth, and she tried to pull away.

"Stop, Jed. Stop!" She pressed her hands against his chest.

"Not now, Caitlin. Not now, I need you...I need you too much."

This isn't how it's supposed to be, something inside Caitlin cried. She'd dreamed of the day she'd finally give her love to Jed -- but not like this!

He began kissing her neck, but his kisses were almost painful. "You're such a tease, Caitlin...such a tease," he murmured. She could barely hear him. Her heart was beating in panic. "You'd use anyone to get what you want, wouldn't you?"

No, she couldn't have heard him correctly. What was he talking about?

"Now, I'm going to use you."

"No! No, Jed. Stop! I don't want this! Please!"
- End dramatic date rape attempt! -

We'll be finishing up the Love Trilogy with True Love, in which I'm sure everyone figures out who really loves whom and for what reasons, a little later. Right now I think my eyes are too scarred to continue promptly.

3 comments:

Claire said...

n i was 12. how do i know? i remember that "love" scene and how mentally scarred i was by it. seriously. i couldn't believe my beloved joanna campbell could ever concoct such a thing.

Claire said...

that should rean "i remember reading this book when i was 12." i don't know what's wrong with blogger.

Caballos_Muchacha said...

Joanna was\is an adult romance writer, but that scene is so Harlequin Temptation.

Of COURSE Caitlin is forgiven by Diana!!!!!!!!!!!!! Caitlin is rich and privelidged!

Joanna seems to have a fascination with dark\light couples:

Blond Mike\Dark brown Ashleigh

Black haired Brad\Blonde Lavinia and Melinda

Blonde Cindy\Ben the Arabic guy :p

Blonde (?) Tor\Red hair Sammy