Book Review: Modelland by Tyra Banks (Chapters 22 and 23)
Chapter 22: Fused Flashback Females
That title sounds like the name of a band of superheroes, like conjoined triplets or something.
Last we left Tookie, the earth had come to a grinding halt for the beginning of her star-crossed lover relationship with Bravo. How does it begin? Well, the way any good romantic comedy begins — with the woman looking like a complete idiot.
Bravo reached up and made a wiping gesture across his nose. On instinct, Tookie touched her nose too. To her horror, a trail of creamy pea-green slime appeared on her fingers. She’d been staring out the window with a giant whipped-cream booger on her face.
Classy. That’s right up there with drooling and falling.
But Persimmon breaks up the girls’ good times to take them to their next class, which is a pity because Chaste was “just about to flash [her] breast-osteros.”
So my wish for an actual story has to be delayed some because we now have an important class to read about for an entire chapter. Geez, make it end! Please!
This class takes place in some building called the OoAh, which you only know because the reception desk at the front is shaped like an H, O and an A. So it could easily be called A HO, and Chaste would fit right in. This also brings up the fact that I don’t exactly know where this building is in relation to the rest of Modelland’s “architecture.” Persimmon just seems to wave her hand and the girls are there.
Anyway, this is the place where “seasoned Bellas go to have their aching joints soothed after their intense 7Seven Tournament training. It’s also where instructors and visitng Intoxibellas go to be primed and primped.” So if none of the girls are any of those things, then what in heaven’s name are we doing here?
Basically, it’s a spa, and this spa actually qualifies as a class.
The girls are split into three groups with Tookie, Dylan and Kamalini in one. The three are laid down on slabs and
“Dozens of hands came up from under the slabs and removed their clothing. Tookie covered her private parts with her own hands. Kamalini did the same.”
What is with the raping hands in this place that are so greedy to get girls’ clothes off? It happened when Tookie was in the orb too. And I picture it like this:
Anyway, while Tookie lays there in the nude, she sees this written up on the ceiling in cute Yummah Strawberriez font:
Geena Has Two Secrets. One, She Hates Ci~L. Two, It Rhymes With Destroy.
Um . . . bestroy? What could possibly rhyme with destroy but destroy? Boy? Toy? Choi? Soy? WHAT? And why hasn’t anyone seen this grafitti up there? I get the bathroom, but right over a massage table? Someone’s bound to notice that. I can only imagine how many girls are forced to lie nude on there. And finally, how did she get it up there in the first place? Was Geena wicked tall or the ceiling just super low?
Well, I guess we’ll come back to that plot hole later because the girls are quickly covered up with “green strapless terry-cloth minidresses with asymmetrical hems.” It amuses me that Tyra knows clothes better than she knows people.
The girls are taken to a large room with a giant circle in the middle of the floor. There, they meet the Flashback Females.
Three women dressed in ornately patterned flowing muumuus sat very close together in the corner. Their hair was fused into one huge beehive.
Holy crap, they really are conjoined triplets, but they’re not really superheroes, just more like Minority Report knockoffs.
“They have the ability to take a person to a time in her life that has already happened. You cannot change the past — only witness it. You can take your friends with you into your flashback, and they will see and hear everything that happened also.”
That sounds a bit intrusive. And you can pick the memories you want to visit and for some reason, the girls pick memories that are extremely personal and ones that any normal person would have a very hard time sharing, especially with people they only met the day before.
First is Kamalini and her backstory exposition is given. Her memory is when she lived back in Chakra, which is Tyra-talk for India. Her family is really rich and well-off, but her extended family is in abject poverty. Why her mother and father don’t spread the wealth to help them is beyond me.
Kamalini is nice though, and sneaks clothes, schoolbooks, healthy food and vitamins to them. She even manages to get the entire family a part in her mother’s upcoming Bollywood film. The family heads to
Paris Tres Jolie to shoot the scene where a backdrop collapses on top of them, killing everyone except a little girl who runs away and was never found.
Okay, I know I should feel bad, but I can’t help but laugh. That is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read in this book. This wasn’t just a family of five or six people, this was a large family that put Dylan’s to shame. And they were all splattered like little ants by a backdrop. That’s right up there with Mr. De La Creme’s eyeball accident. Plus, this is the memory that Kamalini chooses to show her friends? The one she represses by wearing headphones all the time? She chose to relive it in Dolby Digital Surround Sound?
Well, no time to comfort revistied trauma because it’s straight to Dylan’s turn. This time, we’re in a park in the Bou-Big-Tique Nation and six-year-old Dylan is playing with her father. But he suddenly stops and says:
“Dylan, baby, Daddy wants you to know that you are beautiful. These other little skinny thangs in the Nation, don’t ever let ’em get you down. Don’t change nothin’ about you, boo. Not one thang. Cuz everythang about you’s perfect.”
And then he collapses, is taken away in an ambulance and dies.
Wow. I’ll say that this memory is a bit more poignant than Kamalini’s twenty-or-so nameless people who were all crushed by a scenery change, but I just can’t get over that, again, this is the memory Dylan picks to show her friends.
No time to console Dylan either as she collapses into a blubbering heap on the floor.
[Tookie said] “I want to skip my turn.”
No kidding. But the heartless Mannecants force Tookie to “come face to face with [her] demons,” I mean, pass OoAh Class. Strangely enough for Tookie though, she doesn’t get to pick the memory that she sees. So do they get to choose or not? Cause it sounded like Kamalini did when she told the girls to prepare themselves for the flashback that she wanted them to see. So what exactly are the rules for this DeLorean Memory machine here, Tyra, cause I’m confused.
Tookie is sent back in time to before Myrracle was born and Tookie was loved and adored by her parents. Mr. and Mrs. De La Creme tuck her into bed, they’re affectionate with each other and there’s no Bellissima in sight. Tookie wonders what happened to make them the way they are now, but soon she is forced to leave the memory.
But is this really a memory? Tookie was two when this happened. Can you remember a simple tuck-in from your parents when you were two? Can you remember anything from when you were two? I don’t think this really counts as a memory. And how must Kamalini and Dylan feel watching this happy loving memory of Tookie just getting tucked into bed? That has to suck for both of them. Way to go, Tookie.
Later, Tookie writes a letter to Lizzie in her T-Mail Jail. She tells Lizzie about her new “friendSSSS” [sic] and that they’re just like them.
“Their imperfections are what make them shine with the most scintillating, effervescent inner glow you have ever seen.”
Wow, that is some hyperbole there. She also complains to Lizzie that everyone stares at her in Modelland and that they all think she’ll be sacrificed or experimented on. She even complains about Bravo.
“He embarrassed me, Lizzie — reaching towards his nose to indicate that I should wipe away some vile olive-tinted whipped cream snot . . . in front of everyone.”
Oh Tookie, calm down. It wasn’t that bad and it’s not his fault that you were being a complete pig with the whipped cream. He was helping you. Chillax.
However, Tookie also clings to the one compliment that she’s ever been given in her whole life — that one of the Gurus said that she “ain’t half-bad” and hopes that Lizzie ain’t half bad either wherever she is.I’d say that Tookie must be the bestest best friend in the world, somewhat caring for her best friend while she attends Face Class, but she loses all respect and sympathy when she starts the letter off with this:
I wonder if you saw them choose me to come to this special place and if you think I’m a deserter, a two-faced liar, a selfish egomaniac who ditched our friendship at the very first opportunity. I hope not.
But you are all those things, Tookie.
Chapter 23: The Diabolical Divide
While all of those super duper ultra exciting things are happening at Modelland, Tyra has to unfortunately take us into subplot #0.5. No, wait! I really wanted to see Tookie take midterms in Accessorizing 101!
Actually, this subplot (if you can call it that) is 100 times more interesting than whatever’s going on with our ineffectual protagonist at model school.
A group of girls and their parents gather at the base of the mountain, including a girl named Jessamine, her mother Meena, some lady named Lynne and my favorite character, Abigail Goode. But wait, it gets better because she’s joined by her hairier mother, Harriet. Brilliant, Tyra! Brilliant! You are truly the Hemingway of our time!
This group of women, victims of the Pilgrim Plague, are heading up the dangerous Diabolical Divide to tell Modelland that they made a mistake. So far, Modelland doesn’t seem like the kind of place that would be willing to admit it made a mistake.
The group is also joined by a mysterious stranger.
A twitching hunchbacked man strode up, pulling a leather hood over his head to obscure his scaly skin, beady eyes, and uniformly pointed teeth. His kind was unfamiliar to the group, but a certain porcelain-skinned girl named Piper would know them quite well. She’d lived with the daily terror of scores of them threatning to penetrate her homeland’s grand protective dome, after all.
Well, there goes any amount of suspense that situation could have had. He’s a
Reefer LeGizzard from back in Chapter 13.
The group is joined by their leader, a Raider (or professional trespasser) named Macy Kamata, which is the most un-toughest name for someone who goes by the occupation of Raider.
But I picture him as a cross between Indiana Jones and Woody Harrelson from Zombieland
His first act as leader of this motley crew of pilgrims? Stick them all in the butt with a needle for a “booster shot.” This sounds super suspicious to me, but everyone just sort of goes along with it. I sure hope he doesn’t use the same needle over and over again cause then the Pilgrim Plague isn’t really some mystical illness so much as AIDS.
And guess who else shows up to this prolonged camping trip? Creamy De La Creme with Myrracle and Bellissima, that creepy looking doll that the mother carries around. Even the doll gets a needle in the backside.
“I just let you shoot my Myrracle and Bellissima with God knows what! We’ve never been more ready in our lives. Someone up there has made a grave mistake, and she’s going to pay dearly for what she’s done.”
That last part is exactly how I feel about Tyra right now.
The OoAh has several different treatments to help Bellas relax, none of which sound very relaxing:
- Hot stone treatments: where an enormous boulder is placed on your spine. Normal people call this stoning.
- Facial Slough: a Mannecant peels off a layer of skin off your face and then places it on a plastic molded head which then makes it come alive. Super creepy!
- Body snap: you step inside a clam shell and it snaps its jaws shut around you, trapping you inside.
The OoAh isn’t so much a spa as it is a torture chamber.
Kamalini’s destitute extended family are described as such:
Their clothes might have been tattered and drab, but as soon as they saw Kamalini, their smiles were brighter than the most luxurious silks.
It’s the beauty of their smiles that makes up for how utterly poor and sad they are.
In Tookie’s letter to Lizzie, she writes:
It was the same kind of affirmation you used to give me, something I miss like cuh-ray-zee
Not you too!
Next chapters are W.O.W and One Bee-yotchhhh. Is it bad that I kind of hope the next chapter is about World of Warcraft? Cause that sounds way more interesting than whatever Modelland is doing at the moment.