18 February 2016


Theme Thursday 21

If it weren't for these "filler" reading memes, my blogging would look much slower than it really is. I wish there were similar ones on language blogs. I'd create one myself, but I haven't made many inroads into the online language learning community . . . likely because most of the bloggers there are actually vloggers. (You know, that makes sense.) While Shredded Cheddar still has pretensions to being a book blog, I'll continue relating themes to recent reads, resuming with something from 12 May 2011 . . .

This Week's Theme:
Women Relationships

Felicity and I have a secret, one she's not sharing with anyone else. Pippa senses that we're not telling the whole truth. Her eyes take on that suspicious wounded look girls get when they know they've fallen off the top rung of friendship and someone else has passed them, but they don't know when or how the change took place.

Female relationships are the warp of Libby Bray's Great and Terrible Beauty, through which the conceit of ancient magic is woven as weft. The story opens with a once-close, now-strained mother-daughter relationship and later revolves around a mismatched friendship among four girls that tips the social balance in their boarding school. Yet they are not friends as much as they are "frenemies." And while that term may be anarchic to their Victorian setting, I'm sure that this sort of relationship has existed among politically-savvy women since the beginning of time.

I can't say, however, that I have ever had a "frenemy." The closest I got was a friendship that grew very, very strained when the other girl and I started assuming things about what the other was thinking, but never sharing those concerns with each other. It didn't take long for perceived insults to be met with open hostility--and for the hostility to be met with shock, confusion, and hurt. We certainly didn't have the mutually beneficial dynamic that I associate with "frenemies": being friendly with her when I might have preferred to hang out with others wasn't very advantageous for me, and putting up with me probably wasn't a good trade-off for her, either. (I say "probably" because I don't know: she never told me anything, remember?) And yet she and I would fit right in as main characters in A Great and Terrible Beauty.

Who would get to be whom, I don't know. Fortunately, there are online quizzes to enlighten me. I took the quiz on my former friend's behalf and her result was . . .

Which character from A Great and Terrible Beauty are you?
Congradulations, you are Gemma, the mysterious one. You are probably headstrong, intelligent, a little rebellious, and mysterious. You hold the power of the Realms and it's magic. You wish to understand yourself.
Facebook quizzes & Blog quizzes by Quibblo

YES. YES. YES! The girl in the art even looks a little like her! Seriously, my former friend was very intelligent and stubborn . . . and she liked to cultivate an air of mystery. Like Gemma, she also came to our school--that is, uni--shadowed by a very influential mother. I could go on and on, but that would also require telling you more about Bray's book and this post isn't meant to be that detailed!

As for my own results . . .

Which character from A Great and Terrible Beauty are you?
You are Pippa, the pretty one. Many men fall over for you because of your astounding beauty. You love attention and admirers. You dream of true love.
Facebook quizzes & Blog quizzes by Quibblo

Hey, why does "the pretty one" not have a picture on her profile? I had been eager to see if she'd have an uncanny resemblance to me. =P Failing that, there are the images that show up for if you search for "Pippa A Great and Terrible Beauty": she is the one with black hair.

Now I realise that when I took the quiz for both of us, I answered as my friend would have back then and as I would today. And while I was definitely not "the pretty one" back in uni, I've grown a bit into my looks since then--and with all due modesty, I think that if I combined my current appearance, manner, and sense of style with the youth of my uni years, and had the chance to live them over again, I'd clean up a trifle better than I did.

(Just to be fair, I took the quiz a third time, recalling my mopey uni self . . . and I "tested" as Gemma. Which kind of makes sense. You can't have two Gemmas under one roof, I guess. I wonder what not just my former friend, but the other girls we lived with would say to that, and what answers they would choose, if they had to take the quiz on my behalf.)

Image Source: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

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