Saturday, June 3, 2017

Abbott's THE END OF EVERYTHING in NEW YORK's Approval Matrix: Three Nymphets & Three Age-Gap Affairs

I was looking for the outline of my unpublished and (allegedly) stolen children's book when I stumbled upon an Approval Matrix that I ripped out of the June 27, 2011 issue of New York magazine. I put a check mark next to the entry: "Megan Abbott's novel The End of Everything begins with YA poignancy before becoming a very adult loss-of-innocence story" but I never ordered the book; however, I recently purchased a signed (used) copy at Strand after reading some Amazon reviews. For example, Jeni Carroll gave the novel 5 Stars but titled her review "Proceed with Caution". Carroll shared, "When I was in college, I begrudgingly read Lolita because it was required. I, personally, am not a fan of creepy fiction [...] So when I had nightmares about Lolita, I knew the book did its job."

Here's part of Amazon's review:

Thirteen-year old Lizzie Hood and her next door neighbor Evie Verver are inseparable [...] And then, one afternoon, Evie disappears [...] Would she have gotten into the car of a stranger? [...] Lizzie uncovers secrets and lies that make her wonder if she knew her best friend at all.

The review fails to mention that Lizzie is in love with her best friend's father: "Oh, and Mr. Verver, Mr. Verver, Mr. Verver, he's always vibrating in my chest, under my fingernails, in all kinds of places [...] I couldn't remember a time when I wasn't [...] hungry for the moments he would shine his attentions on me."

Lizzie, an eight grade middle-school student, masturbates: "I'm thirteen, did I tell you, and I have soft dimples where my thighs meet my knees, and each night I lie in bed with my hands wedged between my legs [...] and if I try hard enough I can [...] make the whole world break open and break me all to pieces."

Lizzie lets another teen look at her fountains while he masturbates: "How is it that I pull my arms out of my sleeves and slide my bra down and let him see? But I do. My skin quills up [...] When he's done, he makes a little sound, and I feel his hand sticky on my chest and he pinches them and my eyelids flutter".

[Spoiler Alert] The review mentions that Evie disappears but understandably doesn't reveal that Evie voluntarily disappears for three weeks with Mr. Shaw: "Evie felt Mr. Shaw's love [...] a man three times her age [...] and knows that she is the most special girl of all [...] She is everything and he would tear down his life for her [...] She has that power. What girl wouldn't want that power?"

Evie confessed to Lizzie, "I went with him. I wanted to go. I asked him to take me away."

Lastly, Dusty, Evie's sister and high school coed, calls her sister "a disgusting little girl" for having a sexual affair with Mr. Shaw, but Evie retorts by revealing Dusty's incestuous affair with their father: "And you stand her blaming me, judging me, but look at you, Dusty, preening for him [...] the flirting and the winking and the curling up to him in our lawn chairs, I see how it is, Mom sees how it is. I know what you feel. You think you can hide it, but you can't. Who's the sick one, who is --"

Interestingly,The End of Everything is in the Highbrow/Brilliant quadrant of New York magazine's Approval Matrix.

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