Is Chapter 7 lucky? No. Of course not. What do you think this is, well-written fiction? Abby sees a pink Caddy and because it's a pink Caddy, screeches that it's the exact kind of car Elvis drove (who cares about models and years). She's bummed because she couldn't see who's driving. No big deal? Well, she does try convincing us he could be alive because tabloid articles say he is and "they can't all be wrong, right?"
Wow. By that logic, a five-year-old did give birth to a dog-faced baby and Batboy exists.
She describes "The King" and makes sure we know she means Elvis. By the time she's done, she needs a towel and a cigarette.
Abby and the kids are going alone to Graceland because Watson and Liz need "time off" and are going to see a WWII bomber. So even they're going insane by Karen't chattering. Oh, score one for Abby. She says Graceland makes Kristy's mansion look like a pup tent! I guess her family's mansion is bigger.
Once inside, she has a heart attack from breathing the same air Elvis did. Um, no you're not. That's new air with oxygen.
All that build up and barely a description of the trip. This is like four books working up to the final "epic" battle at the end of the last Twilight book that ended with the Volturi saying, "Oops, we made a mistake, our bad. We're going home now." That's pretty much literally what happened. No fighting, nothing. The movie added a dream sequence to make it more interesting. How bad is that?
That's a longer description that we get of Graceland. But what's this? An Elvis impersonator? Abby thinks is the real Elvis. Andrew, DM, and even Karen get a pass on this. They're all still young enough to believe what they're told. Mal thinks it's Elvis and he just wants people to think he's dead. Jessi alone thinks they're stupid.
Mal concludes he's there to give something to his neighbors. Jessi thinks she's still stupid.
Ha! Several more Elvises. It's an impersonation contest. Jessi laughs at Abby and Mal for being such idiots.
Too bad Abby plans to keep looking for Elvis.
Jessi's better off looking for a dead guy that being in the Creepermobile.
Who's idea was it to have Jacking-off Jack take MA to her grandmother's house?
Granny dodges a bullet by offering to meet her granddaughter Mall of America since her house is having work done. Jerk-off would have found a way to insult her home.
MA doesn't say anything, but she really does want to go to her grandma's home, and I feel sad for her. Not gonna lie. If I was going within a few hours of my grandparents' home and they met me a few hours away instead of me going there, I'd feel I was missing out.
Oh, now this is getting sadder. While trying to make excuses for Jerk-off and telling us he means well, she can't understand why he's going overboard in his "teasing" of Richard, and she thinks he might be mad at her. Oh, Honey, no. Jerk-off is an asshat. Just like his daughter, who lectures a bratwurst vendor for serving bratwurst. Lay off it, Schaefers.
I've solved the mystery of why this book is so boring. We get no info about the destinations. We sit in the RVs with these people, and that's pretty much it. What happened at Mall of America? Your guess is as good as mine.
Dawn forced them to a health food place and orders for them, nasty-sounding stuff, like gluten patties. Jerk-off starts in on how "Old Richard seems like a meat-and-potatoes guy." MA doesn't understand why he's being like that in front of her grandma.
Granny FTW! Enjoy.“My son-in-law,” Grandma said sweetly, “eats very, very well. In fact, judging from that little belly of yours, you could take a tip from him.”
That put Jerk-off in his place.
This is the point on a roller coaster where you're at the top of a hill blindfolded and don't know if you'll go up more in a few seconds or fall. Jessi is at the plantation. Can Lerry and Annie handle this while leaving some dignity in tact for black people?
Since Watson and Elizabeth are awesome and don't want the youngest kids exposed to racism, they leave Jessi, Man, and Abby by themselves to go through the museum. I hope there are good guides who can answer any questions they may have.
So far the guide is sensible in her explanations. But she confuses Jessi by talking about how the Daltons were known for their "humane" treatment of slaves. How can keeping slaves at all be humane? she wants to know. Excellent question. I think we all know the answer to that. It's technically not, but some masters didn't beat the hell out of and rape their slaves, and so were humane only in comparison. This is why Elizabeth (screw Watson) should have stayed with the group. Also Jessi feels nervous asking questions because they're the only kids in the tour group. At least if Liz had been there, they wouldn't be kids alone.
I'm impressed with this chapter. We're semi-treated (I don't know if reading about slavery is ever a treat, but it's not a badly-written chapter) to a walk-through of the house, and Jessi's emotional crisis and mixed emotions. She saw portraits of the people who owned her family like mules. That's awful, but she's learning her family history, which is good, even if the history os terrible, no matter how humane you try to make it.
She saw a photo of a lynched black man and can't take it anymore and has to go outside. But she can't escape, and sees rows of cotton and her family bent over and weary with exhaustion. Becca's there, and she's losing her mind with it all. Why the hell didn't one of the adults stay with this group?
A black woman whose family was also owned by the Daltons approaches and talks to Jessi and breaks the news that finding info on specific family members isn't possible when records weren't better than they were for animals. If messages were to be passed, it was through sly measures, like news of the Underground Railroad. What happens it they're caught?
This piece is 100% correct, and I now realize that the additional note of thanks in the dedication is to someone who knows what they hell they're talking about. In case you don't know, here. Learn about negro spirituals.Ms. Parnell sighed. “Well, you saw those awful photographs in the exhibit. You avoided capture at all costs. But there were ways to pass on information. One thing you did was sing. See, the owners didn’t mind that. They figured singing kept up the work spirit. What they didn’t know were how many of those songs were in code. Have you ever heard the song ‘Follow the Drinking Gourd’? Well, the words told about a secret escape route for the Underground Railroad, in the direction of the big dipper...the drinking gourd! The slaves would pass the song on from plantation to plantation.” She began singing softly: “For the old man is waitin’ for to carry you to freedom if you follow the drinking gourd...”
This helps Jessi focus not on those who died, but those, like her family who escaped and lived. And here is where I start crying for real and take a break.
Summary. Abby's supremely stupid, Jack-off's an ass, Mary Anne's grandma rocks, and holy cow, an expert was consulted on something!