Friday, January 20, 2017
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial in his adventure on Earth book thoughts
It's a novel based off the movie and from what i've heard is very different than the movie. I haven't seen the movie since I was a child..like literally 20 years ago. I remember nothing about it, other than I loved it, so this is just going off the book and has nothing to do with the movie which I do plan to watch at some point.
I'm sorry to say there isn't a lot I like about this book (and this review might contain spoilers..but it's E.T.?). All of this is just my opinions or thoughts, and often i'm not sure how i'm really supposed to take things. I'm all for discussion and such.
Elliot's mom was emotionally abusive to the children at times, she just wasn't a good parent. On the other end she was wishy washy and never felt like a real character to me personally. She was also obsessed with wanting a man and there were other woman-stereotypes. She made her children hold her accountable for what she ate and hated herself when she would binge or eat some snack. She would hate her children for awhile then at the end of the book suddenly cared about Elliot? She didn't seem to care before that..maybe a blue moment here or there. I don't think I can describe it well but she just felt all over the place to me.
On the eating from this particular passage (though it's not the only thing when it comes to mentioning her eating)
"After a brief, anxious nap, she woke hungry. Was it time to eat a loaf of bread smeared with strawberry jam? Had the hour of depravity come once more?
She slipped quietly from bed and tiptoed into the hall. The children mustn't see her; it was wrong to set them a bad example, of a mother who could not control her appetite, who at this very moment was beset by visions of jelly."
I'm not sure what to think on this (or many things in this book) but...hour of depravity? And from this and other passages through-out the book "could not control her appetite" sounds like she's supposed to go hungry because otherwise she is setting a bad example. Eating well doesn't mean going hungry..
The brothers also would constantly torture their sister's dolls whenever they wanted her to go along with whatever they said. Also when Elliot ended up wanting to keep her (Gertie) quiet about E.T. she blackmailed him (she's 5) and another kid asked him
""Whadja, hurt her or somethin'?"
"Low, Greg," said Tyler, "very low."
Greg dribbled on the back of the chair. "I've seen everything now." He stared at Elliot, who, so far as he knew, had been like every other brother in the world, taking pleasure in playing with his sister only when the game was interesting-for example, tickling her until she nearly had a nervous breakdown, a game he often enjoyed with his own sister. Or tying her to a tree and then tickling her. Or crashing into the bathroom with four or five other guys while she was taking a bath, and then standing around laughing while she screamed. Those were the right games. But this?"
I also want to point out that I saw another review mention that Elliot's mother asked them twice, when they were causing mischief, if they were raping their little sister including ""what were you doing here? I hope you weren't raping your sister?!"" and I noticed I have an expurgated edition, in my edition rape is never mentioned BUT I do see where it would fit perfectly, in a weird way (and not good) as it was just changed to "hurting her" if i'm right about where it'd be, which of course I can't actually say if I am or not. And shortly afterwards Elliot's mother tells Elliot to clean his room or she will kill him, and it sounds serious. Like yes, I understand telling your kid to clean their room and even punishing them, but threatening, in a serious manner, to kill them over it? Is that just me or is that a bit...extreme?
Also of the brothers torture of the dolls, E.T. had wrecked a toy of Gertie's (for the purpose of communicating with his alien brethren to return home, I understand that part) and Gertie, being 5 and not knowing why he did it at the time, was understandably upset...and this happened.
""E.T., you wreck all my toys!" she shrieked, in tones that penetrated the entire house.
Her brothers patiently explained, while twisting the arms of her doll into hideous postures, that she must learn to be generous.""
Please tell me if i'm the only one that doesn't sit right with? I just picture them with evil grins every time they do this, that's just one example, not the only.
There was a weird and creepy subplot with E.T. being in love with Elliot's mother, while he was hiding away in Elliot's closet watching her without her even knowing he existed, let alone in her home watching her. I don't know quite what to say there.
E.T. is constantly described by others, especially in the end of the book, as a hideously deformed monster but more than that, that because he's ugly to us humans that he must not have any feelings. This is just one, of more, passages.
"The doctor who led the team kept trying to wipe his own brow, only to find it encased in glass. He was frustrated, confused, had begun to look upon E.T. as a creature dragged from the bottom of the sea, a monster of unconsciousness, an inhuman form whose meaning, purpose and secret would ultimately evade him. Awesome, yes, it was that, but it's unspeakable ugliness robbed the doctor of his usual tenderness. His weary mind was seeing pterodactyls, primordial lizards, grotesqueries that should never have been and fortunately had ceased to be. This thing before him was one of them, cold and unfeeling, a creature out of one's nightmares-the deformed monster that one always feared would emerge from the womb of life. It was natural to hate such an object and wish it dead."
and it just keeps going from there with multiple people. E.T. is actually very very old and has plenty of feelings, which is great and all. It's just coming from me, being someone born with a lot of medical issues and some deformities it really hurts because that's how people in real life end up being treated.
Unspeakable ugliness robbing people of their compassion. Thinking that something so ugly or deformed couldn't possibly have feelings. That it was out of someone's nightmares. Worry that a deformed baby would come out of the womb *like me* and saying it's natural to hate such an "object" and wish it dead. Which deformed or disabled people often are in real life. It just hit home for me.
Something I need to point out about ALL of this...none of it was ever challenged in the text that I could see. It seemed OK and RIGHT and the CORRECT way of things. Could I have missed stuff? Certainly. I can only say the way I saw it. If I had seen the stuff be challenged in any way i'd be loving this book. Sadly that isn't the case.
On the plus side there is a couple funny moments, hearing E.T.'s thoughts (minus the ones about Elliot's mother) were interesting and him talking to plants, and they talk back, was entertaining. He's an ancient botanist and is like a master of plants. Also there were some sweet moments between E.T. and Elliot.
I ended up giving it 2 stars but reading this review makes me question giving it that much. o.o