Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dawn Rochelle #3: So Much to Live For

By Lurlene McDaniel. Published 1991.

That is some mighty fine early 90's fluffy hair.
THIS is how Stacey's hair should be.
Y’all, it’s been six months since we’ve caught up with our girl Dawn Rochelle. And I mean real, blog-time six months. Remind yourself of her plight here and here.

We start back with cancer camp. Dawn’s a CIT this year. She didn’t really want to go. She really just wants to be done with this cancer shit, and none of her old friends will be there. Sandy’s dead, of course, Mike is in college, and Greg moved.

But it doesn’t look like she’ll be alone for long. At their orientation meeting, there’s this blond guy that keeps smiling at her. He looks familiar, but she’s sure she’s never met him. During a break, she heads down to the lake, and random boy follows her. Turns out, he’s Sandy’s older brother, Brent. He’s there to be a CIT for this camp, and then the one following, for siblings of cancer patients. Dawn gets a little judgey, wondering why they need a camp, it’s not happening to them. Brent’s all, Bullshit. They talk about Sandy of course, and Dawn gets really sad. I really think Dawn could have used some therapy after Sandy died.

A few days later, the campers are due to arrive. Dawn gets Brent to help her get bunches of flowers and put them on each of the girls’ beds to make it homey. Then it’s time to meet her campers. She rounds up five of the six, ages ten to twelve. The only one missing is thirteen-year-old Marlee. Dawn takes the others to their cabin, but when they get there, it’s a mess, everything strewn about. And on Dawn’s previously made bed, is Marlee, with a hell of a bad attitude. Dawn takes control though (which I consider impressive considering she’s only two years older than Marlee) and gets Marlee to make up her own damn bed, and Dawn’s too.

On the way to the bonfire, Dawn gets the rundown on Marlee from Dr. Ben. She’s from Columbus, like Dawn, has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, has had two operations, an artificial eye, and lives with her grandmother, because her parents are dead. Yeah, I’d say she has plenty to be angry about.

Brent has a way to pull her out of her shell a little bit. He gets her to dive, and he tells Dawn later that she’s really good at it. But later, at one of their “rap sessions”, Marlee refuses to talk about her story, and runs away. Dawn goes after her, but Marlee brushes her off.

Dawn tells the girls about her pranks on Dr, Ben in prior years. They ask her what she’s going to do this year, but she says she can’t, since she’s a CIT. But she tells them they can do something. They’re not too sure about that.

They have a fifties dance, and Brent embarrasses Marlee by asking her to dance, but Dawn says it’s a good thing. Brent and Dawn dance, and then run out to the woods. They almost kiss, but get caught by Dawn’s campers.

Back in the cabin, all the girls except Marlee are playing with makeup, and get Dawn to talk about boys and kissing. The girls try to get Marlee to put on makeup, but she gets pissed and goes outside. Dawn follows her, and finally gets her to talk. Marlee thinks she’s ugly and defective. She tried putting on makeup after her eye surgery, but it went terribly, made a huge mess, and she’s never tried it again. Dawn tells her it’s like anything else, and just takes practice. Marlee agrees to go back in.

On the last day, they have their Camp Olympics. Dr. Ben gets pulled into the mud pit during tug-of-war, and starts a mud fight. Even Marlee gets into it. That night, Dr. Ben hands out the awards. The most coveted is the clean cabin award, because the winners get a pizza party. Dawn’s cabin wins, and Marlee goes up to accept their prize. All of a sudden, something hard and small falls to the floor, and Marlee starts yelling her eye fell out. Dr. Ben tries to get it, but then tons of marbles fall on the ground, and he doesn’t know what to do. Marlee’s all, Got you, mothafucka! But Dr. Ben winks at Dawn, and she knows he wasn’t really fooled at all.

Dawn finally gets her kiss from Brent, alone in her cabin after her campers have left. Aww, yeah. They promise to write to each other. Going into the main hall later, Dawn finds Marlee all alone, waiting for her ride. She says her grandmother has health problems. Marlee asks Dawn if she’ll write to her, and Dawn tells her since they live in the same city, Marlee can call her. Then a freaking limo pulls up; it’s Marlee’s grandmother’s chauffer. Oooh, fancy.

Dawn gets back to her regular life for the summer, working with her friend Rhonda at an ice cream parlor. But one night Marlee calls her, and tells her she’s in the hospital. Dawn finds her in a nice private room the next day, by herself. She tells Dawn she hasn’t seen the doctor yet; they’re running more tests. Her grandmother makes an appearance, and tells Marlee she’s having a specialist come in. Marlee begs her to not let them cut into her anymore. It upsets her grandmother, who says she’s not feeling well. Dawn offers to stay with Marlee.

Dawn lends Marlee her teddy bear, Mr. Ruggers, to keep her company while she’s in the hospital.

A few days later, Marlee has seen the specialist. She’s happy because they won’t be doing another operation. She’ll be doing radiation and she’s got a morphine drip. She says once the tumor in her stomach has gone down, she’ll get to go home. Something about this doesn’t sit right with Dawn, and she tries to get information from Katie, Rob’s girlfriend who still works as a nurse on Marlee’s floor. But Katie says she can’t tell Dawn anything, and Marlee’s grandmother is the only one who can. So Dawn finally gets up the courage to talk to her, and Marlee’s grandmother tells her she has tumors pressing on all her vital organs, and that she won’t be going home.

When Dawn goes in to see Marlee, she’s cranky and trying not to use too much morphine. It makes her too sleepy. She says she can also tell her grandmothers and doctors aren’t telling her everything.

Dawn quits her job so she can spend as much time with Marlee as she can. One day she finds Marlee asleep, but she wakes up to talk to her. They talk about Brent, and Marlee tells her that she dreamed about him kissing her. Then she asks Dawn not to tell her grandmother know she’s never going home again. She tells Dawn she’s scared, and doesn’t know what’s waiting for her. Dawn tells her about Sandy, and says she knows she’ll be friends with Marlee. Now might be a good time to mention her parents being there, too, but there’s no mention of them.

That night, Marlee falls into a coma, and dies two days later. After the funeral, Marlee’s grandmother gives Marlee Mr. Ruggers and a small box, and thanks Dawn for being there for Marlee. The box, of course, holds Marlee’s ashes from the bonfire. So now Dawn knows she’ll have to return to camp at least one more time.

o   This book was so dull, there is no random shit. Not “so much to live for”. *rimshot* Thank you, I’ll be here all week.

o   Seriously, I’m ready to get to One Last Wish and the Amish books.

No comments:

Post a Comment