MARNIE, is at the desk reading David Copperfield and hating it. There’s a pile of about a dozen classic novels in front of her.
This is like so ridiculous.
My mom thinks everyone should read ninety books a day like her. So she goes and signs me up for this wack summer reading club.
Picks up a flyer from the Teen Reading Summer Program and reads from it.
“Are you bored out of your mind?” Not even. I wish I was bored. I am so past bored it is not even funny.
“Kick back with a book” Lame city.
“Are all your friends on cool summer vacations?” Like how would I know? I have to sit here reading “Literature” so I never see them. My social life is completely tubed.
“Each book read and reviewed, earns a stamp on your handy "iBook" card, up to five stamps on each iBook -- and a ticket to our “What’s Buzzin’” Woo. I mean, way too cool for school. NOT.
“All participants enjoy a free Roller Skating Party.” Wow, that will like totally enhancify my social life forever. Maybe next week we can go to the BowloRama!
It gets worse. Like this loser club at least lets you read, you know, Stephen King or Terry McMillan, or whatever. I mean they don’t care, just read it. So I’m cool with that stuff, I mean I’d rather be hanging out or going to the mall or something, but they’re not completely tedious and boring, so, like, I can deal.
Then my Mom sees what I’m reading. And I am so busted. I mean, Mom gets all stressed and says those books aren’t “Literature’, and what’s the point of a reading list if it’s all totally worthless junk that only moron idiots read. And I’m all like hello, that moron is like your daughter. And she just starts pulling stuff off these shelves like I’m not even there. Next thing I know I have this pile of craptacular books that will take me the rest of the year to read if I don’t completely flip out first.
I mean, I could be getting brownie points and read the books from next year’s English class. Anything would be better than this lamesauce stuff.
I hate this, it sucks, I hate it. Sucking reading list SUCKS.
So. Anyways. Heere they are. Mom had ‘em in some kind of weird-ass order like all the women and all the history stuff and like that, but it didn’t do much for me. I been piling them up different ways for different days. In order of thickness, in order of color, in order of which one I hate most. The pile never gets any shorter.
They made movies out of a lot of these. Like there are about a million of this one, David Copperfield. All just as lame as the book. Which is not about magic, just for your information. And Grapes of Wrath, very retro but, you know. Whatever.
I mean, I have IMDB’d the hell out of every one of these. BUT. THEN. AS IF my life isn’t totally out of control already, my mom said I had to like read the books, not spend all my time online hunting out movies and watching them. She hates computers anyway, it is so bogus. Then, like that’s not enough, she actually banned my laptop so I wouldn’t look up all the info on these books. I mean, no wonder I’m getting all hate speech about this.
Okay, maybe I’ll try this one. Brave New World. Well, we sure could use a new world around here.
Reads book jacket.
“Humanity is carefree, healthy, and technologically advanced. War and poverty have been eliminated, and everyone is permanently happy.” I wish. When was this written? 1932? No way!
“Recreational drug use has become a pillar of society, and all citizens regularly swallow tablets of Soma, a narcotic tranquilizer that makes users mindlessly happy.” Excellent! Where do I get some a that?
Marnie starts to read, becomes absorbed.
Offstage, someone yells:
MOM or DAD
Maarnie! Dinner! Time to set the table!
Let me just finish this chapter.
TEEN READING PROGRAM
Marnie, about 14. Way too cool.
I live in the best house. It has stairs up, and stairs down, some of them so steep you have to crawl like when you were very little, but some of them you can just run right up them. One day I went into every single room, and every room had a door to a new room, and every room had treasures. I found this shell there, and this feather, and a set of little little dolls that all fit into a little box. I went for the whole day and there were more rooms than anyone could count, and I can count to over a thousand, but there were more than that.
But sometimes I have these dreams about the house, and I can't get into any of the rooms or find any of the treasures, because the hallways don't go where they're supposed to, and the stairs are too steep, and one time I was on this stair that got steeper and steeper like a ladder, and something was grabbing at my feet while I was trying to climb on this ladder way up, way up so I was afraid to fall. And I escape that thing, but then the ceiling comes down too low and I can’t climb any more, and I’m scared to go back to the thing that would pull me down by my legs. But then there is another hallway, only it’s really sort of a shelf, like a cliff, and I can't see very well and there’s all this stuff in the way. And I’m afraid that one of them would have the thing, the grabbing thing, hiding in it. But I get over all the stuff, but then I’m in all these hanging down cloths, and I can’t see.
And then I woke up.
I used to have better dreams.
Two monologues, TEEN READING PROGRAM and SOPHY'S DREAM
SOPHY'S DREAM, from CHIMERA
Sophy is nine going on 25
Judith Pratt, Writer