It seems fitting that reading Jennifer Macaire’s A Crown in Time was hampered by the Corona virus. However, the silver lining behind the cloudy virus is being allowed to work at home. I love it!
Working at home means I don’t need to catch the train to work. But no commute means less reading time which is why it’s taken an absolute eternity to read Jennifer Macaire’s A Crown in Time. (Note that even though this is a time travel blog, when I say “absolute eternity” I mean it as an expression and not as a perpetual (closed) time loop).
But a couple of days ago I finished it (I suffered a commute to the office for a 3 hour meeting which was aimed to be finished in 2:30 hours, went on for 3:15 hours but seemed like an absolute eternity. And when you can’t understand a second language spoken quickly in a group of 30 technical specialists in an online group chat, you tend to pick out the same couple of words again and again. Groundhog Meeting.
The review of the novel is upcoming (which will be positive) but this post is concerned with the only part that I didn’t like – the study guide at the end.
The study guide comprises a few questions which I guess are designed to stimulate thought (if you’re an introvert), discussion (if you’re an extrovert) or to be an easy source of exam questions (if you’re a lazy teacher). In the case of the latter, I never understood the reasoning. There’s no teaching involved, just a question posed with no right or wrong answer.
For me (a social introvert) the questions stimulate sickening memories of my studies in English Literature when I was 16 – 18 years old. I didn’t do well; I got a grade “N”.
On a scale from “A” (excellent) to “F” (dismal fail) with “U” grade (ungraded(!) ) tacked discretely at the end of the pass scale, “grade N” needs some explanation – it means “near miss”.
“Near miss” is almost a misnomer because it can easily be confused with “nearly missing” which means the opposite. If you nearly miss a train, you caught it. If a large asteroid has a near miss with the Earth, it narrowly avoided collision. (Are you spotting the irony of an ambiguously named grade in a school subject pertaining to expression?).
Anyway. The point is I missed a passing grade and I failed – and I thoroughly deserved to, but not as much as my friend who wrote on her exam paper “Shakespeare is basically a load of bollards”. (Obviously she didn’t write “bollards” but a similarly sounding word expressed by a teenager full of angst and torment. She got a grade U.)
No Pot of Gold
Our study book was D.H. Lawrence’s “The Rainbow”. I never understood it. Mum saw my teacher’s desperation with me as much as in me with the book (more teenage angst, and I didn’t care). To help me out, she spent weeks ploughing through the pages of the Lawrence version of bollards and made detailed notes for me.
And being an arsey teenager I don’t think I even read them (sorry mum…). Talk about sacrifices of a mother for a child. Giving up a day job and personal time, dealing with emotional outbursts etc. is nothing when compared to having to plough through The Rainbow. And she did it for me.
I just didn’t get the concept! Why couldn’t Lawrence just have his main character walk into a field? No, there’s a horse and this is a symbol of sexuality which links to the phallically shaped anything 150 pages earlier but mostly to the complete bollards [sic] that is the whole book.
My exam question was to discuss the sensitivity of women. It got me grade my grade N. Mum wasn’t happy. Maybe there’s a version of me in a parallel universe (which I don’t believe in) who read mum’s notes and passed (P for near pass, anyone?).
I don’t believe in regret. I remember failing my driving test (yes, I had a near miss – I nearly hit a car when pulling away on a hill start) and being told not to worry because at least I could take my driving test again. The point was that I couldn’t take my A levels again.
Naturally, I did take my driving test again a month later, I passed and now live in Holland where hills are few – and so far between them that you need to drive to get from one to the other.
Horses for Courses
Will having an English literature qualification help you enjoy A Crown in Time? Will studying this book help you with an English lit. qualification?
I’d say you don’t need it. It’s easy to pick out the rampant horse play in the novel. I’ve no idea if you’d call the main character sensitive, but I do know that I enjoyed reading it!
Review coming up!
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