The Vine: February 26, 2010
I would be ever so appreciative if you/the readers could possibly help me identify a book/story I have stuck in my head — it's driving me insane.
This all came about because I was washing Jell-O off of a plate. I know, just stay with me for a second. So I'm standing there watching the Jell-O melt into the drain and all of a sudden, it starts freaking me the hell out and I have no idea why.
After thinking on it a minute or two, I remembered what I'm pretty sure was a short story I read sometime in middle or early high school. The only thing I remember about it is that a character who I believe was the older sister of the main character received some sort of "beauty tonic" from a questionable source, and started drinking it obsessively. I think she was rather preoccupied with her looks in the story.
Anyway, the creepy-ass ending was that the stuff made her start, like, melting or something and the main character had to dump her in the bathtub and possibly (ew, oh my god) wash her away.
All I remember picturing in my head was pink Jell-O and I recall a time when I couldn't even look at the stuff because of this story that I hope to god I didn't dream or make up. I've Googled various attempts at a more concise plot synopsis, but when I put in "pink beauty tonic melts girl," it just asked me if I meant "tunic."
Other possibly helpful things:
I feel like the title might have been the name of a girl (the melting sister).
I have two conflicting feelings on where I read this — part of me seems to remember it was in school, like for a class, and the other thought I have is that it was (I don't know why) in a magazine.
Definitely off Jell-O for a while
My Vine question regards an English children's book that I had when I lived over there.It is a collection of short stories, poems, and excerpts from novels.I believe it's attributed to Hilda Braun, but it's been so long that I could be remembering incorrectly.
The collection included excerpts from David Copperfield, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Fairyfoot.It had the whole tale of "The Selfish Giant."It also contained part of Pinkle and the Witch.
The book had such wonderful illustrations!I think you have some overseas readers, so I'm hoping they can help me.
I'm hoping you and the Nation can help me find a book I read in 1997, and would like to find again. I picked it out of a bin of English-language novels at a bookstore in Norway while I was there on a student exchange.I don't remember too much about it, but for a long time I remembered it as being by Baroness Orczy because it resembled the Scarlet Pimpernel adventures to some degree.However, none of her non-SP books seem to match my memory.
The few details I can remember (and may be mixing in from other books) is that most of it was set in France during or just after the French Revolution, the main character's love interest was being forced to marry either her guardian or the main character (and there may have been a dramatic wedding scene in a church), and something about passing documents/catching diplomatic spies in a fancy hotel.I think there was also an old man who had escaped from a prison camp and was living incognito so that he didn't have to go back, but advising the main character, possibly out of the need for revenge on the guardian.
Thanks for any clues,
I seek him here, I seek him there, that elusive (not) Pimpernel!
Tags: Ask The Readers popcult