forworse (forworse) wrote in binky_betsy,

Opening Lines of Liographies (or Intro to BethTropes 101)

I checked through the opening lines of all the extended bios and found that there are 20 liographies, of which 9 open with dialogue and the other 11 open with the character discovering as a child his / her true calling, possibly with an abusive and / or overbearing parent as the catalyst.


Agnes Dingle: “You writing to that Canadian soldier again, Agnes?”

Anne Nichols: When Anne was a child, her favourite movie was “Sleeping Beauty”.

Leading into description of her wish to find True Love, which segues right into how she met her husband and knew immediately that he was The One, then became a doormat who stayed with him and put up with everything because that’s what she had wanted since childhood.

Anthony Caine: “You ate all my organic flax bread!”

Probably the most unintentionally hilarious of all the opening lines.

Brad Luggsworth: Brad was having a bad day. 

Leading into details of how he has failed another test, his simmering resentment of suck-up Mike Patterson and his fear that his father will beat him again – if he’s home, that is.  This opening is actually a two-for-one deal, combining Beth’s love of a childhood with an abusive, alcoholic and often absent father and a doormat of a mother who, through being beaten to a pulp by the father, introduces Brad to the policeman who becomes the mentor who leads Brad to discover that he, too, wants to be a policeman.

Candace Halloran: “I give! I give!”

Carrie & Will Patterson: “I’m leaving.”

Connie Poirier: Connie Poirier was thirteen when she discovered the stunning fact that her father was wrong.

Leading into details of how her misogynist of a father had overshadowed her childhood with the belief that it was her mother’s fault that Connie wasn’t a boy.  Watching her overbearing and abusive father and her doormat mother turns Connie into a “confirmed and outspoken feminist” who decides in her second year to “switch from general sciences to some form of medical training and invade a traditionally male domain”, partly in response to Elly’s decision to drop out and get married, and partly in response to her upbringing. 

Dawn Enjo: Carol Enjo paused outsider her daughter’s bedroom door and smiled as she watched Dawn sort through her toys, her small face serious and intent.

Leading into Carol considering one of five-year-old Dawn’s beautiful paintings, foreshadowing Dawn’s eventual future as an artist and designer: indeed, that very painting comes back in the conclusion, framed as a wedding gift from her mother, who hands it over saying, “I’ve heard it said that a child’s destiny can be guessed from the things he or she loves best when small.  There’s a lot of truth in that, I think.”

Fiona Brass: “That’s my money!  Dad, don’t, it’s mine.  You said you were just going to keep it safe for me!”

Another two-for-one deal: opening with dialogue about an overbearing / abusive / shiftless parent.

Janice Madigan: Janice Madigan’s dad liked to tell her the story of the day she was born. 

Leading into story of how she punched her soldier father when he leaned over to see her right after she was born and he knew then and there that she would grow up to be a fighter.

Jean Baker: The first time that Jean assisted with a dental procedure, the problem tooth was four feet long – even with the tip broken off. 

Intro to the ludicrous and laughable story of seven-year-old Jean who helped her father, resident vet for the Lievel Circus and husband of a Hungarian trapeze artist descended from a long line of circus performers – some paragraphs later we learn that “The years of assisting her veterinarian father left Jean determined to find a career in some part of the health care profession.”  This is a liography so ridiculous and risible that I can only conclude that Beth had just watched Dumbo or read The Wakefields of Sweet Valley.

Margaret Hardacre: Margaret Williams decided when she was seven years, three months and two days old that, [sic] she was going to be a nurse when she grew up.

Leading into the story of how she helped look after her father after he trod on a nail but was still forced by her mother into an unwanted career as a teacher – at which, it turns out, she was good.  Far too many paragraphs later, Margaret realizes that her childhood dream of being a nurse has finally been achieved when she becomes the full-time carer for her severely handicapped husband – and she is good at that, too, as she expected she would be.

Dr Norman Plett: At the age of ten, Norman Plett had one burning ambition in life; [sic] to be a Super-Hero. 

Leading into story of how he jumped off the garage roof, pretending to be Spiderman, broke his arm and decided in the emergency ward that he would become a doctor instead.

Constable Paul Wright: “Come on, Paul.  We’ll never get any blueberries if you don’t hurry up.”

Phil Richards: “What, you again?”

Similar sentiments could apply to reading the first line of any of these: "What, this again?!"

Sharon Edwards: Growing up with her sports-mad brother and sister and a father who coached junior league hockey, Sharon Edwards learned at an early age to strive for excellence, take on new challenges eagerly and accept no excuses for failure. 

Leading into story of how she broke her back in a motorcycle accident when she was 16, but, determined not to let her handicap hold her back, went to university to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a teacher.

Shelagh Campbell: Shelagh Campbell hated school.

Leads into the tale of her struggle with dyslexia, which she overcame with the help of her Grade 2 teacher, whereupon, aged 7, she decided that she would become a teacher when she grew up.  Because that's a job that women do without invading a male domain.

Ted McCauley: “Thanks for breakfast, Mom.  It was great.”

Thelma Baird: “Come on, Lightning.  Get up.”

Warren Blackwood: One warm July morning in the summer that Warren Blackwood turned four, his father took a rare day off from farming, packed the family into their dusty station wagon and took them to an air show in nearby Milborough. 

Thus Warren decides to become a pilot when he grows up.

Perhaps I'm only being so critical because Beth is an "internationally renowned and beloved cartoonist and author" and I'm not.  Or because the writing in these is dreadful beyond belief.  Likely some combination of the two.

Tags: biography, foob history

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