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RE: Trailer Trash by FortySixtyFour

 

In the year 2045, an MRI mishap transmits Tabitha Moore’s mind back into her body in the past. Now it’s 1998, she’s thirteen years old, and she has to confront her long, miserable lifetime of failures—and once again being trailer trash—all over again.

 . . . Or does she?

Note: RE: Trailer Trash contains some graphic violence and harsh language.


A serialized novel, updating sporadically

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Listed: May 14, 2019

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Take two, Mary Sue!

By theredsheep, author of Pyrebound

Dec 8, 2019: This review will contain SPOILERS. You’ve been warned. Since RTT is a wildly popular Royal Road phenomenon, my review here is pretty redundant for should-I-read-this purposes; this is just me throwing in my two cents on one of the shiniest new stories on the web serial scene. I promise I am not trying to be a contrarian ass by nitpicking about a popular thing.

RTT is, as its author acknowledges, a guilty pleasure. The whole point of do-over stories is to fulfill our wistful fantasies about going back to the most wince-inducing time of our lives and getting it right with the benefit of hindsight, instead of fumbling through in the dark and coming out the other side with lots of regrets. It does that pretty well; when I read the first couple of chapters, I found myself in a remarkably good mood for the whole rest of the day—and I’m generally a very cynical and pessimistic person.

So I’m not going to ding it for being implausible. Tabitha starts the story fat, ugly, unloved, and fairly pathetic. Less than six months later, she’s a petite and delicate beauty with impeccable fashion sense, and the whole school is talking about her. No, this is not realistic. Neither is getting sent back in time by a defective MRI machine. I’m not complaining.

And yet.

Our heroine is a teenager with sixty years of life experience. It makes sense, on some level, that she impresses the hell out of everyone she meets with her superior maturity, drive, intellect, sophistication, what-have-you. But this creates certain dramatic difficulties, because she is far better equipped than any of her peers to deal with the difficulties of teenage life, and thus far every single adult in the story seems to be solidly on her side to the point of being rabidly protective. Between these two advantages, the story has a very hard time throwing any real obstacles in her path.

Every time the bullies go after her, she suffers—but the adults invariably spot the problem, assess it accurately, take her side, and retaliate with overwhelming fury against the wrongdoers. Even when the adult in question is the bully’s father, and appears every bit as meatheaded as his child, he still thinks, "he went after a little girl? I am going to whoop his punk ass when we get home." Suspensions, expulsions, and groundings rain like biblical fire from the sky. So Tabitha doesn’t feel all that beleaguered.

There are other potential sources of tension here, but they don’t get explored as thoroughly as I’d like. She feels the normal sexual urges of a teenage girl towards boys a quarter of her mental age, but thus far she’s sat on these urges, and they’ve caused her few problems. We get the feeling that the adults were content to ignore her tormentors as long as she was the fat ugly girl from the trailer park, but this hasn’t gone anywhere either; she doesn’t spend much time blaming them for their double standard, or trying to reach out to other outcasts, or anything like that. Most of Tabitha’s sturm und drang comes from her difficulty accepting her new life circumstances. That’s not nothing, but I can’t help feeling like there are some missed opportunities here.

Mind you, I still read it, and check for updates semi-regularly. It’s just interesting rather than exciting, at present.

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