Jordan's Dream Scrolls
Commenté aux États-Unis 🇺🇸 le 28 mars 2019
To the untrained eye, _Birthday Girl_ by Penelope Douglas is the story of Pike, an abusive 38 year old male, preying on Jordan, a vulnerable just turned nineteen year old girl suffering from emotional abandonment. Yet Penelope has deftly, and quite bravely to this reader, provided a few clues the story is really Jordan’s dream of escapism. Is it really a taboo romance if it is all a dream?
The story begins with Jordan working as a bartender at Grounders, a small bar in a small town a few hours from Chicago. Jordan is quite poor because she illegally spent her student loan money on fixing her boyfriend’s car. It is a little past midnight and Jordan just turned nineteen. Her shift ends early and she is unable to reach Cole, her boyfriend, for a ride to their apartment, so she decides to catch the midnight matinee a block away until it is time for Cole to pick her up at 2am. Before she leaves for the night, as a birthday present, Shel, Jordan’s boss, didn’t give Jordan the night off but rather a box of donuts and some wine. Shel loves Jordan like a deadbeat mother and her gift is a subtle hint Jordan will spend the rest of her life working at this dive bar so she might as well get fat and drunk. Jordan thanks Shel, walks out of Grounders and into her dream to escape this life (“It’s a welcome escape, especially tonight.”).
The nearby theater is showing a movie from the 1980s, a metaphor for Jordan wanting to escape and live in a simpler time. Jordan enters the movie theater to “figure out” her life. Jay, an ex-boyfriend, follows Jordan into the theater suggesting Jordan’s abusive relationships will follow her whenever and wherever so goes. Symbolizing a boat drifting down the Tunnel of Love, Jordan’s cell phone floats down a river of Merlot, eventually reaching the shore of mystery man Pike and thus begins her mental struggle to overcome her low self-esteem and abandonment issues. And like her current boyfriend Cole, Pike will also abuse and control Jordan until she finally stands up for herself, thus ending the perpetual abuse she endures in her relationships.
Because this is Jordan’s dream, she controls everyone and everything within the dream. She is Pike, Cole, Jay, Shel and all of the other minor characters in the story. There are actions and events in _Birthday Girl_ which would be improbable or impossible in the real world yet are easily explained away because anything can happen in a dream. The following are not errors in the narrative, but rather they are intentionally placed in the story to raise awareness it is all Jordan’s dream (Spoiler Alert!) -
Jordan on watching movies at the movie theater - p10 “Normally, I don’t go alone…” - p20 “I don’t watch a lot of movies with other people.”
p26 - Jordan says they lost their apartment security deposit due to “minor damages to the carpet” yet the apartment was “completely trashed” during the party
p26 - The police didn’t break up the underage drinking party at the apartment even though the landlord called the police specifically for that reason. The partiers are still partying when Jordan gets back from the police station, hours after Cole is arrested
p26 - Jordan has no money yet she puts her possessions in storage, which costs money
p26 - Jordan does not understand the police do not set bail
p26 - Jordan believes she, and not Pike, would have paid Cole’s bail, even though Cole called Pike to bail him out.
p29 - Jordan states “For a construction worker, Pike Lawson wasn’t a bad designer.” Jordan doesn’t understand design and construction are two very different jobs.
p34 - Jordan has a summer class on Thursday’s even though it is April and the spring semester is still in session before ending sometime in May.
p36 - Jordan says of Pike “He’s not…a pervert. I don’t think, anyway” - p14 Pike says to Jordan “I promise I’m not making a pass at you. You’re too old for me.” Even though Pike might be joking, smart Jordan should know it is a really perverted thing for him to say.
p37 - Pike is carrying a tool belt. Pike is the owner of a construction company and would not do manual labor at the construction site.
p37 - Even if Pike did manual labor at the construction site, he won’t, construction workers leave their tool belt in their truck and they do not carry it into their house like a purse. See p235
p42 - According to Jordan, Pike “has almost as short of a fuse as his son” which is odd since Pike has never once shown anger or rage towards anyone or anything up to this point in the story.
p42 - “Summer.” No, it is April.
p43 - Jordan states “Pike’s kind of a mystery.” Jordan never met Pike until a few days ago and has only been around him for, at most, a few hours and that doesn’t make Pike a “mystery” it only means Jordan barely knows Pike. p102 Jordan now correctly says “We barely know each other.” P125 The pendulum swings back once again and now Jordan says “But he’s still such a mystery.”
p46 - Jordan states “I’m going to go study. I’m taking a few credits this summer.” It is April and the spring semester is still in session at Doral State.
p54 - Pike says “I take in her flawless, smooth and tanned legs…” Jordan is not getting a tan anywhere near Chicago in April. Good luck wearing shorts outside as it is cold even during the day.
p54 - Why is the air conditioner on at night in Pike’s house? The average overnight April temperature near Chicago is 41 degrees. Open a window, Pike.
p58 - Pike referring to Cole “I taught him to fulfill his obligations.” Pike did not teach Cole to fulfill his obligations.
p60 - “Summer schedule.” It is April. “…Summers are rainy…” It is April.
p61 – A lullaby does not rumble like a truck engine. Rumble means growl. Pike has tinnitus.
p63 – Pike says of Jordan “I can already tell this is the kind of girl who would make a good mother and work by your side, building a life instead of draining you dry.” It is impossible to know a woman will be a good mother without observing her parenting for years.
p64 - Pike asks himself “Is he good to her?” regarding Cole’s treatment of Jordan. Pike is not the sharpest tool in the tool belt.
p66 - “Five tomorrow?” Dutch asks Pike when they will start work. Good luck. Any place a few hours drive from Chicago will still be dark outside at 5am in April. It is dangerous to walk around a construction site in the dark.
p66 - Dutch doesn’t know when Jordan works at Grounders yet he is going to Grounders specifically so he and his coworkers can leer at Jordan.
p69 - Referring to Jordan, Pike asks “Done all up like she is tonight?” It is noon, at the latest, when Pike asks this rhetorical question, and it is not night time.
p74 - Jordan referring to Cole “He’s good people…” Cole is anything but “good people.”
p77 - A bachelor party on a Wednesday night. That’s the joke.
p80 - Jordan states “…my base tan already in full swing.” Jordan is not getting a tan anywhere near Chicago in April.
(audio book only) – p84 Jordan states “I wait for my dad to come ‘back’ to the phone.” He was never on the phone.
p85 - Jordan says “Neither my dad nor my mom are bad people…” and then she describes exactly why they are bad people.
p89 - Pike states “We eat in silence for the next couple of hours.” That’s a lot of eating.
P94 – Jordan says of marriage “I just want the life.” Jordan’s mother abandoned her; she hates her step mother and is indifferent towards her father. Even Cole’s parents never married. There is nothing in the story for Jordan to want marriage. See also P369
p94 - Pike states “Jordan is usually already up when I come downstairs in the morning…” Absolutely not. The bar closes at 2am and either Jordan can immediately leave or she has to help clean and close the place for the next day. She’ll get home after 2am. Pike wakes up at 5:30am and comes downstairs within five minutes, meaning Jordan gets maybe three hours of sleep, tops.
p95 - Pike says “…I walk through the door every afternoon, hearing her 80s music….making it feel even more like summer time in here.” Pike, when does Jordan work? Is it in the afternoon or in the evening? If she works in the afternoon, she’s not home and if she works nights she’s not waking up at 5:30am. If she works irregular shifts, then it is not every afternoon.
p98 - Jordan “releases the handles” of the lawnmower which, for safety reasons is a dead man’s switch, and would immediately cause the engine to stop, yet the engine continues to run. Only after she dances around for a bit does the engine “suddenly dies”.
p98 - Jordan goes swimming in April, even though it is still cold outside near Chicago. For some odd reason Pike has already opened his pool for the year, though the water will be brutally cold, possibly even frozen. Pike says “It’s in the nineties today” in April, near Chicago. Damn this dream is heating up.
p105 - Pike says “I install the insulation…” Pike owns the construction company, he does not install insulation. See p37.
p126 - regarding parenting, Jordan believes “When you have kids, your hopes transfer to them.” If true, then Jordan would have her parents’ hopes. Jordan does not have her parents’ hopes.
p129 - Pike says “I’m the first one up. Jordan is usually moving about…” Obvious part 1 - If Jordan is usually moving about then Jordan is the first one up. Obvious part 2 - Pike called Jordan at 3am while she was trying to sleep at Grounders. Why would Pike think Jordan would be awake after working a p130 10 hour shift the day before and was allegedly out partying with Cole?
p130 - Pike asks Cole “Have you ever caught me in a lie?” The question implies Pike might have lied to Cole but has never been caught, shifting the burden of proof onto Cole. Pike should have stated “I have never lied to you” unless, of course, Pike has lied to Cole. There are many reasons why Pike is a bad father.
p134 - We know from p9 they live in a town a few hours from Chicago so they must live in either Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan or Indiana. Shel is smoking in Grounders. Illinois (2008), Wisconsin (2010), Iowa (2008) and Michigan (2010) all have laws against smoking in a bar, but not Indiana. However, it is illegal for an 18/19yo to tend bar in Indiana. P140 Jordan says smoking is allowed in Grounders so they must be in Indiana, but Jordan also states “I can handle seeing my sister naked…” Nudity is illegal in Indiana strip clubs like The Hook. It is all a dream.
P139 - Jordan leaves Grounders, a few hours from Chicago, after the sun has set in early May making it around 7:50pm. Jordan stops work at 6pm (p138) so it took almost 2 hours for Jordan to eat half her sandwich, get her tips, sweatshirt and bag then leave Grounders. p68 Pike says to himself “The Hook is a strip club downtown, not far from Grounders where Jordan works.” p139 it takes almost two hours for Jordan to walk from Grounders to The Hook which is now on the outskirts of town, no longer downtown and no longer close to Grounders.
P148 - Pike, Todd, Dutch, Eddie, John and Schuster are playing poker. On p149 the poker players are now Pike, Todd, Dutch, Eddie and Lin.
P150 - Pike says of Cole “He was in baseball, too, I guess.” Pike prides himself on believing he’s a good father yet he doesn’t know if Cole played baseball in high school.
P157 - At 1am, Pike checks the thermostat and it is 79 degrees inside the house even though in early May near Chicago it is about 50 degrees outside. Cole’s friends are swimming in the pool’s icy water. On p163 Pike says of Jordan “Hopefully she doesn’t mess with the AC, and I can stay asleep.” Pike, you had the heat on, turn it off and open a window.
P160 - Pike states “…her orange bikini making her tanned skin look darker.” Once again, no one is getting a tan anywhere near Chicago in early May or wearing a bikini when it is about 50 degrees outside.
P164 – Jordan says of Pike “We have absolutely nothing in common.” Jordan, you and Pike both love 1980s movies leading to your obligatory Meet Cute moment. Granted, it’s not much but it’s not nothing either.
P164 – Jordan says “…in the wee hours when it’s still dark, and I’m the only person up and in the kitchen with my coffee.” Jordan doesn’t sleep. Ever. Perhaps this is an allusion that Jordan is the Devil (P374)
P165 – Jordan says of Pike “He makes me happy.” Jordan readily forgets Pike accused her of cheating on Cole, causing her to cry, to want to move out of his house and never see him again.
P166 – Cam magically appears in Pike’s house without anyone inviting her inside. Cam conveniently never has her infant son Killian with her when she is at Pike’s house. Ditto on P313.
P168 – Jordan says of Cam “She’s not a ‘little girl’.” Now the reader knows why Pike isn’t interested in Cam.
P173 – Jordan says of Pike “There are hundreds of men out there just like him. He’s not special.” But on p160 Jordan states “There’s a shortage of men in this town. Too many boys.” Jordan has a spectacular view sitting atop her high horse.
P181 – How does Dutch know Jordan has never worn lingerie at Grounders before that night since on p66 he didn’t know Jordan worked at Grounders until that day.
P190 – The dream gets really dark. Dutch says Pike is into ephebophilia and Pike does not disagree. Pike was telling the truth on p14.
P190 - Dutch, Jordan knew Pike’s favorite beer was Corona, that’s not even close to having “your own language.” Dutch has sustained multiple head injuries stumbling around dark construction sites at 5am.
P196 – Jordan would have called Cam rather than her father. P259 Cam tells Jordan “You know you can come to my place any time. You’re welcome to stay.”
P202 - Pike says to himself regarding Jordan “She’s not my concern.” Yet on P181 – Pike says of Jordan “She’s kind of my responsibility…”
P202 – “In summer.” It is still not summer.
P204 - Pike says to himself regarding Chip, Jordan’s father “Her father isn’t a bad guy” and then he describes exactly why Chip is a bad guy.
P211 - Jordan is ‘trying’ to save money yet she buys a new bedding set, dresser, bedside table, etc., Obvious part 1 – (p26) Why doesn’t Jordan get her stuff out of storage. Obvious part 2 - Pike, if he truly was a mature adult, would have insisted on buying these items since they are for his house.
P213 - “summer” It is still not summer.
P215 – Jordan states “I whip off my jacket, too, toss it into the bed of the truck, and climb into the passenger seat.” Jordan, who is trying to save money, will be spending money on a new jacket after she gets home and realizes it is no longer in the bed of the truck.
P227 – Jordan states of Pike “…he’s way out of practice dealing with people…” Jordan, Pike owns a construction company and deals with people all of the time.
P231 – Pike says “If she were two years younger, I could go to prison for what I almost did to her last night.” Jordan is 19 years old therefore two years younger is 17 years old. The age of consent in Wisconsin is 18 but it is 17 or lower in all of the other states near Chicago. So according to Pike, he lives in Wisconsin.
240 – Pike says of Jordan “She knows that time always passes and her day will come.” There is nothing up to this point in the story for Pike to say this line.
252 – Jordan states “It might not be technically summer yet…” Halleluiah!
254 – Teresa states “Pike is proof that we learn when we’re forced to and maturity is more the result of experience than age.” And Lindsay completely disproves Teresa’s theory. Strike one, Teresa.
254 – Teresa states “It takes conviction to do what you know you’re supposed to do regardless of what you want.” Conviction implies want. The appropriate word is discipline. Strike two, Teresa.
255 – Teresa states of Pike “He’s a good man.” Pike is a narcissistic, possessive, emotionally manipulative and physically abusive man. Strike three, Teresa.
p261 - Jordan says to herself “I’m a kid, for crying out loud.” P163 – Jordan says to Pike “I like being the only woman in the house.” Jordan, are you a woman or are you a kid?
P261 – Jordan states “If he wants to treat me like a kid, then here we go.” Jordan, you called yourself a kid ten seconds earlier.
P278 – Pike says of Jordan “I don’t know if I love her…” Pike, if you say or think that then you don’t love Jordan. P335 Once again “That I think I love her…” Pike is not the sharpest tool in the tool belt.
280 – Pike says of Cole “…he doesn’t know whom to trust.” Pike, earlier in the story you said Cole only trusts Lindsay.
287 – Why doesn’t Pike check to see if Jordan is sleeping in his bedroom? Pike is not the sharpest tool in the tool belt.
P288 – Pike states “This is why women and I don’t get along and my relationships don’t last. I don’t have the head for this bull****” but on P279 Pike mentions he lost romantic relationships due to the women not wanting to deal with Lindsay for the rest of their lives.
P299 – Pike states “People notice things, and Cole is rarely here, while his girlfriend and I are constantly together.” 1) Cole never lived at your house until he briefly moved in with Jordan. 2) Jordan is no longer Cole’s girlfriend. 3) Even you didn’t know Jordan was Cole’s girlfriend. 4) You and Jordan spend as much time together as DINKs.
P307 – Jordan doesn’t mention taking Doral State freshman year finals. P316 – Jordan begins her summer class which she abandons when she goes to Virginia.
P307 – Dutch mentions Pike punching nails into sheet rock. Pike is the owner of a construction company and would not do manual labor.
P313 – Cam tells Jordan “I saw both cars outside, so I knew you were home.” Jordan’s VW is always parked outside because it doesn’t run well enough to drive safely, so according to Cam, Jordan is always home.
P321 – Once again, why would Cole go looking for Jordan, they are no longer together.
P328 – Lindsay is temporarily kicked out of her apartment while the storm windows are being replaced. Jordan, your dream is really going off the rails, just wake up.
P336 - Jordan says of Pike “I love him and want him…” yet on the previous page she says to Pike “How I feel absolutely nothing for you now.” P347 Jordan thinks to herself “I’ll get over him.”
P340 – Jay McCabe is drunk yet Pike forces him to drive away from the party.
P347 – Shel tells Jordan “We don’t need food to survive this life as much as we need our hearts broken at least once.” Shel, how long can you survive without food? Food for thought, which Jordan spouts the most nonsense, Shel or Teresa?
P355 – Pike says of Jordan “She’s smart and strong…” yet there’s nothing in the story indicating Jordan is smart or strong.
P363 – Cole asks Pike regarding Jordan “Do you still love her?” Pike never loved Jordan.
P367 - Lindsay would have read all of Jordan’s Dream Scrolls and left them on the table so Jordan would know she read them.
P367 – Pike says of Jordan “She’s creative…” Jordan has shown zero creativity in the story.
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