Monday, October 24, 2011

Make Believe Mondays: Ask the Cranky Divorcee

People love advice columns, and they hate being lied to. So when an advice letter lacks that certain ring of authenticity, whether it be addressed to Dear Prudence or Cary Tennis or Dan Savage, readers tend to get upset.

But does it really matter whether the letters are real?  Matthew Felling points out, “Advice letters aren't front page breaking news. They're not Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass territory. Advice letters are exchanges that speak to general concerns that the readers will empathize with – like fables or "One To Grow On"s. You want an advice letter to resonate.”

In that spirit, the Cranky Divorcee will be doling out advice in response to completely false letters from totally imaginary people.  Today, characters share their burning questions about forbidden love.

Dear Cranky Divorcee,

I have this problem. I’m a young woman living in a supernatural mystery series by an incredibly popular author. I can find dead people, because I was hit by lightning. But that’s not the real issue.  I’ve got the hots for my stepbrother Tolliver, who I grew up with. Should I tell him how I feel? What happens if he doesn’t feel the same way? I can’t avoid him, because we work together. He’s the only one who can help me get through the anguishing experience of finding dead people.  I’m constantly jogging to burn off some of my sexual frustration, but it’s just not enough anymore! What  do I do if I find myself totally alone with him, like, say, stranded in a cottage during a blizzard?
In torment,

Good god. Honey, the question you should be asking is why you’re irresistibly attracted to your stepbrother.   Get thee to therapy. Now.  I don’t care if you find dead people; a good therapist will help you get to the bottom of your boundary issues. I’m revolted, but you need to have a quickie with your stepbrother and get the urge out of your system. Work through the shame and guilt and move on, because if you can avoid a relationship with your brother, you could go on to enjoy a long life. Your writer churns out umpteen novels about the characters she like (we're talking double digits), so don’t get on her bad side. But I have a feeling you won’t heed my advice.  So don't be surprised when you don't get another book. People do not want to read about step siblings skipping off into the sunset in matrimonial bliss.  On the other hand, you may have a future in a different medium. So if you do get a second chance, please--hands off your stepbrother!

Next: a complicated love triangle unraveled:

Dear Cranky Divorcee,
I’m a cute, quirky high school student  living in a YA TV mystery, who’s been having an affair with my English teacher, Ezra Fitz. Okay, former English teacher, because now he teaches at the same college as my dad, his former mistress, and Ezra’s ex-fiancée, but that’s a whole different question. What I want to know is, I’m been having these dreams about my dead best friend’s brother, who’s creepy and mysterious, but really cute. What do I do? Are my dreams a sign that I’m destined to be with the creepy brother all my friends hate?


Where to begin? Your English teacher is a letch, and your dead best friend’s boyfriend doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together.  Consider Lucas, the school newspaper editor.  Your best friend Hana is too shallow to realize he’s a catch.  But you’re supposed to be the bookish writer! Think of it this way—Lucas is just like Mr. Fitz, minus the paraphilia and the scary ex-fiancée. He’s available, awesome, and age appropriate. Of course, this means that you’ll have absolutely no interest in him until you’re at least thirty. Also, as a side note? Having once dyed a strand of your hair pink does not actually qualify as “weird” or “quirky” outside the confines of your TV show.


  1. This is awesome. You should turn it into a trivia game.

    I've yet to read that Grave Sight series. Now I'm not sure I want to delve into a series with sexual tension between step-siblings (although didn't Greg and Marsha do it in real life?).

  2. Explain more about the trivia game, because I am slow! Like, guess who the characters are? That would be fun.

    I love Charlaine Harris, but that series just went nuts.

    Yeah, Greg and Marsha. I forgot about them. Which Brady is the one who married the America's Next Top Supermodel girl?