Tuesday, 2 December 2008


At the best of times I can't stand fruitcake. I've decided to support my dislike for this rich but pointless cake and at the same time clarify the weekly predicament I endure with my Aunt Pat with the help from the brilliant novel, The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. It's about the most impossibly feisty (and spookily intelligent) twelve year old girl who becomes obsessed on the idea of avenging the murder of her elder brother whom she hardly knew. The following excerpt shows Harriet's meaningful and 'flat earth' approach to arguing and reasoning concerning the said cake with her great aunts.

Though the aunts loved Harriet, she was not as affectionate a child as her sister, and her pridefulness troubled them. She was too forthright. She did not at all understand reticence or diplomacy, and in this she resembled Edie more than Edie realized. In vain, the aunts tried to teach her to be polite. "But don't you understand, darling," said Tat, "that if you don't like fruitcake, it's better to eat it anyway instead of hurting your hostess's feelings?"

"But I don't like fruitcake."

"I know you don't, Harriet. That's why I used that example."

"But fruitcake is horrible. I don't know anybody that likes it. And if I tell her I like it she's just going to keep on giving it to me."

"Yes, dear, but that's not the point. The point is, if somebody has gone to the trouble to cook you something, it's good manners to eat it even if you don't want it."

"The Bible says not to lie."

"That's different. This is a white lie. The Bible's talking about another kind of lie."

"The Bible doesn't say black or white lies. It just says lies."

"Believe me, Harriet. It's true, Jesus tells us not to lie, but that doesn't mean we have to be rude to our hostess."

"Jesus doesn't say anything about our hostess. He says that lying is a sin. He says that the Devil is a liar and the prince of lies."

"But Jesus says Love Thy Neighbor, doesn't He?" said Libby, inspired, taking over for the now speechless Tat. "Doesn't that mean your hostess? Your hostess is your neighbor, too."

"That's right," said Tat gladly. "Not," she hastened, "that anybody is trying to say your hostess necessarily lives next door to you. All Love Thy Neighbor means is that you should eat what you're offered and be gracious about it."

"I don't see why loving my neighbor means telling him I love fruitcake. When I don't."

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