“It feels unfair though, right?” Gabe says. “I mean, if you’re a dirty slut, then I’m a dirty slut.”
Then Patrick gets annoyed with her, because he wants them to sleep together and it’s only in that moment that he realises she had sex with Gabe. Yes, in her mother’s novel it implicitly states that she slept with his brother, but Patrick naively believed it was a fictionalisation. I’m not quite sure why he was so angry, what exactly he thought they’d done that wasn’t sex but made him raging mad, but it didn’t make much sense. Furthermore, there’s lots of vague descriptions of Patrick and Molly’s make-out sessions (‘I think of the clutch of my legs around his waist. […] I try not to think of his mouth on mine, the rough scrape of the bark against my naked back.’) that made me believe they’d already had sex… It’s just all very unspecific, so it does get quite confusing. But for some reason, Patrick has such an intense moral compass that it’s perfectly fine to cheat on your girlfriend but don’t you dare not be a virgin… So I don’t really understand him at all anyway. You can’t scream at someone for being a “filthy whore” when you’re naked in your ex-girlfriend’s bed when your current girlfriend is at home, probably asleep. That’s double standards.
“I’m not the only one they deserve to hate. It just felt like such a gross double standard.”
“It is a double standard […] and I’m glad you said something. Equal opportunity hate, or not hate at all.”
But because the beliefs of the majority don’t change, it seems that Molly is fighting a losing battle.
It might have been different if Molly had known better than to mess around with Patrick – if she’d known how much Gabe meant to her, and had fought for him tooth and nail – but she just makes the same mistake again. I understand that it’s supposed to show how deeply ingrained her feelings for Patrick are in her sense of self, and I know that it’s supposed to demonstrate how your first love gets into your bones and never really lets go, but it just seems like a cheap shock value.
Combine that with the fact that Molly doesn’t end up with either of the brothers, she just happily swans off to college single and blissfully carefree towards the damage that she’s caused in the family once more… It just feels like she never really learns. At the very end of the book she promises that she’s going to try harder to deserve friends, but because we don’t see that it doesn’t seem very likely.
I like Katie Cotugno’s writing style, and what she tried to do here was commendable – when I’m writing I like to skip large chunks of time, so being able to write something about 99 consecutive days is very impressive. I also do like her characters, because they’re realistic – I just wish there had been more of a story here, because I just feel as though it fell a bit flat.