Digesting the Incredible Edible Janey

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Digesting the Incredible Edible Janey

Post  Lunaris on Wed Jun 17, 2009 11:09 am

After recent correspondence with Skye concerning, among other things, Simply Sarah, I decided I was going to put my nose to the grindstone and write a fan fic set either right after part two of the story, or shortly into part three. The only thing was, what would I write about? Who would feature? What would go on?

This lead me into a trail of thinking on the different characters and how they might react to different situations, and how they might get into those situations. This, in turn, lead me into thinking more about the characters themselves and what their drives in life were. What makes them tick, why do they tick like they do, and anything else I could throw the word 'tick' into.

The more I thought, the more I realized my thoughts and ideas were all starting to swirl more and more around Janey.

Janey gets a lot of flack from readers. Some are sympathetic to her plight, myself included, others can't stand her. I think I remember at least one reader wishing she'd have died when that van hit her. Woo, you paragon of humanity and kindness you. Heheh. Just kidding, hon.

A lot of what people can't stand about her, for the most part anyways, is how she treats Sarah. She openly refuses to give up her friendships for Sarah, while giving Sarah a hard time about some of her own friendships, and she openly ditches Sarah in favor of her friends.

I've said as much as anyone this is something she needs to work on, but over last night I was thinking about all this and it started to dawn on me as to why she's doing it. Yes, I think she does have a reason for her behavior. A very good, very logical reason. She isn't meaning to treat Sarah poorly, that much is to be made clear. She loves Sarah.

Think back to an incident that I mentioned just a moment ago. Janey...was hit...by a van. Wow, so what does a car accident in the past have to do with treating your girlfriend bad, on purpose or not, in the present?

Perhaps it's because Janey was never able to fully recover from the accident. I don't remember all of what it said, I only read it once when I was going through the comics the first time, but I distinctly remember something in there about her suffering from really bad short-term memory.

Here is where it starts to make sense for me.

Before the accident, during recovery, and immediately after hospital release, Janey was around Sarah all the time. Given a bit of time, I could almost have pictured her going on to out herself to the world by the current point of time in the story if this had kept up.

By contrast, she was around Claire very little. This is very key in understanding her behavior.

Jump to the current story line. Janey has done a nice reversal, going from spending all her time with Sarah and little to none with Claire, to spending all her time with Claire and little to none with Sarah.

This is because her short-term memory is having a hard time registering that she's doing it. She stores the memory somewhere in her brain, but it's not being fed in fully and she has a hard time retrieving it. To compensate, her mind pulls up older memories. To me, I would imagine this meaning Janey does a lot of things by lists and schedules on papers. School? Printed class schedule. Got a party coming up? Quick jot on a stick-e-note.

What about remembering what we do, though? Many of us probably write down when we have a date coming up, but few of us are probably going to look back at that little note after the date is done and over with.

So in Janey's mind, going by the long-term of it, she's spent more time with Sarah than she actually has, and less time with Claire. She knows on a level this probably isn't true, but at the same time she's having a hard time reconciling it.

So what about her remembering what was being said about Sarah kissing Gerry?

This stuff is easy to interpret too. Someone once told me that we have to learn something seven times before we remember it. Janey heard about this on the rumor mill at school. She said she heard some of the other students talking. I'd wager this wasn't a one-day thing. It was probably drilled into her head thoroughly enough that she managed to commit it to long-term memory.

This isn't to say that all of her short-term memories are just gone, either. She has poor short-term memory, not a non-existent one. She seems able to keep up with more drastic things, like breaking up with Sarah. She can certainly hold conversation in mind. I just think the by-and-large of it consists of not remembering well just who she's spending more time with thanks to the compensating jumble from her long-term memory.

Thinking about it like this, I find a lot more sympathy and pity than I already had for Janey. She's losing someone very dear to her with little idea of what's really going wrong, knowing only what little she can pick up and hold.

I don't know, this is just what I've come up with. There was more, but I didn't write all of it down. So...thoughts? Opinions? Gripes and complaints? I'm interested to know, more than anything, what really drives Janey hard on some people's nerves. I'm having a harder and harder time finding much fault with her anymore.
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Re: Digesting the Incredible Edible Janey

Post  Guest on Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:02 pm

I don't think anyone REALLY hates Janey, i don't. Even before the accident Janey had pretty much the same personality that she has now. I think the 'hatred' comes from Sarah being the main protagonist and being a sort of (and not in a bad way) Mary Sue for Sky possibly but mostly a Mary Sue for the readers of Simply Sarah. How many times have we all read the latest update of SS and commented something along the lines of: "I can so relate. The same thing happened to me, etc, etc." Maybe in some small way the readers take the trials and tribulations of Sarah and relate to them personally. Maybe Janey just reminds us of an ex-lover, girlfriend that we once knew (probably not too fondly). I actually loved the first chapter of SS and i wanted them to get together so badly. Somewhere in the second chapter, I think it felt like Sarah was risking alot (she told her parents she was gay, she stood up to the school bullies) and Janey was hiding or risking very little. Anyways, i remember feeling that the relationship was beginning to seem unbalanced. It seemed that one person cared more about their relationship that the other and that person was Sarah. I would need to go back to the old chapters and take another look but that's how i remember the story going and thats how it appeared to me. I think Sarah and Janey will probably get back together and i kinda hope they do live happily ever after. I think i would like to see them date other people first because 1) that's what would happen in the real world and 2) dating other people is a sure way to find out what (who) you want and what (who) you don't. What a Face

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Re: Digesting the Incredible Edible Janey

Post  Lunaris on Wed Jun 17, 2009 7:28 pm

I don't know, it seems to me like Janey has changed a great deal since the accident. The whole thing has been gradual, but I get the feeling there is more to it than just her being afraid of risk or an unbalanced relationship.

I mean, yeah unbalanced...but I see more of a reason there somewhere than just fear.

You are right though, on Janey reminding people of ex-lovers. She reminds me of several people. A couple I miss fondly, and a couple I'm glad to be rid of. In a real-world situation, though, I could see Janey being someone I'd probably chase after.

Then again, the same might be said of Sarah.

I'm not sure how I'd feel about them dating other people. Yeah, it seems a little more realistic, but at the same time, I'm a romantic at heart and that would kill a little of the joy if that just got out of hand for the sake of self-discovery. The whole love and romance aspect was what lead me to reading Simply Sarah in the first place.

I suppose that's all up to Skye though, and as wonderful a talent as she has for crafting and telling a story, I have no doubt I'll be stuck to SS until the sweet or bitter end.

I just think there are deeper issues and reasons behind Janey's actions and I do feel all that needs to be known to understand it has been given to us to read and comprehend. Yeah, Sarah gets the shit-end of the stick, but I don't think it can easily be helped.

The biggest change I can find between Janey before and Janey after the accident...is she's always had friends, but before the accident she was with Sarah all the time. She was ditching them to hang with Sarah. Now, it's like she's reverted somewhat, and she has other influences such as her long-standing crush on Claire to affect that.
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