Summary: Chapter 41
Charna phones Elaine to tell her that the article Andrea wrote made the front page of the Entertainment section. Nevertheless, Elaine dreads reading the article, which has the headline “Crotchety Artist Still Has Power to Disturb.”
The article contains snapshots of two paintings. In the first, Erbug, The Annunciation, Mrs. and Mr. Smeath fly, attached at the back like beetles. In the second, Eye for an Eye, Mrs. Smeath, wearing only bloomers, holds a paring knife and a potato.
Elaine bristles at the words in the article that make her seem old, and hates that Andrea called Elaine’s comments on modern women “deliberately provocative.” Nevertheless, Elaine imagines that Cordelia will see the article in the paper and come to the retrospective.
Elaine has only ever painted one picture of Cordelia, Half a Face. Cordelia’s whole face is visible in the picture, but another face, covered in a white cloth, hangs on the wall behind her. Elaine had intended to capture Cordelia’s belligerent look, but instead her eyes appear frightened. Elaine’s not afraid of seeing Cordelia, but she is afraid of becoming her.
Summary: Chapter 42
As she starts tenth grade, Elaine finally begins puberty. As she shaves her legs in the bathtub, Stephen knocks at the door, mocking her for being vain.
One day, as Elaine and Cordelia walk home, Cordelia brings up Grace and begins to mock her family. She calls them the “lump-lump family,” and she and Elaine joke about Grace’s family’s lives. Elaine doesn’t understand why she finds this game so satisfying, nor why Cordelia keeps making jokes. In Cordelia’s new version of their story, they never admired Grace.