Chapter 8 is just Betsy eventually convincing Jessica she needs to see her mother alone, and then she goes and sees her mother alone. It’s also pretty casual. Betsy walks inside the unlocked, well-lit home deep into the night (“My mom suffered from insomnia at the best of times. Which this certainly wasn’t.) She doesn’t recognize her at first, as grief has caused her to age about 15 years (keep this in mind for about 6 books from now!) Her mom has white curly hair, and apparently started going grey in high school. I do not know why this is a character detail, as it’s pretty strange and not exactly flattering to her mother, or to Betsy’s own genes. Later on, Betsy claims that she and her mother had always been mistaken for sisters growing up because of her mom’s youthful good looks (having been knocked up one month out of high school) and grey fucking hair.
Anyway, the most noteworthy thing about this exchange (beyond the fact that Betsy discovers for sure she can no longer eat solids–mom cooks risotto, Betsy barfs for a while) is what happens when Betsy walks in. The moment she walks in, her mom not even knowing how or why or what the fuck, she immediately starts insulting her. Which is played off as just some cutesy, fun thing they just do, but like…even if you have this kind of relationship (and why would you, unless there’s some hidden truth in your words IMO), who the fuck does this the very moment they are reunited with their dead fucking daughter. She thinks her daughter is dead, is soon to discover she is actually undead. She says seeing her must be a dream, the worst dream she’s ever had. Betsy rushes to her and pinches her leg hard enough to make her yelp. And she jumps and says, “You wretched child, I’m going to have a bruise the size of a plum. You awful, awful child. Such a burden, such a…” and then cries before she can finish what Betsy describes as “the familiar, well-loved fake complaints.”
Which, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, and the fact that I don’t have this kind of relationship with either of my parents, but something about that just always really rubs me the wrong way. Like…there’s often truth hiding in humor. And apparently these women have spent Betsy’s entire life with her mom insulting, belittling, and complaining about her…in an amusing way? Betsy, who spends half her time living with a stepmother who does the same things in earnest, also has her beloved mommy telling her what a piece of shit she is (note: I don’t think this fake-insult shit ever comes up again) all the time, and like…no wonder she’s such a bitch. And if you ask me, I’m pretty sure her mother probably wasn’t fully faking.
Anyway, her response to Betsy announcing she is a vampire is, “As Jessica would say, I don’t give a shit. Also, you move faster than the human eye can track.” I kind of hate the whole “as so-and-so would say, ____” trope in books. It’s a cheap callback, or a cheap excuse for a character who doesn’t swear to swear, it’s just kind of annoying, and who actually says that in real life while immersed in a casual conversation with their loved ones? Again, maybe I’m just annoyed by dumb things, but it annoys me.
Anyway, her mom is cool with the vampire thing too, also with no real reaction whatsoever, she again mentions being at the funeral that sometimes happened and sometimes never happened, and chapter 8 ends with Betsy feeling happy that her two favorite people know she’s alive, albeit overly devastated that she will never again eat “rissoto, shrimp cocktail, lobster, prime rib–” crying and crying about it, except for the fact she can no longer produce tears.
COMING UP: Detective Nick returns, Jessica insists Betsy get her crimefight on, and a mysterious caller calls mysteriously, demanding Betsy come meet with them…alone…oOoOh!