Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Immortal (Christopher Pike)

This was one of my favorite Christopher Pike books when I was younger. The whole ground glass in the hamburger thing really freaked me out and I was always eyeing the person who made my hamburgers suspiciously. Then I read some article in college about how ground glass actually can’t kill you because your body just digests it and pushes it out. It kind of made me a little pissed off at Pike…

Josie and Helen are best friends, but in that high school way, where they actually don’t really like each other. Helen’s family is kind of poor, but that didn’t stop them from sending her to Greece the summer before. Now they’re going back, thanks to Josie’s dad. He’s a screenwriter and traveling with his stuckup, prissy girlfriend Silk.

The book flashes back to two women and I bet you know where this is going. Sryope and Phthia were two women living during ancient times. Phthia was obsessed with a guy who Sryope secretly loved. She made him indebted to her and then got bored and ran off with other guys. Sryope challenged her to a story telling contest, to get him free. She knew that Phthia was actually the daughter of a fury and told a story about a fury impregnating a woman. Phthia ran off in shame and Sryope won.

On the flight, Helen thinks about this guy Ralph who she used to date. He went after Josie next, which caused problems between the two of them and then skipped town. Josie then remembers how she almost died the summer before and even though she constantly brings it up, she gets pissed when anyone else mentions it.

The first thing Helen wants to do is rent some mopeds and look for Tom, a British guy she met the summer before. They get their scooter things and take off. They head to the beach, where Tom worked before and try to spot him. Conveniently Josie almost dies again by drowning and conveniently Tom rescues her. Conveniently he is now obsessed with her and wants to date her.

Tom grabs his friend Pascal and the four go out. It’s all very lame because Helen wants Tom, who wants Josie, who wants Tom and Pascal is some weird French guy who speaks little English, but seems interested in Helen. Josie basically decides to say fuck it and not leave because she really, really wants this guy…who she just met. Helen starts drinking way too much and throws up on Tom, who decides it’s time to leave. Josie does kiss Tom though, while he’s carrying her drunk friend. Nice.

Josie starts dreaming about goddesses and ancient Greece, which intensifies after they visit Delos. The ancient ruins seem to speak to her and Helen says that she noticed the same thing last summer. Apparently she tried to commit suicide and says that they can only notice the change when they come close to death.

In response, Josie sneaks out to see Tom when Helen is asleep. Josie and Tom make plans to get the group together later. She then spends a few pages, trying to convince Helen to go for it with Pascal. I know Josie is supposed to be the heroine of the book, but this is all fairly horrible friend behavior. She knows that her friend has a thing for him and yet sneaks around constantly, to spend time with him.

First of all, you’re on VACATION. You will never see this guy again, so who really cares if you get him instead of her? Second, he’s from England! Are you planning on moving across the world for some guy you spent six days with? Maybe Pike was auditioning for a spot as a chick lit writer with this book…

The four go off together, but Tom slips that he saw Josie earlier. Helen freaks out and tells Josie that Ralph died after leaving town, makes her feel like a shitty friend and then storms off. Instead of feeling bad for even a minute, Josie goes for a romantic boat ride with Tom. They hit a storm, the boat capsizes and she barely makes it to Delphos.

She has another ancient Greece dream and then finds and old relic and takes it. I think that’s called theft. She heads home and learns that everyone spent the night looking for her. Tom made it back to shore and alerted the authorities. Helen and Pascal are now best buddies or fuck buddies or whatever.

Josie grabs Tom and they venture off to a nude beach. They get close, but Tom won’t put the moves on her, saying that it’s not safe because they don’t have condoms. He finds her relic, but she won’t let him near it, saying that that there’s something wrong with it.

They all head out for a BBQ, which Silk and Helen planned. Josie eats a little and plans on having another HAMBURGER, but gives it to Tom instead. Thanks for the death sentence lady! She takes a nap and wakes up in pain. She gets to Tom’s, where Pascal tells her that he’s also sick. She passes out and has another dream.

In this dream, Sryope is brought before some tribunal where she’s asked about her life. It turns out that she’s a muse and has been helping humans for years, including Josie’s dad. The lawyers show footage of Sryope doing nasty things to Josie and her family. She’s the one who caused Josie’s heart problems and made Helen try to commit suicide. She also forced Phthia into Helen.

Sryope was sentenced to life as a mortal and sent to Josie. She knows that Phthia’s dad took her form and did all those evil things, pretending that he was her. She wakes up and sees Helen, who confesses to putting ground glass in the burgers. Josie writes a last letter, helping her dad with his latest story idea and tells Tom the truth.

Tom goes with her Delos and they find Helen with Pascal. She’s about to shoot Pascal, when Josie distracts her, gets the gun and kills her. She then finds the relic that she had before and realizes that it holds her blood. She passes the statue to Tom and lets him drink her blood, which keeps him alive. Satisfied that he’ll live forever, she dies in his arms.

This one was a lot better in my mind. Maybe the whole ground glass cheat had ruined it for me…


  1. You know what really bothered me about this book? Is in the beginning, when Josie and Helen first get to the island, they check into the hotel and Josie mentions that Helen's parents covered Helen's airfare, but the father was shouldering the hotel bills, as Helen's trip was really a present to Josie. OK, so Helen's parents are paying for her ticket, Helen is paying for her own food and entertainment, the father is merely not charging Helen to stay in his daughter's room, which he would have paid for anyways. Magnanimous gesture, there, Mr. Josie. Even as an 11 year old that annoyed me.

    I agree, it was hard to care what happened to Josie as she was so bitchy to Helen throughout the book. Also, while it appears that Phthia-as-Helen equally hated Syrope-as-Josie, there was nothing to indicate the 'real' Helen was nearly as obnoxious as the 'real' Josie.

  2. I have to agree with that. Even when Josie was Syrope though, she kind of treated her like crap. She told that story in front of all those people, which is what set off the feud. And yet we're supposed to feel sorry for her?

  3. Yeah, Syrope was a stone cold bitch. Phthia was grateful that Syrope didn't just blackmail her out right (release your husband from his vows or I'll tell your secret), but Syrope still manipulated her into a completely one sided contest (like Peyton Manning challenging a 13 year old in a football passing contest) and told her story, albeit without naming any names, anyways! And I believe it was the 'real' Josie who took up with Helen's ex right after he broke her heart. Two peas in a pod.

  4. This is one of the best books I ever read as a kid! I read it over and over again until my copy fell apart. I want to get it again but would love to find it in hard back I stead of paper back. The search is on. If you like to read and are good at picturing yourself as the main character then you will like this book. :-) enjoy!

  5. I definitely loved this book as a kid! It made me never want to eat hamburgers again for a long time. Oddly enough, I recently learned that eating ground glass probably won't actually kill you, and I immediately thought about this book :)

  6. I loved this book too! And Witch! Reading your other recaps... :) (And the one with the photographer...)

  7. Die Softly? I actually have most of the CP books published when I was a teenager, I think up through The Last Vampire series. Some of them are just sooo hard to get through that it will take me awhile to recap them all LOL