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Genre - Literary Fiction
Rating - R
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By page 99, Cosette has turned her life completely upside down from when we initially meet her. At the beginning of the story Cosette places all her focus on finding a father in order to complete her tribe, and feels God has smiled down upon her by placing, Ken, a handsome Air force sergeant in her life who has completely won her over with attention and gifts.
Playing matchmaker, Cosette introduces Ken to her mother, hoping that the two will hit it off. In no time at all the two become a couple. Cosette feels her cleverness has paid off, guaranteeing her the solid happiness of a prime-time family. But her celebration is short lived when Ken makes inappropriate advances towards Cosette, pulling the shade down on her sun-shiny hopes and sending her into a pit of shame and despair.
Ken and Ma marry, making it impossible for Cosette to escape Ken’s nasty advances, keeping them a secret, thus carrying the responsibility of her mother’s happiness on her own small shoulders. The shame of the situation drives Cosette into a silent corner of introspection and guilt, unable to speak about it with even her closest confidants—her two older sisters.
On page 99 Cosette is recovering from one of Ken’s nighttime visits. She is hoping to enjoy the carnival, like any other ten-year-old, while struggling with her feelings for her stepbrother, Ken’s seven-year-old son, Tommy. She feels compassion for this little boy, understanding how Tommy is innocent of his father’s sins—offering him a sort of reluctant companionship.
Further down the page we see Cosette, rejoining her older sisters, hoping to talk them into riding some rides with her and Tommy. What takes place is a lesson in womanhood, as her oldest sister Diana uses her beauty to charm the ride handler into letting all four of them share a ride limited to three-per-car.
Cosette watches the exchange between Diana and the young man. Witnessing the manipulative power of using ones beauty, which completely disarms the vulnerable ride handler. Chuckling when she sees Diana get the best of him, Cosette is startled by this man’s toothless grin. Caught between laughter and compassion, Cosette suppresses her giggles, not wanting to hurt the man’s feelings, sensing an odd kinship with this man’s vulnerability.