I just finished Wicked Plants, the first Book Club pick for Red Room Staffers. Needless to say I love the book, but I'm always impressed with people who are experts at something. Be it plants, roses, Star Trek, books, long haired cats, movies, whatever. It makes me open my mouth a bit and say in admiration: "Wow."
The great thing about Stewart's book is that it shows you how many ways plants can kill. This I knew from reading White Oleander, where Ingrid, jilted by her ex-boyfriend, spreads a concoction of white oleanders and DMSO on his doorknob, killing him. What I couldn't believe was that people would stop and eat wild berries, and then are surprised when they have a bad reaction to it. They're wild berries! You don't know if they are poisonous or not! (My grandfather would be so proud of me right now.)
What also impressed me is how the book can be used as a writer's manual. Got an irritating character that you want to get rid of? Give him some datura in a tea, which can cause hallucinations and seizures, which can cause a coma and death. You have a character near a pond, have them drink the water. From the toxic algae, they can suffer gastrointestinal distress, dizziness, and amnesia. Dear Lord, the material that can be provided from amnesia! It's pure gold!
I'm surprised that soap operas haven't used plants as a good plot device. They can be handy at times, especially when an actor comes back when their character died on camera. There they are flatlining. People are crying, sobbing, and you think crud, they died on camera, so they really are dead.
However! Sometimes the actor comes back. Then the writers have to create a brand new character for the person. Usually they are the long lost twin of the deceased, or they have gotten plastic surgery to look like the deceased. However, you still think of the person as the deceased character, no matter how good the actor is.
Now there's a way to bring back that dead character! Give the character curare, a vine located in South America. It can make a person look dead, but if the person is given the kiss of life in time, they can live. This could provide oodles of plot points! An evil doctor, the character is taken to a made up country (like GL's San Rios or ATWT's Montega) When the person is found, it can explained like this:
Family Member: Doctor, I saw him die. How can he be alive? I'm married again to his brother and pregnant with twins.
Doctor: Well, he was given curare, which made him look dead, but he wasn't. And I might as well tell you now: Those twins aren't your husband's. They're mine.
There you go! Not only does it solve logic problems, it's realistic! Plus you still get some old fashioned soap opera action!
Soap Opera writers, you can write me later. Just don't send me any castor bean plants.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries