Study Guide

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things Drugs and Alcohol

By Carolyn Mackler

Drugs and Alcohol

[…] I'm hoping he'll invite me to hang out for the rest of the afternoon, maybe go with him and that girl to the Virgins and Sluts thing tonight. I've heard of kids who visit their older siblings at college and go to parties and get totally wasted. (7.80)

Virginia has no concept of how wrong it is to objectify women by putting them in boxes labeled "virgins" or "sluts," despite Anaïs' feminist "rants."

They stopped by Hamster Boy's party, had a few beers, and headed over to Virgins and Sluts. They drank. They danced. Maybe it was the spiked punch, but she didn't feel as nervous as before. (15.49)

Virginia tries to imagine what could have made Annie put herself in a dangerous situation, but what she fails to consider is that Annie didn't think Byron was dangerous.

When the party wound down, Byron invited her back to his room. She'd had a lot of punch, so she knew she shouldn't go. But her brain was too murky and Byron's aftershave smelled too good. (15.51)

Virginia tries at first to convince herself Annie had some role in Byron's bad behavior, but try though she might, she's just not convinced.

"I'm not sure," Byron said. "I drank way too much that night. We started fooling around and it went too far. How can I say whether it was consensual? I couldn't remember anything the next morning." (17.20)

Byron tries to justify his behavior, too, but he may or may not be telling the truth.

Neither Mom nor Dad said anything. I wished they would yell at him, tell him that, wasted or sober, he had no right to force himself onto Annie Mills. (17.21)

Fingers crossed that Virginia gets up the nerve to say exactly this to Byron eventually.

I eye Dad taking a long swig. Ever since Byron's been home, Dad's been drinking more than usual. (17.39)

In order to deal with the consequences of his son's drinking, Virginia's dad starts drinking more. Her mom isn't the only one who's living in denial.

"I'm not saying that much." Mom smiles sheepishly. The punch definitely has loosened her up. "But I do admire your chutzpah." (27.43)

Virginia's mom approves of her bravery, if not her hair color. However, it takes alcohol for her to express it.

Neither of us has ever raided our parents' alcohol supply before, so we're totally buzzed just from the excitement of it. (28.24)

Raiding her parents' liquor cabinet is one more new experience for Virginia, one more way in which she's rebelling against the rules. The rebellion is way more exciting than the drinking itself, which just makes her puke.

We're both a little sloshed. And it doesn't help that we've been pretending to slur our words for the past twenty minutes? (28.37)

Virginia and Shannon still glamorize being drunk, even after everything that happened with Byron.

"It's just that your first time drinking can be the worst," Byron says. (28.44)

Kind of an odd thing for Byron to say, given that his last time drinking was the worst, both for himself and someone else.