BFMY: Bluford Retro Continues: Darcy Wills

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I feel I should explain myself on my dislike of the character of Darcy Wills. I assure you it has nothing to do with the writing nor the situations the character is placed in. The writing is always great, and is rich enough to make me feel this way about Darcy in the first place.

 It seems that my thoughts on the character of Darcy have circulated a bit and I’ve gotten questions surrounding it. I was originally going to talk about the rest of the books first and then do the Characters but instead I’ll do the rest of the books and Characters at a later time and just concentrate now on Darcy.

For those of you who have no idea who I’m talking about, Darcy Wills is one of the main protagonists in the Bluford Series, a collection of books that tell the story of the students of a fictional school called Bluford High and the trials and tribulations they face.

Darcy is between 16 – 17 years throughout the book series, which is set in a Lost and Foundtwo-year time frame. She has a sister named Jamiee and, before the beginning of the first book, Lost and Found, she lived with her sister, her mother and her grandmother. Lost and Found saw the return of Darcy and Jamiee’s father, whom ran out on the family 5 years before the start of the series. In that time Darcy’s grandmother suffered from a stroke and, when we first meet her, Darcy and her sister care for their grandmother while their mother is working.

We are introduced to what seems to be a nice girl. She is responsible, smart, tough yet shy. She spends time with her friend Brisanna Meeks and it is clear that Brisanna has different thoughts toward other students than Darcy. Brisanna basically thinks she’s of a higher standard than most of the students at Bluford, while Darcy seems to be more humble, not wanting to judge anyone else since obviously she doesn’t know them. In Lost and Found she strikes up a friendship with Tarah Carson and Cooper Hodden, who are friends with Darcy’s crush, Hakeem Randell. A Matter of Trust, is the sequel and you are still on Darcy’s side when Brisanna decides to ‘take’ Hakeem for herself, although previously not liking him for the reasons stated before. A relationship between Hakeem and Darcy blossoms, Darcy’s friendship with Cooper and Tarah becomes stronger as well as with Brisanna.

That is where “nice” Darcy ends. I actually had catchphrases for two of the final books that follow her story, Until We Meet Again and Shattered. They are ‘ But His Dad Has Cancer’ and ‘Didn’t You Do the Same Thing With Brian Mason?’ These are the books in which Darcy turns into a lying, self-righteous, idiot of a hypocrite.

And before you say it, I am not expecting the main protagonist to be all perfect. I am aware that a main protagonist can be the scum of the earth and still be a nice person. They even have shown this in characters in the Bluford Series such as Tyray Hobbs and Martin Luna.

My issue with Darcy begins in the third book, Until We Meet Again. It was Until We Meet Againpreviously established that Hakeem’s father is battling cancer, and Darcy is aware of this. In Until We Meet Again, Hakeem’s family has to move away because his father’s illness has gotten so bad that he can’t work and support his family. They decide to move to Hakeem’s Uncle’s home in Detroit. Darcy hears this and, instead of thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, how can I help to make this better for you, Hakeem, you must be devastated. As your girlfriend I’m going to be behind you every step of the way and help you with this’ her thoughts are, ‘I can’t believe Hakeem is moving away. I hate him because he’s ruining my plans for the summer.’ I’m paraphrasing of course, but it is basically that. She treats Hakeem like garbage in this book, instead of understanding that she is NOT the only one hurting about Hakeem’s move (Tarah and Cooper are too, as well as Hakeem). Darcy goes straight to, ‘he doesn’t want to talk to me, he’s ignoring me, why is he ignoring me when I call him?’

And before you say its hard for her because her boyfriend is moving away, let me put this before you: Hakeem’s DAD has cancer, his treatments are making him weak and he can no longer go to work and support his family. Hakeem is facing the REAL possibility that his father could die and is preparing himself to be the man of the house, a burden I’m sure Hakeem does not want at the moment. He is worrying for his family and how they are going to survive with his father not working. On top of that, he has to move to Detroit, a place he does not know. He is moving away from his home, leaving his friends behind and he doesn’t know when or if he will be back. Even when Tarah pointed this out to Darcy, she still didn’t give a monkeys.

Through the book, Darcy is working as a baby sitter for Liselle Mason. Liselle’s brother, Brian Mason, begins to flirt with Darcy, going as far as to give her flowers, jewelry and rides home. When this begins, Darcy is still with Hakeem. Yes, her boyfriend is having to deal with life changing issues and Darcy’s with someone else – lovely.

To be fair, Darcy does tell Brian that she is in a relationship with Hakeem but, not minutes after Darcy and Hakeem split up, she finds herself in Brian’s arms. Now here is something to think about: Brisanna, as well as Brian’s sister, warn Darcy against seeking any kind of relationship with Brian. So tell me, Darcy, I can understand that you may not believe your friend that you are so close to when she tells you that Brian Mason is no good, because of what happened with Hakeem. I might be a little skeptical too, but it’s not like you know Brian very well – at least check it out! Go to his sister and ask her if you don’t want to ask Brian about it.

Hakeem leaves in the middle of the book and Darcy “begins” a relationship with Brian, or at least what she thinks is a relationship. Here is where the icing tops the cake for me in Until We Meet Again.’ Darcy states on many occasions that her father and mother do not like her being alone in an apartment with a boy, especially a boy of Brian’s age (he’s 19 – 20). She lies to her father about baby sitting so that she can go to Brian’s place and is surprised when the 19-20 year old Brian makes a move on her. Of course she says no and he tries to force her instead. Luckily for Darcy, Daddy Wills decided to bring some food for her and Liselle’s daughter, thus stopping Brian from doing what he intended to do.

Before you say it, I know that girls and boys lie to their parents when they are teenagers to get out of the house and about where they are. My issue is that Darcy was established as the responsible one. And, I’m not saying that because you are responsible you can’t do anything wrong, but Darcy should at least think. She didn’t think and it went wrong. Previously, she got on at her sister for lying about their father’s drinking, and now she is no better.

What Brian did haunts her physically and figuratively in Summer of Secrets.

And now we come to the big one, Shattered. I thought I hated Until We MeetSummer of Secrets Again, but reading Summer of Secrets and Shattered showed me that I didn’t hate the books – I hated the Darcy character. A little back story first.

Hakeem moves away and Blood is Thicker basically follows his story, showing us what he got up to in Detroit. He meets a girl and likes her, but it doesn’t really go anywhere because he still holds a torch for Darcy. Shattered starts when Hakeem’s father takes a turn for the better and his family allow Hakeem to come back to Bluford to finish his time there. When Darcy and Hakeem meet again, she points out that he will hate her if she ever told him about Brian Mason and what happened. She states that Tarah and Brisanna were told to keep it a secret. She wants to be the one to tell Hakeem. Darcy notices that Hakeem is acting strangely and with some mean-spirited poking from Brisanna, Darcy confronts Tarah about Hakeem seeing someone. She actively attacks Tarah saying that she isn’t her friend anymore because TARAH DIDN’T WANT TO TELL HER HAKEEM’S SECRET. Tarah rightly points out that IT is NOT her secret to tell and she pushes Darcy to talk to Hakeem. But, like a stubborn idiot, Darcy just ends the friendship there. (It’s funny Darcy didn’t believe Brisanna when she warned her about Brian but she totally believes her when she says one thing about Hakeem).

Darcy is angry about Hakeem seeing someone else in Detroit.

But didn’t you do that with Brian Mason?

Darcy is angry that Hakeem kissed someone else.

But didn’t you do that with Brian Mason?

Hakeem tries to explain that there is no relationship there; he never got into a relationship with her and she moved. Darcy becomes dramatic and drops all her friends and leaves.

But didn’t YOU get into a relationship with Brian Mason and it ended with you almost being sexual assaulted?

Here is an even starker example of what a hypocritical person Darcy has become. Darcy finds out that her sister has hidden the fact that their father has started drinking again. Darcy decides to keep it from their mother because it would hurt her if she ever found out and wants her father to tell her mother in his own time. She reasons that what Tarah did was different, even though Tarah said that she didn’t want Darcy to be hurt by it. NO, IT ISN’T DIFFERENT, DARCY. It’s the same thing!

Darcy finally tells Hakeem her secret and Hakeem at once blames Tarah because she didn’t tell him, thus pointing out that Tarah is a better friend than Darcy.

Darcy is the worst character in Bluford. Tyray Hobbs bullied people and was Shatteredabout to commit murder, but realized that he didn’t want to be that way. Martin Luna’s actions and the crowd he associated with got his little brother killed. Although he could never forgive himself for that, he found that he didn’t want that life any more. Roy-Lynn Bailey treated his family badly and stole from a dear friend because he thought a girl would like him if he gave her gifts. Cindy Gibson, although knowing the type of person Bobby Wallace was, wanted to be with him because she was that starved for love, completely ignoring the friends she had around her. Even Jamiee Wills saw the light after falling into the wrong crowd. All of these people are so much better than Darcy because they learned something during their life journey. They didn’t know any better, but they did learn something from it. All but Darcy. She knew better, but didn’t learn anything. She figured that it was just a part of growing up.

Yes it is, Darcy, but you were too smart to be such a slow learner.

And before you say anything, look at Tarah Carson. She understands that the world is not black and white at times and that each person has their own reasons for who they are and why they behave the way they do. She can put herself in the shoes of others. While her background isn’t a bed a roses, she’s learned from her past and runs her life accordingly.

I don’t know if it is because I am older now and I know what is wrong and right, but this character just annoys me. I can understand there gray parts of decisions, but Darcy’s character in the later books doesn’t grow, it regresses, and this just seems wrong. This is my opinion and, if you have a different interpretation or simply disagree, please feel free to comment below.

And yes, I do still love the Bluford series. I’ll never stop loving it.

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