The Kidnapping of Cardboard Jamie Fraser

Written By: Janet Reynolds




Anyone who's a serious fan of Outlander (as in people like me who have Outlander Obsessive Disorder a relatively new form of OCD) likely has her own story/stories of obsession. In fact, I've read a lot of them on Tumblr and Facebook. Mine has to do with an almost lifesized Jamie Fraser cardboard cutout. But let me start at the beginning...


On Dec. 26, 2014, I was just another middle-aged working woman. On Dec. 27, 2015, I started reading the Outlander book series, and for all intents and purposes, went through the stones. Because life as I knew it has never been the same.
I had had the book on my reading list for a while but for some reason had put it off. Then my friend — we'll call her Anne to protect the guilty since she figures prominently in the kidnapping — called a few weeks after the Starz show began airing and left me this voice message: "Are you watching Outlander? You have to watch this show! It's so YOU!! Call me."

Now I'm a bit of a book purist — I would not let my daughter watch the iconic Gregory Peck To Kill a Mockingbird movie until she read the book, and I'm a serious fan of both. I called Anne, who raved for about two minutes about the show and, um, yes, the lead actors and, um, yes, the romance and sex (maybe not in that order). But I told her I was going to read the book first.

By page 30, I was gone. As in 100 percent waking-up-at-5:30 a.m-to-read obsessed. I took personal days from work to read. I stopped talking to my family. The dog looked at me with doleful eyes wondering why we no longer took walks more than five minutes.

But the book was just the beginning. After I finished Outlander, I watched the show and my obsession moved from to an 11. I joined Tumblr solely to follow the innumerable bloggers creating Outlander GIFs and screenshots and posts — and then checked the feed multiple times daily. I created an Outlander list on my Twitter feed. I joined Facebook groups, including one dedicated to Outlander knitwear. And, of course, I rewatched the show countless times, all while plowing through the books for the first time. (I finished Written in my Own Heart's Blood in April, waited about 10 days, couldn't stand life without Outlander, and started rereading. To date I've reread books one through three.)

Which brings us to the kidnapping.

Barnes & Noble ran a national Outlander event in early July. My local B&N had a sign-up table where you could register to win a copy of The Outlandish Companion, the first eight episodes on DVD and, the lifesized Jamie Fraser cutout standing at the display. My neighbor, one of my many Outlander converts, went with me. We had one mission: We were going to win. Failure was not an option.


So we did what any self-respecting Outlander fan would do. We stuffed the ballot box. We filled out dozens of registrations, after first making it clear to a couple of the sales people running the event that really there was no point looking at any of the other ballots. One of us was winning, end of story. I already owned The Outlandish Companion (you're surprised to learn this, I know) so my neighbor and I agreed, she could have the book. I would get the DVD set and Jamie.

Forty-eight hours later I got the call. I'd won! I hightailed it to the store and picked up Jamie and made my fatal mistake. I posted this image on Facebook with this comment: "Look who's visiting me Anne."

Anne's daughter commented within seconds. "Mom is going to plotz when she sees this!" "I know" I gleefully wrote back. And then I went upstairs to work.

Fast forward a couple of hours. I am writing and my phone suddenly buzzes. I've got a text from Anne. I open it and there is an image of Jamie in bed. Anne is lying next to him smirking. The text: "Now it's just a question of ransom."

What? How did she get Jamie? I walk downstairs to the hearth, where Jamie had been standing watch. Empty. I head to the porch where my sons sit. "Where's Jamie?" "Anne came and took him."Apparently they are more afraid of Anne than me.

But there was no time for dealing with them. I needed to save Jamie.

I hopped in my car and drove to Anne's house. I parked my car behind some bushes near her home and snuck into her garage where I grabbed a few whiffle ball bats. You can't go into a battle unarmed. Then I snuck up to her kitchen door, where I saw Jamie standing at the far end of the galley kitchen near her front door.

I knew her front door would be unlocked so I snuck under the kitchen windows along the front porch. I reached the front door. Jamie was within reach! All I had to do was quietly open the screen and grab him. I could be back in my car before Anne knew what had happened.

There was just one little glitch. Anne's grandson stood a few feet away from Jamie. I motioned to him to be quiet and then opened the door. I had my hands on Jamie when Anne rounded the corner. "You can't have him!" I yelled — at which point we began dueling with the bats, laughing hysterically.

And that, my fellow Outlanders, is part of the beauty of these books and this show. For one sweet summer afternoon, two middle-aged women who have plenty of issues in their "real" lives were transported back in time to when they were 10, the days of hide-and-seek and capture the flag and playing with friends. For one delicious moment, the stones were, indeed, real.

How Outlander-obsessed are you? We'd love to hear your story of something obsessive you've done for your Outlander love!

24 comments

  1. This is hysterical and one of my favorites posts yet! A classic. My friends and I have a similar running saga that involves Pocket Jamie. We adore him and take him everywhere. One of the husbands, however, has another idea of PJ's fate. He continually puts him in compromising positions and sends ransom photos - dangling over a pot of boiling water, crushed by heavy objects, in the dog food bowl, you name it. We're going to need a life-size Jamie now. I think life-size Jamie could take the husband.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I love Pocket Jamie and follow someone on Instagram who posts him all over the place. So funny. Love the ransom photo idea. Better not let my husband hear that. :)

      Delete
  2. Janet! This is fantastic!!! How many of us have this school girl crush thing on all of Outlander, and especially Jamie? What I wouldnt have done to have been a fly on the wall!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was a pretty funny running sage on my Facebook page too as it unfolded, complete with a friend in Albany saying she was going to get on her horse and ride down to save him. I just didn't have room for all the hijinks.

      Delete
  3. Janet! This is fantastic!!! How many of us have this school girl crush thing on all of Outlander, and especially Jamie? What I wouldnt have done to have been a fly on the wall!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You totally made my friday! I laughed soo hard. Similar story;
    I heard about the TV series first, then started with the books in October 2014. Finished with MOBY around May (including all the Lord John book and novellas. I have so far reread book 1- 5. It is difficult to keep up with Outlander fandom, a fulltime job, two teenagers and one husband, but I try my bestπŸ˜‰ I'm Swedish, so reading in English does take a little extra time. Not that I'm complaining, it's the perfect way to practice ones English!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed this. I am so impressed by your reading speed! I thought I was fast! And as a second language!

      Delete
  5. I'm in book 5 for the first time. My doctor and I trade book reads and she said she loved them for 2-3 books but gave up because she could figure out what was coming. Whaaaa? I am still loving it and can't wait to finish the series and reread. Sadly I don't have a Jamie cutout. Only an Orlando Bloom, but my daughter might have that in her apartment. (It was hers, not mine.) This Deb, Jake. I don't know how to post as me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe Jamie and Orlando can meet one day :)

      Delete
  6. "On Dec. 26, 2015"....maybe you meant 2014????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh you're right. πŸ˜„ unless I traveled to the future?

      Delete
  7. What fun,loved & laughed at this story,I'm also obsessed with Outlander&Jamie of course,rereading the books up to Echo in the Bone again,so looking forward to season 2.,Thanks for the delightful story&good laugh,Janet!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What fun,loved & laughed at this story,I'm also obsessed with Outlander&Jamie of course,rereading the books up to Echo in the Bone again,so looking forward to season 2.,Thanks for the delightful story&good laugh,Janet!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Phew sorry about the double publishing!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Funny post. I've got my pocket Jamie and Claire already for my next trip. Not sure I could live with a life-size Jamie. Friends and co-workers are waiting to do an intervention, but my Outlander friends insist they don't see a problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your Outlander friends are right obviously:)

      Delete
  11. VERRA funny story!! .....have fun with him....my family has been sending the same ugly worn out scribbled out and resigned birthday card to each other for years.....its the fun moments like those that fill life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love that idea of resending a card. I just started something I'm calling Operation Troll. My roommate's son hid a troll in my closet that fell down on me one day. Now I'm hiding it on him.....lots of fun doing those things. I've got a plan for Jamie and my friend, Anne. Stay tuned

      Delete
    2. Love that idea of resending a card. I just started something I'm calling Operation Troll. My roommate's son hid a troll in my closet that fell down on me one day. Now I'm hiding it on him.....lots of fun doing those things. I've got a plan for Jamie and my friend, Anne. Stay tuned

      Delete
  12. OMG..So funny and I totally understand, my life has changed completely since finding Outlander 3 weeks ago. I watch it on my laptop, I'm reading the books, have joined every Twitter and FB page dealing with it. It is a true illness, with no relief in sight it seems. LOL...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ok. I love your blog Janet. I always find something you've written that I identify with. I am sharing only bc of anonymity of course. Well, here goes. I too became obsessive in a matter of hours after stumbling upon the S1 show on stars. I bought the book and got through it in about 2 days. It took me that long only bc I had to use the bathroom, sleep at least three hours, and oh yah go to work. I bought the book with me as if it was my boyfriend. I talked about it to everyone and looked like I went off the deep end. (I had to tone that down). I also have the cardboard Jamie and you have but p ut it away where I can still hug it and pretend it's my boyfriend without the women who clean for me quitting.. Well, this was the turning point. I decided it was time for me to do something about these feelings I thought I was done with. Just very bad divorce, mid fifties, and devoting most time to my teenage daughter. I decided I was not dead inside and should give myself a chance at happiness for me not just those around me. I really think I was depressed and this book/series snapped me out of it. I am scheduled for my gastric sleeve surgery which I told my surgeon must be done by Sept. for obvious resons we all know. I plan to buy a new wardrobe and get my hair colored. The new me!! Never has a book had such an emotional effect on me. I find myself thinking about Jamie and Claire too much. I decided it was time to LIVE in the real world which will make all the insanity and Outlander Obsessive Disorder as you call it sooo worth it.

    ReplyDelete

Back to Top