“For You A Thousand Times Over…”

Every once in a while there is a novel that comes along and redefines everything you thought you knew about life.The truth is that when a novel of this nature is birthed into the world nothing will ever be the same and the people who choose to read the story woven within the pages are changed forever. A powerful story has the ability to make a statement about the tangible landscape of the life we all as human beings live out on earth. However, there are few books in the world that are able to make a strong enough statement that it is able to truly become larger than itself. “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini is a novel that will leave a hand print on both your heart and your head long after the last page has been read. The novel tells the story of the unlikely friendship between two young boys named Amir and Hassan from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul.

The novel is able to communicate and demonstrate how one relationship can intertwine two extremely different people for the rest of their lives. Although the novel itself is historical fiction, the story offers an incredibly moving and potent commentary about life; As well as what it means to live a beautiful life in the midst of the world full of uncertainty and hardship. In all honesty, I do not believe that I personally have ever experienced anything like “ The Kite Runner” before in all my years as a reading addict. There were times where I found myself equally disturbed, moved to tears or lost for words due to the truth and beauty depicted within the story.

Hosseini wrote with so much honesty and compassion behind every word and is one of the most exquisite and humbling novels I have ever read in my life. There is a reason this novel has had the opportunity to sit on the New York Times Bestsellers List and it definitely is deserving of the honor.The novel is not afraid of asking the hard questions about life and the reader is left with no choice but to respond. Nothing about this story is sugarcoated in any way shape or form. All of the evidence of what happens within the pages is right there for the reader to read and imagine.

The “Kite Runner” was a novel that caught me off guard in every way that possibly could have. I did not expect this particular novel to influence my life in the way that it has and I definitely did not anticipate falling in love with the story as much as I have. This story was able to simultaneously rip my heart out only to thrust it back inside my body a few paragraphs later having caused a sensation of excavating pain at times. Therefore It is due to the simultaneously beautiful and at times horrific truth found within the story that I give the “Kite Runner” five stars.

Now, as far as the film adaptation is concerned that is a different story.  The film that carries the same title as the source material has a number of differences in comparison to the novel itself. However, the film still manages to capture the overall spirit of Hosseini’s thought-provoking narrative. Personally,  I will never be watching this film again simply due to the fact that I do not believe that the adaptation does the novel as much justice as it should. “The Kite Runner,” as a novel aims to communicate a particular message about the complexity that exists when it comes to human relationships among other things. This is something that the novel does beautifully. However, it is my belief that the film adaptation aims to communicate a different message than the novel. While this does not necessarily discredit the film as worthy of a viewing, it does present a slight problem if a reader is looking for an accurate visual representation of their reading experience projected onto the individualized viewing screens. With all of this to consider I would give the film adaptation of “The Kite Runner” two and a half stars.

Nothing Hates you….

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a beautiful story about life and the demons that come to meet us at the front door every day of our lives and ultimately what is done in the hopes of overcoming them. An adaptation of the 1999 epistolary novel of the same name written and directed by the novel’s author, Stephen Chbosky makes the movie all the more worth watching.

In a film that is in a number of ways reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s The Breakfast Club, Logan Lerman (Noah) goes above and beyond as the film’s protagonist Charlie. A troubled high school freshman hunted by death while also being an extreme Introvert. However, challenged by his parents he embarks on a journey to participate in life rather than sit back and simply observe and with the loving support of his older siblings (Nina Dobrev and Zane Holts) Charlie is able to do just that. After befriending his English teacher played by Paul Rudd, Charlie courageously decides to attend the high school football game which he finds to be rather stupid until he meets two seniors with unique opinions about the world. Together Sam and Patrick (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller) along with their friends help Charlie to experience the world how it was always meant to be experienced. The world complete with high school parties, college applications and a much-needed weekly reenactment of Rocky Horror Picture Show the film is a true triumphed.

The film offers a fresh take on the all too familiar coming of age story line while still keeping to the traditional outline. The creative talents of Lerman, Watson, and Miller are able to breathe new life into a film adaptation that is as raw and as captivating as the original work. It is a story that if allowed by its audience members will change their perception of life forever and will have them singing Simple Minds’ Don’t Forget About Me for a whole new reason.

As far as my personal thoughts on the novel itself, they are extremely similar to my thoughts expressed about the film adaptation. If anything I believe that the film added to my overall love of the story and its characters. I remember immediately connecting with Charlie on all different levels one being that I personally am an introvert. I connected with Sam and her all around thirst she has for life and to be more than people see her be. I concreted with Patrick and his overall feeling of wanted to be accepted and not having to hide who you truly are or how you feel. Although, the story is one with some very hard subject matter it is absolutely beautiful. It is a young Adult novel that refuses to sacrifice truth in favor of sugar-coating. It is a story that needs to be shared with the world and that needs to remember forever. And, in that moment, I swear we were infinite…

A Tale as Old as Time

Hello, readers, I am truly sorry for the little break I took from writing over the past three weeks. However, now I have returned and am ready to explore the many lessons of film and novel. I have decided that it is only right to reward you for your patience and so I am going to write three separate blogs. Therefore, I invite you to pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea or coffee, sit down and enjoy.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words once upon a time I wonder? When I hear those iconic words I personally think of two distinct things. The first thing I think of is the tv show that airs every Sunday night at eight on ABC by the same name. The second,  thing that comes to mind is fairy tales. Every classic fairy tale that I can think of begins with these words or at least some variation of them. With this in mind, I would like love to express some thoughts about my favorite fairytale Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.

The tale is as follows:

A wealthy widowed merchant lives in a mansion with his three daughters. All are equal in beauty, but the youngest, Beauty, is kind and pure of heart; while the two elders, in contrast, are wicked, selfish, vain and secretly taunt and treat Beauty more like a servant than a sister. The merchant eventually loses all of his wealth in a tempest at sea. He and his daughters are consequently forced to live in a small farmhouse and work for their living. After some years of this, the merchant hears that one of the trade ships he had sent off has arrived back in port, having escaped the destruction of its compatriots. He returns to the city to discover whether it contains anything valuable. Before leaving, he asks his daughters if they wish for him to bring any gifts back for them. The oldest two ask for clothing, jewels, and the finest dresses possible, thinking his wealth has returned. Beauty is satisfied with the promise of a rose, as none grow in their part of the country. The merchant, to his dismay, finds that his ship’s cargo has been seized to pay his debts, leaving him without money to buy his daughters their presents.

During his return, the merchant becomes lost in a forest. Seeking shelter, he enters a dazzling palace. A hidden figure opens the giant doors and silently invites him in. The merchant finds tables inside laden with food and drink, which seem to have been left for him by the palace’s invisible owner. The merchant accepts this gift and spends the night there. The next morning as the merchant is about to leave, he sees a rose garden and recalls that Beauty had desired a rose. Upon picking the loveliest rose he can find, the merchant is confronted by a hideous “Beast” which tells him that for taking his most precious possession after accepting his hospitality, the merchant must die. The merchant begs to be set free, arguing that he had only picked the rose as a gift for his youngest daughter. The Beast agrees to let him give the rose to Beauty, but only if the merchant will return.
However, Beauty agrees to go in place of her father and live with the beast for the rest of her days…

Although there are many different versions of Beauty and the Beast, it is my purest belief that Walt Disney does it the best. Yes, it true that it is a movie full of fun musical numbers and in a lot of ways it’s geared toward the younger generation but, it still captures the true lesson of the story. Beauty and the Beast preach that people should not love for what is seen from the outside, but what is seen in the heart. God tells us that He looks at a person’s heart, not their outward appearance. This is why Beauty and the Beast remain to be my favorite fairytale. At its core, the story is about two people who are able to look beyond what they see with their eyes and look inward at each other’s heart. This is what love is truly about loving someone because of what is in their heart and not just their washboard abs or because they have nice hair. This is why in my most humble opinion it is the most beautiful fairytale of all.

Disney was able to stay true to the fairytale itself while adding their signature fun and entertaining elements. It is able to not only teach its important lesson to children while keeping it relevant for even the adults in the room. It is a beautiful story that needs to be told especially in a society like this one. A society where so much of our value is dependent on our looks and who we hang out with. Therefore, readers, I challenge you to take time out of your life and revisit a tale as old as time

 

I Like Good Strong Words That Mean Something

The first time I read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott I was eleven and it wasn’t planned. When my fifth-grade self walked out of library time one day I had not planned on leaving with classics in my hands by choice. The way I came to read this book is a matter I now consider to have been an act of God because it completely changed how I viewed the literary world. It also changed the way I viewed myself as a person. I say that finding Little Women was an act of God because I strongly believe I may not have decided to become an English Major if I hadn’t found this book.  Before picking up Little Women I had always been a reader but when I open this classic something inside me shifted. It was like the entire world was being shown to me in a new but familiar way.

The Story is so simple but complex and the character development is one of the best that I ever have seen or read.  The basic plot line follows the four March sisters during and after the Civil War, as they each journey from childhood into adulthood each with different goals. Meg the eldest longs to marry for love while Jo longs to do more with her life. Beth is simply happy with where she is and Amy wants a different nose and to be an artist.

I felt something with each and every character in the novel for various reasons but Jo was the one that physically changed me for the better. When I read from Jo’s perspective I felt for the first time in my life I was looking at myself. Which, is why I know that the character  Jo March didn’t just show me the world in a new way. She was able to touch my soul and I  don’t know if she has ever left me. I heard this message at church a couple of weeks back about how God speaks to each of us by using different love languages. Well, I know that one of my love languages is books. And, I am one hundred percent sure that He spoke to me through Jo March.

Here’s the thing about Jo, she is a Writer and she reads books like they are a drug. Words are her medicine and her addiction. I’m  pretty sure that if she could have gone to college she would have been an English Major. She is possibly the most stubborn character In the world of books that I have ever known. I fell in love with her passion for life and the way that she thought outside what was considered to be normal for the eighteen hundred. She was daring enough to go where no women had ever gone before and that was exciting. Jo was the first character that showed me what it really meant to ask the important questions and live life with no regrets. She embodied everything I wanted to do and be in my own life. I have since eleven read Little Women at least five times and I can tell you that Jo has had every thought that I have had at least once in all my nineteen years of living. She loved everything  I loved and felt everything I felt, which is something that I can rarely say about a single book character. I can honestly say that she was one of the things God used to plant the English Major seeds in my heart. To be completely honest I think He used her to bring the Jo March out of me that previously was hiding away somewhere. So I  would like to take a minute to thank her. Thanks, Jo, because Without God or you I don’t know who or where I would be today. I can honestly say I love you.

The book was the first book that ever made me cry and I won’t say why, because, doing so would be a major spoiler and I don’t  want to spoil it for you if you haven’t read it.I will just say that it had an effect on me. It changed everything about how what, and when I read. It was the first classic novel I had ever read.I can now say it’s why I own as many classics as I do and why classic literature is my favorite genre to read. It then makes sense to tell you that Little Women Is one of my favorite books of all time but that is me.

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has been turned into every format of entrainment imaginable. It has been everything from a movie to an opera and I have seen a good amount of them.They are all wonderful in their own ways and for the most part faithful to the original.  I would recommend any of them. Although, the films are most likely the easiest to come into contact with. I have seen all of the film adaptations and have no complaints, but some are longer than other. Therefore if you don’t wish to sit for more than two hours I would choose a shorter one. My personal favorite is the  1994 version with Winona Ryder.

Little Women Is a beautiful book which I venture is why the book is a Classic. I will promise you that if you give it a chance and read it; the story will be worth it. I know it was and if you’ve read it before I challenge you to read it again and discover what new things there are to discover from an old friend.

This Review is Brought to You by Request of My Sister….

Have you ever found out that one of your favorite book series is getting a film adaptation, but when it came out you ended up being extremely disappointed with the finished product? This sadly happened to my sister when it came to the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. The series was and still is a favorite of her’s and truth be told it is also one of mine as well. I first read the series back in middle school and I remember loving it and Riordan still remains one of my favorite children’s authors.This a large part why I passed it on to my sister after my brother had passed it on to me. The series follows Percy Jackson a sixth grader with ADHD and dyslexia who through rather random circumstances finds out that he is the child of the Greek god Poseidon. As a result, he is sent to live at Camp-Halfblood where he and his friends learn all there is to know about their godly parents and are sent on various quest to fight monsters from Greek mythology.  The series was in my opinion well researched as far a the geek mythology element goes which is important because the series is based heavily on it and around it.The story is extremely well written as well, which is a testament to the longevity to the series considering that it follows Percy until he is roughly seventeen years old.

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is split into five books all of which are entertaining reads are well-respected in the world of children’s literature.

  1. The Lightning Thief
  2. The Sea of Monsters
  3. The Titian’s Curse
  4. The Battle of the Labyrinth
  5. The Last Olympian

However, the story is also continued in the Heroes of Olympus series as well and it consists of another five books as well with equally enjoyable plot lines and new characters.

  1. The Lost Hero
  2. The Son of Neptune
  3. The Mark of Athena
  4. The House of Hades
  5. The Blood of Olympus

Both series serve as a companion to one another and I will tell you that I was to some degree surprised how well the two series were able to tie together as one. Although, I suppose they could be read separately even though I think they are meant to be read together and I suggest starting with the Lightning Thief and moving on from there. Neither of these series is ones to be read out-of-order because each book builds on the previous one.  Overall Both are highly recommended by me personally but the films are a different story.

There were only two films produced for the Percy Jackson series.The Lighting Thief and the Sea of Monsters which when looked at by themselves without taking into consideration the accuracy of both films to the books are decent. However, when taking the actual books into account the movies are pretty unfaithful. While I believe the essence of the story was captured in many ways the film completely missed the mark.This is rather sad because the series had such great potential for being on the big screen and it failed to live up to that potential, which probably was a big reason that there were only two films made. The one thing they managed to do right in theses films was the casting. Now, I understand people’s arguments about if they would have cast younger actors like in Harry Potter things may have turned out a little better for the films, however,  I don’t  care. I thought the cast was great when I saw the movies and my sister didn’t  have an issue with it either. In the end, the films are not the best book to movie adaptations I have ever seen.

In The words of my younger sister, Percy Jackson is a wonderfully entertaining read and worth the time of any reader. The movies are nothing compared to the book even though when taken alone can be enjoyable.

Stay Don’t Go. I’ll Eat You Up I Love You So 

Hi everyone this week I am feeling a bit nostalgic. As I was sitting in my living room this week in beautiful California my eyes were drawn to the little section of picture books that still remain on our bookcase. I began to remember all of those stories that first captivated me as a reader like Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. And, so with a childlike love, I have done something this week that I haven’t done in a very long time. I read a picture book.

While sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor of my living room, I read Where the Wild Things Are. As I read I was struck by two things, one that it is an incredibly simple story and second that, when thought about in a deeper sense it is profound in many ways. On the surface, it is simply a story about a boy named Max, who is sent to bed without supper. In order to pass the time in his room, he dreams up an island where the wild things live. Which he travels to rule over them for a while because he’s mad at his mom.

However, on a much deeper level, I believe it is a story about the power of imagination and how our imaginations help us deal with situations in life. Max creates an island of wild things because he has to deal with not having dinner And he’s mad at his mom.

The film Where the Wild Things Are might be one of the most adorable things I have ever seen. I had never seen this movie before deciding to do this review, so I have didn’t know what to expect at all. I pleased to tell you all however that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it. The story is fleshed out more so it is approximately an hour and forty minutes instead of just fifteen. The additional amount of story that is created around the original fits right in and I feel in no way hinders it. The film also gives the ”Wild Things” names and personalities all their own and some of them are pretty funny. The one thing about this movie that my disinterest people is that Jim Henson’s Creature Shop provides the magic behind the Monsters themselves. Therefore if you’re not a fan of The Muppets I’d advise you to proceed with caution. Overall though it is a welcome company to the written story.

Where the Wild Things Are is a truly wonderful picture book to enjoy with your children. It is a book that will remain a classic and be remembered by all who read or watch choose to enjoy.

Sisterly Love

I have a confession to make about the book The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I cried after only reading the first thirteen pages of the book. The story was so moving that at times I had to set the book down just so I could digest it all. The story follows two sisters down their extremely different paths through life. While the older sister Celie is forced to live a life married to a man chosen by her father and is at times abusive, her sister Nettie spends her life as a missionary to Africa surrounded by the love and care of a Christian couple. The sisters chronologically recount their lives to each other through the form of a letter all with the hope of being reconnected someday.

I was incredibly and profoundly moved by this story for many reasons.One of those reasons is that at its core The Color Purple is a story of the Sisterhood. The fact that I have a little sister of my own strongly influences my love of this book. But honestly, all things considered, the book changed my life. The thing is I love my sister and I won’t trade our weekend movie marathons for anything. In fact, I wanted a little sister so bad that when my parents told my younger brother and I that she was a girl I cried right there in the local Chick-fil-a. I love my sister and that is exactly what The Color Purple is about.

The family is another important aspect of the book. This book is able to beautifully demonstrate the great joy of family and, it is also able to demonstrate the trials and tribulations as well. A family is not limited to blood relations either, the length this book goes to in order to convey this message is amazing. Although Celie ‘s family is a more than a little broken, the journey that each member of the family takes to get to the end of the novel is lovely.

The Color Purple also is an amazing story of finding Christ.In the beginning of the story, Celie writes letters addressed to God because she is unaware of where Nettie is or if she is even alive. The problem is she doesn’t really understand who God is. Celie has had so many horrible events transpire in her life that She is unable to believe that God loves her and has a greater plan for her life. It is only after a rather profound confrontation with her husband and some help from a family friend does she truly understand the awesomeness of God’s love and power within her and her sister’s life. The Movie is without a second thought a must see for anyone who is a fan of the book or simply a lover of Oprah, Whoopi Goldberg or Stephen Spielberg. The written words of Alice Walker wonderfully translate onto the movie screen in a way that is so perfect and equally as moving that the two pieces work together seamlessly and it is a thing of beauty.