Fifty Fifty Me: Never Let Me Go

This weeks effort to participate in the 50/50 me project,(you can read more about it here) I finished one book and shocked that it took me 2 weeks to read a single book with 400 pages. Seriously? I had these grandiose ideas that I would read copious amounts on the plane on the way to California. I slept instead. Obviously I needed to sleep. I am reaching full on burnout. Then I figured I would watch a movie or two. Westjet now charges you for movies. WTF? Air Canada doesn’t. So I sulked and read instead. That left me with time for just one and one book in two weeks. Oh well. The movie was disturbing and the book was … not sure how to describe it. Let’s get on with that shall we?

The Book

Cover of "Never Let Me Go"
Cover of Never Let Me Go

I read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Many reviews on this book were stellar. This book is even on the Time 100 best books of the 20th century. The book was a good read for me. But I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on my goodreads book list. First of all it is Science Fiction. I love watching Sci-Fi! Those are some of my most favorite movies and tv shows. As a book genre? Not so much. When I read, I want my book to be plausible. There are books out there – Harry Potter for example – that I love in spite of the plausible aspect. However, I find the characters real end genuine. That is important. They can be involved in kooky adventures that we can only dream of but their character must be realistic. I found the characters in Never Let Me Go to be stupid – literally.

There was a time in the book where I gasped out loud because these characters we not the physical beings I thought them to be. Then the story became very predictable after that. I kept waiting for the author to drop a bomb, something that would shock me to my core. It never happened. What was shocking was the way these characters accepted their fate without question. Who does that? This is why I did not find them believable. I want people to fight for justice. Fight for what their heart wants. Fight for their values. I do not expect them to get what they want, but I want them to try. This is what makes characters real for me. Perhaps there are people in this world that just plod along not reaching for the brass ring, not questioning the way things are done. This is not me. I could not relate to these people.

There were parts of this book I quite enjoyed, but I always felt I had to keep reading it just to complete it, not because I loved it.

Meanwhile, I am still reading Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Mrs. Dashwood infuriates me and I have to put it down because I get so mad. This is what I enjoy about Austen’s books. Her characters make you feel.

As an easy read for the week, I pulled out British Chicklit. I’m feeling Jane Green and her bumbling heroines, I could easily be one of them. They make me laugh and I don’t need to think or be offended at the stupidity of the female leads. They are smart and usually successful. They just make bad choices I can laugh at because “Been there, Done That”.

The Movie

My children both read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in grade 7. I never had. It was a long time before I could bring myself to watch or read anything in regards to Nazi Germany. I had lived with stories from grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, and uncles about their experience with WWII. It was just too close to home for me. I feel deeply and could not imagine the pain and heart-break associated with camps all over Europe. Nor could I understand how a human being could do these things to another. Since my various trips to Europe, I have been able to slowly learn more. I find it painful, shocking and disturbing, yet I cannot stop looking.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is about a German boy whose father is in charge of a camp in Poland. Behind his house is the camp. He goes exploring and finds the walls of the camp. He sees a boy, the same age as himself and they strike up a friendship. You get a sense of the ending while watching this. What struck me was the attitude of the father, the Nazi Commander. He said Jews aren’t people. For all the atrocities that happened, this is what disturbed me the most. Karma plays a hand in the end and the emotion is raw. Give this movie a look. I don’t think I could read the book knowing the emotion involved. I feel to deeply. Empathy is a great gift, but in these circumstances it is painful.

My next movie of choice will be Never Let Me Go, The Avengers and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Fifty Fifty Me: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

This week in an effort to participate in the 50/50 me project,(you can read more about it here) I finished one book and started two others. Who does that? Who reads more than one book at a time that aren’t text books? I guess I do. I am reading Sense and sensibility by Jane Austen and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I only watched 2 movies, I must be busy or something. I finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I didn’t think I would get through it but look at me! I did it! Anyways…. on with the words!

The Book

I didn’t expect to enjoy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It was on my list of new genres to try and lots of people were talking about it. The creepy pictures caught my eye and I read a blog review that made me bump it higher on my To Read list.

The beginning of this book was riveting. The Grandfather told crazy unbelievable stories just like my Grandpa did. This alone made me love him. As I became hooked, there was a moment when I thought this book might be too scary for me. Old me would have closed it and been scared of “What might have been”. New me sucked it up and kept pressing forward. I learned it wasn’t scary, but peculiar. By the end of the book I was so captivated I couldn’t put it down. I found it to be very exciting in a Harry Potter kind of way.

Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a Harry Potter knock off, but is had a similar feel as the Potter books – well for me anyways. I enjoyed the quirky nature and time loops. The best part for me was the photographs that showed who the characters were. These wonderful vintage photos of children doing impossible things all through the magic of trick photography…or was it?

This is a great young adult book and I think my children would quite enjoy it. Only they never take my advice anymore.I wish I could be deep and insightful about how it effected me, but it was just a fun read. And it made me miss my Grandpa. Sometimes books should be just fun.

The Movie

I watch two movies this week. One at home snuggled under a blanket and one at the movie theatre with my

The Jane Austen Book Club (film)
The Jane Austen Book Club (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

daughter. We saw The Lucky One, based on the Nicolas Sparks novel. For the first time, I did not read the book first. It was enough for me to enjoy the beauty that is Zac Efron. His eyes are something else! The story was magical and fate driven. I need that in my life right now. Was it my favorite of the two? Not by a longshot. My favorite was The Jane Austen Book Club.

This movie was everything I needed to see this week. Women having intelligent conversation about well written books, helping each other through various crisis in their lives. I need a book club in my life. Every character’s life resembled one of Austen’s 6 books. They discussed strength of character, doing the right thing and struggles of life. Just like the Austen books themselves. The difference being the movie gave insight into lives down the road. Austen ends her books usually with the marriage…and they lived happily ever after blablabla…but do they? How could you not with Mr. Darcy? But i suppose Elizabeth Bennett found his stories tiresome after 30 years of hearing the same one over and over. So maybe it was just as well they ended when they did. Austen never married herself, so perhaps she did not know what to write having never lived behind those doors. The movie, however, takes you to a happily every after a few years later. That was nice but unneccessary. Life doesn’t have to be happy, and often isn’t. The point is to feel it and be present for it. Most of the movie was just like that. Real. Maybe that is why I liked it so much. It has moved into my top 10 favorite of all time, and it has me reading Sense and sensibility for the first time. I don’t love it like I love Pride and Predjuce…but her writing is exquisite none the less.