May 9, 2015

No more dead footballs.

I'm totally procrastinating from studying for finals right now.  Three exams on Monday, then one on one on Tuesday and two on Wednesday.  Send help.
In the same way, a couple of months ago I was totally procrastinating from reading The Silver Linings Playbook!

Ight so my sister suggested The Silver Linings Playbook to me, but I thought it was going to be a football book, because of the title and the little icon of a football helmet on the cover.  Football is honestly one of the least interesting things I have ever come across in stories - whether it's a movie, book, or even an actual game being played on TV.  I really, really don't care about football.  So I put off reading this book.  I guess I forgot the #1 rule of reading: Don't judge a book by it's cover!  n00b.

It's not really about the playbook.  It's more about the silver linings.  TSLP is the story of a bipolar and possibly amnesiac guy named Pat Peoples who is trying to return to normal life after some time spent in a mental institution-type thing.

"I believe in happy endings," Pat says to his therapist.  “If clouds are blocking the sun, there will always be a silver lining that reminds me to keep on trying.”

Pat's story isn't going too hot so far.  But he knows things are going to turn around eventually.  Soon his wife, a high school teacher named Nikki, will end "apart time" and come back to him, no matter what everyone else tells him.  In the meantime, he works out obsessively, reads books off of Nikki's high school reading list, and tries to reconnect with his father and, ultimately, his old life.

This is a one-of-a-kind story.  I loved every page and was so absorbed in the story that I couldn't put it down, even to go to class.  I put it inside my textbook to read in Philosophy 107.

The sense of hope is so refreshing among a host of popular books that offer none.  Pat is a perpetual optimist, and is truly trying to do the right thing.  He used to have a horrible attitude, which he blames for his wife leaving, so now he is "practicing being kind over being right."  Through the first-person perspective of being put inside Pat's head he narrates, the reader can feel the kind of innocent quality in the way he views the world.

There are plot twists galore!  (No spoilers.)  HOWEVER, don't watch the movie before reading the book, because the movie gives away every single twist away in the first 15 minutes.  Like... come on.

Although I think this is a universally enjoyable book, avid readers especially will appreciate the scenes where Pat voices his opinion on various classic novels.  He makes references to

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

and maybe a few more... can't remember.

Generally, he is frustrated by the end of these books, because there is no happy ending.  It sort of acts as a device to show Pat's psyche:

“When I read the actual story - how Gatsby loves Daisy so much but can't ever be with her no matter how hard he tries - I feel like ripping the book in half and calling up Fitzgerald and telling him his book is all wrong, even though I know Fitzgerald is probably deceased... You can tell Fitzgerald never took the time to look up at clouds during sunset, because there's no silver lining at the end of that book, let me tell you.”

In a way, this whole happy ending/book reference theme reminded me of the JF book No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman.  If you read NMDD in middle school, you'll probably like TSLP.  A really entertaining read that totally leaves you with a different perspective on what happy endings are.

This book is totally a touchdown.

Background Music

You'll understand why I picked this song after you read the book. ;)

May 1, 2015

This book review is for the guy who keeps yelling from the balcony.

Before I start into this review, I must tell you something that I am very ashamed to admit.  I watched the movie first.  I almost NEVER watch the movie adaption of a book until I've read it.  I firmly believe that in most cases, it is necessary to understand the author's intention before seeing the translation onto the big screen.

Wait, no, come back!  I'm really not That Person who will tell you "The book was way better than the movie!"  Okay, well, sometimes I'm That Person.  But not with every book and movie, because I'm about to tell you about a movie that was as good as - or better than - the book.

Scott Pilgrim is a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley.  I did not know this when I put the movie on.  I just loved Michael Cera in the show Arrested Development, so I found another movie with him in it called Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and when the title card said "Based on the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley" I was like... Oops.

Anyway, spoiler: the movie was fantastic.

BUT I had to read the graphic novel to fully comprehend whether or not the movie was true to the nature of the book, so I bought Scott Pilgrim, Volume #1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life on Amazon.  Not even a hard copy of it, just the Kindle version.  So impatient.

A few key points:

1.  This is a 6 volume series of graphic novels that was combined into a barely 2 hour long movie. Kudos for doing that!  (It's exactly the opposite of The Hobbit's franchise...)  For this reason alone, I appreciate the movie/books - it was a masterful, concise adaption.

2.  In this particular case, I recommend watching the movie first - it has all the best parts in it.  Then go into the graphic novels and see the details of the rest of the story.

3. I don't want to write a movie review, but UGH.  It was just such a great movie with wonderful comedic timing and the right amount of cheesy special effects and one-liners and it is so awfully quotable.  Bread makes you fat?

4.  I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan of graphic novels or video games or rock band kind of stuff which is this book/movie in a nutshell, but I still loved it.  So I think I can safely say that this will surprise those of you who think it's not your kinda thing.  It's probably a universally awesome movie.
If not, prepare to die, obviously.


Nominated for this tag by Kelpie from C'est La Vie!
  1. You are in a parking lot and see a rough looking man drop a bag full of Coca~cola cans. They roll under cars, out into the road way and everywhere else imaginable. What would you do? (Not what should you do but what would you do?) I would get in my car and drive away.  #strangerdanger
  2. You are alone out riding your horse in the (uninhabited) mountains. A blizzard comes screaming through the trees and quickly engulfs you. What's your response? I would do that thing they did in Star Wars & turn my horse into a sleeping bag if I had the proper resources.  Or maybe die accidentally.
  3. Where would you rather be stranded during a bad storm: a bookstore, a restaurant, or an antique shop? I could spend all day in a bookstore, but realistically I would be at my job waitressing in an Italian restaurant.  So yeah I would hang out at my job and eat chicken parms for a few days.
  4. You may go to only one of these parties: a masked ball, a sock hop, or a sleep over with your best friend. Which do you chose? A sleep over... Not big on dancing or parties.
  5. You are told that if you swim from the mainland out to an island (a very long distance, longer than you have ever swum before) you will be given the wish of your dreams. Do you try or are you afraid of drowning? I don't think I could swim that far and even if I could, I wouldn't know what to wish for when I got there!  So no, I wouldn't try.  :)