Posts Tagged ‘children’

Movie Review: The Lightening Thief

March 8, 2010

Sadly I started this movie review on February 15th, but sometimes life gets in the way. But better late than never!

As a lovely Valentine’s Day present from my boyfriend we went to the Sunday matinee of Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightening Thief. I had high hopes for this film and I was not disappointed. I have learned to see movies based on books with a very open mind, and I try very hard not to spend the entire two hours comparing each scene to the book.

This movie was directed by Chris Columbus who also directed the first two Harry Potter movies. Perhaps part of the reason I had such high hopes for this movie was because Columbus tends to do a pretty good job of bringing books to life on the screen. All of the major elements of the story were there. The CGI was incredible, although a few times I thought it was a bit overdone. I found myself cringing in my seat during Medusa’s entire scene. I was also a little disappointed to see that they left out Mrs. Jackson’s quirky habit of feeding Percy blue food!

The one downfall to the movie was it did very little to set itself up for the next story, and by very little I mean they didn’t even explain the signifigance of Thalia’s Tree….it simply looked like a BIG tree at the gates to Camp Half-Blood. This may have been due to the fact that at this point they are not sure that the sequel to the movie will be made.

As I said a few times already, I enjoyed this movie. I never found myself wondering how long we had been sitting in the theater or wishing I had bought more candy. If you are looking for a fun family film, especially if you have any Harry Potter fans in your family I would recommend this movie.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Book Review: Between Here and April

March 7, 2010

Between Here and April
Author: Deborah Copaken Kogan
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal Collection

Kogan’s novel, Between Here and April, is a haunting story about maternal love gone wrong. Before settling down and starting a family Elizabeth Burns was a journalist covering international war stories. Now she is the mother of two young daughters, and is married to a man, who in her opinion, works too much. Elizabeth is struggling to save her marriage, and find purpose in her life beyond her duties as a mother.

The stresses in her life cause a deep-rooted memory to suddenly surface and Elizabeth finds herself obsessed with investigating the disappearance of her childhood friend April Cassidy.  Her initial investigation leads her to a thirty-five-year-old newspaper article that reveals details of April’s disappearance that had been hidden from her as a child. Adele, April’s mother committed an unthinkable crime. Elizabeth embarks on a journey into her own past to track down people who knew Adele in an effort to gain insight. What Elizabeth doesn’t bargain for is how Adele’s story will raise questions about her own upbringing and how she parents her children.

Any book that brings to light a new topic of cultural and/or historical interest I find intriguing. Kogan introduces her readers to the female culture of the 1950s and the oppressive nature of this time in American history. I saw this most clearly in the relationship Elizabeth has with her own mother. They struggle to connect, mostly because of the cultural shift in what is considered ok for a mother to do and be. This element of the story has encouraged me to learn more about the life of mothers in the 1950s, beyond our stereotypical visions of Leave it to Beaver.

The only issue I had with the book was the ending. I felt that it wrapped up too neatly. After covering such a deep issue the ending was a little bit too happily ever after for me, although the symbolic encounter at the photography exhibit was an interesting ending. Overall I enjoyed the novel and am interested in reading Kogan’s memoir Shutterbabe.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: The Giver

November 14, 2009

The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Genre: Fiction
Source: Personal Collection

Lois Lowry’s The Giver is the kind of book that stays with you long after you have reached the one hundred and eightieth page.

Jonas is about to turn twelve. He lives in a perfect community where he will never have to worry about being hungry, feeling pain or witnessing violence. In his world, at the age of twelve everyone is assigned a carefully selected role. Some will be laborers, caregivers, teachers or birth mothers. Jonas is selected to receive special training from The Giver, he is destined to become the receiver of memories for his community.

Lowry’s simple writing style makes the novel accessible to readers at almost any level.  I read this book for the first time in fifth grade. I remember being bothered, not by Jonas, but by the decisions made by the community. It was the first time I thought about the balance between freedom of thought and security of life. Finishing the book for the second time, I still find myself wondering about this question.

I highly recommend this novel.  The Giver is an interesting and thought provoking read for any age. Although it is considered a childrens novel it would make an excellent choice for a book club.