14. maaliskuuta 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick

© SLPTWC Films, LLC.
ISBN 978-1-4472-1989-7
289 s.

I have to admit that the reason for my interest in this book was solely thanks to Jennifer Lawrence winning the Oscar for the movie. I've always associated the Oscars with mainstream movies which always contain the same elements and always have the same sort of storyline. Hence I was a tad disappointed when the book wasn't anything like what I expected it to be. Maybe I should be ashamed of myself, finally finding a book that is almost completely free of clichés and then not liking it just because of that, but I couldn't help myself.

The Silver Linings Playbook tells the story of Pat Peoples who has lost his memory of his time spent in "the bad place", or neural health facility. His mother gets him out of the facility after three years or so, and nothing is quite the same as it used to be. His father is still the football geek he always was, so is his brother, and his apart time from his wife Nikki is still going strong. Motivated by his will to be reunited with his wife, Pat works out ceaselessly, takes ten mile runs and practices being kind rather than right. He always tries to see the silver lining to everything and strives to be everything his wife always wanted him to be. Due to his dedication to this sole purpose, he becomes blind to what's right under his nose.

What I expected was a book in many layers. Yet once again I was let down by a male author. Some people just can't write multiple story lines at the same time, but must handle one thing at a time. The first 3/4 is filled with Pat's exercise routines, his father's crankiness, American football and anger management issues. The love story (if you can call it a one) is cramped into the last 1/4 of the book. I just hope the movie was better. This book left me cold. It's been a while since I read something that had so little impact on me, and for this I grant this book whole of two stars. Suck on that, angry Patrick Peoples who is so stuck in his stupid football fantasy that he can't even talk to his son!

9. maaliskuuta 2013

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Simon and Schuster
ISBN 978-1-4711-1614-8
231 s.

While searching for new books to read, I came across The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. At first I thought it was just another coming-of-age story (of which I've never been too fond of), and dismissed it as such. But every time I went on to look for something new, I would end up looking at this particular book. The blue covered print of it especially drew my attention, and after I found out that it has been made into a movie (with Emma Watson in it, no less) I knew I just had to read it (more about the movie later). And I'm glad I did.

The book tells the story of Charlie, who is a shy, socially awkward teen just about to start his first year in high school. The story takes place in the beginning of the 90's, in the United States. I'm not too familiar with the American high school culture with all its dances and whatnots, nor was I a sapient being in the beginning of the 90's, so many of the themes explored in this book left me cold. However everything that went on in Charlie's head seemed all too familiar to me and despite now being an adult, I could easily relate to Charlie's pain and sense of "who am I?". I guess everyone can, and that's a huge part of this books charm.

In the beginning of the book Charlie goes to watch a football game and meets his soon-to-be new best friends Sam and Patrick. He first mistakes them for a couple but is soon set straight by them. Once he finds out that they are siblings, he develops a huge crush on Sam. Sam, however, tells him not to think of her in that way, and so Charlie tries his hardest not to.

There were several things I absolutely loved about this book. First of all, it pays homage to some great literary classics as well as music and movies through Charlie's friendship with his English teacher Bill. There's a good list of reading within this book if interested. Secondly, the book is told through Charlie's letters to his "Dear friend", to whom he does not want to reveal his true identity. They've never met, but Charlie heard some girls talking about this person in class and thought this person reliable. "Dear friend" obviously could be the reader. Charlie is just about to start high school when he writes the first letter, and you can tell this from the writing style. His style also develops throughout the book when his teacher gives him feedback on how to write properly and structure sentences. I love this kind of realism in a book. Third thing was the way Charlie experiences things in his letters. He goes through highs and lows of every teenager, and every low point seems to be the end of the world while high points make him feel, in his own words, infinite.

After finishing the book I had to see the movie. I grew up with Harry Potter books and later on movies (I was 9 when the first book came out (I was born in November, everyone else had already turned 10), so I thought we might as well be classmates with Harry), so seeing Emma watson in another role besides Hermione felt really weird and yet exciting. I was glad to notice that she hadn't become Hermione during all those years of playing her. The movie in itself felt lacking. Chbosky wrote the screenplay for the movie and directed it himself, and I feel that this was not necessarily the best possible solution. It felt like he'd picked what he felt were the best moments on the book and put them into the movie without much holding these moments together. It also feels like he tried to right some wrongs he maybe felt he made in the book, but instead just failed horribly.

The book is a marvel. I loved the honesty of Charlie, the way he troopers on no matter how trampled his feelings get. I loved him to bits during his low points and laughed out loud when he got stoned out of his mind without realizing it himself. He's a sweet boy with much to learn.

The movie though.. don't watch it. Or do, if you love Emma Watson (or Ezra Miller, he was awesome too), but don't say I didn't warn you. It's a waste of time.