The Girl With All the Gifts

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It’s been a while since I read anything in one sitting, and this book made me. Borrowed this from my sister to read something new and I couldn’t stop until I got to the end. Thoughts:

  • The dystopian world fades into the background as the author focused perspective on Melanie, the special girl in the class, before shifting POV to the minor players in the story. The shift in the narrative was a welcome surprise.
  • The relationship of Melanie and Ms. Justineau strongly evokes Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Ms. Honey. While Matilda had to fight tyranny with magic, Melanie’s self-awareness, wonder, and goodness fought off the icky fungal whatever that body-snatched her biology.
  • Not for the faint of heart. While it may be common nowadays to depict people as the walking dead, having a child army kill you and run after you is gripping and also heartbreaking.
  • Loved the Greek myth references. It is, I think, necessary literature to read kids or make them learn about the gods to awaken realizations of humanity, and the title of the book itself is a clue about a girl who had a special box of evils that she unleashed to the world. Melanie, like Pandora, is symbolic of hope in the post-apocalyptic world they live in.

There’s actually a film adaptation! I loved the book, so I’m looking forward how the movie holds up.

Beauty and the Beast trailer

What do you think, Disney fans? Are you excited about all the animated classics suddenly turned to live-action one by one? For the most part, I’m curious, though am not sure if Disney’s tired of thinking of new material. I guess for entertainment’s sake, younger generations will be up to speed on what we loved when we were younger. It will have brand new songs from Alan Menken and Tim Rice, and a stellar cast aside from Emma Watson. Here’s the cast list from the official press release:

Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Oscar® winner Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s eccentric, but lovable father; Josh Gad as Lefou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Golden Globe® nominee Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, the candelabra; Oscar nominee Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; six-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald as Madame Garderobe, the wardrobe; Oscar nominee Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie trailer

It’s perfect that Tim Burton picked up this project because of his penchant for unconventional plots and characters. Notably missing from this Ransom Riggs adaptation, however, is what happened to Jacob’s family even before he met the Peculiars (who look exactly like the photographs in the book). I guess the film doesn’t want to start with that sad tale anyway. I wonder if Eva Green will ever be casted for a ‘normal’ role. Haha.

Me Before You review (novel)

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I saw the trailer go viral a few weeks back on my FB feed even before I picked up this book last week. It was a reverse comparison then of me thinking of Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin’s faces when I was reading this. Let me post the trailer first before I share my thoughts.

 

As far as the trailer goes, it’s pretty faithful to the text. The lines are almost verbatim, and Clarke and Claflin seem perfect as these two would-be lovers in a doomed mess. Yes, you read that right. The book might as well have been titled “Love Does Not Conquer All” lest you want the trailer to lead you to high hopes of romantic success. Sorry to spoil anyone reading this entry at this point so turn away if you must. Strong emotional reactions from a friend and from the writer under me who wrote an entertainment story about this already revealed to me the plot twist. The trailer made me weep twice, and armed with my knowledge of what will happen in this friggin book, I gathered the courage to read it knowing it’s not gonna be a happy ending.

I still cried a bit.

The romantic part of me was in anguish and frustrated. There are matters that love cannot fix (especially a depressed human mind). Love can be a balm, but daily physical and complicated pain in an invalid’s life can sometimes be unmendable…Will Traynor is always close to death every time there is a medical complication on how his body cannot deal with its injuries. By now, you will get what I mean, so I’d have to see if they stick to the book’s ending in this film. I’ll be both glad and sad if they do.

Now, for a bit of feedback on the protagonist, Louisa Clark. Lou is quirky, which is cute and acceptable. I truly do get the girl-living-an-ordinary-sheltered-life aspect, but yes, maybe her intellectual blandness did need the juxtaposition to Will’s daredevil history for our female lead to come out of her shell and see that the world is a big playground. At 26, she was forced by circumstances to see the world and to actually seek a stable job. So yeah, yeah, it’s a reality that other people influence or inspire us to be greater beings. I guess it’s true, though, how Lou, like middle-class women like me, would actually settle for stable and okay jobs for a time to get finances going before actually taking a leap and dare to follow a dream. I can imagine Will scoffing at this thought because he was a man of privilege where he could do whatever he wants, travel to places on a whim, ya know, rich guy things. Money can be a catalyst to settling or succeeding on an economic level.

Lou did make the most of all her earnings. She even learned how to manage her time properly and even wildly because a clock was ticking. Maybe some women will turn out like her in her shoes. How do you live the remaining time to save the one you love?

Will’s situation is very tricky. There are moral and ethical issues at stake, and I dare not discuss his decisions as a quadriplegic and what people in this state go through lest I become insensitive.

Read the book or watch the movie. This bestseller makes sense and it will push you to make a stand. The most neutral way is to be emphatic. It’s up to you on its moral and ethical bearings.