our fault or the stars?

The book and movie of the same title came out mid-last year, it was a cultural phenomenon, with staggering revenues at the box-office and at the publishing world. It is mostly for teenagers but its universal theme of love, hope, faith amidst life’s ups and downs, made it an iconic example of young adult (YA) literary success. It’s a love story, a sappy one, but watching and/or reading it gives us an idea what or how it really is to be sick or live as a handicapped.


Another hype that the work brought to the masses were the quotes. The movie and the book were teeming with quotes, sentimental ones especially for those who need to appreciate what it means be alive FAST.

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Personally, the movie and the book were so good but depressing at the same time. It’s like a treat but the aftermath (calories,fats) can change one’s mind. For a a couple of hours and days, John Green’s novel, as it makes its way to the big screen, was enjoyable in the beginning, but it altered my mood when I finished it. Some scenes and lines were highlighted effectively: Amsterdam, the good times, Anne Frank, etc. The concept of two young people in love but buying time is as tragic as Romeo and Juliet, in my opinion. Of course W. Shakespeare just say it well (making all of us seem mortals compared to his immortality).

Doomed lovers always have an effect on our gentle minds, especially the females or those with high emotional strain. John Green (the author) and countless other writers and authors whose work influenced popular culture, has been a suceess in this field of choosing “catharsis” as a medium. The two lead protagonist live in middle-class America, particularly Indiana . They are typical teenagers doing typical things. The story may be so typical but it has the tendency to hit audiences right in the gut and heart.

The title was also derived from a Shakespearean play Julius Caesar. Fate, or the stars have THE say in what will happen to us but its what we do with it that gives power to us as human beings. We can be fragile but we can have choices.


Love in the traveling time 

I haven’t seen the teary-eyed inducing romantic comedy movie adaptation  of this book  but the promising premise was a feel-good weekend read. The weird and unconventionally quirky love story that spans decades and crucial life stages is the main theme of the story. It depicts the ups and downs, uniquely different but interestingly poignant relationship between an artist named Clare Abshire and a time-traveling librarian Henry DeTamble. They risked everything for them to be together, unabashedly fighting all the obstacles that try to break them apart. I learned it’s not that hard when one is in love with somebody who loves them back just as much, a typical love story made not too typical. Time traveling is a whimsical fun adventure but the drawbacks make it not seem like that at all. In Audrey Niffenegger ‘s world,  in which her works are aimed mostly to the younger adults (YA) , a bit of tragedy is necessary amongst the indefatigable but indefinite concept of a relationship that is highly unusual but cute.

The two protagonists who tell their points of view that make up the book, met when Clare was six and Henry, thirty six, who was into one of his time-traveling sojourns when that fateful meeting happened and the relationship that spanned decades started. Over the years , it had evolved and grew stronger with friendship and familiarity with each other’s quirks and personalities, amazing ingredients that formed the special core of their mutual bond. Having a childhood friend who will also be your future spouse sounds incredibly romantic and too good to be true so the added science-fiction ( albeit a bit bogus for my taste), helped add a touch of conflict to a story that seems predictable. The story may appeal to others looking for a positive vibe for a weekend or a beach read, and this book is on every bookworms’ list. It’s engrossing enough but not really caters to everyone’s taste, myself included. Clare and Henry also go through the same issues and problems to achieve that elusive marital bliss but like all things, it always remain challenging and almost unattainable. Their trials don’t seem that difficult because they are so deeply in love all the time that except for the part where they want to conceive but the notion is almost hopeless, borders on corny.

Like a classic fairytale love story, The Time Traveler’s Wife is easily a favorite to those willing to suspend their disbelief in relationships especially when it comes to love. However, not everyone choose to look at things that way, even if things doesn’t seem to go right, as the saying goes ” it’s all a matter of perception “. Favorite lines:

Silence. I am trying to look harmless, and nice. Nice looms large in Clare’s childhood, because so many people aren’t. -The Time Traveller’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger

“But you make me happy. It’s living up to being happy that’s the difficult part.”- TTTW, Audrey Niffenegger

The hardest lesson is Clare’s solitude. Sometimes I come home and Clare seems kind of irritated; I’ve interrupted some train of thought, broken into the dreamy silence of her day. Sometimes I see an expression on Clare’s face that is like a closed door. She has gone inside the room of her mind and is sitting there knitting or something. I’ve discovered that Clare likes to be alone.- TTTW, Audrey Niffenegger

Love the world and yourself in it, move through it as though it offers no resistance, as though the world is your natural element.- TTTW, Audrey Niffenegger 

Sleep is my lover now, my forgetting, my opiate, my oblivion. -TTTW, Audrey Niffenegger 

One Day is not enough

Lately, I find myself liking stories about real-time stuff. Those things that stood the test of time thereby enabling friendships or relationships to be treated as no joking matter, they actually bring the authenticity in today’s fakery-filled changing world. Last week, I finished reading but saw the movie version sometime earlier this year of “One Day ” by David Nicholls. It can be considered a rom-com, but one of the good ones like Ann Hathaway ‘s other touching and doomed love in “Love and other drugs “. The book is finely-paced and the dialogues of the two protagonists mostly set in their early twenties to early forties were accurately hilarious and real, a lot of tedious research seem to have cost the author sleepless nights and copious amounts of coffee. It affected me also in a way that I find myself keeping in touch with old-time friends who I’ll be comfortable with after all these years.

You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of Confidence. Either that or a scented candle. – One Day, David Nicholls 

One Day is about university schoolmates Dexter and Emma who both spent their time together in the last day of school, frolicking about around  Emma’s bedroom and the campus university they both attended in. Emma, literary and sort of nerdy,had a crush on popular and boyishly handsome Dexter, who only seemed slightly interested at her in the beginning.  Over the course of twenty plus years the two resort to letter-writing, phone conversations,vacations,wedding parties and actual dates where they get to know each other extremely well and truly accept and appreciate the others company. The book taught me that no matter the circumstances we all have in life, we are all the same somehow. We are humans battling the same demons, trying to make it through. The two friends were with each other as they went through all the ups and downs concerning family, career, and jobs. There was also a time when they had a falling out due to personal differences but they eventually managed to make up. Their struggles with life are made bearable with the comfort of each other’s company, and this is a good thing to have. What’s bittersweet is the ending, someone dies, and we’re (the reader or the moviegoer) left with a feeling of bleakness and hopelessness to face the future. 

The author is certainly well-versed in pop culture especially during the times when the two protagonists are just going around London after they left school and trying to make it in the big city. The story is also familiar to us all,  we’re all in search of something to fill our lives with purpose and sometimes when we do find it, it’s too late or it disappears suddenly. Life is not fair all the time, it can be cruel but strong people never give up even when all they can do is breakdown and cry. It’s a perfect material for a song or a poem and the simple plot has been done a lot of times but we can’t deny that it’s one of the realities of life-LOSS. Another thing that struck me was the wonderful and seamless flow of words, sometimes told in the protagonists’ point of views or sometimes in the second person, inviting us to take a peek into their lives or innermost thoughts. It’s a good read but also sad and depressing,  as with most successful love stories, it’s beautiful at the same time but thugs at our hearts.

Go Girl

Musings of a muse

The immensely popular “Gone Girl” book adaptation directed by famously edgy David Fincher and the best-selling book with the same title and adapted to the big screen by the author, Gillian Flynn has been reviewed a number of times but mine will be different.

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From what one already gathered, both did not disappoint and both has been constantly one of the best of 2014. If one hasn’t seen or read “Gone Girl”, then one should, if one likes to think or have their minds messed up. And as always with book to movie adaptations, the magic word is “compress” because the plot lines and character development and such, should fit in at least couple of hours screen time. It helped…

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 Great Jane

images (24)So for late November, I finally finished Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” with much ado about procrastination, particularly, film viewings. The last part of the novel engrossed me so, especially the letter from Capt. Frederick Wentworth to Anne Elliot, the  most romantic, sweetest but filled with sugary phrases love letter classic literature has ever known, “…you pierce my soul, I am half agony, half hope”. This memorable missive also sealed the deal (methinks) for Jane Austen as the quintessential queen of literary romance worthy to be viewed a hundred or more years after her works have been published to modern-day audiences who put her on a pedestal in book-clubs and money-grubbing film studios which delight in her accessibility to romance that there’s always a film version of her work. Her take on the life and times of the Victorian era, with a love angle added, is truly timely and remarkable in today’s world. There has never been a generation of women who set aside romantic inclinations for career or independence as now and Jane mastered or perfected the craft of writing about women who wisely chose their “sense of self” over societal pressures but always with a happy ending for the female and male protagonists.


The movie version  with British actress Sally Clarke as Anne Elliott and a host of British actors in supporting roles make this movie seem like a Merchant Ivory production, set in a Victorian era rural countryside England, with quaint mansions and seaside towns as picturesque backgrounds for an impressive cinematography.  I find the film version just satisfying and somewhat a faithful interpretation of the book but like most adapted screenplays, it deviates from the book a little to come up with a more compress and compact script designed for time constraints and plot simplifications. The actress who plays Anne, the lead character, looks simple but wise, and possessing of a certain beauty even if she’s already 27 and deemed quite old by the superficial society who don’t think much of her. Her family, the father, an older sister and a younger sister also underestimates her but Anne’s strong sense of self prevails and eligible gentlemen actually took notice of this but her affection remains  with Capt. Wentworth who disappeared for eight years after Anne broke off their engagement due to parental and societal pressures. When they continually meet again, feelings came back and it helps that he is now richer and more handsome, girls  gush at his mere presence and charm. In the end, they got back and lived happily ever after (I presume) but not after going through numerous obstacles and the cruel test of time. That’s why it’s called “persuasion” because love always find a way if it’s meant to be. My inner female lovestruck self  just can’t help but be momentarily  drawn to Jane Austen’s well-written but fictionalized genius.

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The House of Misses

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Before I started reading an Edith Wharton novel, mainly to prove to myself that I can finish her, I was uncertainly deciding whether it’s “The Age of Innocence” or “The House of Mirth”, obviously the latter won, much to my regret. After reading and watching the movie version, I read a lot of online reviews about how good the book adaptation is of “the Age of Innocence”. Mentally, I made a note to review it sometime soon. While the style of writing is impeccably her own, Edith Wharton is understandably one of America’s greatest woman novelist because of her distinct writing talent. Her keen observations and manner of describing are impressively bound to form a fluid writing style. To quote Miss Lily Bart, the heroine of the novel, “How delicious!”,as I got engrossed with the novel and Edith Wharton’s writing.
However, the film which was directed and written for the screen by the same man, failed to live up to the novel which it is based from. Although the actress who plays the lead character, Lily Bart, Gillian Anderson has an arresting face, made for close-ups as seen in her X-files days, she just gave a mediocre performance, nothing special or maybe it’s her facial expressions that did the work. The lead male character (who’s not so lead but only appears occassionally), is not that convincing or maybe his role doesn’t require much of him. All the supporting characters just seem to do their job without being too memorable. One such exception is the young Laura Linney, playing the conniving and mean Mrs. Julia Dorset. Her performance is like a breath of fresh air amongst the bleak surroundings of upper-class New York. The cinematography, like the film, leaves a blank space but is supposedly a promising endeavor-the affluence of New York, which is mostly Edith Wharton’s usual scene.
The film adaptation definitely did’nt live up to it’s promise, much like Lily Bart, full of potential but lacking in a certain x-factor(?).I just have to read and watch the other Edith Wharton film adaptation, also about New York’s high society. I know how it will go but it seems to be a better work of filmaking, considering it’s written by a well-known novelist who also lived among her novels.

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The fight that bites


I finished the book, “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk in two days (Saturday and Sunday),the quickest one, all 218 pages of it ,because my niece has to give it back to her friend on Monday. On Sunday night, before falling asleep, I managed to watch half of it, despite my eyes begging for a rest,  the next day I finished watching it, fascinated by my new-found appreciation to this very witty and timely work. I also became profoundly interested and alarmed by my sleep patterns lately, for fear of things going wrong due to my lack  of rest. In Psychology class 15 years ago, I distinctly remember its definition, “Sleep, the voluntary rest of sentient life”. I know sleep has numerous definitions popping out everywhere, specifically from the ubitiqously accessible and widely-used tool of communication called internet (Tyler Durden would hate the idea of it).

The book and movie is told through the eyes of its main protagonist, a man we can only call Cornelius (even if that’s not his real name but audiences has to give him one,for identification ) played by Edward Norton. In true Chuck Palahniuk fashion (I only read Haunted and seen a bit of Choke), characters are members of support groups and have a certain trying-to get-through-life look. In this case, Cornelius (as I like to identify him), has a stable job in a large car company but gets to travel a lot or spend it in the office. It may be enviable for most people but his discontentment and general unhappiness about his life made him very troubled. For one, his insomnia is getting worse and his need for human connection via support groups that aren’t really necessary for him. In one of those meetings, a girl caught his eye by the name of Marla Singer, played by Helena Bonham Carter. She, like him, always show up to support groups but she smokes like a chimney in the movie version, even when she’s attending the cancer therapy group. Cornelius always travels and so, in one of his trips, he met Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), an interesting and fascinating character that he met on a plane and would eventually be the most twisted point in his solitary and almost boring life.


The movie is quite different from the book version but the author himself adapted it in the big screen. David Fincher, the director, made a name for himself through this movie. Fight Club was released sometime in the early to mid 90s’, a time when grunge was everywhere and materialism or wealth was openly despised. The essence of the movie and book is very appropriate during that time, that’s why they’re (book and movie) hugely successful and made everyone involved household names. When I read it now for the first time, It confounds me to think that just a decade and a half later, the difference is staggering-the complete opposite of what the Fight Club is all about is what we’re advocating right now. Money has never been blatantly exposed. At the time of its release, the name Tyler Durden is part of the pop culture due to its popularity but now, I doubt it. (Would Brad Pitt be a household name?)

I thoroughly enjoyed both and I’m secretly glad that I shared Tyler Durden’s sentiments when he said “Don’t want to die without scars”. All in all, it’s one of those mental heath/illness movies that racked my mind up-hoping fervently that I don’t have an issue with one.