Category: Review


bad feminist

what an amazing book – another in my no-cis-white-straight-male authors challenge of 2017
I read it on my kindle but will buy a hardcopy because I want to reread these essays, and make marks in the book and underline bits I love.
I want to pick it up and delve into Gay’s words again and again

In these essays Gay looks at many aspects of popular culture through her own, admittedly imperfect, lens. And in doing so makes the critical thought processes she follows available to more of the general public. Because she says that it is hard to get it right all the time, hard not to be a bad feminist sometimes, she creates a space in which it is okay to realise, acknowledge, and then hopefully work on, your own flaws, weaknesses and bad feminism.

We can all only become better feminists if we examine where we fall short, and why.
And, as Gay says, better a bad feminist than no feminist at all

Love love loved this book
I am going to read it again, this time stopping to watch the movie Gay is talking about, read the book, engage with the pop culture.

And i will add reviews and comments on each essay as I go along. This is to multi-faceted a book to receive a single review

The birthday lunch
by Joan Clark

birthday-lunch

I liked this book.

It is, on the surface, quite gentle. But beneath the surface, the slow-paced life of a small village, the shock sleepwalking of bereaved family members, beneath all of that lies family history, betrayal, sadness, a sense of failures and being deserted, a swirling pool of mixed and misunderstood emotions – all the things every family holds within the emotional walls of relationships.

The book charts the detailed life and activities of a family after the unexpected death of a member. In a really still way this book will take you along the path of grief with the mourners. It is funny at times, and really quite sad too. It captures perfectly that period between death and burial when life carries on, but also is so markedly different it doesn’t fit any more.

The characters are all people we know, people we are related to, us. The relationships are familiar, and not always in a good way.

Misunderstanding, long held grudges, mistakes and anger are all there to be seen, and how they separate and join people is so human it made my heart ache.

And the end surprised me a little, in a variety of ways.

This is a lovely book which is absorbing and emotional.

by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

What an amazing collection of stories from a truly incredible author. Adichie shows the reader, through these 12 stories, so many of the stories of Nigeria and Nigerians. From women living in America, separate from their Big Man husbands to students hiding in empty shop front to escape from a riot these stories tell a multitude of vibrant, real and often heart-breaking realties.

Africa is so present in all the stories, possibly especially those of Africans in America. Adichie tells it as it is, no sugar-coating or misty-eyed out of focus view. She addresses the fear and loneliness of immigrants as well as the pride and strength they have. She looks at the connections between loved ones and those lost, and makes the protagonist, and therefore also the reader, examine preconceptions and opinions.

These stories will grab you and suck you in; make you want to know more and wish that each were part of a full novel about the characters. Each story is complete, but they did leave me yearning to know more of the people. I wanted their past and future – I wanted to demand to know more, dammit!

Adichie is all she is cracked up to be – I feel so lucky to be an aware, developing feminist reader at the time she is producing.

A note: when I first started reading this book I didn’t realise it was a series of stories. So I read the first few stories as though they were chapters in a book, storylines that would join up eventually. As soon as I did work out that this was not the case it was worth going back and rereading the first few stories as complete pieces. And I realised how differently short stories require the reader read.

1 million stars out of 10

 

Room

Wow – what a book. This book is trending at the moment because of the recent movie so many people have read and reviewed it recently. But I wanted to add my wow to the noise about it.
It claims to be a book you’d read in one sitting, and were I able to sit for long enough, it certainly would have been. Instead I read until later at night and then woke up earlier than I needed to, to read more.

The story on its own could have been any number of books, some even good. But what makes Donoghue’s telling of the story so amazing is her narrator. I think the story is well known now – a woman and her son live in a single room, captures of a man who visits, abuses the woman and brings them their necessities. The son, Jack, is five, and was born in Room. Room is narrated by Jack.

Jack is completely believable as a 5 year old with wildly slewed development – he is incredibly mature in some ways and so completely immature in others, as might well happen if you lived in just a room with your mother.

That Ma and Jack actually do happen, that there are people who have lived this story as real life made Room so much more powerful. I could not help but think of Fritzl and the women he held captive while reading Room.

A wonderfully told, amazingly real story – I loved it
And I shan’t see the move for fear it may ruin everything.

Avatar

I have just seen Avatar. And hmmmm. Let me think.

 I do not agree with all the comments made about how it is racist and perpetuates the idea that indigenous people need a great white saviour in order to survive. I think to reduce the film to that is to do it a great injustice.

 I think it is about the environment; about connectivity; about the oneness of humanity that those in power of technology are refusing to see. I think it is about how greed destroys and less is so often more. I think it about how consumerism and selfish capitalism are evil and will lead to the destruction of the earth. I think it is about how chasing material wealth makes you blind to what really matters, to what wealth really is.

 And I think it is about how every human being reaches a point of decision and can either protect his own race, be that colour, culture or origins based, or he can let go of his fear and become one of the people.

 Jake Sully is no white saviour saving the savages from themselves. Or even from the onslaught perpetuated by the Sky People. Jake Sully is a broken and incomplete man who is rescued and saved, as a man and as a human being, by the Ni’vo. They are the saviours; they are the better human beings; they are the ones who have got it right and are living life as it should be.

 And yes, they are reflective of many of the indigenous people of the world, some of who are white. They respect their planet and all life on it. They are aware of their place in the greater scheme of thing and do not believe themselves to have some kind of inalienable right to all the planet has. The representatives of the white people in the eyes of those who condemn this movie as racist, are the fools; the murderers; the blind. And ultimately, the vanquished. This movie makes racists and those who believe their civilisation to be the only valuable one, into complete twits the audience is rooting for the destruction of.

 To put this movie in the box of racism is to miss what I think the real message is.

 We HAVE to start seeing and believing in the interconnectivity of everything; and stop destroying stuff just cos we can when we do not understand how everything matters to everything, or we as a race – the human race – will be sent packing; we will be left with a dying planet.

 We stand at a time in history where we all have a choice – are we going to be loyal to our race, or to The People? The wrong choice is going to be the destruction of all of us.

 We need to all be people first, and to save our world together. Each group has something to contribute and we HAVE to learn each other’s language and listen.

 We simply have to.

 And that is what I think Avatar is all about.

Hard Candy

Hard Candy Hmmm – potentially an interesting movie this one. It tackles the idea of personally meted out vengeance for illegal activity. This essential concept is couched in the experience of paedophile and young girl, so it’s layered with all sorts of emotions.

 

I must admit i was bored in parts of this movie and i think it misses its mark often. It’s way too easy to like the man and feel some empathy for him as a human being. And i found it very hard to like the girl. These conflicting emotions, the opposite of what we are expected to feel, i think set the movie too far away from me for it to really work. At the end i still did not much like the girl and cannot condone what she does. I understand her motivation but am just as afraid of her walking the streets as i would be a paedophile.

 

That being said, the actress who plays the young girl is good. As is the actor who gets to be the Jeff, the photographing whack-job. The two of them are on screen the entire time and they do pull it off. His emotions are completely believable and unfortunately he is easy to side with for most of the film. But not so easy that i felt any guilt for doing so. It’s some feat to have a suspected paedophile be more likeable than a planned (and possibly previous) victim. Not one i’d have thought the movie wanted to achieve.

 

The end of the movie is quite horrific in some ways. But sadly, i still didn’t like the character i was supposed to relate to. I dunno what the point of the movie was. If we were to all be cheering the girl on she should’ve been more approachable as a characters. It’s so easy to instil sympathy in an audience for abused girls – but this film doesn’t. Are we to feel the humanity of the paedophile? Cos his is touched on but not so much so that there is an ‘aha – he is human too’ moment. So it feels like the movie does nothing when it could have done at least one of so many things.

 

 Naaah – a kak movie in my opinion. Which is a surprise cos so many people who know me quite well thought i’d really be glad to have seen it. It was a letdown and i want my money back!

District 9

I saw this last night

And I think it is a stunning movie.

Satirical, smart, sassy, funny – it’s got it all.

The ‘shoot-em up’ movie part of the movie is just good fun. Its engrossing and …well, fun. Fun like Bruce Willis movies are fun. The production is slick and the movie looks big budget.

 

 I do wonder though how many people will get the satirical nature of the first section of it. Perhaps you need to either have been there to watch the news reports of the 70s and 80s, or at least have a keen awareness of what went down in this country, politically, to really get the humour behind the subversion going on, on the screen.

But the satire is clever. Scary kind of clever. Lots of people outside of South Africa are gonna buy into it as being real. And it is, kind of. That’s what makes it so smart and so dangerous. I do think we may have a mini ‘War of the Worlds’ situation with viewers outside of SA and /or politically unaware viewers though! But maybe that’s not a bad thing.

 

 This film is a sad indictment of the entire human race, set somewhere where the worse behaviour of the human race was visible to the rest of the word for so long. But also the place of some kind of hope for the human race. If we can do it, in real life, anyone can! Even the fantasy world of the movie.

 

It’s a skop, skiet and donner, it’s a love story, it’s a story of friendship, and it’s a coming of (political) age movie. It’s funny and also very sad at the same time. I felt excitement and despair in equal measure. There is even one rather gross scene for people who like that – i thought it unnecessary but i’m squeamish!

 Sharlto Copley is unbelievable as Wikus van der Merwe. His essential change from the moustachioed plonker at the start of the movie to the character he is by the end is magnificent. This man had better be nominated for an Oscar! Truly, he is breathtakingly good!

The rest of the acting is great too – no one lets the side down at all. It’s neatly and sharply edited, the cinematography is varied and efficient – sjoe, I just really liked everything about this movie.

Oscar nominations – I’d put money on it!

This is a good movie.  It has just been added to my now list of two best movie ever!