Tag Archive: Review


The Dot Spot

The Dot Spot by Dorothy Black

dot spot

This book is bylined as ‘Adventures in love and sex’ and while it is that, it is so much more. It really is adventures in you; adventures and voyages.

Ms Black is a sex columnist who finally, thank everything you believe in, decided to write a book.
“A sex columnist?” I hear you say, shocked and slightly titillated (if you were honest).
“We don’t really need another book about all that!”

Oh yes we do. And this is the book we need. This is the book every single woman needs, and probably quite a few men too. It’s the big sister we never had, even if we had a big sister. It’s the friend we can trust who knows more than we do but never makes us feel stupid. It’s the slightly crazy aunt we adore because she makes it okay to say stuff and ask questions, and she tells us the truth.

Because this book is not just about sex and what to do, how to do it and where to find people to do it with. It’s about finding out who you are, what you really truly want and need, and then being empowered enough to go ask for it.

It is chocful of information and opinion as well as experience. Ms Black is not some expert tut tutting at you for not knowing stuff, but rather your mate sitting around a dinner table admitting what she didn’t know and telling you how she gained the knowledge. She shows you the way, she doesn’t drag you down the path.

One of the many things I took from this book is the idea that we should stop speaking of our sex lives as though they are separate from our actual lives. As Ms Black says, it’s your life and how you choose to express yourself sexually. They are not separate things, one of which is active at a time. If one aspect of our lives is not healthy, you can be sure all aspects will be affected.

Ms Black takes women’s sexuality out of the basement cupboard of shame and has created a space where women, and men, can learn, grow and develop as rounded, satisfied sexual being. She simply and succinctly reminds us that we are going to be sexual creatures, and be sexually active – we may as well do it the right way for each of us. It’s too fundamental an aspect of life to screw up really.

The line ‘We do the best we can with what we have’ is used in this book more than once. There is no judgement is what anyone chooses to do, but what Ms Black is doing here is making sure that we all have more, know more, believe more, so that we can better make decisions about what we do.

And that has to be a good thing for the whole world.

The only problem I have with this book is that I didn’t have it as a 20 year old when I set off into the sexual wonderland. I made so many crappy decisions and did so many stupid things because I just didn’t know. Every single responsible loving mother who can admit their daughter will be a sexual being one day should get this book for her. In fact, every woman should read this book and then pass it on to the men they love, be they brothers, lovers, or friends.

Life changing, liberating and empowering – a wonderful book.

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.

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!

Expecting Adam

 Expecting Adam – Martha Beck
9780749921903 

 

 This book is one that will either resonate deep inside the reader; or seem like complete drivel. Luckily I was a reader in the former category.

 
 The story is simply the recounting of Martha Beck’s difficult pregnancy with her second child, and only son, Adam. But it is anything but simple. Martha and her husband John are Harvard academics; they hail from a society in which the pursuit of perfection and recognition is all that matters. They are both on their way up to the top of their personal pyramid, their own spot near the water spigot.

 
 And then they find out that Adam is a Downs Syndrome child; a ‘retarded, imperfect’ foetus. The reactions of their community to their decision to keep the baby are heart breaking and horrifically superficial.  

 
 In addition to dealing with the real life issues of a terrible sounding pregnancy, the future with a Downs baby, pressure from colleagues and professors and the entire Harvard community, Martha and John also deal with some very interesting ethereal influences in their lives.  It is at the inclusion of these bits that some readers may get lost. If they give up on the book because of the oddness of the concept of angels, they will be missing out on a really interesting and entertaining read.

 
 Martha never tries to convince the reader of anything; she simply tells the story as she experienced it. Neither she nor John expected any kind of divine intervention; and even after they had both experienced some very odd things, it took them a while to tell even each other.

 
 I did struggle through bits of this book, and i believe in what Martha says happened. For people who struggle with the concept of otherworldly influences in our lives, these bits may be hard to stomach. And in some ways, that is exactly why these readers should read the book. When facing all this weird stuff going on in her life, Martha decides to stop disbelieving things until they are proved, but rather to believe everything is possible unless proved not. She is liberated by this way of seeing the world; by no longer believing she is in control but rather just letting things be.  But, as i have said, she in no ways tries to claim her way is the absolute right way but rather just that it’s the way that makes sense to her.

 
 Overall, this is a book worth reading. It will certainly make you question what you consider normal and why. Which is exactly what Martha says having Adam did for her and her husband.

All Over Creation

All Over Creation
Ruth L. Ozeki

ISBN:  9780330490276
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Kalahari.net: R145.95
Exclusive Books: R110.00

 This is a rather difficult book to review and do it justice. It is about so much and has so many interwoven stories that all pull and tug against each other, and prop each other up, that to reduce the book to a summary of the events would be criminal.

 If I tell you it’s about genetic engineering of foodstuff, many readers would yawn and find another book to read. But it is.

Except it’s also about a whole lot more

 It is also about family and what makes a family; and what breaks one. It’s about life and death and propagation. It’s about faith and trust and forgiveness.

 It has a huge cast but all of them are essential and full characters and are necessary. The stories unfold in a completely believable way and are so clear that there is never any confusion.

 The main story is of the Fuller family, Lloyd, his Japanese wife Momoko and his run away and now adult daughter Yumi. Lloyd was a potato farmer but now sells seeds with his wife. Yumi ran away for home at 14 and only now, at 39, has returned to Idaho because her father is dying and her mother losing her mind. Yumi returns with her three children and a host of issues and a history which returns to bite everyone in the ass.

 Added to this family saga of death, dementia, anger, love and forgiveness are the band of political activists who join forces with Lloyd in an anti-genetically modified foodstuff movement.

 Throw in an abortion, a barren couple, a dodgy dude with mirror shades and a bitter and twisted small town sheriff and the result is a very well worth reading book.

 Here is the first paragraph of the book:

It starts with the earth. How can it not? Imagine the planet like a split peach, whose pit forms the core, whose flesh its mantle, and whose fuzzy skin its crust – no, that doesn’t do justice to the crust, which is, after all, where all of life takes place. The earth’s crust must be more like the rind of the orange, thicker and more durable, quote unlike the thin skin of a bruisable peach. Or is it? Funny, how you never think to wonder.

 And I loved this paragraph:

Every seed has a story, Geek says, encrypted in a narrative line that stretched back for thousands of years. And if you trace that story, travelling with that little seed backwards in time, you might find yourself tucked into an immigrant’s hatband or sewn into the hem of a young wife’s dress as she smuggles you from the old country into the New World. Or you might be clinging to the belly wool of a yak as you travel across the steppes of Mongolia. Or perhaps you were eaten by an albatross and pooped out on some rocky outcropping, where you and your offspring will put down roots to colonize that foreign shore. Seeds tell the story of migrations and drifts, so if you learn to read them, they are very much like book – with one big difference. …………………….. Book information is relevant only to humans……………….the information contained in a seed is a different story, entirely vital, pertaining to life itself.

 Genetically modified plants have a seed self destruct mechanism implanted so as to force the farmers to buy new seeds every year! Who knew!

 The characters in the book make seed bombs which they throw over the walls of government and business building and compounds so that indigenous plants will grow on the lawns; they plant trees on verges and in parks. That kind of terrorism I can live with.

 Very cool story and very important area for us all to inform ourselves of. It is happening and we don’t even know where.

A cracker of a book and well worth reading