Friday, December 13, 2019

FFB: MY Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout

I see this is opening on Broadway in January. It will star Laura Linney, perfect casting. Here was my rview from a few years ago for Wednesday Book Reviews.

Lucy Barton, a young mother, is in the hospital after an appendectomy that left her with a stubborn infection. From her bed, she examines her past, present and future. Her childhood was an abusive one-although she doesn't despise her mother, who shows up after a many years' estrangement for a five-day visit. For much of the book, I thought her mother was some sort of apparition, and I am not sure it wouldn't have worked better had she been. Like OLIVE KITTERIDGE,(Strout's earlier book)  Lucy and her mother are not always easy to understand. Lines like this one, threw me:
    "Otherwise on occasion, and without warning, my mother, and usually in the presence of our father, struck us impulsively and vigorously."
     An impoverished childhood leads Lucy to a life that looks successful on paper: a writer with a husband and two children. Yet this hospital stay allows another woman to steal that away from her.  Yet a passivity on Lucy's part keeps the reader a bit distant from all of her travails.
     On occasion, you intuit that a writer's (Strout) life experiences are so different from yours that you will never fully understand her characters. And although I love Strout's novels and her writing, I am always looking at the page through gauze. I don't mind it though. I don't expect to "get" every novel I read any longer.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Things That Are Making Me Happy

I got the tree up this week, which was very difficult. I couldn't bear to open any of our boxes of ornaments (things we saved over 50 years)  so I got my cleaner (friend, really) to drive me to get new ones. It's not the most interesting tree but who ever really notices more than the lights. 
Saw Honey Boy, which I thought was quite good. Also A Winter's Tale, broadcast from London. I have never seen that Shakespeare play before and although it was odd, it was well done.
Went to a Christmas lunch with my book group and we blew a fuse so it was dark and some of the food was lost to us. Then I went out with friends for dinner and their car was towed away. So a strangely nice but unlucky day. 
Watched The Irishman on Netflix, which was certainly good enough, but I didn't see it as the best movie of the year. I don't know what I would pick though.
Reading Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur, about a daughter who aids her mother in conducting an affair. A strange book, which reminds me at times of CONCRETE ANGEL. 
I miss The Crown so have started Victoria. I have no idea if it's supposed to be good or not. I have never been fond of the monarchy but I am fond of history.  Still amazed at the British series Line of Duty, which is so complicated I can barely follow it. Perhaps six episodes is too many for one crime. It leads the writers down the path of many, many twists and turns. 
Speaking of following plots, my focus is still not what it was. I am hoping it will return to me and I will not lose whole parts of movies where I must start thinking of something else because I am not wholly there.
What about you? 

Friday, December 06, 2019

FFB: Miami Blues, Charles Willeford

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Bigger Than Life

If only her Dad was here to enjoy this but I am glad I am (and you are)!

First Wedneday Book Review: OLIVE AGAIN, Elizabeth Strout

This continues the story of Olive Kitteridge, an aging, former math teacher in Maine. She is as annoying and lovable as she was in the first volume, OLIVE KITTERIDGE. She marries a second time, which is a success, makes new friends, ages into an assisted living facility, endures health and family problems. It sounds depressing and it is at times, but her strength and eccentricities make it work. A good writer can make any character interesting, I think.
For more reviews, see Barrie Summy's blog.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Things That Are Making Me Happy

A lovely five days in New York, where I saw two great plays (Scotland, PA and Betrayal) got to visit with the Meyersons (thanks for getting me off on the right foot) , some other friends from Brooklyn, and Megan and lots of good meals, two okay movies. It was challenging, and there were one or two scares, but it was well worth it. And I was really lucky with the weather.

Reading OLIVE, AGAIN and NINETY GLIMPSES OF PRINCESS MARGARET. Watching THE CROWN. Love Harold Wilson, what a great actor and great historical figure. There is a great podcast on THE CROWN. And listening to Peter Morgan describing what a showrunner does, I am in awe that Megan has done this. If he is terrified waiting for the series to start, what must Megan be enduring.

And also found a fun series on you tube, "Technique Critique", where experts critique various things they find in movies: like accents, crime scene stuff, hospital scenes, etc.

What about you?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving 2019

                                  Taking a week off here. Hope you all have a good one.