Thursday, 26 July 2012

Let Me Tell You, Jorge Bucay

Well, I must say that I don’t really like self-help or self-improvement books. Not for any particular reason, only because I think that there are several things that you just can’t get fixed simply by reading a book. However, without knowing that they are considered as self-help books, because I wouldn’t buy them otherwise, I have read a few and they got me by surprise.

I was trying to improve my Spanish, so when I read the blurb of the ‘Let me tell you’ I thought it would be an interesting book and easy to follow. My initial plan was to read it slowly without any pressure, but it failed as soon as the first chapter was over. It was captivating, interesting and there was no way that I would put it aside.

It’s the story of a young man going to therapist to short out some of his main problems regarding his everyday life. Problems that every man or woman in his late twenties or early thirties has to deal with. Demian has to figure out how to get a job, find a girlfriend and have a relationship that would make him happy, how to deal with money, family, friends and co-workers; with dreams that never came true and the comprises that has to do. In a few words Demian wants what everyone wants to be happy and to live a good life.

Jorge Bucay is a psychotherapist who wrote this book in a very interesting way. Demian comes with the questions and his therapist gives him the answers, but it’s not that easy. Everything is hidden in stories, stories that the therapist narrates and Demian and the reader as well has to figure out the message in them.  

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller

It’s always easy to judge, to be the one that cares only for yourself. We take our parents for granted and most of the times we do forget that before having us, they were just like us. They were young and full of dreams; they had plans and wishes and probably had to make a lot of sacrifices and compromises to raise their children.
The book it’s a love story of a man and a woman that they meet each other during a hot summer somewhere in Iowa. He is a photographer working for National Geographic and she is a typical housewife. They instantly fall in love and they have only five days till reality kicks in and hard decisions have to be made.    
So when I read this book, I tried to put myself into main characters’ position. I tried to imagine myself in my mid-forties trapped into a marriage that doesn’t make me happy anymore.
This woman represents almost every woman in the last few generations. The housewife who is meant to put herself aside and makes her husband’s and her children’s lives her only priority.
You can’t read this book without feeling the desperation of this woman, without feeling sad for a strong love lost because of her ethical duty to her family. And you can’t definitely read this book without appreciating your parents not for the things they offered you but for the ones that they probably scarified in order to raise you.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

More awkward situation for men, Danny Wallace

Have you ever had posters of a famous actor hanging over your bed? Have you ever been in love with your favorite movie star? Even though you have never met him, you are pretty sure that he is that perfect person with who you gladly spend the rest of your life with him. Well, I hadn’t. I had never had my famous pointless crush. Till now. Till the day I started reading this book, the “More awkward situations for men”.

Danny Wallace, the author, is my crush. Since the book is a collection of personal awkward situations, I have to say that this man is so funny, that I found myself laughing out loud too many times. His stories are humorous, embarrassing, sarcastic,  but so true. 

While I was reading it, I could imagine all my male friends having the same problems and dealing them with the same way. If you want to laugh and at the same time be related to what you are reading, this book is the one.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The help, Kathryn Stockett

A best seller book written by Kathryn Stockett, which had been rejected more than 60 times by literary agents and publishers, till finally got printed.  I read this book while I knew that somewhere in the south of the United States the film shooting was taking place. If I didn’t know this, I must say that it wouldn’t cross my mind that this book could be adapted to a movie easily. 

It’s always tricky trying to get a book into the big screen and especially the ones with a huge impact to the audience. However this novel in question needed extra caution and delicacy in order not to become an offensive or meaningless movie. 

Reading this book made me admire the author for being able to be so realistic and original. One of the hardest things that a writer can or sometimes has to do is to create different and outlandish characters, particularly in this case when the author tells the story through two black maids. So clever and captivating but also demanding to give voice and speech to someone that nobody would expect. Stockett manages to criticize a whole conservative and racist society; proves the irony of all this.   Black maids raise white kids, while they are not allowed to use the same bathroom. The characters are well structured, showing that everyone has a story to tell and the only thing that you have to do is listen to it.  I think that the author manages to illuminate this beautifully.   

On the other hand, watching the movie I got a little bit disappointed. There was nothing wrong with it, I mean that in general speaking it was a touching and funny movie, but the book was more than this. The casting was adequate and everybody approached their character with the best possible way, but something was missing. I didn’t enjoy the fact that the screenplay was a bit more humorous than the book; neither liked their attempt to change it into a light movie. After all there was nothing light about it. And I still don’t get why they modified the role of Sketter’s mother, it seemed less genuine. I know that the audience always looking for some kind of redemption, but in this case didn’t fit well. 

Well, the funny thing with this adaptation it’s actually that the movie wasn’t bad, it didn’t hate it neither like it.  I mean there were not big alternations or misconceptions, but still it lacked of spirit. When I finished the book, I recommended at once, but I didn’t do the same with movie. 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

One Day, David Nicholls

A day comes for every woman to realize that she is no longer a little girl and inevitably she is getting older. Surprisingly enough, I'm not talking about the first shock of looking yourself in the mirror and spotting your first wrinkle, since you know that a botox appointment is just a phone call away. But what do you do when there is nothing else than accepting that the years have gone by? For me that moment was when I finished reading this book. A book that should make me cry like no other, but didn't, which meant I was old enough to know that there is no perfect love story.

'One day' is about a great love story. A well presented time travel into the last three decades. The music, the trends, the politics and the British culture in the background makes this book more vivid and realistic.  Emma and Dexter get to spend their graduate night and day after together and a unique friendship bonds them forever. David Nichols, the author uses a clever and interesting way to present his characters; every year on the same day we lively witness the transition of two young, promising, graduates, from the early 20s to youth and then to mature adulthood.  Two friends who had to get old enough to realize that they are meant to be together and live a great romance.

Well, I have to say that the main characters were quite predictable and so was the ending. However, the author manages to create the right ambience with the descriptions and the dialogues that he uses, so in the end you don't regret that you have read it, cause  after all …. a great love is always a great love.