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review 2017-03-10 10:13
Biblical fan fiction
Barabbas - Alan Blair,Pär Lagerkvist

Short (150 pgs) story following the life of the criminal Barabbas pardoned by Pontius Pilate and the crowd in Jesus's stead, for about 30 years following the crucifixion. Non-canonical, obviously. I think the point is to be a springboard for discussion about the nature of being an adherent to an institutionalized faith vs. following a personal philosophy not sanctioned and validated by ritual and mass worship. 

 

I guess Dino de Laurentiis made this into a film in the late 50's/early 60's, which I can't even begin to imagine, as the only work of his I am familiar with is Barbarella, in which Jane Fonda is nearly pecked to death by parakeets. 

 

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review 2017-03-08 14:45
Chocky
Chocky - John Wyndham

Chocky tells the story of 12 year old boy, who all of a sudden has an imagenary friend. His parents have to deal with these changed circumstances and they have to ask themselves, if their son is turning mad or if he is possessed by some foreign entity.

 

My second Wyndham and as much as I loved The Day of the Triffids, I didn´t like Chocky. I couldn´t stand these horrible do-gooder parents (the mother is a stereotypical 1960s housewife and the father a condescending jerk) and I was totally unimpressed by the ending. 150 pages of boredom and a plot like molasses. A huge disappointment.

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review 2017-03-05 21:16
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Tennessee Williams

A Mississippi plantation on a sultry evening and a dysfunctional family with all its secrets and untold truths. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is one of these plays that I would much rather have watched on the stage than have read it, because I imagine it must be even more powerful while being performed on a stage.

 

The big strenght of this play doesn´t lie in discovering the family secrets, although it deals with a controversial topic (the play is set in the 1950s).

Homosexuality

(spoiler show)

It´s much more about the way the characters deal with these problems and how they behave towards each other during this crises. My favorite part of the play is the dialogue between Brick and his father Big Daddy, which is absolutely mesmerizing, spellbinding and which will change your perception of the characters.

 

I loved reading this play and since I won´t be able to watch it in a theater, I have to watch the movie adaption.

 

Maudit elizabeth taylor cat on a hot tin roof richard brooks making a fool of myself

[Source]

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review 2017-02-26 16:19
Eleven Kinds of Loneliness
Eleven Kinds of Loneliness - Richard Yates

My plan is to read all of Richard Yates´ work in chronological order, so next up after Revolutionary Road has been his first short story collection. And as always with short story collections, it has been a mixed bag for me.

 

The main theme of this collection is loneliness in 1950s America in all its forms and how the characters deal with it. There is the child, who gets bullied in school, the patient in a TB ward, the unhappy spouse in a marriage, the unsatisfied worker of a newspaper and the dreamer, who wants to create but doesn´t have the means to do this himself.

 

Richard Yates just has that uncanny ability to give his characters a personality and a soul, whether he writes about them on 300 pages or on merely twenty. The stories are quite sad and depressing and especially the first story, "Dr. Jack-O-Lantern", has been a total gut-punch (at least for me). Some stories worked better for me than others, but there hasn´t been a story that I disliked and overall it´s a strong collection of short stories. 

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review 2016-12-21 13:01
Wait... what? Uh oh.
Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes

I read this when I was about 12 or 13, and now I'm re-reading it, for nostalgia, I guess, and because I was reminded of it a few weeks back, when I saw an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which kind of riffs on Flowers for Algernon.

 

But there's something weird going on here, because I don't remember it being as PG-13 or even R rated as it is. There's a whole mess of scenes in here involving sex (nothing too explicit, but still...), which is a problem, because I sent this book to my 13 year old nephew for Christmas, and now I'm beginning to re-think how appropriate that may have been. I guess I need to get ahold of my sister and tell her she might want to check it out first. 

 

*damn*

 

Anyhow, if you haven't read it, I recommend this book. Superficially it's about a mildly mentally retarded man (is there a more PC way I'm supposed to say it? I feel like there is, but nothing comes to mind...)  who is the subject of an experimental treatment which gives him superhuman intelligence.

 

His expanded brain power is wonderful, exciting and illuminating, but also alienating... none of his old friends understand him any more. He suddenly sees that the authority figures he had placed so much trust in don't really have all the anwers, ect... exactly the sort of stuff you like to think about when you're 12 or 13 and starting to catch on to things.

  

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