The Daughter's Tale: A Novel Book Review

As parents, we will do almost anything to ensure that our children will grow up to be happy, healthy and productive members of society. But during wartime, a parent’s main concern is that they, their children and their family survives the war.

Armando Lucas Correa’s latest book, The Daughter’s Tale: A Novel starts in modern-day New York City. Elise Duval is in her golden years. Born in France and raised as a Catholic, her formative years were during World War II. After the war, Elise moved to the United States, where she was raised by her uncle. Then a stranger brings Elise a box that opens the door to her past.

In 1939 in Berlin, Amanda Sternberg and her husband live a comfortable life with their two young daughters. But Amanda and her family are Jewish and the noose around Europe’s Jews is tightening. Making the ultimate parental sacrifice, Amanda puts her older daughter on a boat to the Americas before fleeing to France with her younger daughter.

Amanda hopes that living in France will provide the respite that she and daughter desperately need. But the Nazis are not too far behind. When Amanda is forced into a labor camp, she knows that the only way to save her daughter is to send her away.

This book is fantastic. What drew me in was the force of Amanda’s love for her children and how she knew instinctively that in order to save her children’s lives, she had to send them away. Regardless of faith, family background or cultural history, it is a message that I believe speak to all of us, especially those of us who have children.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992)

When a movie is successful, the natural thinking is a sequel. The question is, how will this sequel compare to it’s predecessor?

The 1992 movie, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992) is the sequel to the 1989 movie, Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Wannabe scientist Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis) is again experimenting with shrinking things and people. This time, the machine he has invented makes people and things bigger, not smaller.

Instead of shrinking his older kids, Wayne has increased the size of his toddler son, Adam. But there is more. When Adam touches anything electrical, he gets bigger. At his tallest, he is over 100 feet tall. In true toddler fashion, he goes through Las Vegas, creating a path of destruction in his wake.

To be fair, I have not seen this movie since it was released into theaters. As I recall it to be, it was mildly funny. But I was also a kid back then.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Roseanne and The Conners Character Review: Darlene Conner

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series  Roseanne and The ConnersRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Roseanne and The Conners to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Having a sense of humor is a good way of getting through life. Having a sarcastic sense of humor is a great way of getting through life. On Roseanne and The Conners, Darlene Conner (Sara Gilbert) is sarcastic, creative, tomboyish and not afraid to speak her mind. The second daughter and middle child of Roseanne and Dan Conner (Roseanne Barr and John Goodman), Darlene is very much her mother’s daughter.

In her early teens, Darlene is very much a tomboy. As she grows up, she becomes very vocal about her art and her beliefs in animal rights and veganism. She also starts to date David Healy (Johnny Galecki), a young man who is usually the compliant one compared to his girlfriend. After a tumultuous time in Chicago, (where Darlene is in art school), she and David become pregnant, get married and bring their daughter, Harris into the world.

Though it appears that David and Darlene are headed toward their happy ending, their relationship ends in divorce. After Darlene looses her job, she has to move back to Lanford to live with her parents.

To sum it up: It would have been easy for the writers to create the typical compliant teenage girl. But Darlene is far from typical or compliant. Partially due to her sarcastic nature, she stands out from the pantheon of sitcom daughters. That is why audiences have loved her for three decades.

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Howards End Book Review

Sometimes it takes a moment and a spark to change a life.

E.M. Foster‘s 1910 novel, Howard’s End, takes place in early 20th century England and tells the story of the intertwining of three families. The upper-middle-class Wilcoxes, the middle-class Schlegels, and the lower class Basts. The story of how these families intertwine starts when Helen Schlagel gets involved romantically with Paul Wilcox. Telling a story about the mingling and clashing of class and sex, Foster speaks not only of his era but our era.

The impulse to read the book came from the miniseries that is currently airing on PBS. Up to this point, I’ve heard of the book but never read it. While it was a reasonable read, it is one of those books that I can check off having read. It’s not a bad book, but I was also lost partway through.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday- Property Brothers: Buying + Selling (2012 to Present)

The process of preparing your home to be sold so you can buy another requires that the homeowner put their best home foot forward.

Property Brothers: Buying+ Selling has aired on HGTV since 2012. The premise of the program is that brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott step in to help the subject of each episode with the home buying process. But before the house can be sold, it requires some sort of renovation. While this renovation is being done, the homeowners are looking at potential new homes. At the end of each episode, the homeowner’s current home (post renovation) is sold and they will be moving into a new home.

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I have mixed feelings about the reality genre in general. This show, however, I like. It has enough of a high stakes drama to it, but it is not so derogatory that I feel my brain cells dying while I am watching it.

I recommend it.

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Something is Fishy About the Lack of Witnesses at the Impeachment Trial

When we are young, we are taught about due process and one’s right to a fair trial. Part of this due process is the right to call witnesses to confirm the accused’s innocence or guilt.

The impeachment trial of you know who started today. Among the many points that were considered was whether or not to call witnesses. Not surprisingly, the Democrats wanted witnesses to be called. The Republicans argue that witnesses are not necessary.

I’m not a lawyer or a legal expert. I know where the boundaries of my knowledge lies. But I know enough to know that witnesses are necessary in any trial, regardless of whether it is on the local level, the national level or somewhere in between.

I have to wonder, in denying witnesses to speak for themselves, what the Republicans are hiding. Or, if they are not hiding something, they are afraid that these witnesses will reveal the truth. The truth that you know who did use his office for personal and political gain. By not going against you know who, they prefer to stay in power instead of serving the public who voted them into office.

Only time and history will tell how the impeachment trial of you know will turn out. Either way, the fact that Republicans refuse to call witnesses says it all, at least from my perspective.

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American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power Book Review

One of the beautiful things about American culture, is that one’s status within the society is not static. There are opportunities to grow beyond the circumstances of one’s birth. Unfortunately, with those opportunities, comes the risk that not every business venture is on the up and up.

Journalist and Trump, Inc. host Andrea Bernstein recently published her new book, American Oligarchs: The Kushners, the Trumps, and the Marriage of Money and Power. In the book, she starts with the immigrant roots of both families and ends with the current economic and political state of her subjects. Utilizing interviews, hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, Bernstein draws a picture of two families who would do anything (and I mean anything) to get a powerful place and stay in power.

This book is an eye-opener. Those of us who are news junkies are fully aware of the current press that surrounds both families, but the past press is often overlooked. The thing is about this book, is that it can be seen as partisan, depending on your perspective. As a Democrat who is more than ready to see you know who out of office, this book confirms everything that I believe about the current administration.

I recommend it.

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I'm Not Quite Sure About "Vote Blue, No Matter Who"

Any Presidential election year is bound to bring about tension and raise political hackles.

This Presidential election however, raises that tension by 100 and threatens to divide this country. I heard the following statement over the weekend and I’m not sure if I agree with it.

Vote Blue No Matter Who

In theory, especially given who is currently President, the statement makes sense. We need to get him out of office. However, in practice, the statement is a little too general. The divide between the centrist Democrats and the more left leaning Democrats has the potential to create a rift and re-elect you know who.

At this point, no one knows who the eventual nominee will be. When that time comes, “vote blue, anyone will do” makes sense. But until then, voters will need to vote with their heart, their head and their gut.

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Anne Brontë is 200!

bardessdmdenton - author- artist

If she were more perfect, she would be less interesting

Finally

it’s Anne’s own Brontë200:

Today is the 200th Anniversary
of Anne Brontë’s birth, January 17, 1820!

A very special day as

she is subject of my novel …

Above all, through the well-measured words of Denton, a young Anne emerges more and more. She frees from the web of religiosity with which she traditionally is painted, [and] tries to leave something good in the world through her measured but deliberately targeted writing. A different Anne at the beginning of the book, timidly in love; then resigned to accept her own death with dignity and fortitude. A meaningful homage to the memory of Anne Brontë.

~ Maddalena De Leo, Italian Representative of The Bronte Society

STC98097 Portrait of Anne Bronte (1820-49) from a drawing in the possession of the Rev. A. B. Nicholls, engraved by Walker and Boutall (engraving) by Bronte, Charlotte (1816-55) (after) engraving Private Collection The Stapleton Collection English, out of copyright STC98097 Portrait of Anne Bronte (1820-49) from a drawing in the possession of the Rev. A. B. Nicholls, engraved by Walker and Boutall (engraving)…

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Thoughts on MLK Day and the Spike in Antisemitism

For many Americans, Martin Luther King Jr. is an icon. More than fifty years after his death, he is the image of the Civil Rights Movement.

These days, the news is unfortunately full of stories of attacks against Jewish residents in the New York City area by African-Americans.

When asked about the Jews and antisemitism, Dr. King said the following:

“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You’re talking anti-Semitism.”

What many forget is that American Jews were on the forefront of the Civil Rights moment.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel was not only a good friend of Dr. King, he was an ally. He was on the front lines with Dr. King, fighting for the rights of African-Americans.

In 1964, three young men were murdered because they believed that all Americans, regardless of race, were equal. James Chaney was the son of a African-American family from Mississippi. Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were raised Jewish in the New York City area. They came together and were murdered together because of what they believed and what they were fighting for.

When I think about Martin Luther King Jr., I think of a man of courage, honor and conviction. He knew that the journey and others were about embark upon was dangerous. But he also knew that it was right. I take that as a lesson not just in my personal life, but in every aspect of my life. What is right is not always easy. But in that lack of ease comes the knowledge that though the journey is difficult, it is the only way forward.

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