Why Are We Not Talking About Puerto Rico?

America has been hit by three hurricanes in a very short amount of time: Irma, Harvey and Maria.

Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico, leaving millions of American citizens without the basic necessities. While another President would focus his or her energy to getting aid and supplies to those who are in need, President Trump decided to focus on one thing: the NFL players who protested injustice by taking a knee, locking arms or simply not being on the field while the Star Spangled Banner was sung at the beginning of the game.

The rules of American democracy can be boiled down to one simple statement: I may not agree with you, but I will support your right to speak.

President Trump has forgotten this. He has also forgotten that he is no longer the owner of a private corporation who, as long as he stays within the legal and moral boundaries, can run his company as he likes. He is now a public servant, beholden to the citizens of this country. We are his employers, he is our employee

I support those who chose to take a knee in silent protest. My heart also goes out to those who are trying to put their lives back together in Puerto Rico, Florida and Texas. We need to focus on helping our fellow citizens, not tearing them down.

Are you listening President Trump?

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The Choice: Embrace the Possible Book Review

Dr. Edith Eva Eger has a unique take on grief and dealing with the emotional trauma. A survivor of Auschwitz and The Holocaust, her experience during World War II gives her an insight as how to deal and move on from grief and trauma.

She has chronicles her experiences in a book entitled, The Choice: Embrace the Possible. At the outset of World War II, Dr. Eger was a young woman from a Jewish family living in Hungary. By the time the war was over, Dr. Eger was a survivor of Auschwitz and other concentration camps. While she and her sisters were lucky enough to survive, the rest of their family perished. After the war, she married, had three children, became a refugee from Soviet controlled Hungary and emigrated to America, where she eventually received her doctorate in psychology.

Among memoirs by Holocaust survivors, this book stands out. While it is about Dr. Eger’s story, it is about much more than that. It is about how we can face our demons and traumas, whatever form they take and find the inner peace that we are yearning for.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Battle Of The Sexes Movie Review

The Battle Of The Sexes tennis match in 1973 between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs was much more than a tennis match. It represented the future of America.

In the new movie, Battle Of The Sexes, Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King and Steve Carell plays Bobbie Riggs. At the start of the film, Billie Jean King is the women’s tennis champion and Bobby Riggs is the former men’s champion who now earns his living by working for his father-in-law. When Billie Jean and the rest of the women discover that prize money for the women’s tournament is far less than the men’s tournament, they revolt.

While this is happening, both Billie Jean and Bobby are dealing with personal problems. Bobby has a gambling addiction that could threaten his marriage. Billie Jean is married, but she is attracted to women and one woman in particular, Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough). The question is, who will win the Battle Of The Sexes?

I really liked this movie. I liked it on several levels. I like it a) because it is an entertaining movie b) the match itself is a historical moment that truly changed the world and c) it feels appropriate for what is happening in this country right now. I especially appreciated that both main characters were not slated into the typical hero/villain role. Riggs could have easily been shown as the big bad chauvinistic wolf (which he certainly was to certain degree) who is trying to blow King and the feminist house down. I also appreciated that Billie Jean King paved the way for only women in general to achieve whatever they want to achieve, but also in her own small way, paved the way for the modern LGBTQ movement.

I absolutely recommend it.

Battle Of The Sexes is presently in theaters.

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One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported Book Review

When Donald Trump announced that he was running for President last year, many of us thought it was either an elaborate hoax or a joke. When he started to win the primaries and actually won the election, it was a nightmare that we hoped would never become reality, but did.

In One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported, written by Thomas Mann, Norman Ornstein and E.J. Dionne Jr., the authors are basically consoling the voter who feels angry and disheartened that a billionaire braggadocio reality show star businessman is in the White House and could potentially run this country into the ground like one of his former companies. They start off the book with asking how and why this man got as far as he did and ends with how ordinary Americans can stand up to ensure that our democracy continues in spite of the man sitting in the Oval Office.

If I took nothing else away from reading this book, I realized how fragile our democracy truly is and how important it is to communicate to those in Washington DC that they are our employees and not the other way around.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening Book Review

While feminism has created opportunities and advancements for some women in some parts of the world, other women are still fighting for their basic rights.

Manal Al-Sharif’s memoir, Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening, is much more than her want to be able to get behind the wheel. It is her story and how driving became symbolic for her need to recognized and respected as a human being.

I really liked this book. While I felt like the buildup to her epiphany about driving and feminism was a little slow, the end was totally worth it.

I recommend it for all women, especially women in the first world. We need to remember that while feminism has given us opportunities that our grandmothers could dream of, women living in some third world countries are still seen as second class citizens and chattel to their male relations.

This book is a must read.

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Thoughts On The 30th Anniversary Of Full House

Full House premiered 30 years ago today.

Full House was the story of a widower, Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) who needs help raising his three young daughters, D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and Michelle (Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen). He turns to his best friend, Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier)and brother-in-law, Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos). Full House was sort of the late 80’s reboot of the classic 1950’s comedy. It was the standard family sitcom, but also represented the modern era with men taking a larger role in what was once considered to be women’s work.

Is it corny and predictable? Yes. Does it have the “very special episodes” and the sappy music that tells the audience that the child is about to learn a lesson? Of course. But it is also a show about a family and that is where the audience is hooked. We all have families and we can relate to the family we are watching on-screen.

Happy 30th anniversary, Full House.

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The Darcy Monologues Book Review

Among literary heroes, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice stands out. For over 200 years, he has been the literary boyfriend of many a female reader.

The Darcy Monologues, edited by Christina Boyd, is a series of short fan fictions with Fitzwilliam Darcy as the main character. Set in a variety of time periods, all of the stories are told from his point of view.

I wasn’t sure about this book initially, but I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because not only did all of the writers know the ins and outs of the character, but they were able to tell Darcy’s story in new and different ways.

I recommend it.

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Flashback Friday-Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008)

Sometimes, when life throws us a curve-ball, we can only think quickly and hope for the best.

In Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008) Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is a middle-aged governess who has just lost another job. The agency who has found her work in the past is not so quick to find her a new position. With no other way out, she steals the information of a new client and presents herself as the new social secretary for Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams), an actress and nightclub performer. Delysia is juggling three men: Nick (Mark Strong), the owner of a night club, Michael (Lee Pace), who plays piano for Delysia and is ready to marry her at a moments notice and Phil (Tom Payne), a young theater producer who is eager to cast her in his newest production.

While juggling all of that, Guinevere has caught the eye of Joe (Ciarán Hinds), a fashion designer. Will Delysia choose from one of her three boyfriends and will Miss Pettigrew be unmasked for whom she truly is?

Set during World War II, this film is the perfect modern screwball comedy that was a staple of the movie going experience in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Amy Adams channels Marilyn Monroe as a goodhearted, but not all there actress who does not know what she wants. And of course, there a couple of 1990’s Austen leading men, which always makes a film that much better.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Character Review: Isabella Linton

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either book or the various adaptations.

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 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 Wuthering Heights to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Not everyone can have their happy ending. Some of us, no matter how much we try, will never be able to walk into the proverbial sunset. In Wuthering Heights, Isabella Healthcliff (nee Linton) is Catherine Linton’s (nee Earnshaw) sister-in-law. When Heathcliff comes back into Catherine’s life a couple of years after she has married Edgar, Isabella develops a crush on Heathcliff. Why shouldn’t she? He is handsome, wealthy and in every sense of the word, eligible. Isabella is single, of age to marry and ready to marry.

The problem is that neither Catherine or Heathcliff have gotten over each other. Isabella becomes a pawn in their relationship. Running away with Heathcliff, they elope and Isabella is cut off from her brother. She will soon learn about the darker side of her husband. When she can no longer live with Heathcliff, she leaves hims and takes their young son, Linton to London.  She dies young,  hoping to leave her son in her brother’s care. But her husband wants his son back.

To sum it up: While we all wish for a happy ending, both on page with our characters and in our lives as human beings, we  may not get that happy ending. Isabella is unfortunately a character whose happy ending is not what she envisioned. But she does one thing that makes her ending stand out: instead of staying with her abusive husband, she leaves him and takes their son with him.

In 19th century Victorian England, this was a brave choice that is a small, but pivotal change in the way happy endings are portrayed. So in a way, Isabella got her happy ending, but it was on her own terms. In that sense, Bronte flipped the standard happy ending narrative on its ear, creating a new happy ending. If a writer is looking to clear up the loose ends of their story with a happy ending, why not change that ending? Flip that happy ending on it’s ear, make the story even more memorable and leave the reader wanting more.

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Filed under Books, Character Review, Emily Bronte, Feminism, Writing