Daily Archives: July 9, 2015

Red: A History Of The Redhead Book Review

In terms of hair color, redheads are only 2-3% of the worlds population when it comes to hair color. But that does not mean that all of the myths revolve around the titian haired set are true.

Jacky Colliss Harvey’s new book, Red: A History Of The Redhead, follows the history and myth of the redhead. Tracing the genetic and social history of redhead from ancient civilizations to our modern era, the author takes the reader through the various images that the redhead has cultivated. Mary Magdalene and Judas were both portrayed as redheads. Queen Elizabeth I made red hair acceptable and fashionable during her reign. Redheads, depending on the stories one believe are clownish, fiery or scatterbrained. Female redheads are fiery temptresses. Male redheads are nerdy and goofy.

I absolutely adored this book. The author has written her book in a way that is both educational, but it does not have the feel of a dry college textbook.  It is not just for redheads to validate their feelings and self esteem, but an interesting study of how genetics and social history can impact how we view the world.

I recommend it.

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Throwback Thursday- From The Page To The Screen- The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (2005) & Washington Square (1997)

It is not uncommon for a book to be made into a movie. Whether or not the movie is successful and it is true to the book is another story.

In 2005, the classic children’s novel, The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe By C.S. Lewis, was made into a film. Re-titled  The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005), the story focuses on four children. During World War II, Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley) are sent to the English countryside in the wake of the German bombing of English cities. They think that they are living in an ordinary country house.

What they don’t know is that a wardrobe in the home leads to a magical world of Narnia where the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) rules with an iron first. They are not ordinary children. A prophecy states that two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve with the help of Aslaan (voiced by Liam Neeson) will lead a rebellion against the witch. Are these the children whose fate it is to free Narnia or will they perish on the battlefield of this magical land?

The good thing about technology is that it has caught up with the imagination of the author.  Unlike many movies, the special effects do what they were intended to do: add to the movie’s overall appeal, not fill in weak areas in the script.

Eight years earlier, in 1997, Henry James’s 19th century novel, Washington Square filled movie screens. Catherine Sloper (Jennifer Jason-Leigh) is the original poor little rich girl. She is set to inherit quite a tidy sum upon the death of her widower father. But she is socially  awkward and her father, Dr. Austin Sloper (Albert Finney) has low expectations of his daughter. Enter Morris Townsend (Ben Chaplin). Morris is charming and attractive and Catherine starts to see a future with him. But her father is dead set against the match and will do anything to prevent their marriage, including labeling Morris a gold digger. Does Catherine have the emotional strength to stand up to her father or is she destined to spend her life alone?

I happen to enjoy this movie very much.  There is something simplistic about this story, but in a good way.  Unlike other female heroines of the era, Catherine does not have the emotional strength or the ability to stand up to her father. A lesson for many parents to learn from this novel is that emotional support and teaching your children self esteem is just as important, if not more as the material items in life.

I recommend them both.

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Throwback Thursday- A Walk In The Clouds (1995)

Sometimes in life, people are thrown together and must learn to deal with what life has thrown at them together.

In A Walk In The Clouds (1995), Paul Sutton (Keanu Reeves) is an American veteran of the second world war. When he gets home, he finds that his wife, Betty (Debra Messing) is cheating on him. Abandoning his marriage, Paul finds work as a chocolate salesman. On a bus, he meets, Victoria Aragon (Aitana Sanchez-Gijon). Victoria is a graduate student who is returning home with more than a degree in her hand.

She is pregnant by a former lover who is out of the picture. Afraid to tell her family the truth, Paul offers to pretend to be her husband, if only for a short time. When they return to Victoria’s family home, her old school, traditional Mexican father, Alberto (Giancarlo Giannini) reacts as he is expected to react. Will Paul and Victoria’s plan work or will their relationship develop beyond what both expect?

This movie is very interesting. Keanu Reeves is not as bad as a romantic leading man as many might think he would be. I also like the emphasis on the Mexican culture and the struggle between the older generation intent on preserving tradition and the younger generation eager to strike out on their own.

I recommend it.

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