Historical fiction is more than just a story based on facts. It has the ability to make the modern person think about where we have come and where we are going.
The new three part miniseries, The Long Song (based on the novel of the same name by the late author Andrea Levy), premiered last night on PBS. July (Tamara Lawrance) was born a slave on the island of Jamaica in the 19th century. She is taken as a child from her mother to work as a personal maid for Caroline Mortimer (Hayley Atwell) and given the new name of Marguerite. Caroline is petty, selfish, and self-serving.
When the slaves start to revolt and talk of freedom, things start to change for both July and Caroline. That change is represented by the new overseer, Robert Goodwin (Jack Lowden).
Like many Americans, I was only taught about slavery within the United States. But I was not entirely aware about slaves that were kept by Brits living and working in Jamaica. I enjoyed the first episode. Caroline is a character that is similar to Scarlett O’Hara (aka, you love to hate her), played to perfection by Atwell. Lawrance is brilliant as July, continually outwitting her mistress. The brief introduction of Robert Goodwin (Lowden) toward the end of the episode is just enough to stir the plot up further, making me at least want to watch the second and third episodes.
If we lived in an ideal world, we would all live to old age. But we do not live in an ideal world. If one is lucky enough to see the golden years of their lives, then perhaps, they have come close to an ideal world.
*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.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 TheGolden Girls. Read 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 TheGolden Girls. to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
In our world, there are certain ideas about women and sex. When we get to our golden years, we are not interested in sex and/or romantic relationships. On The Golden Girls, Blanche Devereaux (the late Rue McClanahan) was the exact opposite of the stereotype. A modern version of Scarlett O’Hara, Blanche had her fair share of dates. Widowed for a few years, Blanche often waxed poetically about the South of her childhood and the many young men who came calling.
But Blanche is more than just an old Southern debutante. She was devoted to her late husband and her late parents. Though her parenting skills were not as strong, she tried, as many parents do. She also attempted to accept that her brother was gay, though it took some help from her roommates to finally respect who he really was. She is also equally devoted to her roommates, who pay rent to her as the owner of the house they share.
To sum it up: Blanche is a great character because she is vibrant, she is full of life and is complicated like the rest of us. As both a fan and a writer, I love how complicated Blanche is. I also love that she represents that a woman’s sexuality does not diminish once she gets to a certain age. That is why Blanche Devereaux is a character that television viewers will not forget anytime soon.
I have a confession to make. I am a lifelong bookworm who extracts great pleasure from opening a favorite book and delving into the comfortable world of a story that I know all too well.
Samantha Ellis is a fellow bookworm. Her newest book is entitled How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading too Much.
Ms. Ellis is the daughter of an Iraqi-Jewish family who for the last couple of generations has lived in England. While writing about her life and the experiences of the older members of her family, she intertwines essays about some of the most well known and loved female literary characters. From Lizzie Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, to the Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Cathy Earnshaw, to Scarlett O’Hara and many others, Ellis tells her own life story while reminding us why we keep going back to these characters and their stories.
I loved this book. What hooked me immediately and kept me hooked was the integration of Ms. Ellis’s life story and the classic literary female characters. Our favorite literary character often feel like a friend or a family member, we know them as much as we know ourselves.
I highly recommend this book, it is so far, the best new book of 2015 for me.