In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer Book Review

Love and hate exist in the same breath. It is merely a matter of which path we choose and the consequences of that decision.

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer, by Irene Gut Opdyke and edited by Jennifer Armstrong, was published in 2016. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Irene Gut, a Polish Catholic teenager, was living an ordinary life. The oldest of five girls, she is studying to become a nurse.

World War II changed everything. Coerced into working in a German officer’s dining hall, she uses the information she learns to save lives. Upon transferring positions and becoming the housekeeper in a Nazi Major’s home, she hides 12 Jews in the basement. To keep them alive, Irene will have to accomplish the impossible. Even if it means crossing a boundary she would have never considered before.

This book is very good. It proves two things. The first is that one person can make a difference. The second is that love can overcome hate. We just need the will and courage to act on that love.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer is available wherever books are sold.

Flashback Friday: The Blind Side (2009)

Education, as we all know, unlocks the key to our future. When we don’t have access to that education, that lack of access has the possibility of lifelong consequences.

The 2009 film, The Blind Side, is based on the true story of former NFL player Michael Oher. The narrative comes from the book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, by Michael Lewis. In his teenage years, Oher (Quinton Aaron) was a young man who had almost nothing. Coming from a large African-American family that was dealing with poverty, homelessness, and addiction. Taken in by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her family, he is being given the opportunity that many of his peers will never receive.

When he shows a spark of interest and the ability to play football, this opens the door to a life path that he never expected.

Without knowing anything about the real people behind the story, it is a tale of seeing potential in a young person who does not believe that they have any. Bullock won an Oscar for the role and deserved it. Her role is that of a mama bear who loves and protects her young ones with a ferocity that never wavers.

There are two perspectives on the movie. The first is that it is at heart, a white savior narrative. From a certain point of view, it is extremely problematic. The other is that it humanizes the white evangelical Christian Republicans. These days, it’s easy to demonize this crowd. This story shows that they are just like the rest of us, even when we disagree on a litany of topics.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Becoming Elizabeth Review

I find the origin stories of famous historical figures to be fascinating. Knowing who they were before allows us to understand them as fully formed human beings, not just names in a textbook.

The new Starz series, Becoming Elizabeth, is the origin story of Elizabeth I of England. Then known as Elizabeth Tudor (Alicia von Rittberg), her world turns upside when her father, Henry VIII dies. Though it is her younger brother, Edward VI (Oliver Zetterström) ascends to the throne, neither she nor her elder sister Mary I (Romola Garai) are free from court intrigue. She must both deal with being a teenager and the very tricky politics of sex, religion, and power.

I am hooked so far. The young lady we are watching on screen is both ordinary and extraordinary. Her ordinariness comes from experiencing the same growing pains that we all went through at that age. The extraordinariness comes from being seen as nothing but chattel while using every tool at her disposal to survive. It is brilliant, it is entertaining, and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Becoming Elizabeth airs on Sunday night on Starz at 8PM.

Ms. Marvel Review

*This review is solely based on the series as I have never read the original text.

For far too long, the majority of superheroes have been white and male. Thankfully, things have been changing to include women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.

Ms. Marvel premiered last Wednesday on DisneyPlus. Based on the comic book of the same name, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is a Pakistani-American teenager who is going through the same growing pains that we all went through at that age. Her parents are overprotective, she is unpopular at school, and desperately wants to spread her wings. She is also also a Captain Marvel Superfan.

Living in Jersey City, New Jersey, Kamala is torn between her own needs and being true to the family /faith that she was raised in. When she unexpectedly gains superpowers, she must use them to save the world.

Like Peter Parker before her, it is her ordinary ness that makes her stand out. What I have watched so far, I like immensely. As the child of immigrants, she speaks to and represents the mindset of many children and grandchildren who chose to leave the land in which they were born and make a new life in the US. I love that she is a nerd and proud of it. I love her imagination and I love her spirit.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

New episodes of Ms. Marvel are released every Wednesday on DisneyPlus.

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Flashback Friday: Early Halloween Post-Carrie (2013)

Every genre has its star, the writer(s) who the symbolize that specific type of narrative. In the world of horror, one of those writers is Stephen King.

In 2013, a reboot of one of his most famous books, Carrie, hit theaters. Starring Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, and Chloë Grace Moretz in the title role, this adaptation (as in the book and the initial film) tells the story of Carrie White. Carrie White is a shy teenager whose is hit by a one two punch that would ground anyone into literal emotional dust. In school, she is being bullied at school by the popular girls. When she gets home, her mother forces her into a sheltered and religious lifestyle that is equally as bad. After discovering that she has telekinetic powers, Carrie unleashes revenge on everyone who has put her down.

The problem is not with the movie itself. As remakes go, its decent. Carrie White is one of those characters that we can all relate to. The issue is that it was not needed. The original 1970’s film is just so dam good that it still holds up nearly fifty years later.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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