Monthly Archives: August 2014

IF I STAY by Gayle Forman

Penguin Group 2009

If I Stay Book CoverI was slow to come to this story. It took a movie yelling at me that it should be read to actually get the book in my hands.

I knew it would be sad.

I don’t always like sad. Oh, I enjoy a good cry as much as the next girl, but the sad in this story is very possible. Possible sad can be hard to handle.

Seventeen year old Mia is a cello prodigy. She’s in love with her family, even her little brother, and a punk musician named Adam. One February “snow day” her family goes for a drive. An accident with a truck leaves Mia alive but in a coma. An out-of-body experience allows her to sort out the fact that her family is gone and gives her the chance to decide if she wants to stay in this life without them.

Let me say that Gayle Forman is an amazing writer. She handles the potentially overwhelming aspects of this tragic story like a virtuoso might play…the cello. There were highs and lows, though I found at times the story was moving along at an enjoyable pace. We were given lovely flashbacks and just the hint of sorrow. I was almost lured into a sense of serenity.

Then the melody changed tempo. I was brought from the beautiful highs to the depths of the low notes. It physically hurt. And I can’t just say that I cried. There were two (well, maybe three) times in the reading of this story that I blubbered uncontrollably. That is all because of how much control Gayle Forman has on her writing.

Even though I suffered, I appreciate it. I love it.

Do yourself a favor. Read the book. Then, go see the movie. Just make sure you are packing a few handkerchiefs or a whole box of tissues.

You can find out more about IF I STAY, the sequel WHERE SHE WENT and all of Gayle Forman’s other lovely books on her website: gayleforman.com

 

Take Care,

Leanne

 

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Instant Gratification

While I was driving the other day I asked my daughter if she wanted to turn on the radio. Her answer was, “No.”

She loves music and we both get a kick out of singing (loud) together whenever a mutual favorite comes over the air waves. It didn’t make sense. Why was she quick to shoot down the idea?

InstantGratificationI was informed that if she turned the radio on, the preset station probably wouldn’t be playing a song she wanted to hear. That would then require her to push a button over and over and over while searching for a song she did like. Once found, the song might be half over and then she would have to deal with the boring commercials. Plus, the whole venture would involve leaning towards the car’s center console. Sigh. It just wasn’t worth it.

Okay. I’m exaggerating a bit. But still, is it really too much work to change the stations on the radio?

I’ve always said that I wasn’t going to be the kind of mom who brings up how much better my kids have it than I did. No stories about walking uphill to school in snow up to my knees from me. I was going to live today and take the situations as they come. Everyone is different.

Of course that isn’t my reality.

There in the car I started in on her about how there didn’t used to be some app that lets you “skip” songs. We called into radio stations to make requests and sat around all night hoping they’d play our song. If it made the playlist, we’d revel in our victory.

I then told her how when she was a baby, I took film to a store to have photographs developed. We couldn’t look at the back of the camera or check in our phone’s gallery to see if our eyes were shut. There was just a sense of faith that it would all work out. Yes, they were really printed on paper. Twenty-four or thirty-six of them.  And we KEPT EVERY IMAGE because we paid for them. Even the ones that were just someone’s foot.FOOT

We also used to record television shows on these things called tapes. That involved setting a contraption to record a show EVERY SINGLE TIME we wanted to watch it. Hopefully you accounted for Daylight Savings Time and remembered the all important step of turning off the machine. Maybe it wasn’t such a big deal to us because we only had FIVE channels.

And The Wizard Of Oz came on once a year. It was an event. We came in from playing outside to watch.

Yes, we PLAYED OUTSIDE. Just us kids. No parents. No play-dates. When my mom called us in at the end of the day, we were dirty in such a way that she wanted to hose us off instead of letting us into the house.

I’m not quite sure where the rambling stopped. There was more talk about playing Kick the Can, working in a garden and eating dinners around a dining room table. My daughter seemed fascinated.

That’s when I decided I’m really not one of those parents who think kids have it better than we did. With all the technology that makes our lives easier, we’ve lost something. I’m a parent who wishes that my child could have had a life a little more like mine.

 

. . .

 

Geez. How corny.

 

Take care all of you out there. I’m going to go listen to some songs on my ipod.

Leanne

 

What are your thought?

 

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WINGER by Andrew Smith

Simon & Schuster, 2013

 

Winger by Andrew SmithOkay. To be perfectly honest, I’d rate this book a five-out-of-five-jock-straps-on-the-dirty-laundry-pile of insights into how a boy’s brain works. Or maybe that’s what Ryan Dean would say.

WINGER follows fourteen-year-old smart guy Ryan Dean West as he starts his junior year at the fancy boarding school Pine Mountain. He’s two years younger than the others in his class. His best friend and true love Annie only sees him as a little kid. He’s been placed in the dorm for delinquents because he hacked a teacher’s cell phone. Plus, his roommate is likely to kill him in his sleep. And that’s only the first day.

The book is hilarious with its clever drawings and dash-upon-dash way of making a point, but it’s also touching in a very human way. One moment I was laughing at the band-aid falling out of his too-short school pants. The next I was moved by how he wished it was yesterday again.

The story told by this kid who seems to only think of girls and playing wing for the varsity rugby team shouldn’t connect with me so much. I’m a (uh..hmm) somewhat older female who never knew a rugby position called wing existed until opening the cover of this book. And yet, Ryan Dean West seems like a pretty real person to me…and I can definitely relate to that. I bet you will too.

You can learn more about WINGER, the author Andrew Smith and his slew of other books on his website: authorandrewsmith.com

 

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Failure to Post

Last week is the first week I didn’t post anything since beginning this blog back in September. Part of me has guilt about this because I told myself I would write something to share at least once a week.

The other part of me says, “Pfffft!” bunnyPFFFT

I’m deciding to cut myself some slack because last week was amazing in regards to my Actual (with a capital A) writing. I finished the second revision on my novel. I am pleased to say, it is less full of plot holes. I would like to say there are no holes, but who am I kidding?

I also know how I want to rewrite the first chapter.

All is right with the world.

Bring on the third revision!

Take Care,

Leanne


 

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Click image to visit IWSG

This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) blog hop where writers work to support and encourage each other on the first Wednesday of each month.

This month the IWSG is being hosted by the founder Alex J. Cavanaugh  along with Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom!

Check them out!

I can also be found on Twitter, Pinterest,  Google+, Tumblr, & through Email!

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