Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Raisin In the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965)

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat
Or crust and sugar over-
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

~Langston Hughes

One word to describe this play is simply powerful. Family is intertwined with a group of individuals. That is what we are first, an individual. Lorraine Hansberry illustrates this beautifully in her play, A Raisin in the Sun. As circumstances of family life arise and offer hardship the differing personalites handle each situation differently. Screenplays amaze me as through only words exchanged between people, I develop a sense of character of each. Not only that but I gain a feel for the emotional atmosphere and surroundings from whence they are either living in or have come from. This play lives up to that classic standard in so many ways.
As the first few lines, of Hughes' poem, graces the introductory page, it gives a feeling of resonance foreshadowing what will be read. This is one of those plays that is not only inviting to read but one that would be good to see in its LIVE theatrical version. This is a cast of entertaining characters but not only because they are lively, it is one that can be related to as well.
Struggling deeply and challenged by their meager efforts to recover financially what they do not have, the Younger's, a Chicago family, Walter, Ruth, Mama, Beneatha and Travis each pursue their own course and worry about their dreams. It's compelling to feel how heartwrenchingly real these struggles are for the Younger's. As a reader, I found I was interested in each act of the play to see how this will turn out. It felt like I was dreaming along with them and rooting for them to overcome their challenges, rise above and find a way to maintain their dreams. I wanted them to keep going and let the future come into their field of vision.
After all, considering the Younger's in comparison to the plant that they carefully attended to, a plant without sunshine is one that will not see Spring again.

160 pages
First produced in 1959
My rating: 4 stars

"a woman who has adjusted to many things in life and overcome many more, her face is full of strength. She has, we can see, wit and faith of a kind that keep her eyes lit and full of interest and expectancy. She is, in a word, a beautiful woman. Her bearing is perhaps most like the noble bearing of the women of the Hereros of Southwest Africa - rather as if she imagines that as she walks she still bears a basket or a vessel upon her head." Act 1, Scene 1, pg. 22


A beautiful exchange ~

Mama: (Moved, watching her happiness.) Yes, honey?

Ruth: (Looking off) Is there-is there a whole lot of sunlight?

Mama: (Understanding) Yes, child, there's a whole lot of sunlight.

(Long pause)
Act 2, Scene 2, pg. 94


"Sometimes you just got to know when to give up some things...and hold on to what you got." Act 3, pg. 130

"There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing." Act 3, pg. 135

You Tube - "A rare & unique entertainment..."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched (Matched, #1)Matched by Ally Condie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thanks Carrie for your great review on this book! I finished reading it today and here's my take:

I went into this book with... not LOW expectations exactly, but I certainly didn't expect to get sucked into it the way I did. I had an awful lot to do this weekend and it all got shelved so I could read. Any time I've had to put it down, I've found myself thinking about the story. I can definitely see why they'd want to make this into a movie. But I have a feeling the movie will ruin the book for me, just like Twilight. But let's not go there.

I would recommend this book for the following reasons:

It's light and fun and effortless.
It leaves me feeling hopeful in an odd sort of way.
It is squeaky, and I mean SQUEAKY, clean.

A lot of YA books seem outrageously inappropriate for teens, but I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to hand this over to a young adult.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Having seen the The Last Unicorn cartoon many times as a child, I was a bit hesitant yet intrigued with this book. As a seven-year-old, many of the deeper subtexts of the plot were lost to me. My kid brain saw a creepy old dude, a gorgeous, whiny unicorn, and a riduculously terrifying Red Bull. (That bull chased me through many a nightmare through the years, most often around the time book reports and research papers were due.) Never mind the whole 'watery equine' thing. Years and years of living in the waves? I just couldn't figure out how they didn't drown!

I was excited when I heard that we would be reading this in book club. "How was the book different from the movie? Did it have a happier ending? Is that freaky vulture thing in the books? Will the magician come across as an elongated Hobbit, like he did in the movie?" These were deep questions that needed to be answered. I was excited to finally understand the work.

This book surprised me. As a grown woman with home and family I picked up on the themes of innocence lost, the burden of time, and the cost of potentials realized. They kept me looking inward throughout my time with this book. Of course, I expected and understood the theme of maidenhood , often associated with unicorns, but that was as deep as I expected to go. "Ya, ya, youth lost. OK, got it, we don't look as young, etc." But, the book went deeper than that. In her quest, the unicorn gave up a blissfully ignorant life to save her people. She carried the burden of knowledge, experience, and loss. For her family. She tried to keep the bigger picture in view, though she often lost her focus. Smendrick wanted to help her and sacrificed much for her and her quest. On the other hand he had one of his own. He sought his own magic. It seemed similar to a marriage at times. She had the big picture in mind, but struggled to keep focused. He wanted to serve her and her quest to the ends of the earth, but his ambitions came along for the ride. That isn't a bad thing necessarily, but it was always something that had to be balanced.

Molly Grue brought another facet of experience to the story. She was reconciled to who she was, but found hope of more when she saw the unicorn. As a wife and mother, one who is well along on her journey, I felt Molly's pain when she yelled "How dare you come now, when I am this." Even if you love where you are (which Molly, obviously didn't) there is always that wonder of "Did I do enough? Did I try hard enough, then? Am I as far along as I really should be?" But, she gave it all to the unicorn. She knew she would be made better, just being near her and what she represented.

All in all, I enjoyed this book so much as an adult. I can understand why it is read and loved so much. It is timeless. It is a classic, in my eyes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Matched by Allie Condie

We are reading Matched by Ally Condie in our RS book club this month. So there might be several reviews on 5-squared. I feel nervous being the first one to review it because I don't have the language skills that my other friends have. So this will be simply my thoughts.
Matched is the first book of a trilogy. I didn't know that until I finished, I could tell about 2/3 into it that there would be another. Which will be alright.
This is a dystopia novel. I looked that word up; a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease and overcrowding.

The Society controls everything. You are sent your personal food at a specific time and place. No one is allowed to come into your home. You have only a brown set of clothes. They decide all of your activities. You are Matched at seventeen with your optimal partner. They also decide when you die. They give you a container with three tablets in it, a blue, green, and red. You are told when to take them. They are allowed to enjoy only 100 songs, 100 poems, 100 movies etc.

Cassia is a seventeen year old. She is matched on her birthday. It is an unusual match because she knows the young man. The next day, she puts the microcard with his information in the portal and sees another face also, again someone she knows.

There is a love triangle, one young man who is the strong, good guy type. The other has a mysterious past. Cassia is torn between the two.

Poetry is used often in the book, which is nice. I only like a little bit of poetry, the book actually made me interested in the pieces they talk about.

This book reminds me of Hunger Games a bit, but there isn't the violence.

I've read several other reviews about this book. Many folks complain about various things. I enjoyed it though. I look forward to the other two.