book reviews · books · Music · poetry · reading

Book Review: I Think I Love You

 

I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson love
You’d expect a book about teens in love with David Cassidy to be light and full of air, a pop song of a novel, wouldn’t you? Well, that is not at all what the reader gets with this book. The story of Petra, who as a teenager in a small Welsh town, who along with her best friend Sharon, enters The Ultimate David Cassidy Quiz contest in hopes of winning a meting with their idol. Petra’s mother is staunchly against all forms of popular culture the family doesn’t even have a television and so Petra must hide her devotion to Cassidy, as well as her plans to see the man in concert in London. Years later, after her mother’s death, she discovers a letter in her mother’s things, telling her that she’d won that contest back in 1974; in a rush of grief, Petra calls the publishing company and demands her prize.

 

Intertwined with Petra’s story is that of Bill, a writer at the magazine sponsoring the contest, who in many senses becomes David Cassidy for the fans. He writes the letters the teenyboppers think are from David, using his poetic and musical heart to win their love. Bill even behaves like a prince at the concert where he and Petra unknowingly cross paths.

 

Years later, as adults, they cross paths again, as Bill’s publisher sends Petra and Sharon to Las Vegas to see David Cassidy, fulfilling their adolescent dreams. The plot sounds simple, but like a good pop song, there are layers. Upon layers. Love, anguish, teenage and adult heartbreak, music, poetry, and friendship. I didn’t expect it, but I am so glad I found it. Allison Pearson, I think I love you.

 

Dance · happy · hope · Music · poetry · Portland · Uncategorized

Sweet Music Man (My Rock-Star Boyfriends)

“Play your song sweet music man…
Nobody sings a love song quite like you do
And nobody else can make me sing along
Nobody else can make me feel
That things are right when I know they’re wrong
Nobody sings a love song quite like you.”

I love that song, and the men on my list of “rock star boyfriends” all fit into that mold. Each, with his music, has made me feel things were right when I know they’re wrong. Or make me dance.

So, not all of them are actually rock stars, but who cares? It’s my list, I’ll do what I want!

Chris Isaak. Two words “Wicked Game.” Need I say more? Not really, but I will– his newest album, Beyond the Sun, has a cover of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” that is in my opinion, better than the original. Makes my toes curl.

Yo-Yo Ma. A classic music rock star. The cello is the sexiest instrument, and Yo-Yo makes love to his. Listen to his recordings, and you can feel the passion. Turn the lights down, pour a glass of wine, and put some Yo-Yo Ma on the stereo. I am especially fond of his Bach cello suites.

Tom Petty. I don’t care what he looks like; this singer-songwriter has been a part of my musical life since high school. I’d date him, if only because he’s a poet.

Elvis Costello. Smart. Sexy. Poetic. A bit hipster, but he really was doing it first, so who cares? My first experiences with Elvis Costello were in Portland coffee houses in 1989, and I have never looked back!

Raul Maulo, lead singer of The Mavericks. Both with country band The Mavericks and on his own, Raul Maulo has a voice to make me swoon. In the same mold as Roy Orbison & Chris Isaak, his voice has lovely lows and that amazing falsetto to give you shivers. Listen to his rendition of ‘Blue Moon,’ and see.

Jon Bon Jovi. Still. He rocked back in the 80’s, and is hotter than ever, and still rocking twenty years later. His smile is still adorable, and so is that butt, although he has much better hair now!

Enrique Iglesias. All the suave his father had, along with a big helping of pure sex drive on a plate!

He’s even hotter in Spanish..

Josh Turner. This country boy is cute enough, but as soon as he starts singing, he becomes incredibly sexy! That deep voice asking “I wanna be your man” is just yummy.

The young Jerry Lee Lewis. The bad boy. He starts playing piano, and ooo-weee, whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on! Take him over Elvis any day.

Whose barn what barn MY barn!

I’d never forgive myself if I left my Barry off this list. Mr. Manilow has not never been a particular heart-throb of mine, but his music has been in every part of my life since his first hit back in the 70’s. Before that, really, since we all knew his tv jingles by heart, and just didn’t know he wrote them– he’s they guy who got us stuck on Band-Aids, and let all the Peppers come out of the closet!
Barry Manilow writes the songs that make the whole world cry (sing along, you know the words!), and he has written songs for every time in my life. Here are two of my favorites.

My Rock-Star boyfriends. Aren’t they great?

books · happy · Internet · Music

Movies That Move Me

As I travel around the world on the internet, reading various blogs every day as I do, I often think “hey! That is a great idea for a post! I should do that!” Then I forget about it, and go on with my life…
Not this time. After reading several terrific list-based posts yesterday, I decided that the time had come to follow through. Heaven knows I love to make lists, and can blather on about why something is amazing, or sucky, with the best of them!

These are few movies that, no matter how often I see them, touch some part of me, move me, or just make me think.
In no particular order:

Sophie’s Choice (1982)
Starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol.
“Sophie is the survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who has found a reason to live in Nathan, a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust. They befriend Stingo, the movie’s narrator, a young American writer new to New York City. But the happiness of Sophie and Nathan is endangered by her ghosts and his obsessions.” (Summary from IMDb.com)
Yes, I fell in love with the novel by William Styron, first. But Sophie will forever be Meryl Streep for me. She is simply luminous in this film. Her beauty is so pure in such a complicated tragedy, that it is nearly impossible to take my eyes from her face. Each time I see the film, my heart breaks again. For Sophie, for Nathan, but mostly for Stingo, who we know will triumph, but will never be the same. The blend of poetry, music, tragedy friendship and love keep me coming back over and over.

The Color Purple (1985)

Another favorite book, Alice Walker’s ‘The Color Purple’ was translated stunningly by Steven Spielberg. The story remains as powerful and moving as it should be (often a failing in book-to-film ventures), and is also visually perfect. Simply seeing the beauty of this on the big screen shows how Spielberg understood the title line, shown in this clip:

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

This film–and book too–helped me see that all kinds of women are beautiful, powerful, and strong. Watching Celie learn to own her smile, to grin without hiding, makes me believe in myself. And when I am feeling down, I sing this song in my head, and feel better.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Yes, another book-to-film has made my list. Big surprise.
Based on a short novel by Stephen King, this movie has everything to get me crying. Even though I know what will happen, I still cheer at the end. My favorite scene (likely everyone’s) is this one:

Locking himself in the Warden’s office, Andy plays Mozart over the prison sound system, just because it is so beautiful. He earns himself a stretch in solitary, but it sure seems worth it.

“For the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.”

Doesn’t get much better than that.

The Fisher King (1991)

This movie breaks my heart, makes me laugh, cry, sing, and leaves me wanting more every single time. Probably my favorite of all Robin Williams’ work, his complex portrayal of a man so broken by grief that he vanishes into a fantasy land of medieval knights and chivalry is stunning, and at times comic. The blend of fantasy and reality in this movie just takes my breath away.

For example, Grand Central Station, is suddenly a ballroom:

Directed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame, this movie should be seen by everyone, as far as I am concerned. You won’t be disappointed. Bring a hankie, though!

Next time, my rock-star boyfriends…

Bollywood · Brampton · breast cancer · Canada · children · hot · Michele · Music · stress · Summer · Toronto

The Frozen North?

I thought Canada was supposed to be cold. That’s why I packed more cardigans than t-shirts for my visit to Toronto.  I’ve been here a week, and the temperature has been in the high 70’s or 80’s every day! Jeez Louise, I felt like I was on the bayou one day, it was so muggy & hot. I kept listening for a jazz band to start playing, or frogs to croak; instead, I heard Indian & Scottish accents, Bollywood music, and saw seagulls overhead.
I’m here in Brampton, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, for the summer, staying with my BFF Michele and her family. As my readers know, Michele is going through chemo for breast cancer. I’m came up to help her out, give my support, and entertain her if at all possible. She and her husband have three boys, ages 14, 4 & 2, so I’m trying to help with them, as well.
This is not an easy time for any of us. Stress levels are high, and there have been moments in the last week when I wanted to scream. I know I cried at least once, but I did it alone, in my room. Since they were tears of frustration & exhaustion, they were especially annoying to me.
There have been many tears here this week, as often happens in a house with little kids. These children  cry and scream a lot more than usual, and I’m not sure if that’s due to the tension of their parents, or their father’s parenting style.
I never understand parents who holler at their little kids “Stop crying!” as if that will work. Especially when the child has had a tantrum, and is at that point where they cannot physically make themself stop; what they need is to be held, and soothed. Shouting never works. I find myself very frustrated here, because I want so much to help, and yet I can’t really interfere. I have been given the go-ahead on some things, but not others. Some of teacher skills are being used, others, ignored or contradicted. 
I have to remind myself “they aren’t your kids, not really your problem, nobody really asked for your advice,” and keep my mouth shut. If I can do that, and keep the eye-rolling to a minimum, all will be well.
I may need to send home for more warm weather clothes, though. It’s hot here in the frozen North!
children · Dance · Glee · grocery stores · Joy · Music · Preschool · Promises

Frozen Song & Dance

This afternoon as I pushed my cart through WinCo, I was struck with jealousy for the bright & shiny little girl who stood in her parents cart, smiling & singing at the top of her voice. She was so happy, smiling at everyone who walked by. I wanted to sing along with her, right there in frozen foods.

This is the curse of adulthood for me. I’m able to sing along with every episode of Glee and have even been known to get up & dance occasionally, enjoying every single moment! From childhood I’ve believed life should be scattered with song & dance numbers, and there was a time I was the one planning them. So, while my wooden spoon becomes a microphone for me while I make dinner, I wasn’t brave enough to sing along with that sweet little girl today, even though I knew all the words.

If I’m in front of a preschool class, yes, I could sing, and be silly. Tell stories, dance & laugh; play and have a ball. That’s why I know that girl wouldn’t have minded if I sang with her; little kids love to share their joy.

When did I lose that? Where did my joy in music & being silly go? I didn’t know any of those people in the store; why did I care what they thought?

Next time I’m in a store (or an elevator, or anywhere) and I hear a song I know & like playing on the overhead music system, I won’t just hum to myself, I’ll sing out loud & proud! Maybe even dance a little. And if I see a child singing, I’ll join in. I promise.