Showing posts with label Literature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Literature. Show all posts

Friday, June 20, 2014

This is What Happy Looks Like [Book Review]

Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Date of Release: April 2, 2013, Jennifer E. Smith Inc.

The story is about two young teenagers whose affections broke the line between the worlds of fame and being kept. Graham Larkin is a superstar, in the other side he is just like any other ordinary adolescents. He fell in love and experienced things beyond the silver screen for an ordinary girl he met in the cyber world. Ellie has this red hair and passion for poetry whose mother is persevering just for her to Harvard. The mother and daughter have dark secret which made them run away years ago to prevent her father, a politician from ruining his career. Yes, they were the illegitimate family until her mom decided to take her away and go far away from his father. What would it be like when these two worlds: One, succumbed into the people’s attention and the other one, must hide from the world? In a very modern but almost unimaginable way, they met online, become friends and developed intimate feelings which would encourage Graham to choose Maine, the state where Ellie lives (and his family too at the moment) to be their place of setting for their movie shoot. When they met, there were unexpected commotions of emotions, confusions and realizations.

The characters were very modern. These times one of the uses of the internet is to connect with people, including strangers no matter where we are in the world. Fate made these two young people to accidentally meet through e-mail, the rest of the story follows. Is it possible for two young people to truly to fall in love in the world of worldwide web? They resemble teenagers though in different world, have something within their hearts, things they want but they do not know, deep ones that could make them happy.
In the story, Graham was this young boy, famous, rich and admired by many as an actor, in the novel, it is said that he loves his career and would rather continue than pursuing his education as advised by his parents while Ellie, an ordinary girl, not rich and is a “nobody” compared to him is a young lady who dreams of meeting her father someday. To see your father on television and you cannot go see and get near him because he is unreachable and is prohibited by fate and even doesn’t even know you are kind of sad and lonely things. Trying hard to survive a fatherless life with a goal to enter college and save and there comes this Mr. Idol who at the end saved the day and her future.

The story has a lot of commonplace elements. I would say that it has this usual storyline where Mr. Great falls for Ms. Nobody then they have to endure everything. This suits young readers who are dreamy and hopeless romantics who fancy knights in shining armours ready to save damsels in distress. For the cyber friendship, the author infuses norms of modern present society that is so much into modern technology and the way we could make the world small by e-mails, chatrooms and social networks. The fantasy of meeting someone great online and finding true love, in this scenario, it happened to two different people who became friends and shares their thoughts in their everyday lives.

On the deeper side, Ellie’s mother disagreed to continue her blossoming connections with Graham the fact that she was afraid the Press (the world) would discover who they were and avoid what consequence it could inflict to them and her father. There is a very short time frame if Graham finding out the secret, then why did the senator try to do so? Did he happen to have an effort to find them or just secretly support her daughter even though her mother hides her from him? For sure he has these connections and power. The climax that I expected is that the senator and his long lost daughter would have the chance to talk and acknowledge each other than what happened in the book that she just shook hands with him as a stranger. That moment was her chance, her first and maybe the last to tell him who she really was.

The ending I would say is realistic though in a sense that Graham was still Graham and Ellie, due to his love for her was financed to go to Harvard to study. The author did not close the story if they ended up as lovers together or not; the ending just showed that it was not the end because they will still e-mail each other. What does happy looks like? As the title asks the readers, it is about contentment and feeling complete for whatever life brought or might bring for us.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Turning Back

Running in the middle of nowhere
Not knowing the direction, I am lost.
Seeing those enchanted stars yet no one is there
Oblivion and strange emptiness in everywhere

In this forever-like and exhausting journey of escape
Sudden impulses and temptation of looking back with gape
Destroying tiny fragments I tried to glue
Shattering my heart once more to becoming blue

This waywardness from weaknesses protrudes my desires
In spite of my other protesting convulsive sides
Seeing him not knowing me anymore with bliss

This old person in me gnaws in twist.

About The Poem:

Once in our lives, we become stupid never minding our pride, we look back into things which had make us happy. We are fools of our own confinement because we have loved and as tragic as things may seem, we will never forget that moment in our lives when we gave everything. Turning back is difficult, they say only strong people are those who won't look back but maybe it is our hearts. Recently, I tried to look back and I saw the world which I am not existing anymore, the world that became my world once, it shattered me. From that moment, I promised myself to never ever look back and continue running along this rocky journey. Soon I will find happiness, I decided to just keep on running even my feet are sore and my breath is short, maybe someday, someday, God will give me what I deserve or the one meant for me.

--Flordeliz Fullo

Friday, February 01, 2013

Fifty Shades of Grey [Book Review]

My  E-Book in Books HD Windows 8 app.

What could make a book the fastest selling paperback of all time as well as NY Times E-book fiction best seller for sales on Amazon’s best seller list? Emerged from a “Twilight saga fan fiction”, Erika Leonard also known now as E.L James swept the world especially women with this erotica novel sprouted as “Master of the Universe” in with unique, overwhelming but widely accepted erotica about a domineering sadistic billionaire with dark issues in the past and an inexperienced and demure coed bonded by their attempted BDSM (Bondage/ Discipline, Dominance/Submission) relationship. The book is a combination of romance, comedy, drama, mystery plunged in spicy erotic sex scenes in a not so normal type because of sadomasochism issues.

The two main characters captured the interests of the readers because they have this mix of eroticism, romance and deep personality issues which their true love to each other endured. Within the book, there are so many repeated phrases or expressions and some of them were Ana’s biting of lips, rolling her eyes describing her inner goddess and Christian’s quirking up and cocking of head making me focused more on their body languages connecting to what they feel be it lust or excitement. Some conservative people would look up to the story as “porn”, “disgusting” or immoral but the open minded would say that psychological issues made the characters behave the way they do especially for Christian. The sadism/masochism theme in the story is way interminable that a reader may feel disgusted at first but as the story progresses and deep feelings of love was being emphasized, deeper sympathy would sprout.  For an instance, I too felt Christian as “bad” at first because of that weird and hard contract and that he did just make it for his own pleasure. As I went through pages, I more and more discovered that he had fallen in love with Ana and just can’t accept it digging down the unknown reasons he doesn't want to fall in love.

What are my favorite parts of the story? First, I love when Ana talked about something in her sleep, I already knew what it is the time when Christian told her she spoke about it when she was sleeping. At the climax part of the book, it was said that she had said that she needed him but in the book 2 (Fifty Shades Darker), Christian mentioned what she really said and as what I expected, she told him that she love him. Second, the end part when Ana became angry of the ultimate pain he gave her and I succumbed in that poignant part when Christian was begging Ana not to leave him. For a strong, ideal and control-freak man, begging someone not to leave with strong emotions is way emphatic and dreary. Love can only do that.
Haven’t finished reading the book 2 (Fifty Shades Darker) but I sense in the end, they would end up together and they would sooner solve issues blocking their way as a couple before I read its wikia.

Indeed, this novel did not only conquered the world but it showed love in another form and that as humans, we may not be all perfect and good in the eyes of others but love could wipe those shadows of darkness away making us happy in spite of hidden pain and insecurities in our hearts as made by the past or the norms we live with. --faf


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Memoirs of a Geisha (book and movie review)

Title: Memoirs of a Geisha.
Author: Arthur Golden


The novel, focused on a magnificent yet endearing life f a Japanese woman who struggled her life from being a daughter of a fisherman in Yoroido to becoming one of the most respected geisha in all Japan is a story of sorrow, love, deceit and Japanese culture as well.

Geisha meaning “artisan” were Japanese women trained and nurtured from their early years to become moving work of art. They perform various performances for entertaining mostly men. With exquisite elegance and talent, they move, sing, talk and dance to please their client’s delights. Masked with white face powder and extremely red painted lips clothed in artistically woven kimonos, they yield such mystery that their own life stories are forbidden.

Some people in the west as well as those from Christian countries view them as prostitutes for they are not allowed to fall in love and marry yet they have special relationships, may be sexual, with their customers. After reading the book by heart, I realized that they were just born in a different society with different norms. Their affairs may seem to be lacking in “intimate feeling” or what we call “love” but they are still treated with respect and admiration not just like prostitutes who are judged as dirty and low. A kept woman, as what the geisha Sayuri had implied on herself is someone who is being taken cared of like a gem though not bonded with marriage because geisha were not meant to be married those days.

Of course I am expecting that each reader have their different kind of perspective of the selling of Chiyo and her sister, Satsu by Mr. Ichiro Tanaka if it was condemnable or practical. For me, Mr. Tanaka was just thinking of means to make young Chiyo’s life better and that is to become a future geisha with all its splendid advantages considering her beauty and cleverness.

Reading the book also provided me with such new trivia and learning of some arts geisha do. The first one is music. At a young age, student geisha were being taught to play the shamisen, a Japanese guitar like musical instrument ad dancing, the most anticipated performance and well admired by men because of their sensuality.

Physically, becoming a geisha made Sayuri’s life better that she did not suffer starvation and experienced luxuries that she would not have received if she as not taken from their village by fate. When little Chiyo decided to run away from the okiya with her sister, Pumpkin resisted to come with her because she already knows what it is like to be hungry and homeless compared to being regularly fed and enjoy basic human needs in the okiya.

When Chiyo became a maid because she disgraced the okiya by running away, her life turned harder and her future, obscure because she would be spending her life being a maid paying her debts not like when she is a student geisha with more promising life. Mother and granny may be viewed as cruel but for me, they were just victims of their society, and it is passed from generations of geisha. Auntie, however is more sympathetic and comforting, maybe this was due to her past failure of being a failed geisha that she was just concerned of the two girls’ future.

"We must use whatever methods we can to understand the movement of the universe around
us and time our actions so that we are not fighting the currents, but moving with them", as said by Sayuri in page 127 implies that we should make our destiny not by doing all that we want of what our hearts really feel. Sometimes, fighting the currents may lead us to destruction and bravery to endure and oppose what the universe will give us. Moving with the currents will make us safer as we travel along time because we have no choice or else we will suffer. This viewpoint differ from that in the west is due to their culture, we all know that geisha were limited of making their own choices in life.

Sayuri’s focusing of attention to Nobu was obviously not her choice but of Mameha. From the start, he did resemble an admiration of her cleverness that he was first attracted to a geisha knowing that he really disdains geisha. In some ways, I feel pity for Nobu the fact that having a feeling for geisha may lead to false hopes and deceits.

In comparing Japanese versus western eroticism, the main fetish of Japanese men is the neck of the woman as counterpart for legs in the west. This is the main factor the women in kimono show so much flesh in their neck areas.

Geisha are very superstitious and perform some rituals before going to the teahouse. One of these was sparking a flint stone as the geisha leave the house for good luck. They tend to always consult their almanac for guidance.

The narrative that Arthur Golden exhibited was indeed daring for an American man to do. Understanding Japanese women who differ so much in values, habits and attitudes from the west needs keen research and analysis to fully generate a translator’s note. The narration of Sayuri as the main narrative one voice character of the story captured all my senses that I, as a reader could place myself into hers and took me into a fictional yet sensual world of her mysterious and ardous life. As a woman, I could fully relate when she told how she fell in love, envied other’s kimono and admire beauty.

A geisha with a danna as what Sayuri have told is a “kept woman” but in my view of this relationship, they are still not free. Mameha’s full submission to her danna, who is the baron resembles being encapsulated into a world where the man have the complete power over the woman and she have no choice but to obey like when Mameha aborted three children as per requested by the baron.

When little Chiyo was given the name “Sayuri” in her debut as a new maiko, she felt that her young self died within her. The two differs in such way that she now has become more chained into another world, a world with deceit, suffering and beauty. She also had to submit herself to her younger sister and live according to rules. In the other way around, young Chiyo is still present in Sayuri because the water characteristics were still there like being clever, smart and a fighter.

The novel also has a lavish ingredient of World War II’s aftermath. We all know that Japan suffered hell-like deluge after losing from the axis forces. I have learned how it is like for the Japanese to suffer this event and how some geisha manages to survive though some of them died.

What I loved in this book is that as a woman, I can relate to Sayuri, we may be different in our life stories but I know what it felt like being imprisoned to a world you are forced to be in and you have no choice but to be good. Women are very mysterious beings yet powerful, they are stronger than men in terms or emotions and sufferings. Geisha may be looked upon differently by other cultures but for me, they should be admired and respected for they endured so much sacrifices and sufferings just to perform arts. They are the one of the most durable and magnificent kinds in this world of women.

Title: Memoirs of a Geisha [2005]
Cast: Suzuka Ohgo, Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh
Director: Rob Marshall
Written By: Arthur Golden (Novel), Robin Swicord (Screenplay)

This movie adaptation of Mr. Arthur Golden’s celebrated novel has been a center of attention and criticisms of its viewers. The cast provided such a very powerful impact and realistic adaptation of its characters that they give s much justice to the roles especially my favorite actress Ziyi Zhang, a Chinese superstar and the two main geisha roles portrayed by Michelle Yeoh as the magnanimous Mameha and sexy Gong Li who played as Hatsumomo, the main character’s deadly rival. One thing is noticed is that these three main roles were given to actresses in Chinese descent not in Japanese which is the antiquity of the characters in the story. In spite of this, the cast emerged successfully depicting their roles as geisha with all its elegance and sensual effect. I so much loved Zi Yi’s makeup the she looked like a real Japanese woman with blue grey eyes which is the character’s most emphasized feature. The kimonos in the film colored my eyes and made me more amazed this Japanese clothing. Michelle Yeoh effectively portrayed Mameha with all her regal and grand posture as well as Gong Li who gave Hatsumomo’s character with disdainful yet dreary feel.

Throughout the movie, we can see that the “water” element was given emphasis whenever the scenes and settings change. At the start, the scene was that of the sea with Chiyo’s father and Mr. Tanaka speaking. The element were also present in Chiyo’s first bath in the okiya, meeting the chairman at the bridge, Sayuri washing fabrics during the post war and the last scene, after the chairman proposed to be her danna. For me, this is mainly because; the main character’s personality is seen with too much water which in Chinese astrology is smart and could endure sufferings just to achieve their goals.

Some scenes in the books were bypassed but the complete essence of the story was still there. My favorite scene was that of Chiyo by the training of Mameha transformed herself into a magnificent maiko looking in the mirror amazed at her self and that of her dancing with fans in her debut. The movie effectively exhibited the colorful, mysterious and captivating life of Japanese women artisans.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Last Song [Book and Movie Review]

The Last Song (Book Review)

Title: The Last Song
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Date Released: September 2009

The book revolves on the life of Veronica “Ronnie” Miller, a teenager whose life is in a crisis regarding her parent’s divorce thinking that her father left them for no reason resulting in resentment and rebellion. Her relation with her father, Steve who failed to give his full responsibility as a father due to his divorce with his wife, Kim because of her affair is the center of the story as father-daughter love emanated the theme. The primary psychosocial task for an adolescent is to discover their identity and what to become in the future but in Ronnie’s case this stage wad deeply obscured by sadness and confusion thinking how her father left them for no reason. Despite of her rebellion, she still exhibited pure and gentle heart as evidenced by how she offered her hand to help Blaze, to save the turtles and appreciate her father bit by bit in the middle of the story. Falling in love is normal at this stage of life and her summer love flick with Will flourished her personality as she emerged psychologically into a young woman. Parents, no matter how imperfect and misunderstood they are always do have great love for their children and sometimes it is not felt due to misunderstandings and unknown circumstances. Steve Miller for me is a perfect father though he is not a perfect person. The author provides deeper meaning of fatherly love mixed with Christian values and sacrifice. We really should not waste time hating our parents because we never know how long it would take them to be with us in this world. In the end, the father and daughter bond was repaired by music which they also shared in the past.

The Last Song (Movie Review)

Title: The Last Song
Based on the Novel by: Nicholas Sparks
Directed By: Julie Ann Robinson
Date Released: March 31, 2010 (US)

Miley Cyrus as Veronica “Ronnie” Miller
Greg Kinnear as Steve Miller
Liam Hemsworth as Will Blakelee
Kelly Preston as Kim Miller
Bobby Coleman as Jonah Miller
The movie is a teeny bopper hit, with famous teenage pop star Miley Cyrus in the spotlight and the handsome Liam Hemsworth. Miley gave justice to the role with her musical abilities like that when she sang in the car with Liam. I also love the piano-in-the-garage scene which is my favorite scene. The setting of the movie with was in Georgia is nothing but perfect for the adaptation especially the volleyball scenes. Some important scenes in the book were also deleted like when Ronnie found out her mom’s affair which resulted in their parent’s divorce and the most emotional playing of the piano in the hospital which depicted the title of the story though they still didn’t made the movie less. A very lovely soundtrack with the song “When I Look at You” by Miley Cyrus provided much demeanor and depth to the mood of the viewers because it fitted the story so much. This movie is more than what teens should watch but for the whole family as well.


Sunday, April 01, 2012

Sad Little Houses by: Amparo Asuncion (Poetry Review)

Sad Little Houses

Amparo R. Asuncion

The sad little houses, the poor little houses
Crowded by the riverside.
The holes in their roofs, the cracks in their walls
Vainly they try to hide.

The stench of the river, the dark, muddy river
Is with them night and day,
Pure, fresh air may be had for the moving
But they can’t move away.

They can only stand by the bank of the river
Buried knee-deep in clay.
They can only stare at the drifting garbage
Until they, too decay.

And, pass away into ghosts of houses
Killed by burning sun,
Smothered with dust and then forgotten-
Forgotten by everyone.


As I look at those slum houses within the urban areas of my country, I just can’t help to thank God for giving me enough comfort to afford a simple, clean and comfortable home. Poverty is a disease in the Philippines, many are starving, begging for come clean water and most of all, a safe and proper house to stay. Some were nor homeless at all, they just decided to choose living in depressed areas because or proximity to the economic capital not minding how rich their land in the province that they just don’t know how to utilize.