Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Game of Love and Death

The Game of Love and Death The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lovely book about love and how it shapes both our life and death. It's true that death is inevitable, but if you open yourself up to truly loving, despite the odds and the consequences, then you have no cause for regret, no matter the outcome.

It was a little hard at first to wrap my mind around the characters of Love and Death. How and why do they and the Game exist in our reality? As much as this was a story about Henry and Flora, it was also a story about Love and Death, and their relationship throughout the centuries with one another.

One of my favorite parts of this book was its setting - I love Seattle, my hometown, and hearing it described, both in atmosphere and in location, is always a joy. I was not shocked to read the author was born and raised here, as I could truly feel her love for this city.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sense & Sensibility

Sense & Sensibility Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been wanting to read this book for a while. As a rather large fan of the original sense and sensibility, I had to work extra hard to disengage the "I know this story" part of my brain, to separate the Elinor and Marianne of my memory from this new version of Ellie and M. To be honest, I think my difficulty in doing just that is proof of how well Joanna Trollope was able to update these characters into modern times and have them keep their same essential heart and soul. There is even a small part of me that wishes this was my first exposure to this story, because I am positive I would have been delighted and rushing to give this one 5 stars.

Maybe their situation could have been modernized a bit - when reading the first several pages, I wasn't even sure it was a modern adaptation, until Margaret pulled out her iPod. Lots of the main themes were translated well, though I still wonder how relevant the whole marry-for-family storyline remains. That might just be my middle-class American point of view talking, though.

(Ps, I'm suddenly curious about how this story would translate into a Korean viewpoint, as according to the dramas I watch, all this marrying for money & family is still very much relevant there.)

I love Elinor so very much, and this Elinor was no different. My heart was gripped every time her sisters or mother would talk about how little emotion she had - I wanted to yell at them, "YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HER!" These moments especially had me flashing back to the wonderful acting of Emma Thompson in my favorite film adaptation - she is such an emotionally expressive actor.

One of the main differences in character is that Lucy had never felt particularly vindictive and evil to me in the original, but in this one, it felt like every word and action was specifically done to cause Elinor the most pain possible. Was she trying to establish her "ownership" of Edward and warn Elinor off? If she was merely ambitious, she could have accomplished the same things without even getting Elinor involved. I realize as I type this that Lucy did exactly the same things to Elinor in the original, but for some reason, it just FEELS different.

The one character I always wish was slightly more developed is Margaret. Because she's younger, she's the tag-a-long sister, and we get very little of her emotions throughout.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this adaptation, and I look forward to picking up one of Joanna Trollope's original novels to see how I enjoy them with no prior knowledge or bias.

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