Sunday, September 30, 2007

September 2007 Books and Movies

Stuck in Downward Dog
Chantel Simmons

Well, let's start with the parts I did like. Yoga and the setting. Reading about places, streets and events that were set in Toronto was very cool. I've never read a book set in my Toronto, which this felt like it was. The parts I didn't like were the way Mara let her friends treat her and than she was utterly clueless about all that was going wrong for her. I guess that was the author's attempt at humour, but I'm not a fan of the bumbling idiot routine. A nice, light read, but no Sophie Kinsella novel.


This was a fun two hours. I have loved Neil Gaiman ever since a friend introduced me to Neverwhere. Some of it was slightly predictable and I wasn't a fan of a couple of the actor choices, but the special effects were great and the story is very engaging. Claire Danes has a very passable English accent, I was impressed. Not since The Princess Bride have I enjoyed a fantasy/fairy tale so much.

Team Rodent
Carl Hiaasen

Reading this just confirmed what I already thought, that if Disney ever did a movie about the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing, it would be autobiographical. At 83 pages, this is a quick and easy read, so you can make up your own mind about whether Disney is good or evil.

Teach With Your Heart - Lessons I learned from the Freedom Writers
Erin Gruwell

This memoir helped me understand the pieces that make up the Freedom Writers story, both in the film and in the book that inspired the film. I like details and specifics and I now know what was embelished, taken out of context and switched around to make a more dramatic story. She has been very very lucky. I do admire her work ethic, but she has had many advantages and lucky breaks along the way. It would be difficult to replicate her success without some of her amazing contacts. At first I thought Erin Gruwell was too idealistic, and copped out by leaving high school and going on to teach at the college level without trying to replicate her success. By reading her memoir I understand the choices she made a little better. She is simply too famous to teach in a regular high school. All the kids would be clamouring to be in her class, and, once there, would have an unfair advantage over others.

This is a great way to follow up with this story if you've read the collection of diaries and seen the movie Freedom Writers. This memoir explains many things that were left out and actually reads in the order of events that happened. The writing is a tad weak, and a bit soppy and self serving, but I was still left with the impression that this person was able to help so many and will continue to do so for the rest of her life.

The Nanny Diaries

Boo hoo! Nothing like the book! I didn't expect it to be, but it was still good anyway. The Alicia Keys character was pretty pointless, and she wasn't able to give it enough 'ooph' to make me care about her. Scarlett Johansson is a creat comic actor and pratfalls so well. Laura Linny was great as Mrs. X. An enjoyable couple of hours. Read the book!


Put a smile on my face and kept me bopping in my seat for over 2 hours! John Travolta and Amanda Bynes were highlights. It was fun to identify where in Toronto it was filmed, I'm pretty sure that was CALC high school at Broadview and Danforth. The music is stick in your head fantastic!