Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review: Oliver Twist

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Many thanks to Tyndale Publishers for providing me a complimentary copy of Oliver Twist on CD.

It took me awhile to pop it into my CD player in the car for unknown reasons. Once I did, I was riveted. It was so good!! Usually the "books on tape" I get are of a college professor lecturer's voice droning on and on and putting me to sleep. Not this dramatization! It was like a movie developing in my mind. There were different voices each playing a different character. The dialect and accents were spot on and the music sequences were really good at getting you to feel each scene.

I had heard about Oliver Twist and people's love for Charles Dickens but had never actually picked up the book. I don't know why! This work made me really appreciate the brilliance of his work as a writer and how it propelled storytelling to the next level.

Poor Oliver Twist, an orphan, stuck in terrible situations with awful people. He just can't catch a break. It's horrifying really. Then one day he makes a break for it. You think it's going to be great, but alas, more troubles, more woes beseeches this young fellow until by chance he meets a man who shows him mercy.. kindness. A series of unfortunate events still won't let go of him and you wonder if this will out okay. Poor kid.

This story gave me a glimpse of England way back when and really helped to understand the attitudes and discretion my own family used. The country I was born in was a British colony. Some of the  language and customs were adopted throughout the generations and culminated into present day. I can see where their cynical nature came from. I can see why overall they mostly believe in man's heart of darkness. I think they lived Oliver Twist's life and passed down the attitudes to our generation.

I really enjoyed my long drives. If you've ever driven in Houston, you know that is a laughable statement. Believe me, it was worth all the drudgery of traffic, all the bumper to bumper rush hour mess just to sit and listen and let this story come to life.

I got a feel for what it was like back in the day with no televisions and people listening to the radio to the "soap operas." So exciting to catch a glimpse of the past.

Will definitely be keeping my eye out for more Focus on the Family radio theater productions.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Growing up in my house was like living in a museum. There was not a spec of dust anywhere. ANYWHERE.

It was immaculate.

Saturdays were spent shining the brass until your fingers were green. Walls were wiped down. Everything must smell of Pine Sol or bleach mixture. The austere quietness was like being enslaved behind white brick walls. Shoes must be taken off, no walking on the carpet and you must never EVER sit on the couch! Everything laid in perfect order. I couldn’t wait to leave that place.

That institution. Beautiful home but no warmth. Lovely things but no friends. God forbid you should cough or sneeze in there, she’ll spray you down with Lysol (true story).


Now that I have my own place to call home, I would rather let the dishes sit in the sink, let the dust pile, let chaos reign. Until one day it gets to be annoying then I clean like crazy. I’d rather spend my time with the people I love, the books that give me escape, music that spins my soul into a dance.


My father came to visit once. I almost panicked at the evidence that a toddler resides here; that this a home where people actually live. I looked around and realized, this is my home, not a museum. This was me, all around. He’ll either accept me now or never. And as we said our goodbyes, he smiled and said, “Nice house!” I was overwhelmed with joy. I was enough. I was accepted. It was a beautiful feeling.


Seve and I get into some crazy moments. I can’t stand the clutter by his many piles, he can’t stand dishes in the sink. I can’t stand unruly carpet stains, he doesn’t like folding clothes. It gets crazy managing the upkeep of the house, but I always remember that one moment and it sustains me.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: Anna Karenina

Movie Review: Anna Karenina

I ventured out to see this film with my local book club. I had gotten through part one of the novel. It's a daunting read... no... it's exhaustive. Ridiculous amount of detail.

The movie brought the book alive. It was awesome. Everything in my senses were stimulated. Delicious feeling. Just the vivid colors of the costumes and scene changes and the scenes themselves were exquisite. Lots of attention to detail.

One of the few movies that made me really satisfied intellectually. Lots of movies these days do the work for you. This one, you had to infer, extract data and then come to conclusions. Beautifully done.
Anna Karenina is played by Keira Knightley. who definitely brought her A-game to this role. It's like she was born to play it.
Jude Law plays her husband, Karenin. He is amazing. The movie brought something else to the character. I think I sympathized more with his character than the one I read about in the book. He brought a humanity.. a softness to the role I hadn't expected.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays Vronsky. That's all I can say on that. I don't think the character was built to be likable or memorable in this case. Anna is the focal point and takes the stage front and center.
To say that I enjoyed it is a total understatement. I can't wait to own it and watch it over and over again.
At the end, there's a cryptic message that makes you actually want to get the book and read it. Any movie that can do that gets top honors in my book.