it's the summer of 1899. the sun is burning hot like a ball spouting fire, even the insects are desperately trying to get to a droplet of water by mar...moreit's the summer of 1899. the sun is burning hot like a ball spouting fire, even the insects are desperately trying to get to a droplet of water by marching through the smallest cracks in the tate house. amidst all the chaos is 11-year old callie vee tate. the only girl out of seven children. the title says it all. this is her story.
callie is as witty, entertaining, caring, understandably self-conscious, vulnerable as she can be determined and blunt to the point of being insolent. when being explained something, she doesn't just leave it at that and accepts the answer as the absolute truth. callie belongs to the group of people who regards the answer like an object to be viewed from all angles and corners and prods it with a stick, like the scientist she is.
i asked mother if i could cut my hair, which hung in a dense swelter all the way down my back. she said no, she wouldn't have me running about like shorn savage. i found this manifestly unfair (..). so i devised a plan: every week i would cut off an inch of hair - just one stealthy inch - so that mother wouldn't notice. she wouldn't notice because i would camouflage myself with good manners. when i took on the disguise of a polite young lady, i could often escape her scrutiny. - (p4, paperback, january 2011)
see? have a smile on your lips? i am not the least surprised.
callie tries to juggle her interests with the jobs that have to get done, like how her mother forces her to master the art of housewifery.
how were you supposed to make the stitches the same size? (..) who cared about this stuff? well, i could answer the last one. my mother cared, and the rest of the world apparently did too, for no good reason that i could figure out. and i, who did not care, was going to be forced into caring. it was ridiculous. - (p217)
"boys, i have an announcement to make. your sister made the apple pies tonight. i'm sure we will all enjoy them very much." "can i learn how, ma'am?", said jim bowie. "no, j.b. boys don't bake pies," mother said. "why not?" he said. "they have wives who make pies for them." "but i don't have a wife." (..)
was there any way i could have a wife, too? i wondered .. -(p228)
the evolution of calpurnia tate reads like part memoir, part scientific logbook recorded by the protagonist (who happens to be a devoted naturalist), as much as it is based on historical facts (obviously darwin is being mentioned, but also coca-cola, the invention of the telephone and the automobile, famous authors like charles dickens and robert louis stevenson).
as the story nears its end, it turns more and more serious, because callie struggles with the answer about who she wants to be and who she is supposed to be. (less)
"for eight years i dreamed of fire. trees ignited as i passed them, oceans burned. the sugary smoke settled in my hair as i slept, the scent like a cloud left on my pillow as i rose. even so, the moment my mattress started to burn, i bolted awake. the sharp, chemical smell was nothing like the hazy syrup of my dreams; the two were as different as indian and carolina jasmine, separation and attachment. they could not be confused.
standing in the middle of the room, i located the source of the fire. a neat row of wooden matches lined the foot of the bed. they ignited, one after the next, a glowing picket fence across the piped edging. watching them light, i felt a terror unequal to the size of the flickering flames, and for a paralyzing moment i was ten years old again, desperate and hopeful in a way i had never been before and would never be again."
matthew mcconaughey represents a certain type of romantic-comedy hero that i’ve come to loathe. the man-pig. the bad boy. the douchebag. the guy who has to be tamed or fixed – or by-true-love cured. when it’s not matthew mcconaughey in this role, it’s gerard butler. or josh duhamel. it’s always somebody who looks good with his shirt off because that’s what this character has instead of redeeming qualities – a really spectacular chest. it’s supposed to be disarming, i think. but it’s not.
for me, there’s nothing romantic – or even darkly irresistible – about a roguishly handsome guy who treats women like kleenex. when one of these characters comes on screen, i always want katherine heigl to run the other way as fast as she can. (it’s always katherine heigl, isn’t it? someone in hollywood loves watching katherine heigl fall in love with lower primates.)
this stereotype – the guys who hates women until he finds the right one – isn’t just gross; it’s kind of a dangerous lie. i’ve never met a creep who was just one kate hudson encounter away from being a great catch. it’s insulting to men, i think, to imply that they need kate hudson to turn them. that they have to be tricked into wanting love at all. and it’s insulting to love to imply that this is the point. falling in love isn’t about turning a bad person good.
likeable female protagonist on a quest to save her sister. loved the parts about the family. as an individual pal (you know, drinking beer on th...more3.75/5
likeable female protagonist on a quest to save her sister. loved the parts about the family. as an individual pal (you know, drinking beer on the porch with), i'd have liked him, but as a serious love interest, he was .. bleh so far.