I just feel like she went in with a forgone conclusion, did no real research, and then strung together tiny bits of data and stories to back up her prI just feel like she went in with a forgone conclusion, did no real research, and then strung together tiny bits of data and stories to back up her preconceived bias. ...more
A salesperson at Bookmarkit in Orlando suggested this. This is an honestly beautiful collection of short stories. I loved "Amputee," "How to Help YourA salesperson at Bookmarkit in Orlando suggested this. This is an honestly beautiful collection of short stories. I loved "Amputee," "How to Help Your Husband Die," and "What the Wolf Wants." However, "Lizard Man" is the absolute best short story I've read since Adam Haslett's "The Beginnings of Grief." I read it three times. ...more
There are enough reviews out there. I will say this. I am looking forward to reading this to a couple small children I know when they get a smidge oldThere are enough reviews out there. I will say this. I am looking forward to reading this to a couple small children I know when they get a smidge older. This is a great introduction for elementary kids to the joys of reading!...more
Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgus does things I deepy admire. In Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train and Our Lady of 121 Street, he uses a gritty vernacular andPlaywright Stephen Adly Guirgus does things I deepy admire. In Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train and Our Lady of 121 Street, he uses a gritty vernacular and adds scenes of very quick, energetic staging that does what theater does well, that movies cannot. He has no fear of breaking the fourth wall and of making theater edgy, shocking, and episodic. He tends to be less successful at creating unified plot. These are all present in his new, most autobiographical play The Little Flower of East Orange.
East Orange is less of a dark comedy – less like his past works – and more of a memory play and a family drama. This is owing to Guirgus losing a parent as he was writing this.
East Orange is about a prodigal son – a thirty-something writer with a drug and alcohol problem – and his sick mother, who he’s taken care of most of his life. Both the son and mother try to reconcile the combatting parts of her history. At the top of the play, the son has run away to Arizona, so he can do drugs and alcohol in a rehab center. The mother – in the care of her equally neurotic daughter – flees home and ends up in a hospital where she may or may not have amnesia. In her stay, she battles horrible back pain and hallucinations about her past.
It’s actually traditional fare, except Guirgus’s short, sparky introduction of characters – and then they’re gone – is frustrating. There are 21 characters, many of whom we just shouldn’t care about. The son’s druggie girlfriend comes back with him, and then disappears. Another son of a mother in the hospital is also given a lot of scenes, as is a Hispanic and somewhat flamboyant male nurse. Also added for theatrical flair are drugged-out moments where the mom meets Jimmy Stewart, Bobby Kennedy, and a Pope. They’re funny but unnecessary scenes; this gimmick gets completely lost in the second act, when it could’ve been extended for good theatrical reason, with sound logic as to why the mother keeps hallucinating. Here we see how Guirgus’s natural disjointedness actually weakens East Orange, making what little there is of a plot seem saggy or bloated.
Even the script’s tones and language change from short, quippy, unrealistic scenes to tight, realistic kitchen-sink drama. Guigus may be doing this for theatrical interest, but it also means East Orange feels messy, all over the place.
The emotional moments are effective, even as they remind us of Williams’ Glass Menagerie, Anderson’s I Never Sang for My Father, and other plays a good 50 to 70 years older. The family’s ongoing struggle with substance abuse is a fascinating subtheme. Still, Guirgus is less able to draw everything together plot-wise or metaphorically.
Actors have some stellar moments – particularly the son, the male nurse, and especially the mother. East orange, though, doesn’t feel like a whole, unified story with a clear direction. ...more
This is another book on moving from autocratic leadership to open, inspiring, and communal leadership. It uses the idea of open sourcing. The reason tThis is another book on moving from autocratic leadership to open, inspiring, and communal leadership. It uses the idea of open sourcing. The reason this book separates itself from others is that there is a lot here that can be used to motivate free agency and meritocracy....more
To paraphrase one of my friends who also read this Pulitzer Prize-winning tome, I loved it until I didn’t.
It’s clear that Dickens inspired Tartt – wheTo paraphrase one of my friends who also read this Pulitzer Prize-winning tome, I loved it until I didn’t.
It’s clear that Dickens inspired Tartt – where a disadvantaged youth like Oliver Twist or Nicholas Nickleby starts out being tossed by fate into terrible situations. In this case, a boy and his mother are at a NYC museum that becomes the target of a bomb attack. In the confusion, the boy steals his mother’s favorite painting from the museum, a 1654 goldfinch of the title. Then the book follows this shocked, scarred and imperfect boy for several years. He moves from precarious living situation to worse trying to protect and hide the priceless art. The crime and the unethical and ignorant people around him affect him.
Tartt has a wonderful sense of writing, and she creates some lovely characters. She also creates some not-so-interesting characters who take over the book and ruin everything. Tartt forgets that all characters either need to be empathy inducing or intriguing. By the end, most of the main players are neither. Her book transforms from a modern Dickens, to a badly written Brett Easton Ellis – with drugs, amoral behavior, theft, etc. Personalities become more and more shallow; the book turns thuggish and brutal. The ending reveals itself much to early and then takes 771 pages to wrap up. (This is along with a heft dozen pages toward the end on the painting itself, completely unnecessary at that point of the story; the history and supposition on artist intent should’ve been peppered throughout.)
But what can I say? She won the Pulitzer, if only for the shear magnitude of someone keeping this spinning for 771 pages. Maybe on the whole, my opinion doesn’t matter. I just know I felt angry and let down as the last third of the story grinded on and on. I slowly disliked people even more; even the ones I had started out loving became less attractive.
I understand that Tartt can write. I’ll probably pick up the next thing she writes, but I will also put it down the minute I sense it’s not interesting me. Instead, because it was lauded, with The Goldfinch, I stuck it out from page 443 to 771…as I hated it more…and as I grew less and less enamored…not a great way to end my year of reading…...more