Petruchio: A combless cock, so Kate will be my hen. Katherine: No cock of mine. You crow too like a craven.
10 Things I Hate About You is probably one o...morePetruchio: A combless cock, so Kate will be my hen. Katherine: No cock of mine. You crow too like a craven.
10 Things I Hate About You is probably one of my favourite movies, like ever. So when it came time to making my list of Shakespeare plays to read this year, The Taming of the Shrew was at the top of my list. Now, going into this I knew there would be radical differences between the romantic comedy of modern day and the romantic comedy of Shakespeare's day, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself really loving the first three acts of the play. It was great! I wish I could quote Katherine and Petruchio's entire first meeting word for word. Only a small snippet is seen above. The banter was fantastic and the set up for everything got me interested in the story Shakespeare had to tell.
The Taming of the Shrew is a love story based on greed and lies. Everyone is scheming in order to get what they want. If I hadn't known this was one of Shakespeare's comedies I would have thought that this story would have ended badly, which it did in a sense (more on that later), but not in a "and then everyone dies" sort of way.
When good-natured Lucentio falls in love with Bianca at first sight he quickly hears that she is not allowed to marry until her older sister does and is being kept from her suitors till the whole mess is sorted. Problem number one: No one will take Katherine to be a wife. Good thing is, Bianca's other suitors Gremio and Hortensio have a plan for that! Their strong willed friend Petruchio is in town and looking for some cash. Katherine's father is rich and her dowry would more then satisfy what he's looking for. So Petruchio takes on the challenge to tame the shrew and marry her for her money. Isn't that just lovely?
For Lucentio, now all he needs is to win over Bianca's affections. In order to do so he hatches up his own scheme. He will pretend to be a tutor called Cambio to woo Bianca while her father hides her away. Meanwhile his loyal servant, Tranio, will pretend to be him and work Bianca's father to seal the match with false promises and fake parentage. Loveliness all around! At the same time that other suitor from earlier, Hortensio, has a similar plan as he goes undercover as a music instructor to also attempt to woo Bianca.
Things really start to get interesting when Petruchio and Katherine meet with fiery results. She not only rejects him, but spars with him as they sling words full of hate and thinly concealed innuendoes. It was wonderful to read and had me excited for what could possibly come next.
Unfortunately, the positives sort of end there. I feel as if I was lulled into a false sense of security in Taming of the Shrew. The first three acts of the play had me convinced I would enjoy this one just like I did the last two plays, and then Act 4 hits, and everything fell apart as I was reminded of the inevitable conclusion.
Times have changed. Katherine is by today's standards, feisty and headstrong, however in days past she was shrew and disobedient. I really, really hate the word obedient. It is possibly the most insulting word to refer to another human being as. Pets can be obedient or curly hair can be obedient, but calling another person such is just disgusting. With such a strong start to the play I had hoped that perhaps, maybe Shakespeare was going to play the part of the rebel and make this "battle of the sexes" an actual battle. But this battle there is a very clear winner and loser.
So after their first meeting Petruchio reports back to Katherine's father that she has fallen in love with him, despite her saying everything to the contrary, and Katherine's father, being a dick, takes Pertruchio's claim at face value and just hands her over. So much for wanting her happiness! She's miserable and rightfully so because it only gets worse from there. The wedding goes through and Pertrucio's plan to tame her involves sleep deprivation, starvation, and complete isolation from her family in an environment of violence until she breaks. Katherine gives in to his will just to get him to shut up. Isn't love just grand?
The ending was inevitable. As the men of the book laugh and bet on her willingness. Her two page speech on a woman's obedience to her lord, master, and husband was inevitable. It made me feel icky, so very icky. I am very happy that I live in modern day with my 10 Things I Hate About You and my fantastic feminism. Whew!
There are a lot of other smaller nuisances in the play that brought down my rating. The characters in the Introduction were unnecessary/unresolved and the similarly named characters "Gremio" and "Grumio" were confusing.
Despite the ending I do think that this play is worth reading. It's easy to consume, easy to follow the story, and interesting to see the parallels with the movie. I also think it is great for opening up the discussion of the history of strong willed women, comparing our past with our present. It's an interesting conversation to have and this would be a very good starter!
For links and images be sure to check out this review on my blog! :)
I should start by saying, to those who are interested in checking out the first fi...moreFor links and images be sure to check out this review on my blog! :)
I should start by saying, to those who are interested in checking out the first five chapters you can read them online on the Sailor Twain website. If you're not interested in doing any reading then you can also check out a two minute Sailor Twain Author Video about the book. It includes a preview of the art and an introduction to the story straight from the author.
Now, on with the review!
Sailor Twain is the closest I've come to reading folklore in a very long time. It's the late 1800's and we are aboard a steamship on the enchanting Hudson river. This is the story of Captain Twain and his unfortunate encounter of the mermaid variety.
The art is as captivating as the story with drawings so full of texture and soft details that you can almost feel it through the paper. Although Sailor Twain is a good 400 pages I ate it all up in just a few hours. The book is full of subjects that can be challenging to write well: History, seafaring, and mermaids. Siegel however, knew what he was doing with this story.
This is a compelling long narrative in graphic novel form about what happens when the sea and the surface mingle with an ancient magic curse. All she wants is freedom, all he wants is his brother, all anyone wants is love. Or sex. Or both. And that is where our story has so many twists and turns as a mystery unfolds there's definitely some magic in the water.
I would love to say more about what I enjoyed about the plot, but so much of it relies on it unfolding before you that I wouldn't want to give anything away. This also means that I can't talk about the things I didn't necessarily like because it would be way too much for me to give away. I'm in a bit of a catch. Some twist were better then others, but things really ramp up for the last half of the book. This is all thanks to the characters. They were varied and the historical tint that made the characters feel truly authentic.
One thing I can say that is spoiler free is expect to see boobies. The women in this are so well drawn, I love their dresses when they're fully clothed, but almost every single one ends up topless at some point. There's some male nudity as well, but not nearly enough to balance it out. If that's the sort of thing you don't want to see, then this probably isn't for you.
The mythology is amazing. As I mentioned earlier it has more of a folklore tone then just straight up fantasy. I could imagine this being true, in the same way that I grew up believing I was swimming with my water wings alongside Ogopogo the sea monster in Okanagan Lake. I love the way that the mermaid is both fantastic and yet with a overwhelming dark side. It all breathed with life.
This is a very unique story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Those who have an interest in mermaids or even just folklore and historical fairytales will most likely enjoy this just as much as I have. (less)
I hate to say it, but this series ends on such a poor note. In this volume, the author got a little too caught up in his use of language. In the proce...moreI hate to say it, but this series ends on such a poor note. In this volume, the author got a little too caught up in his use of language. In the process he completely abandons his storytelling and character development to add more and more and more thoughts on flowers and butterflies.
This volume is all about conclusions and reflections, both about the past and about the future. But the way that the author has gone about it is just unfortunate. Although the beautiful art continues in this volume, the text is just mind-numbingly boring. I had to push myself through all the long monologues and asides that just never seem to end.
Although I appreciated the use of metaphor in the first book, and accepted its presence in the second, this book goes completely overboard. I don't think a single character says anything that isn't about flowers or butterflies. You just want to tell the characters that it's enough already. We get it! Stop, for the love of all of nature, stoooop!!
In the first book the use of metaphor and similes was explored as a way to have frank discussions about sensitive topics which would otherwise be frowned upon. It was used in an interesting and informative nature. But with this book it is used to talk about absolutely everything. Everything relates back to either a flower or a butterfly or a butterfly landing on a flower in the snow! It's really unfortunate how the intent changes with this final book.
Also, don't even get me started on that final scene. (view spoiler)[It was like, and everyone lived happily ever after as they all fucked into the night spewing metaphors for the rest of their lives. Because that's what we were all waiting for, this whole time what we were waiting to see was our little Ehwa finally getting laid. While were at it let's intersplice that with an older couple also getting laid, and lets put this right after we see her mother also get laid. Yay sex! ... It was awful. (hide spoiler)]
If you're interested in this series. I would almost suggest you just stick with the first book. In a way it is a contained story that is very worth reading. This on the other hand, not so much. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Colour of Water is such a seamless transition from The Colour of Earth that I feel everything I said in that review can be applied to this book a...more The Colour of Water is such a seamless transition from The Colour of Earth that I feel everything I said in that review can be applied to this book as well. The messages about sex, the mother-daughter relationship, the story of Ehwa gradually maturing, and even the heavy-laden metaphors about nature are all here in full force.
Going into this series I had known that it was challenged in libraries for its discussion of sex, but I didn't know what the story would exactly entail. This series is definitely daring with what it does within its genre for young adults. Hell, sex in YA is so contested that people have created the new genre of "New Adult" just so they can write books about how teenagers do in fact have sex and allow themselves to able to describe it in all the dirty detail they want to, without having to market teen sex to adults or explain why sex is being marketed towards young adults.
That's what impresses me about this series. It's about sex, but it doesn't instantly make the jump that sex needs to be dirty. This is a very tame book. The characters are talking about butterflies and flowers most of the time and yet there is still a very honest discovery of sex and even masturbation.
However, the story does have its draw backs that showed through more in this volume then in the last. The metaphors felt more haphazard to me. In the first book there was more of a focus, more of a simple thread that tied everything together. Here we go from flowers, to wind, to storms, to rivers, to vegetables, to butterflies, to moths, to fire, to fire-butterflies. It seemed like anything in nature was able to be metaphor-ized.
Are fire-butterflies even real a thing? They're never shown. At first I thought they were butterflies with wings that look like fire, then I thought maybe it was mythic. (Fire-butterfly! The lost Pokemon!) Then the way the characters described it, it was a butterfly that is attracted to fire, which made me think "moth", but then they say it's not a moth, and moths are used to describe a negative. So I don't know. Can you tell how much this is bothering me?
Now that I've finished this book I will say, fire butterflies aside, I really am interested to see how it all ends. While I was reading I was caught off guard how invested I've become in these characters and their lives. I want to know what happens next and you can bet that I'm putting out a hold for the next book right now. Seriously, right now.(less)