Books: The Magic of Melina

Stage Two | Our Adventures Apart

So, it’s fitting that my induction into ‘Stage Two’ begins with a book rant, but don’t worry, it’s all positive.

It’s about this magician called Melina Marchetta, whose thoughts are transcribed seamlessly into words, paragraphs, and stories, and how lucky for all of us, that her words are published into these wonderful, public semblances: books.

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Books or Movies?

It’s literally one of the most recurring and difficult decisions this summer  – which says a lot about how much nothing I’ve been doing.

When it comes down to it, it’s really based on if I have a good idea for a movie to watch or rewatch and if I started a book the previous night that is addicting enough to finish in the day or to simply continue the next night.

Anyway, it seems that books have won today, so I ended up finishing The Last Song again, and it is literally one of the favorite books to reread because it’s so different from the usual Nicholas Sparks sappy crap. It has so much more depth, and such real characters. Sure, Will is the typical ‘perfect boy’ which annoys me since he is just too perfect, too much of what every girl wants, but Ronnie is one of the most ‘real’ protagonists I have ever read. Her actions and thoughts are so unique yet relatable, and despite the fact that she has “gone over to the dark side” it is obvious that she is redeemable, and her withdrawal from those habits is so seamless.

This book is not simply a summer romance, but a love story between father and daughter. Reflecting on my own relationship, I can understand the distance and admire the gap being bridged and the protectiveness/taking sides, etc. The writing from both perspectives is, far from obtrusive, actually insightful, unlike in MANY other books I’ve read (Rick Riordan and Veronica Roth, I’m glaring).

And being one of the first cancer books I’ve read a couple years ago, this one touched me the most. The last hundred pages or so never fail to bring me to tears of sadness because Sparks explains the grief in such detail and with such prowess that it feels so raw and affected.

I just love this book, the turtles, the beach, the romance, the music and piano, the cancer, the little brother. It’s such an all-around story, a book that builds people, sows relationships, and breaks habits.

Looks like the ‘movies’ is going to win tomorrow, though, since The Last Song is on my play queue. Even if the movie is not even close to the book’s depth and Miley Cyrus’ playing the role basically skewers it with commercial appeal, her acting is remarkably talent-revealing in this movie, and my tears aren’t lost in the translation from paper to film. Cheers to my tomorrow!

Hope was Here by Joan Bauer: Four Star Favoritism

This book truly could have become a personal favorite and a five star except for a few depreciations that bring it down to four stars.

This book encompassed all the themes that make a book good but what could have made it great is depth. It had a beautiful ending, just the right touch of identity crisis, politics, disbelief in ones own influence in society, the little people vs big people idea, cancer, death, an engaging cooking/waitressing metaphor, and of course a little romance on the side.

However, despite the perfect ingredients, so to speak, the characters felt too much like caricatures of a small town community and some members like G T felt too idealistic for it to be relatable. Hope, the main character, had a perfectly structured conflict and past that allows the reader to discern her current situation and state of mind. Except even though It was written in first person, I had a hard time getting into her head and feeling anything significant for her and I could see on paper that she changed but I was not able to see that change in her while I was reading.

Hence I was able to think limitedly about the book after I finished reading because so much was resolved and not too much of it was applicable to my real world.

Despite it all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read that taught me a lot about waitressing and politics and was completely unique in the way that it mixed the two. Perhaps best about the book was the message about how everyone can make a difference in a thoroughly non- cheesy way and GTs response to his cancer which was rather inspiring. Definitely recommend!