25 September 2011

You, if you were sensible...

You, if you were sensible,
When I tell you the stars flash signals, each one dreadful,
You would not turn and answer me,
'The night is wonderful.'
-DH Lawrence, "Under the Oak", featured in My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Harper's making me do a post about Banned Books Week because she's an English major and feels it is very important to raise awareness. Okay, honestly, I like reading too and I think banning books is wrong, so why not? (She might come guest-post herself later this week because she is Very Excited about this topic.)

First of all, I love this stanza that was featured in My Sister's Keeper. I like it in how it relates to the book (the poem as a whole changes the context, I think), in that it is kind-of a metaphor for illness. But I think it is not so much a lack of perspective so much that people on the outside might not get it; I think sometimes it's good not to be "sensible" and to find the good things in the bad. I think Picoult may be using it as an argument against romanticising illness.

Okay, so the book I'm featuring is My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, if you haven't guessed. I LOVE this book. Here's a brief list of why:
  • Medical accuracy. Sure, she can flaunt it at times (who really cares what drugs make up your daughter's chemo regimen... okay me. And Harper. That's about it. In that scene, it just seems like she's listing them off just to show off she knows what they are) but that's okay because it's refreshing to see someone who knows what she's talking about and isn't just using leukemia as a plot device. Also, I love that she cares enough to research her books because they are marketed as realistic fiction, and I do think people learn through them. I'm glad she isn't misrepresenting her subjects and really gets into depth with all the issues surrounding a problem.
  • LEUKEMIA IS NOT A PLOT DEVICE. How many times have you read a book or watched a movie where a character has leukemia but it just serves as a mechanism for the other characters to grow and learn? And it's ALWAYS leukemia, because apparently everyone who ever has cancer and dies has leukemia. Because they always die even though, you know, most people do survive ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood leukemia) today. Okay, I LOVE some of these (A Walk to Remember  is officially my favourite movie; The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) but it's kind-of obvious and it's nice to see while... um, okay this book is kind-of doing the same thing... it's at least more developed; the plot is about leukemia but it goes so much further than that; it's not romanticised. I WOULD like to see a book about leukemia or any other disease where it's the person with the disease grows and learns, not the other way around.
  • This bullet is a spoiler. Aww cute love stories, come on, who does not love Campbell/Julia? Or Kate/Taylor? The part about their hands matching, PERFECTION.
  • Speaking of, who doesn't love Campbell's punch lines?
  • THE ENDING. I HAVE NO WORDS. Just read the book. So good. And as Harper would say, so literary.
  • The parents are realistic, and it brings up some real issues in healthcare today. Not only the obvious issue of creating an embryo to match your child, but stuff like our discomfort with death. When do you stop doing crazy things and let someone have peace? How do you deal with the what-ifs? When do you go for a very experimental treatment and when don't you? Etc.
  • Jesse is a really interesting/intriguing character to me.
  • I was really sick as a kid, so I can relate. Harper and Sam made me dig up an old photo for you...? Yay hospital gown. I don't know why Ribbit (my stuffed frog) is NOT in this picture at all but oh well. This was one of the few without either my family or Dave because you know, the hospital was the hot spot for socializing in 4th/5th grade.

Things I don't like about this book:
  • Apparently the legal stuff isn't very accurate?
  • Do we know anything about Kate? She has no personality... Again, I can appreciate that the book is about her family, but this is kind-of a major fail.
This book is banned because of the ethical issues and because Julia's sister is a lesbian. Um, I totally forgot that and had to go read it again to figure out why homosexuality was a reason the book was banned. Apparently, yeah.

Overall, I think it is worth it, and you should read it. What are some of your favourite banned books? You can leave them in the comments :)

Here's Harper and me with the book for a Banned Books Week picture:

Okay, moving on. Let's discuss the MAJOR BETRAYAL of the film adaptation. Also, major spoilers (for the movie), so this is going under a cut just in case.

  • Jesse... what the heck. He should have been cut out if you were going to deal with him in that lame of a fashion. I mean, come on, he's sooooo bad because he takes the bus to go stalk random bus stops. Yeah.
  • Kate actually has sort-of a personality, even though it's also kind-of lame and cliche. Like, she's the strong one, she's weirdly obsessed with Montana and super cheery at random moments, etc. IDK. I like the fact that she's into art/scrapbooking, and the scenes with Taylor were good - she kind-of had an edge in the movie that was brought out more (it's in the book, but kind-of lost IMO) but some parts of her were totally Cliche Inspiring Cancer Patient.
  • I'm so tired of seeing Abigail Breslin in every young acting role and is it just me or does she act the same in every movie she does? IDK I don't think she's as great as people make her out to be.
  • Makeup on Kate=A+++++++
  • Carmen Diaz's acting=A+++++++ She acts like a real mom.
  • I have no idea why they had to add in the part about Taylor and Kate "almost" having sex. They were obviously emotionally close and I just felt like that was unnecessary. She didn't need to have sex with him to feel very upset that he died. Besides, that means they cut out Julia and Campbell. Which makes sense for the movie but I LOVE THEM.
  • Campbell needed more punch lines.
  • I'm upset Campbell didn't keep in touch with the family as much after.That was cute in the book.
  • For the ending, if you had to end it that way, it was okay.
  • He did okay with trying to keep the movie in different perspectives, and I also think the combo of flashbacks and present day was done well... that could have been difficult from a film perspective.
Here's another picture of us with the movie, because you know, we HAD to get it...

Also, we kept trying to reposition the tripod, but every time we took this picture, Harper's cheeks looked huge. LOL I think it's kind-of funny. They look like she's on steroids. To celebrate the use of steroids in this book. I promise you she is not, nor did she recently have dental surgery; the camera is just odd.

*I just recently saw this movie. OMG. I totally understand why people are obsessed with it! I read the book in high school, and it was okay... but the movie is funny! And I love this quote:
"Well that's what we do, we fight... You tell me when I am being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you are a pain in the ass. Which you are, 99% of the time. I'm not afraid to hurt your feelings. You have like a 2 second rebound rate, then you're back doing the next pain-in-the-ass thing. "
LOL, so accurate to their relationship. I love them. They are adorable.


  1. Salut, Cate! Thanks for sharing! I haven't read My Sister's Keeper but Lilly has. She enjoyed it, and she highly prefers the book to the movie. I applaud her...finally, a book that isn't Lying Game, Pretty Little Liars, or Immortals Series...
    Oh, Lilly agrees with you on the fact that the movie had cliches. She'd comment, but she's too lazy to log in. I'm going off what she told me personally before, though.
    Anyway, my favorite is somewhat obvious: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I haven't seen the movie. I really enjoyed the book because of the psychology.

  2. Sabine, my dad made me watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest... it kind-of creeped me out. Then again, I was kind-of young when I watched it.

    Harper wants to point out that she helped with the post. Okay, yeah. She introduced me to some English major-y words like "romanticise" and "plot device" but I totally wrote it. LOL


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