Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The meaning of words

It's interesting what words can mean to us. How they trigger thoughts, memories, musings. For example take SECRET GARDEN. This of what it means to you. What memory it triggers. Which sound do you hear and what smell comes to your mind... What was it for you?

Did you think of this?

Or did you think of this?

Was this what crossed your mind?

Were you humming this?...

Was a childhood memory awakened?

Or were you swaing your head to this...?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Place your bets!

It's time for the Oscar party to begin. But before you do that here is a printable ballot by the kind folks over at Moviefone. Place your bets (and see how many you got right)! Every time someone mentions or spoof Les Mis or thanks a Weinstein, you drink. We feel it'll be a great drinking game.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

There are as many kinds of love as there are hearts

Drawing of Anna Karenina by the
lovely and talented Kathy Rose
It's definitely one of the most well known stories and classics of the last few centuries. Some people say that spoilers about the plot itself are fair game, as this is a classic. I say let he who has read all the classics throw the first spoiler stone. There will be information about the story here but definitely not the major spoiler(s).
Anna Karenina is the type of woman that you either love, hate or pity. I have not met anyone who has read the book and was not enchanted in some way by the heroine. Despite the fact that the book is named after her, she doesn't appear until the eighteenth chapter in the book. When there is so much build-up about a much talked about character, it's almost surreal how Tolstoy has built his path to her like a pedestal. We meet Anna like Vronsky meets Anna for the first time. Charming, sensual, fashionably ladylike woman in the middle of Russian winter, on a train, moving like a queen. Theirs is love at first sight, if such love exists at all. If nothing else it is definitely attraction at first sight. But those are times of decency and chivalry in interaction so theirs is nothing but polite introduction. What is shockingly intriguing is that you sense Anna is a tragic figure. She is kind, gentle and a well-mannered lady who travelled far just to convince her brother to stop cheating on his loving wife. Little does she know she will soon have to convince herself of the same thing.
"She felt her eyes open wider and wider,
her fingers and toes move nervously;
something inside her stopped her breath,
and all images and sounds in that
wavering semi-darkness impressed themselves
on her with extraordinary vividness."
Her husband is a cold, emotionless man named Alexey. The man she chooses over him has the same name which alludes to the dreamstate of how life could be simple had her husband only truly felt love and kindness toward her instead of just duty to take care of her and their son. As it takes two to have an affair it also takes two to make a crack in the marriage. Anna is well aware of that and through her trials becomes more and more bold. Her affair with this young man shatters the entire web of her life and turns her into a pariah. Knowing this she tries to fight it for as long as she can but ends up caving. "I have nothing but you now. Remember that," she says to him after their first tryst. If only she knew how prophetic that will turn out to be.
Accompanying Anna's tragic love story is a whole tangle of Russians, learning of love, freedom, honesty, liberty, loyalty, promise and propriety. Her friends and family, all alike in love, suffer and learn through their own trials of life and love. The tale is long, exquisite and detailed and it is far from possible to squeeze it into two or three hours. It is also impossible to do it justice in any other form but the written one. So no, an HBO mini series wouldn't do either. Tolstoy has a power to draw you into his character's lives. And just as I understood Anna's attraction to Count Vronsky (and disinterest in her own husband), I was not enchanted by Vronsky myself. Her love and devotion were obvious and the magic and sparks were palpable. But unlike modern romance novels heroes Vronsky didn't appear as a hunky young man, stealing a bored wife. He didn't have to steal anything, for Anna was never Karenin's in another way but by surname. She was married young and believed she would come to love her husband eventually. When that didn't happen, she turned her affections to her beloved little son. Until a storm entered her life and turned everything upside down.
Greta Garbo as Anna (1935)
Many of the people around Anna knew what was happening and didn't speak of it. Her husband included. It seems like despite his political power and reputation he had no strength to pull his wife from the arms of her lover or look himself in the eye. Tolstoy has the ability to describe people and their surroundings in such detail that despite the fact that it is very meticulous, it isn't redundant or unwelcome. Vronsky used to play with his moustache when he was nervous and Anna could feel love awakening inside her in every part of her body, in her eyes, her fingertips, her insides ...But the story of this society is of so much more than just Anna, her good and bad decisions and her eventual downfall. Why is it then entitled Anna Karenina? I feel that Anna was forgotten by everyone. Her family and her friends. Her lover had the freedom to go and carry on as if nothing had happened, his reputation wasn't tainted. But she was a married woman whose husband wouldn't grant her what she wanted and so she left everything to be with her lover. And so everyone stopped thinking about her, wasn't giving her any attention, love or even thought. So Tolstoy decided to remind us of her. To not let US forget that she is in those pages, breathing and suffering, craving love and connection like everyone among us but only ever getting disdain and dirty looks.
"And though she felt sure that his love for her was waning, there was nothing
she could do, she could not in any way alter her relations to him.
Just as before, only by love and by charm could she keep him.
And so, just as before, only by occupation in the day, by morphine at night,
could she stifle the fearful thought of what would be if he ceased to love her."
Out of sheer love and admiration of this book I vowed not to watch any movies. I only watched the Greta Garbo version and only that because... well of Greta. Only that movie is old and short and only about Anna. And of course it left me unsatisfied. I declined many other interpretations of Anna for various reasons but the stage-like version of 2012 drew me in because I knew I was in for a treat for the eyes with the costumes and the scenography. Just like when at the dance, Anna wears black and Kitty, the betrayed one (by Anna) wears black. Such nice, subtle points of a movie. Keira Knightley, despite not being the perfect choice, she is simply a good choice for period dramas. And she was good as Anna because I can't ever complain about her acting chops. Her Vronsky, on the other side, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, was positively pathetic. Beyond boyish and squirmy. No reason Anna should ever fall for him. She could do better and he could go do another role. Jude Law with his receding hairline, however, was quite convincing as the bitter Karenin. I liked the theater-like retelling of the story where everything was continuous and nothing and no one was ever free because at every corner you could bump into someone and therefore had to be careful of your actions. Just like society then was. 
In all fairness the movie is nothing truly special but it has a magical touch. Which was most likely given to it by Tolstoy himself and the whole truth that this story as many others should be read not watched. Again and again.


Switch off E! ... !!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

What's your favorite quote?

“Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club! Third rule of Fight Club: someone yells ‘stop!’, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over. Fourth rule: only two guys to a fight. Fifth rule: one fight at a time, fellas. Sixth rule: No shirts, no shoes. Seventh rule: fights will go on as long as they have to. And the eighth and final rule: if this is your first time at Fight Club, you have to fight.”Fight Club (1999)

Which is better? The book or the movie? Chuck Palahniuk's groundbreaking story or David Fincher's shocking vision? I think they're both a tiny bit mental and they're also both a great deal brilliant. If nothing else, this quote is legendary (not to mention spoofed into oblivion) and the movie set new dimensions for twist endings.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

You Pierce My Soul...

200 years has passed since Pride and Prejudice was first published. The British wouldn't be the British if there wasn't a very classy commemoration of this wonderful event in the history of (book)time. So now there are special stamps available for those who wish to celebrate this joyous occasion. The stamps include scenes from all six of her novels and they consist of newly-commissioned artwork depicting scenes from her books. The Royal Mail has also announced that it will mark all those letters, posted in Chawton in Hampshire, where Miss Austen spent the last years of her life, and Steventon, where she was born. The mark will be featuring the Pride and Prejudice quote "Do anything rather than marry without affection". The sale starts today! What better gift for a true Austenite.

Books are friends, friends are books...

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! -- When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” 
- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Remember ME? Can You Keep MY Secret?

I am anything but a big fan of stupid chick-lit. I like to indulge every now and then and pick a book that does not have sugar melting down its covers, endless sentences that are variation of "you're the one" and predictable (of course no other than) happy endings. Now, I know that I am reaching for the stars here but I claim it possible.
Sophie Kinsella attracted and lost me with Shopaholic. Because after reading the first in the series, I gave up on the author. I'm a girl, I like fashionable and pretty things. But I can't believe that anyone would be so daft and stupid as to beyond max their credit card for a scarf. Um, no. And if there is such a person, I am not by the least excited to learn more about her and her endless shopping. 
“I've always had this deep-down conviction
that I'm not like everybody else, and
there's an amazingly exciting new life
waiting for me just around the corner.”
And then I was again attracted to her at an airport bookstore by a book called Can You Keep a Secret?. Reeling from the bad experience of Shopaholic I decided against it. Until a friend whose opinion I value and whose tastes run in the same circle, sometime later pushed this book in my hands with words: "You GOTTA read this." So I did and discovered one of the most hilarious books of all times. Yes, chick-lit wise.
By the time Remember Me? came into my hands I was certain that my problem with Ms. Kinsella lies in Rebecca Bloomwood aka The Shopaholic. Or maybe I just like her books that have a question mark in the title? However, I found both (Secret and Remember Me) hilarious and the characters worldly, convincing and (most importantly) the endings not sappy.
In Can You Keep a Secret Emma spills all her secrets to a stranger on a plane when the ride gets bumpy and she gets hysterical. Turns out that telling *everything* to someone next to you on the plane is not a good idea as he can turn out to be the founder of the company you work at. Scared that he will get her fired or she will be in trouble for feeding orange juice to her coworker's plant. Neither as the boss does not want anyone to know he was on that plane. Why? And how on Earth does she keep getting in trouble in front of him? It's funny and hilarious and just a tad suspicious.
“I'm Cinderella. No, I'm better
than Cinderella, because she only
got the prince, didn't she? I'm
Cinderella with fab teeth and a shit-hot job.”
In Remember Me? (which I maybe liked even better) Lexi wakes up in a hospital, convinced she hit her head on the curb while partying out with her friends. When the nruse hands her a Louis Vuitton bag and she sees she is tan, lean and her teeth are fixed, she is more than confused. Welcome to Lexi 2.0! She had an accident in which she lost three years of her life, apparently all her friends and gained a high powered position in her firm, the most gorgeous husband in the world and a bitchy attitude. What the hell happened to her? Discovering herself all over again is hilarious, sometimes painful and more often than not entertaining.
There are certain books that are good but strangely enough the movies turn out to be better. Having caved and watching the Shopaholic movie I am not surprised the sequels weren't made yet. They probably never will. Instead they should make these stories into movies. Because they are smart, appeal to the everywoman and turn out to be quite and very believable.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Understanding Shawshank

"Get busy living, or get busy dying."

How many times have we noticed that a movie couldn't do justice to the book which it is based on? A book has the liberty of getting into the detail of the smallest of things while a movie has a limit to cover it all within 3 hours. Words help us to create our own imaginations, draw our own characters and picturize the scenes according to our will. A movie on the other hand takes those words and shows us the story in visuals. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is based on a novella by Stephen King and it has created an identity of its own if you compare it to his original work.
Most of the movie takes place in a prison at Shawshank where Andy Dufresne was serving time for the murders he didn't commit. King described him as a short neat little man with sandy hair and small, clever hands. He wore gold rimmed spectacles. In the movie Andy's character is played by Tim Robbins, a tall and lanky man. The character of Red, who as mentioned in the story by King was of Irish ancestry is played by Morgan Freeman. The roles of these two key characters in the story are executed perfectly by Robbins and Freeman. Most of the characters mentioned in the book are incorporated in the movie, some also merged into one, for eg. the warden. Norton is the only warden in the movie, rightfully so as it was during his term that Andy had escaped. The characters mentioned in the book are shaped up well in the movie. In the book, Red tells different stories about Andy's time at Shawshank and the movie puts them all as one with impeccable execution.  

"Sometimes it makes me sad, though... Andy being gone. I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend."
It's a story of an innocent man's escape from prison. Not in a week or even a year after his incarceration but nearly two decades later. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and that is what kept Andy alive in prison as he patiently dug his way through it. While he is waiting for the right moment to make an escape he makes friends, goes through trouble with enemies and also helps the jail officials using his banking knowledge. There is not a single segment in this movie where I felt disconnected, it's a smooth sailing ship.

"The funny thing is - on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook."

The book has a character by the name Chief Normaden who was Andy's cellmate for sometime. He complained of a bad draft in the cell which made him feel cold in the nights and was thus transferred. Little did he know about the real reason behind that chill. This character is skipped in the movie, perhaps his inclusion would have made it more exciting. Captain Hadley has a bigger role in the movie than in the book and goes down in the end with warden Norton. There is a connection between Red and Andy that makes me smile, right from the beginning when Andy says to him, "I understand you're a man who knows how to get things."
"I could see why some of the boys took him for snobby. He had a quiet way about him, a walk and a talk that just wasn't normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or a worry in the world, like he had on an invisible coat that would shield him from this place. Yeah, I think it would be fair to say...I liked Andy from the start."
The Shawshank Redemption is a wonderful story, a story of hope and friendship. The one which shows that hope can help overcome even the toughest of the obstacles. The movie is the best complement to this story, maybe even better.

Some seriously fun Shawshank writings from a fellow King reader.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Touched by a quote

"It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness."
I used to write down quotes from books as I was reading them. I am not sure why I stopped or why I don't do that anymore. Maybe because now more often than not you just have to google a book and tons of quotes fall out. I know that the possibility of it being the same quote you loved isn't that great but I still don't do it. Anymore. Which is why finding these post-its is such a refreshment. I find them and they're attached to the exact page of the book where the quote is from. So I can read the context. Which makes it crispier.
So this particular quote was chosen from a book I had bought and read in Thailand so I guess it has an even sweeter taste. This is from Chuck Palahniuk's Diary. I have fond memories of this weird and strange book. And it makes me wonder why I don't write down all those little bits and pieces that make me gasp or well up or just plain shut the book and put it away?... I guess time took a toll on all such little things...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

The assassination of the world’s most wanted terrorist which made the headlines in 2011 is the core plot of this movie. The 10 year long worldwide hunt and the execution of this highly secret operation are shown within a span of 2 hours. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow who has an impressive Hurt Locker under her sleeve, Zero Dark Thirty is a mixed bag of the events that led up to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
It starts with the chaos surrounded by helpless voices of the victims of 9/11.Two years later; one of the planners is being tortured and interrogated at an undisclosed location. Jessica Chastain plays the role of Maya, a CIA agent who is there for her first interrogation and she turns out to be the key to finding out the location of Laden. Not much is known about her background yet she is central to the whole operation.
Jason Clarke is impressive as Dan, another CIA agent who specializes in torture to get vital information out of the detainees. His job is not the easiest but most of the time he comes across like he handles it without much of an effort. Be it torturing a suspect or making a deal with an informant with serious possible repercussions. He eventually quits after what he has seen and done during his fight against terrorism.
George: "It's their West Point."
C.I.A. Director: "And how close is it to the house?"
George: "About a mile."
Maya: "Four thousand, two hundred, twenty one feet; it's closer to eight-tenths of a mile."
C.I.A. Director: "Who are you?"
Maya: "I'm the motherfucker that found this place. Sir."
 Maya’s dedication towards her goal to find Bin Laden kept me engaged throughout the movie. Be it lack of support from her superiors or personal setbacks in terms of losing people, her determination to track the whereabouts of Laden is astounding. This movie shows the different stages and routes which the characters take find their target.
Zero Dark Thirty is cold and it doesn't show much emotion considering that the topic is based on a high profile terrorist’s assassination. It mainly sticks to the behind the scenes operation part of tracking down Bin Laden. There is a chance that the torture sessions shown might be a bit too much for some. Consider it this way; that is what must have happened in order to extract information to build up the cues. Personally, I could have done with more of the local interaction in terms of showing more of Pakistan and how the agents communicated with the locals to get any kind of information. At the end part, director Bigelow has done every bit of justice to what the world has heard about the way the final operation to break into Bin Laden’s hideout was carried out. The entire scene of his capture is very well shot and shows how the operation was executed right from the beginning.

This is what defeat looks like, bro. Your jihad is over.

Zero Dark Thirty is hollow and it lacks the emotional touch. However, it makes me think that might be the whole point of it as it deals with such kind of a subject. A lot has been written and said about this whole operation with many theories generating as a result and to put all of it into perspective is not an easy task. It is a well-made movie which is supported by some good performances by the main characters. There could have been a lot more to it but again if you consider the lack of facts surrounding this saga; it’s perhaps the best that can be shown in a form of a movie.
For those who don't believe in Maya, here's proof that the woman (in the confidential documents referred to only as Jen) really existed.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

What you up to now?

I did not like the book but I loved the first movie. I thought Renée Zellwegger was amazing as Bridget and she was fun, funny and everywoman. So I am looking forward to see what she is up to this time!
Helen Fielding will publish a new installment of Bridget Jones, coming out in November and I think we can bet on a new movie coming out quite quickly after that. I for one am excited. Any takers?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Oh the miserable!

Well, I'm a fan of musicals. Not that I like each and every one of them but they can be real fun. So I can shamelessly admit that I loved Mamma Mia! as much in the movies as I did on the stage in London. OK maybe I loved the London one a bit more and I truly loved the movie one mostly because of the almighty Meryl. But I regress.
Les Misérables is Victor Hugo's great work and I must admit I've never read the book. I might still get to it and usually I try my best to do it before watching the movie although that just makes me more disappointed in the screen version. This time I didn't and more than not decidedly so because I wanted to enjoy the story for the first time. No, I had no idea what happened.
So I went into the movies properly excited to see this movie that enchanted the critics and viewers alike and is up for eight Academy Awards. Eight! Did you know that's in category with Casablanca, To Kill A Mockingbird and Apocalypse Now? The same category as The Dark Knight and Brokeback Mountain? What I am trying to say, in case you didn't get it, it's in the company of some pretty amazing movies. Now, I know nominees don't mean victories but still.
So now that I have made a few disclaimers, I will just add the outline of the story for those who have (as have I) been living under a rock and were not acquainted with it. So Jean Valjean is a man who was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread. He was imprisoned for five years but because he had several failed attempts to escape, he was released nineteen years later with parole, meaning that society will forever know him as a former prisoner and eternally reject him. Which of course they do. He can't find work nor food and in the end after a personal enlightenment decides to throw away his passport which speaks of his imprisonment and will therefore bind him forever with chains stronger than the prison ball and chain. Jean Valjean is dead and a new man is born, one who lives an honest life and cares for other people. But breaking parole means he must forever be hiding from inspector Javert who hated him in prison and decided to find him after he fled. But Jean is now Monsieur Madeleine, a successful business owner and mayor. Among his workers is also Fantine, who loses her job when the supervisor learns she is an unwed mother. This leads her to prostitution in order to earn money for her ill child who is being taken care of by an innkeeper and his wife. Before she is arrested (by Javert) and put in jail, Monsieur Madeleine rescues her, realizing she used to work for him and then promising her he'll find her daughter, Cosette. That's more than enough of an outline. The story spans seventeen years and covers the uprising of the people, historical turnabouts and personal stories, romances and tragedies.

The hilarious Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen
I have to say that Russell Crowe should never, ever, ever sing again in a movie. Never. Ever. Nevermore, Poe would say. Seriously. He sounds like he has a frog in his throat. I read that he was offended by people claiming he didn't sing his own lines. I believe he sung them because it sounds like Russell but that's just the problem. Nothing is wrong with his voice per se, he can be a very decent actor. I am not a huge fan of his but he can act. But singing every bloody line of the script (which wasn't just his problem, admit)? "Whaaaaaat do you meeeeeeeeeeeeeeean?" Oh, come on. That is my main complaint about this movie that has drawn eight oscar nominations. 

Anne Hathaway as Fantine
There are certain parts in a movie musical that CAN be spoken. I'm being honest. Viewers wouldn't mind. And a few scenes were just made awkward that way. The story is truly of The Miserable Ones, no doubt about it. And I was surprised by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter. No, surprised is not the right word. They were both perfect for the quirky roles and they were fun. Triangle singing was very confusing, for example. Hugh Jackman was good and Anne Hathaway practically broke my heart (so she better get that oscar!) but Russell... No. I was also very taken by the little boy who played Gavroche. Very beautiful and convincing performance. It is said that Anne Hathaway blew everyone away with her audition and left them in tears. I have absolutely no difficulty believing that. I hope we get to see that audition someday.
So the final verdict is that the movie is beautifully made. The performances are strong and deep. The songs sung with grace and emotion. To give credit where credit is due, all performances were sung live and it was obvious. In a good way. But unfortunatelly I believe some of the parts should not have been sung. I was bothered by the everpresent cockney accent singing but it's an English musical, so okay. And I really really think that Anne Hathaway should receive this oscar. I have seen her in many roles and I have heard this song sung by many different people (most famously probably this cheeky Briton) and I've never been as touched as I have been by Anne's performance. For the first time ever I really felt it and had a feeling it was coming from within her. Simply amazing. After her part is over in the movie, I felt like she was missing in the rest of the story and that's a sign of a great role. Go, Anne.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jodi Picoult: The Pact

I read My Sister's Keeper years ago and was blown away. Then I watched the movie in which Cameron Diaz (?!) amazed me. It's crazy how it seems she finally learned how to act. And... well.... forgot how to do it again right after the movie was wrapped. 
The Pact was on my to-read list for almost as long as My Sister's Keeper. The story intrigued me, what I've read of it on the back of the book. Here's what it says:
"The Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other for eighteen years. They have shared everything from family picnics to chicken pox – so it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more.
When the midnight calls come in from the hospital, no one is prepared: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head, inflicted by Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact. He tells the police the next bullet was meant for himself. A local detective has her doubts. And the Hartes and Golds must face every parent's worst nightmare and question: do we ever really know our children at all?"
Enough to get me hooked, I suppose. Knowing Picoult is famous for her controversial subjects, twists and right-wrong stances, I wanted to know. What brought star-crossed lovers to such a decision when they supposedly had everything? What could possibly go wrong?
So the real deal is Emily and Christopher meet in the hospital, about an hour after Emily was born. The Hartes and the Golds became neighbors when both women were pregnant. When Emily's mother went into labour, it was Chris's mother who took her to the hospital (accompanied by 6-month-old Chris, mind). When the little girl was born, they put him next to her in the bassinet. And that's just telling enough of how this story goes. The two families are joined by the hip and so Emily and Chris grown up in a similar fashion. Half the time it seems like they're brother and sister and after initial tween poking and shoving and offending each other they realize maybe that's not what they're really after. When the first kiss happens, it was a long time coming and seems no one is more thrilled than the parents themselves.

 "I, um, I have this problem. I broke up with my boyfriend, you see. And I'm pretty upset about it, so I wanted to talk to my best friend. [...] The thing is, they're both you."

Whatever more I say could be a possible spoiler and as always I am avoiding that completely. So tread a bit carefully from here on.

I read that Jodi Picoult herself said that she knew she had a page turner on her hands. Instead of a character study of a survivor guilt. Read here what she was initially planning on writing about. It made me curious to see what would actually happen. In her first idea Emily was supposed to be the one who survives. I wonder what the reason for suicide was in that first draft. Because Emily's (hi)story is burdening her with two secrets. Neither of those she can tell Chris. One is indirectly partially his fault and one is their parents' fault. Now why on earth couldn't Emily just tell someone, anyone and not be such a wussy little girl? She annoyed the living hell out of me, to be very honest. I understood why she was acting the way she was but she should have known Chris enough to know he would never turn away from her. In any way. Even I knew Chris well enough to know that!!! OK, so why? Hm. Because she was a teenager. Do you remember your teenage years? No one understanding you? Thinking that every little thing you do, are or say can haunt you for the rest of your life straight into your grave? That a rumor can be the end of the world? That someone not calling would make you a lifelong virgin? It took me a little while to stop being so upset with her. Only that she had a much much bigger problem than the usual teenager does.
It did not escape me that the surnames of the families create a Heart (of) Gold. And that Emily was the Heart of the relationship and Chris was the Gold. Meaning that everything evolved around her (including her incredibly selfish need to end her own life instead of dealing with the truth) and he was the one who loved her with his entire being and everything he could possibly feel or think was related to her. I wasn't surprised when Chris relates his first memories to his psychiatrist and they ALL involved Emily. Of course they did. Their parents made sure they knew how incredibly connected they were. Two parts of a whole. 
It was painful to watch how Emily's mother Melanie was quick to find blame elsewhere. And almost gratefully point the finger at Chris. She seemed to be waiting for someone to blame in every situation on every occasion. "I knew my daughter!" Um, the hell you did. My mother did not (and still doesn't!) know the first thing about the person I was when I was 17. It was equally painful to watch Chris's mother Gus realize one of Emily's secrets. Feeling it on her own skin. When the whole thing came to a close, I wondered how guilty did Michael, Emily's dad, feel for believing Chris (despite everything), visiting him and helping him.
It's clear to see that Chris will never recover from what happened. Either way. But what bothered me the most was that *************SPOILERS************** Emily's mother found her daughter's journal in which the girl clearly stated that Chris did not know she was pregnant, felt like sister to her boyfriend and possibly even spoke of being abused. And yet she burnt it and pretended it never existed. I was severely upset that those details were never uncovered. Perhaps it would take another book to swim through Chris's guilt for her not feeling like she could open up to him and tell him those things but I still think he would find more peace knowing. Maybe Picoult was honoring her secrets by not uncovering them but I thought that was a huge miss. All in all the book was a page turner indeed but I felt a bit ripped off.

Here is a trailer to the Lifetime movie (2002). Watch if you dare. I was cringing like mad. It looks *really* bad. Like one of those Mexican soap operas. But it was Picoult's first movie adaptation so maybe she's learned. I liked My Sister's Keeper way better. The rest I'm yet to see.

"Do you know what it's like to love someone so much, that you can't see yourself without picturing her? Or what it's like to touch someone, and feel like you've come home? What we had wasn't about sex, or about being with someone just to show off what you've got, the way it was for other kids our age. We were, well, meant to be together. Some people spend their whole lives looking for that one person. I was lucky enough to have her all along."
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