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Tag Archives: adventure

Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish

hereville fish

Another Mirka story by Barry Deutsche, Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish takes us back into the world of an Orthodox Jewish teen named Mirka. Smart and feisty, Mirka clashes with her stepmom. When she’s made to babysit her young half-sister, Mirka defies the rule that she shouldn’t go into the forest. She longs to experience the adventures her stepmother had as a girl. This adventure-seeker soon encounters trouble through a magic, or rather cursed talking fish, who soon kidnaps the little girl, making Mirka the “worst babysitter ever.”

The story is fun and wise. I enjoyed Mirka’s spirt and learning of the stepmom’s history. Surprising Furma, the stepmom grew up with a very modern mother, who’s something of a 1960’s hippy type.

The dialog is fresh and I like how authentic the story felt, in spite of a cursed fish that kept growing. I loved the glimpse into a different culture and all the Yiddish sprinkled into the dialog. (Deutsche provides definitions at the bottom of the page.) The stepmom isn’t perfect, but I liked how she spars with Mirka and makes the teen increase her understanding. Yes, the older generation has wisdom even feisty teens can’t refute. It would be easy to just show Mirka as always right and the rules of her community outdated. Instead, Deutsch points out how there’s wisdom in them.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2020 in fiction, graphic novel, teen lit

 

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The Young Adventurer

young adve

Another Horatio Alger book read. I’m catching up on my Good Reads 2020 Reading Challenge deficit.

In Alger’s The Young Adventurer, teenage Ben’s a new orphan at 14. His mother died when he was young and now his father’s just died. The $400 he inherited won’t last forever and there aren’t many opportunities in his hometown so though his uncle would like him to stay with him, Ben sets off to New York to make some money. He plans to earn enough to get passage to California where he can make a fortune mining gold.

Like a lot of Alger’s heroes, Ben encounters some swindlers, and luckily manages to avoid them with his funds in tact. Then he lucks out and meets and heiress in distress who asks him to accompany her to California and pays him to locate her fiancé. The adventure continues.

While the story offers a likable hero and plenty of villains, I wasn’t as enthralled as usual. The Young Adventurer is dated in its treatment of a Chinese character. The language of the era came off the way old Charlie Chan stereotypes do. Alger isn’t on the side of the bigots and those bigots probably were presented authentically, but I couldn’t stomach those chapters even though King Si, the Chinese miner, ends up doing well. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend this book to kids. Now maybe they should read about how people people discriminated and hurt others as that is the real history, but I’d find another book to recommend.

 

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2020 in American Lit, Children's Lit, fiction

 

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The Pink Refrigerator

5113jn92IcL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Written and illustrated by Tim Egan, The Pink Refrigerator is a charming book that tells the story of a mouse with the love of the cosy and familiar that reminds me of a Hobbit. Dodsworth owns a second hand store and loves running his store and living a predictable life where the main form of recreation is television.

One day Dodsworth acquires an old, pink refrigerator. He plans to sell it but becomes intrigued by its magic. You see, one day Dodsworth goes to the fridge to get rid of it, but he’s surprised by a note that says “Paint Pictures.” Inside the fridge there are all the supplies needed to paint.

Day after day, the fridge challenges Dodsworth to get outside his comfort zone and do something new and creative. Before you know it, Dodsworth’s transformed. It’s a cute, cosy tale that inspires.

What would you want a pink refrigerator to help you do?

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2019 in Children's Lit, fiction

 

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Now Reading

zola

I’m now reading and very wrapped up in Emile Zola’s A Ladies’ Paradise, which the Masterpiece The Paradise is based on. Wow!

The story’s quite different as it’s set in Paris and Denise’s parents died leaving her with two brothers to look after and very little money. Thus she heads to her uncle in Paris, who’s a draper as in the television series. This uncle has more i.e. some customers and yet is more furious at Mouret (Moray on TV). Zola’s Mouret starts out as such a philanderer, with lots of contempt for women. I can see why the TV show lessened that aspect of his character. It’s just amazing to read about how huge the store is and how it’s run.

sin second cityI’m also reading another Horatio Alger book. Again, I’ve just started the story, Joe’s Luck. Joe’s an orphan and a servant in small town New Jersey. He’s had it with the ill treatment of a miserly employer and heads to New York hoping to get on a ship to California while the Gold Rush is in full swing. Just now poor Joe was swindled out of the money for the ship’s ticket.

I’m also in the midst of a book on the Everleigh sisters who ran a high class, super high class brothel in turn of the 20th century Chicago. The Everleigh Club’s opulence is unmatched and the tales! Whoo. The girls. The men. The antics! Often beyond imagination.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2014 in American Lit, classic, fiction, French Lit, history, Masterpiece Theater

 

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Life of Pi

Life-of-Pi2

Based on Yann Martel’s imaginative novel, Life of Pi chronicles the amazing life of Pi Patel a boy whose family owns a zoo in India. When the zoo goes under, Pi’s father uproots his family and takes some of the animals to sell in Canada.

On the voyage to Canada, a terrible storm kicks up and only Pi and three wild animals, a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a tiger named Richard Parker survive on the lifeboat. Soon only the tiger and Pi remain on the vast sea under the intense sun. It’s riveting to see Pi figure out how to evade sharks, keep out of the sun, eat and share space with a tiger – and not some docile, domesticated feline, but a tiger who’ll eat a hyena or most likely a teenage boy if nothing else is around.

Since I’d read the book, I didn’t think this book was filmable. It’s just too unique. I’m happy to say this version worked. How amazing! The film is beautiful with incredible CGI for the bulk of the film and lovely local color shots of India and the zoo at the start.

There were some parts I didn’t think worked. The story if framed with a contrivance that a drifting writer met an acquaintance of Pi’s who told the writer he must hear Pi’s story. I just didn’t buy that this guy would actually bother to track down Pi. I wouldn’t – unless it turned out Pi was a neighbor, I’d never met back home. That character was just bland and a device to get Pi to tell his story.

At the end two Japanese employees of the shipping company meet with Pi to find out what happened. That scene seemed flat as the two actors just didn’t have Japanese body language and the way they behaved was just not believable. No Japanese person I’ve met would express skepticism so directly and they wouldn’t challenge someone in the hospital that way. It just came off as flat. Also, the adult Pi promises that the story will persuade the listening writer of God’s existence. I don’t think that’s needed. I wasn’t convinced of God’s existence from the film and think it can be viewed as an exciting story about resourcefulness. Mind you, I do believe in God.

On the whole the film amazed me and the actor who played Pi was outstanding.

Related articles

Life Of Pi – 3d (myfilmsandbooks.wordpress.com)
Life of Pi (Roger Ebert’s review)
The Lady or The Tiger: Ambiguity and Life of Pi (thefilmexperience.net)
“Life of Pi”, does God exists? Book Vs. Movie! (justcassie.wordpress.com)
Life of Pi by Yann Martel – review (guardian.co.uk)
Life of Pi (ariisblog.wordpress.com)
Decoding Life of Pi: The Movie (distractedstudents.com)

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in contemporary

 

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