October 22, 2012 § 8 Comments
I can’t remember exactly how old I was when I first read Tiger Eyes—somewhere between ages 14 and 17. I can’t remember which school library I picked it up from. I can’t remember exactly when I bought my own copy of the book, and I definitely can’t remember when it disappeared from my bookshelf.
Like Davey, the heroine of Tiger Eyes, my memories from that time are all so fragmented. It had something to do with moving to a new city at age fifteen and leaving a home I had known for eleven years. Plus dealing with adolescence in general. What I do remember is how much I loved that book, that it is my favorite book by Judy Blume, and that I couldn’t believe such a fantastic story about coping with loss and rediscovering one’s joy for life had been written in the first place.
When I saw that Judy Blume was going to be in attendance at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival screening of the Tiger Eyes movie, I was ecstatic. This was beyond a dream come true! It was time to get a new copy of Tiger Eyes and re-read it before the big event.
I was picking up my event ticket from will call at the Lensic Theater box office, when who should I see walking by but Judy Blume herself. I said “Hi!” like I knew her, and she said “Hi!” right back like she knew me, too. She is one ultra-cool and classy lady. I was first in line to get my books signed.
The movie was filmed almost entirely in New Mexico, and a majority of the cast and crew were New Mexicans as well. Judy Blume herself lived in Los Alamos, New Mexico for two years during a difficult time in her life. This was the inspiration for the setting of her book, also set in Los Alamos.
Judy and her son, Lawrence Blume, co-wrote the screenplay, and Lawrence directed the film. The challenge in making the movie was the writing. Judy said she had had no experience in screenwriting, and that she and Larry would have “discussions” about translating Davey’s inner dialogue into pictures. “Mothers and sons never fight,” Lawrence Blume joked.
The film was fantastic. One is always apprehensive about seeing a favorite character portrayed by an actor, but Willa Holland was luminous as Davey Wexler. Things that had to be changed from book to screen were translated well while remaining true to the spirit of the book, and it was clear from the audience’s reactions that all the notes resonated. Of course, we got a kick out of the New Mexico inside jokes and insights that would go over the heads of other audiences. The line “there isn’t much water in New Mexico” is especially funny if you actually live here.
On a sad note, the actor who played Wolf, Tatanka Means, was supposed to be at the screening but couldn’t make it because his ailing father, Russell Means, had taken a turn for the worse. Russell Means, who had a principal role in the movie Last of the Mohicans, played Wolf’s father in Tiger Eyes. Russell Means died Monday morning, the day after the movie screened at the festival.
Towards the end of the Q&A, Judy Blume said that it wasn’t until she had seen the Tiger Eyes movie herself that she realized the book she had written had sprung from her feelings after her own father’s death. Judy’s father died suddenly of a heart attack when she was 21. She was with him when it happened. She sees now that her character, Davey, was going through emotions very much like her own.
Getting a new Tiger Eyes book signed by Judy Blume more than makes up for the copy that I lost all those years ago. Seeing the movie with hundreds of other people who loved it as much as I did closed that hole of loneliness I had felt during that time in my adolescence that had caused me to lose the book in the first place. I had been carrying those leftover wisps of upheaveal and isolation with me all this time, and now I feel that they have dissipated for good.
October 17, 2012 § 10 Comments
WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. To play, answer the following questions:
- What are you currently reading?
- What did you recently finish reading?
- What do you think you’ll read next?
What I’m currently reading:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I saw the movie and loved it so much I had to get the book. The author himself wrote and directed the movie, which probably explains why it was so good.
What I think I’ll read next:
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume. Still. I went to my local bookstore last week and they were sold out so they put it on order for me. I sure hope it gets here before the Tiger Eyes movie screening at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival this weekend. I want the book to be fresh in my mind again before I see the screen version!
The fruits of my latest trip to my local independent book store, Page One. The Judy Blume book is Forever, another one of my favorites by her.
October 5, 2012 § 1 Comment
What I love about Banned Books Week is that I learn about books I want to read that I otherwise would never have heard of.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
On Top Ten Challenged Books of 2011 List
According to the American Library Association (ALA), challenged for offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group.
When I read this line from Goodreads, “leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot” I threw my head back and laughed. Awesome. I can so relate, having gone to a nearly-all-white high school where some of the students thought it was okay to tell black jokes in front of me. Wonder why this book was challenged? Minorities aren’t supposed to have a viewpoint?
Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
On Top Ten Challenged Books of 2011 List
According to the ALA, challenged for nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint.
I read the excerpt from Achingly Alice, number 10 in the series, and I sure wish I had had these books to read when I was in junior high. A review mentions that one of the topics Alice thinks about is masturbation. Okay, I really would have liked to have known at fourteen that I was not the only one thinking about these kinds of things. Wonder why this was challenged? Are adolescent girls not supposed to have a viewpoint, especially not about their bodies or sexuality?
Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
On Top Ten Challenged Books of 2010 List
According to the ALA, challenged for drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint.
Really excited to read this and remember what it’s like to work a crap wage job, as my novel-in-progress’ main character does. It’s been awhile since I was there, and I was all too happy to relegate to distant memory the hysteria that arises when you are trying to decide between gas money and food, or wipe out your savings to pay for the extraction of an excrutiating abscessed tooth. Interested to find out what about this book was challenged. Poor people aren’t supposed to have a viewpoint?
Banned Books Week is September 30 through October 6 and celebrates our freedom to read. Click here to see ALA’s list of top ten challenged books by year.
What are your favorite books that show up on challenged lists? Do you learn about books that interest you that you only heard about because they were challenged?
October 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
It has been almost a month since we’ve seen new episodes of Grimm, and it has been worth the wait. Especially since I just finished catching up on Season 1 on Blu-ray. Minor spoilers ahead.
Captain Renard’s flashback to that significant moment at Juliette’s hospital bedside. I’ve been waiting for the ramifications of that kiss to start manifesting. Looks like it’s finally happening, baby.
Favorite Little Moment
After Nick comes home to an empty house to find that Juliette has gone out for drinks with her girlfriends and didn’t bother to tell him, Hank gives Nick some advice: “Last thing you want to do is put any pressure on her. That’ll just push her away. Not that I’m an expert.” Then he realizes what he just said. “Well, I guess I am an expert.”
Nick’s fight with the Nuckelavee outside and inside the trailer. From spotting his assailant’s reflection in the window to his “Who the hell are you?” as he stands over his defeated opponent’s body, Nick was totally bad ass!
Monroe: “Any group with a herd mentality kind of wigs me out.”
Yeah, me too.
October 1, 2012 § 3 Comments
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
New Mexico PBS hosted a public screening of the upcoming documentary, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity Worldwide, at the Kimo Theatre. The event consisted of a 40-minute segment of the upcoming 4-hour series that airs Oct 1 & 2 on PBS. The documentary, inspired by Sheryl WuDunn’s best-selling book, tells the stories of women around the globe who are fighting back against economic, physical, and sexual oppression. Different celebrities, such as Olivia Wilde, go to different countries to interview those women who are making changes in their world.
Here’s my favorite story from the preview: an all-women’s village in Kenya called Umoja. This village was formed by women who decided to retreat from the world of men because they were tired of being beaten and mutilated. The village leader, Rebecca Lolosoli, put it very simply and eloquently: “We want to choose our husbands. We want to own the land. We want to go to school. We don’t want to be cut anymore.”
The Umoja women have a song and dance they do, one that Olivia Wilde was initially embarrassed to do. She soon got into it. The Umoja women call it the “vagina song,” a celebration of women’s sexuality. Coming from women who have been raped and circumcised, this is pretty profound and powerful stuff.
These women have chosen to live without men and without disturbance. These women are raising the boys who are born in the village to value women and treat them as equals. When Olivia Wilde asked one fourteen-year-old boy how he felt about living in a village surrounded by all these women, he smiled as he drawled, “It’s real nice.” Adorable! Future generations of women will get to one day fall in love with and marry men like him, men who cherish and enjoy women for all that they are.
I realize how fortunate I am to already have the freedom these women seek. Okay, I’m still waiting for the right man to come along, and I admit that there are some days when the waiting bit really sucks. But I get to wait. I get to choose. That is gold.
There’s something else I learned from the Umoja women. How important it is to celebrate and rejoice in our sexuality, regardless of our circumstances. I’m going to learn a new song and dance. And get out that red dress.
Wait a minute. I don’t even own a red dress.
Half the Sky airs on PBS Oct. 1 & 2. Will you be watching? How do you celebrate what God gave you?