Monday, March 12, 2012

Refreshing Change!

After reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by the evil Amy Chua, I was thrilled to dig into Alice Ozma's The Reading Promise.

Here's what the back of the book will tell you: When Alice was in 4th grade, she and her father, an elementary school librarian, made a promise to read aloud together for 100 consecutive nights. Upon reaching their goal they celebrated with pancakes, but it was clear that neither one wanted to let go of what had become their reading ritual.

I won't go into detail about how revolting I found Amy Chua and her totalitarian control of her children's lives , or how her back peddling on TV talk shows, and her transparent justification on her website are all too insincere. Besides being a crazy coot of a mom, she's a crappy writer, but, boy did she stir up a great evening for our discussion group. For that I am grateful. Her book inspired us to talk about discipline, being average, the plight of education, abortion, selfishness, wisdom, choice....on and on we went - from 5:30 to almost 10:00.

Of course, we began with Valerie's fashion report, detailing who wore what at the Oscars, and a brief sharing of movies that we had seen since last month. but, the majority of the night was filled with discussion on topics generated from the book by the evil Amy Chua.

In contrast, I read the wistful, gentle book you see at the top of this page. Smiles and happiness rise from every page, as Alice tells the story of reading, sharing and growing with her dad through books. The story is warm and sincere, and invites comparison to the aforementioned memoir, them both. You be the judge. Would you rather have lived in the the Ozma home, or the Chua facility?

I also cruised through Angel by Elizabeth, not that Elizabeth Taylor. The movie "Mrs. Palfry at the Claremont" is based on one of her novels. She's not easy to read...rather dry, in fact, but her stories have an infectious charm. The melodramatic Angel spend her days spinning outrageous stories of a life she never lived, turning them into tawdry novels that are spoken of in hushed tones throughout drawing rooms in the early 1900's. All too soon, Angel's life takes a dramatic turn, and she finds herself a captive in a scenario not unlike one of her novels. Angel's dreams came true, dreams that carried with them hidden secrets. Unlike her fictional heroines, Angel could not turn the page and find respite from the agony. A bit over the top, but a fun soap-opera like diversion just the same.

Oh...FYI...there's a sequel to A Dog's Purpose called A Dog's Journey. I will not be reading it. If you follow this blog, you know why.

The Family Fang is beign made into a movie. Can't wait! I doubt that it will have wide appeal, but, theatre folk are sure to embrace it.

What am I reading? A wedding In Haiti by Julia Alverez.

Thanks for stopping by. I'll try to get back to writing once a week!