Monday, March 10, 2008

I couldn't help myself.......


I finally had to read Coraline. After reading 3 blog reviews of it in the past couple of weeks and seeing the trailer, I knew I had to just do it. I don't know what I was waiting for! Coraline was a fantastic, frightening, escapist read and I think it took me less that 2 hours to finish it. Coraline is a young girl who moves into a flat with her parents and discovers a parallel but creepy world on the other side of a mysterious door. There are parents that look like hers, but have buttons for eyes. They want to keep Coraline with them and when she doesn't want to stay they try everything in their power to make her. Coraline is amazingly brave. Naturally she is terrified, but she is able to keep her mind clear and focus on the task at hand - saving her family and some other unfortunate souls. This is obviously a very dark book, but there is plenty of humor, too. Musical mice, theater-loving dogs, and a very special talking cat . This book is meant for children, obviously older ones as this would be much too frightening for the younger set.


I watched a pretty amazing film last week called Water. Water is set in India in 1938 and tells the story of a young girl who has been married off, widowed, and sent to live out the rest of her life in a widow's ashram at age 8. She becomes close to another widow, a young woman forced into prostitution and the film shows what happens when this woman attempts to escape from her fate. The film is beautifully shot and though the subject matter is grim, the music and the setting are a joy. It took the writer of Water many years to have this film made because there was so much protest in India. She persevered and we have her to thank for providing us a chance to see this other way of life. Unfortunately, these practices go on, there are still widow's ashrams and child brides. As a mother, watching this film brought up many emotions in me about my own child. I am reminded of the scenes in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan when the young girl's feet are bound. I am reminded of the interview of an African woman planning to have her daughter circumcised because that is simply what is done. She knew it was against the law, but was ambivalent about the medical complications that could occur and stated that she believed it didn't hurt much. I come back to this story, when a mother and father send their child away to a life of sorrow. It all makes me want to give my daughter the education, knowledge and drive to fly away and succeed in this life on her own terms, to be everything she can be. I cannot imagine living in a culture that would force me to mutilate her body or send her to a hopeless life far away. I thank God I don't have to.

14 comments:

Nan - said...

I actually found the book too creepy to read.:<) And I couldn't watch Water for anything. I'm just not that strong.

Kay said...

Guess I need to pick up CORALINE too. I've read several reviews now and it sounds fun.

Think I'll pass on WATER. So very tragic.

Lisa said...

I have also seen quite a few rave reivews of Coraline. I guess I'll have to succumb, as well. I too had similar feelings when reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I don't have daughters, but I have two sons, and I can't imagine doing anything to harm them in any way. I know many of these things are part of the cultures in which they're practiced, but it pretty much amounts to abuse. I'm with you -- thank goodness I didn't have to make those tough choices. Being a parent is hard enough!

Danielle said...

I'm listening to Coraline right now. Neil Gaiman reads the story and it's excellent--both the story and his narration! I had no idea they were making it into a movie--the trailer is wonderful!

Tara said...

Nan, I can completely understand, on both counts.

Kay, Coraline was fun..but creepy too.

Lisa, thanks for your thoughts. So many of these (what seem to me like) terrible things are done in the interest of economics and marriage which makes it all the sadder.

Danielle, what a great book to listen to! Doesn't the movie look great? It will be in 3-D apparently. I don't know how much luck I'll have finding someone to go with me, though..

Susan said...

Oooh, I hadn't seen the trailer! Coraline is such a spooky little book. It's a good, fun read, but it scared the snot out of me. I'm not even kidding.

Iliana said...

I need to move this up on my nightstand! I lucked out and found the book at a recent book sale. It does sound wonderful.
Water does sound like an amazing film. I do like films that challenge my thinking but definitely have to feel prepared for them going in don't you think. Did you ever read The Dancing Girls of Lahore? It's a non-fiction book about the lives of women in Lahore's red-light district. Fascinating and terrifying in many ways.

BooksPlease said...

I keep reading about Coraline, maybe I should read it.

I don't think I could have watched the film - so grim. and I couldn't read Snow Flower, mutilation of your own children is just too awful. As you say thank God we don't have to live in such a culture.

Tara said...

Susan, Isn't the trailer creepy! There is another clip I saw which was also worth watching. I love your phrase "scared the snot out of me" - great way to describe it!

Iliana, Yes - you definitely have to be in the right frame of mind to watch such a film. No, I haven't read Dancing Girls of Lahore - though it sounds like something I'm very interested in. Reminds me of another challening movie - Born Into Brothels.

Booksplease, that's why I finally did - I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

Carrie K said...

I meant to catch Water in the theater. Sad, isn't it? The norms of society can be so callous.

Neil Gaiman reads Coraline? I think I'll pick it up as an Audible choice. My niece loves it.

Danine said...

Thank you for posting the link for the trailer! I hadn't seen it yet. At the Neil Gaiman site there are special editions of Coraline. They are numbered up to 1000 and signed by Neil. The last time I checked they were running about $60. I loved this story and am terribly excited about the movie :)

Booklogged said...

I listened to Coraline with my teenage daughter several years ago. We loved it.

A fellow book blogger who lives in Toronto and who comes from India sent Water to me. She knew that it would never cross my radar here in Smalltown, Utah. My husband and I watched it and thought it was beautifully made, but so sad.

Tara said...

Carrie K, I just feel so fortunate to live in a society that abhors such things.

Danine, wow, $60! Did you notice the movie will be in 3-D? I'd like to see this in the theater.

Booklogged, Water never crossed my radar either - I think I read about it or the book based on the story on another blog.

Melanie said...

I just watched "Water" myself, and it was stunning and horrifying and so worth watching.

I didn't even know that there was to be a movie of "Coraline". Thanks for the link!