book reviews

The Book Thief

book thief

The Book Thief is set in Nazi Germany and is narrated by Death.  The main character is a little German girl named Liesel Meminger, who goes to live with foster parents. Her mother is gone and her brother is dead.

She steals her first book off a corpse and the rescues/ steals some subsequent books.  Her foster father, Hans, teaches her to read and she becomes an avid reader. She is a smart, tough little girl who likes to play football with the boys.  She befriends a boy called Rudy, who is her neighbour, and they become inseparable.  She and her foster family do not share the Nazi ideals. They hide a Jewish man, Max,  in their basement who becomes a very good friend to both Liesel and her family.  Though, hiding Max does put them in a very precarious situation.

The novel is perhaps a little heavy for vacation reading, but it has many light moments and is really well written.  A very intriguing and mesmerizing read.  The book includes German phrases, but they are also explained in English.  It is a beautiful story about humanity, love and friendship.

You would probably like this if you like The Boy in Striped Pajamas.  I would recommend this book.   There has been a movie made about this book, but I haven’t seen it yet.

I would highly recommend this book.

©lowercase v    2017 

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movie reviews

Hidden Figures

hidden figures

Running time: 127 minutes    Rating: PG

Based on a true story, Hidden Figures is set in 1960s America during the Space Race and follows 3 African American women working as mathematicians at NASA. Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) is a math genius who makes the crucial calculations needs to put astronaut John Glen (Glen Powell) in space and bring him safely back home. Apart from a cold reception she faces annoying practical issues like having to run to a different building to use the bath room because there are no “colored restrooms” in her office building.  Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) is practically a supervisor, but lacks the job title or paycheck that reflects it. Mary Jackson ( Janelle Monáe)  has the ability and desire to be a NASA engineer, but is blocked because of her race and gender.

The supporting cast includes: Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory‘s Sheldon) and a very demure Kirsten Dunst.

I loved this movie. It really shows the race and gender discrimination these women had to face on a daily basis. It’s sad (the reflection of the time period) and  you feel frustrated with the characters, but mostly it is inspirational.  There are many sweet little moments and moments of small (though ultimately large) victories.  A  poignant moment for me is when Katherine loses her high heeled shoe in the male dominated NASA environment (though I personally avoid wearing high heels at all costs).

There were only 3 other viewers in the cinema and they were all black women. I really hope this is only because it was at a quiet time and that more people are watching this movie in the evenings and on weekends.

Go/No Go?
It’s definitely a go! Not as a chick flick. Everyone should watch it. Kids too.

Director: Theodore Melfi
Screenplay:  Allison Schroeder &  Theodore Melfi
                         (based on the book by: Margot Lee Shetterly)
Awards:
The cast won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.  Hidden figures was nominated for 3 Oscars,  2 Golden Globes and  a Bafta. It also received several other  award wins and nominations.

Full cast and crew on IMDB.

 

©lowercase v 2017.