21st century girl

reviews – my way.

Month: September, 2016

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar Children is about a sixteen year old boy called Jacob Portman who goes to a remote island after the death of his grandfather and discovers a crumbling orphanage run by Miss Peregrine, but a few mysteries involving the children begin to unfold and it turns out that they are all stuck in a one day time loop from 1940.

This book is the first of the Miss Peregrine book series and I only read this book because there is an upcoming film adaptation directed by Tim Burton and starring Asa Butterfield as the lead character. Regardless of the film, I started to read it knowing that it was part of a series, having seen them regularly on the shelves in WHSmith or in my friend’s book shop, and it was also part of the magical realism and fantasy genre, which is one of my favourite genres. It’s marketed like a children’s book, but it’s definitely for adults, and it is a dark book full of fantastic photographs. I love the narrative flow and when I’ve finished this book and maybe watched the film, I will read the rest of the series. It also combines photography and narrative as well. It’s as if the book has its own quirky personality that makes it different from all the other books, that are generally only typed words on a basic white page. The patterns on the start of every chapter are lovely and as an art student, I could incorporate similar patterns into my own work (without copying it).

I got so stuck into the book that I finished it in just under a day. I think the pictures helped, but the writer lets you use your own imagination, even though I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a continuous one day time loop due to the deja vu. It was a relief when they left the time loop, yet the book had an open ending so that it could move swiftly onto the next book in the series. I just wonder how it will adapt from page to screen.

Overall, a dark but quirky book with brilliant photographs, fantastic characters and a great narrative. It’s quite easy to follow too. You put down the book and it leaves you asking questions, not necessarily about whether or not it’s entertaining but of the fate of the characters. Are they dead? Is it his imagination? Or is he living off a thing that his grandpa told him about?

4.5/5

 

Time and Time again by Ben Elton

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‘No matter how many times everyone uses each other’s first names, the rich still get richer and the poor still get poorer and nobody gives a damn about anyone,’ 

Time and Time again is a book set in three different time periods over 300 years and it is about an ex soldier and adventurer called Hugh Stanton who knows that the Great War is coming but he must change that history and prevent it, therefore preventing a butterfly effect of events over the course of the next century.

I read it thinking that it was going to be another same old time travel story. I have a small interest in time travel from watching films and TV shows such as Back to the Future and Goodnight Sweetheart. Time and Time again, however, is not any old boring story. It doesn’t just tell a story, it makes a statement on culture and society from the past and even now, although the present events are actually set in the future, and it tests the involvement of Newton’s law of gravity with time travel. I connect with the characters, and I feel sorry for Stanton for losing his wife and kids, and yet I knew that he also loved Bernie, an Irish suffragette. The narrative and pacing is rather smooth so that I could pick up the book where I left off, and I could still find out so many things about how a war and a crazy scientist’s theory and the butterfly effect shaped how we are today. What exactly would have happened if Franz Ferdinand didn’t get shot?

His plan is simple- to kill the Kaiser and keep Franz Ferdinand alive, but one gunshot will change history. Yes, he stopped World War I, but that led to another event and poems and books that will make no sense to altered history because he stopped World War I. It’s also a reoccurring thing in the book that there’s a loop of time of about a hundred and ten years with three different worlds. The book is so hectic yet every event crushes the previous event and you go on such a journey with the character that you don’t bother looking back. The character of Hugh Stanton is quick and he knows his stuff yet he’s lonely in a metaphorical way to the point where he’s probably considered strange by other people. It’s also up to your own interpretation into how the book ends. That’s what so good about it. The narrative is strong and it has a good flow to make your own decision.

I love Ben Elton’s writing style, what with his use of rhetorical questions that aren’t too overbearing. Sometimes the line about the gunshot was short, maybe to suggest that the shot was quick. I hadn’t  hadn’t heard of Ben Elton before reading this book but I might need to read some more of his work. This novel is definetly within my ‘Top five Favourite books’ list, but I might need to buy it (I borrowed it from a local library) and re read it to pick up the smaller details that I didn’t pick up last time. Sadly, in he real world, there was still World War I and Hugh Stanton is not there to stop it.

A thrilling read and I would highly recommend it, though the pacing slows down at times.

4.5/5

The Sound of Music (1965)

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‘The hills are alive with the sound of music,’ 

The Sound of Music is about a nun called Maria (Julie Andrews) who is sent to be a governess to a strict and recently widowed sea captain called Captain Georg Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer)’s seven children Liesel (Charmain Carr), Gretel (Kym Karath), Louisa (Heather Menzies), Brigitta (Angela Cartwright) Friedrich (Nicholas Hammond), Marta (Debbie Turner) and Kurt (Duane Chase). It is based very loosely off the true story of The Von Trapp singers, who were a family of singers who fled the Nazis during the second world war.

I have watched this movie many times ever since I was a small child. It’s one of those guilty pleasure movies that are incredibly corny, but you can’t help but love it. I’m also very surprised that I haven’t reviewed it before in a formal blogpost other than this one, and even if I have then it was ages ago. Julie Andrews was also one of my favourite actresses when I was younger, and she’s still one of those actresses who have been in all of your childhood films and Christopher Plummer gives that attractive charm to the screen. I used to have to sing most of the songs from the film in my old school choir, and I distinctly remember my eccentric old music teacher making up a fun one involving school.

I have taken quite a liking to old musicals and films. They have that nostalgic charm that you don’t get with modern films, and although this movie is incredibly sickly sweet and nearly all made up, it’s classic and you can return to it time and time again. The scenery also looks fantastic, and so does the interior of the Von Trapp house. I can’t pick a favourite musical number; it was ’16 going on 17′ (I have recently turned 17) but it turns out that the song gives the message of ‘you’re younger than me and therefore I can control you and tell you what to do’, but my other favourite include ‘how do you solve a problem like maria’ and the classics such as ‘Do re mi’ and ‘my Favourite things’ remind me of my childhood. I have known all the words to every song in the film for years now so I end up singing along.

Overall, a cheesy but incredibly loveable film that anyone can watch at any age. There have been many spin off musicals and stage productions and it was originally based off the Broadway musical.

3.5/5

 

Goodnight Sweetheart revival episode

Goodnight Sweetheart is a series that ran for six seasons from 1993 to 1999, and it is about a time traveler called Gary Sparrow (Nicholas Lyndhurst) who lives a double life in the 1940s and the 1990s. However, they revived the slightly dated series for a spin off episode that was aired a few days ago. This time, Gary gets stuck in 2016 and has to get back to the 1960s, where his wife Phoebe and teenage son Micheal live.

I used to watch the reruns of the original show with my younger brother before I had to leave for school, and I came to like the series. When I saw the revival episode, I was surprised that I wasn’t hallucinating the entire thing yet it was sweet to see the characters adjust with time. It makes you realize the huge difference between the 1990s and the 2010s in terms of the development of technology and apps, though it was heavy on the product placement. Apps such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and even the show that Gary’s other wife Yvonne was on weren’t around twenty years ago, yet the show adjusts to fit around the development of people and technology over the last twenty years, including the loss of telephone boxes in Favour of thinner and more stylish mobile phones. It did seem a bit strange to adjust to the 1960s in the show, but the actor who played Micheal stole the show and he comes across as being a promising actor. The reunion of Ron and Gary was also very good.

However, the problem with revival episodes is that they try to hard to be like the original though I think it would be great as a spin off series rather than an episode. The series and the spin off has hindered my interest in time travel, especially at the scene where Gary holds the baby version of himself. If you went back in time, would you see only what you perceived to what might have happened in the past at that particular time because before you went back, that event had already happened, or if you went back, would the butterfly effect ensure that that event never occurred?

Overall, a great spin off episode with many storylines that connected together, but at times it was trying too hard to say ‘Look at us! We have changed!’ but there are some promising performances from the actors who played Micheal and Yvonne’s stroppy teenage daughter Ellie, who were probably very little when the original series was still being aired. To see how allDare I say that it is considerably better than the excuse for a ‘spin off sequel’ to my Mum’s Favourite show ‘Keeping Up Apperances’ entitled ‘Young Hyacinth’.

4/5