I recently watched the movie The Best of Me, which is based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. After watching the movie, I just had to read the book and found it to be surprisingly similar to how the plot was represented in the film. The setting of the story starts off in the spring of 1984 at the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole are two teenagers that fall deeply in love until unspeakable events cause them to drift apart and move in different directions.
Dawson Cole comes from a bad background; he was always abused by his father and treated even worse by his father’s friends. One day, Dawson was accepted by an elderly man named Tuck Hostetler who lost his wife years ago. Tuck provided Dawson with everything he needed, and was extremely kind towards him for being a teenager that showed up at his doorstep with some bruises and cuts. During the day of the senior prom, Dawson and his best friend leave for the dance, while back at home Tuck is attacked by Dawson’s horrible father and friends. Dawson forgets something and turns the car around, only to find Tuck sprawled on the floor, hurt on his head. Dawson grabs his shotgun and drives recklessly to his father’s place to enact revenge. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes at home resulting in Dawson being sent to jail.
Amanda visits Dawson at the jail every day for a year and weekly for many years, but Dawson refuses to see her since he believes that she is better off without him. Eventually, Amanda gets married, and Dawson and her reunite due to the unfortunate circumstances of Tuck’s funeral twenty-five years later. They spend time together, and realize how good it felt for them to be with each other again, even though Amanda does have two kids with her current husband. When Amanda is back home from the weekend spent for Tuck, her son gets into an accident and is in need of a heart transplant. Dawson is still at Tuck’s place, since he does not have any family or anybody to go back to. Amanda and Dawson’s lives are once again changed as a result of an unfortunate turn of events.
I fell in love with this story as soon as I finished reading because of its key message: even when your soulmate drifts away, their love always remains with you.
The Best of Me is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library. It can also be downloaded onto tablets and mobile devices from Overdrive.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is an amazing novel that takes you through the experience of being an African American man in Ellison’s day. The theme of invisibility is key throughout the novel. For example, in the beginning of the novel the narrator gets his own electric power for his underground home. The electrical company is confused because they do not know the source of the electricity loss in their company. The narrator is thus invisible to the company but is still getting away with taking electricity for his home. Therefore, we can see that invisibility allows an individual to perform actions that may not be caught, since no one suspects them.
Also shown extensively throughout the novel is the imagery of sight and blindness. For example, Reverend Homer A. Barbee in the novel is blind. Brother Jack gets a glass eye and the narrator is overcome with blindness through many instances in the novel when he is giving a speech and he is blinded by either the thick wall of the white men’s smoke or the stage lights. This novel is a great insight for readers to really witness what types of struggles that African American individuals had to go through in Ralph Ellison’s days. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is a must-read novel for one to be informed about how African Americans felt while living in America.
Invisible Man is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Public Library and Axis360.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a unique novel created with magical realism setting. Magical realism is a literary style that generally describes works that combine fantasy with reality to create a mythical occurrence. Chronicle of a Death Foretold has many symbolic characters; their names have unique meanings that form the novel’s story.
In this novel, instead of there being characters we can relate to personally and in real life, the characters are non-relatable due to their fantasy-like characteristics. In magical realism, things happen without a reason, similar to Santiago Nasar’s murder in this novel. This entire novel revolves around the murder of Santiago Nasar: why, who, what, where, and how it happened. The narrator tells the story from his point of view, talking to other people who were witnesses and are able to feed him extra valuable information about Santiago Nasar’s mysteriousness. Santiago Nasar was a confident man, until his death day arrived. Everyone in the town knew about his murder with an exception of him. A warning was sent too, but it was almost as if his karma did not let him see the signs. Santiago Nasar was oblivious to his own premeditated murder.
I really recommend this novel to anyone who is interested in fantasy and fiction, but not necessarily the princess kind. This novel is not really dystopic, nor is it fantasy-containing princesses. However, it is a type of magical realism that will blow your mind with quizzical and thrilling mystery.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.
“Antigone” is one play in the book of The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles. Antigone starts after Oedipus passed away in Colonus. It is a famous tragedy set in the disastrous city of Thebes. Some popular themes featured in the play are male vs. female, family ties vs. civic duty, and morality vs. law.
Antigone and her sister, Ismene, decide to return to Thebes to help their brothers, Eteocles and Polynices. When they arrive at Thebes, the sisters come to know that both brothers have been killed. Eteocles has been given a proper burial, however, Creon refuses to do so for Polynices because he thinks he betrayed the city. Antigone disobeys the law and buries Polynices anyway, in order to honor her brother and the life he lived. Creon finds out about the illegal burial soon enough, and when he locks Antigone up in a jail cell, she kills herself. The blind prophet Teiresias, Haemon, which is Creon’s son and Antigone’s fiance, and the Chorus beg to release her from prison, without the knowledge that she is already dead. Creon eventually surrenders, only to realize that she has killed herself. At the end of the play, Creon is left sorrowful and lonely, since nobody believed that his actions were justified.
Antigone is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.
Written as a narrative, Polish author Joseph Conrad writes about a character known as Charles Marlow. Charles Marlow is a ivory transporter who works down Central Africa traveling through the Congo river. From the beginning of the story, Charles Marlow is sort of obsessed with the “yellow” colored river on the map, the Congo River. It is this obsession that leads Marlow to work for a company that transports ivory down in Central Africa. Curious fact is though, that this company has had many steamer captains, the recent one of which died due to savage natives. However, this seems as nothing out of the ordinary since Marlow is set on traveling through the Congo River. Marlow joins the Belgian ivory trade firm and starts up on a journey to Africa.
During his journey through Central Africa, Marlow hears of an important and successful man named Kurtz. From the accountant, Marlow learns that Mr. Kurtz is a respectful man who has gained the most ivory compared to the other posts. Kurtz is sick, however he still has ambitions of becoming a manager within the ivory company. Even though Marlow does not know much of Kurtz, he starts to adore him, and eventually becomes obsessed. Throughout the trip, Marlow goes through many experiences, such as having a dead crew member fall at his feet and bleed to death, and get attacked on the ship by the local natives. In the conclusion of the story, Kurtz eventually dies, and Marlow is left looking into the darkness.
-Nirmeet B., 11th grade
Yes, it is that time of the year– November is the month that the Hunger Games movies always seem to come out. Mockingjay, written by Suzanne Collins, is the last volume of the Hunger Games trilogy. Seems to the readers that the games are over. But we are mistaken.
Katniss has identified her new position in District 13; she is the rebel. During the second Hunger Games, Katniss and some other fellow participants were removed from the Quarter Quell. However, Peeta is still missing, meaning that he is under the sharp eyes of the Capitol. Soon, some rebels find Peeta. Peeta has unfortunately been brainwashed, and now sees Katniss as the enemy of this entire situation.
Since the movie is releasing this Thursday, November 20 at midnight, I will not discuss the plot of the story any more. The movie is only the first part of the novel, and I do not know how far the writers will go based on the storyline.
I am very excited for this movie. I think that since Mockingjay is broken into two parts, the film will be extraordinary due to the clear oversaturation of events in the novel for it to be made into one film. Are you excited for this highly-anticipated movie? What are your thoughts on how well the Hunger Games movies represent the novels?
-Nirmeet B., 11th grade
Just as a header- If you haven’t read and seen The Fault in Our Stars, this review might spoil a few things.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is an amazing book, teaching us many life lessons that we should keep with us forever. Be grateful for what you have; both of the main characters, Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters, have cancer. Cancer is a life-threatening disease, which for some reason always touches the human heart in a way that is indescribable. Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters go on an amazing ride, a rollercoaster that only goes up. As readers, we get to experience their amazing journey along side of them, staying with them when they fall in love. Every book has its tragedies, and so does this one. This book is quite a memory; it makes you feel as if this was your life. I will never forget this book.
Recently, a movie interpretation of this book was made, and it kept quite close to the actual book’s plot. Although the movie missed some aspects of the novel, it skipped ones that were really not that important to the progression of the story. The movie lacked the story of Augustus Waters’ ex-girlfriend, who also died from cancer. In the novel, Hazel finds out, but doesn’t do much of it aside from visiting the web page of his girlfriend, and seeing how and by who she was missed. However, this is one minor detail that needn’t be included in the story. On the other hand, the movie was surprisingly similar to the novel. The film kept in mind the novel’s little details, so much so that they even had a bright green sports car as Monica’s car just as in the novel.
In general, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a masterpiece that has simply been put into words and onto sheets and sheets of paper.
-Nirmeet B., 10th grade