Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Message of the Messenger

I recently finished 'I Am the Messenger' by Markus Zusak and since Martha blogged about The Book Thief, it is only fitting I write about this one.

Ed & his Aces
Ed Kennedy is a nineteen-year-old taxi driver. He has no goals or accomplishments to speak of. He lives in a run down apartment with his elderly dog, plays card games few nights a week with his pals, and loves a girl desperately who doesn't want to love him back. He concludes his life is pretty meaningless and he's only going through the motion of living.

One day, he foils a bank robbery and gets his fifteen minutes of fame. As he settles back into his old routine, he receives an old Ace of Diamond playing card in the mail. Three pairs of address and time are written on it. At first hesitant and confused, he checks them out one by one. He discovers that he has to help someone in each of these houses. A woman being abused by her husband almost every night, a lonely old woman, and a girl who has no self-confidence. Just as he thought he's done, another playing card with another set of tasks, is given to him.

Although the genre and style are different, I experienced the same feeling with this book as with The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I felt inspired and lectured on without appearing so. Zusak successfully blurred the lines between reality and sublime, metaphorical events. He drives his message directly through the reader's hearts. I found myself urging Ed to finish his tasks every time a card arrives at his doorstep.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Life at 50/50

On most days off, I like to cuddle with our dogs and stream movies online. I often go for the light, feel-good genre. That's how I came across the 2011 film, 50/50. It's actually a comedy-drama loosely based on a true story.

27-year-old Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) lives life on the safe side. He doesn't smoke, drink, do drugs and, because car accidents are one of the leading causes of death, drive. Yet lo and behold, after going to the doctor because of persistent back pain, he learned that he has cancer and a 50/50 chance of survival.

His struggle begins by breaking the news to his goofy best friend Kyle (Seth Rogens), artist girlfriend, and overprotective parents. He also doubtfully sees Katherine played by Anna Kendrick (Love her!), an inexperienced PhD candidate, for therapy to help voice out his issues and feelings about his condition. 
"You can't change your situation. The only thing that you can change is how you choose to deal with it."
The movie is very realistic, showing the inimitable glum of battling the big C but also finding humor in it. It has brought me equal parts of tears and laughter - a weird but amazing combination. I'm yearning for more films like this. Funny, heart-pinching, and inspiring.