Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Opera Ghost Unraveled...Book Trailer!

Testing my newfound skills with Windows Movie Maker and helping a friend promote at the same time...Tell me what you think!

*ten minutes trying to post video to blog post*

Hells bells, Mary, the linky no worky! I'll have to re-route you...

The Opera Ghost Unraveled by Michelle Rodriguez

Your pal,

Reviews From an HBN (P.S. I Love You - Cecelia Ahern)

How to sum up trying (and failing) to keep things up around here?



Holly couldn't live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other's sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.


 I saw the movie first, and came into the book understanding that the two were very much so, in fact, that it doesn't even seem fair to me to say one is better than the other. This focused a lot more on Holly's grief, but it was still downright hysterical at times and balanced humor and sadness rather well. That's a quality I like in a book, and a skill I admire in a writer.

Oh, look! A readers' group discussion guide! I'll use it to write a review! (Spoilers ahead!)

At what point does the book hook you? What makes you keep reading?
Well, not to be cliche, but I was hooked from the first page. It had some slow points and Holly's constant bellyaching got old a few times (I know she's in mourning, but can we please move on with the story?), but it was mostly the humor that kept me going. I couldn't wait to see what kind of hijinks was around the corner.

Keeping in mind that Cecelia Ahern was twenty-one when she wrote P.S. I Love You, discuss her strengths as a storyteller.
Being, ahem, a young storyteller myself, I was rooting for her, and she stacked up a hell of a lot better than other young authors I've read. Her prose was light and funny, but also impressively mature and moving. There were a few times her inexperience showed in the way she told her story and the language she used to tell it, but that's only my opinion, for what it's worth. For the most part, the narrative was so good that I couldn't believe a twenty-one-year-old had written it. It had much more depth than I was expecting, based on prior experience, from such a young writer.

Look at the first two paragraphs of Chapter One. What information does Ahern provide at this early stage to set up the story that follows?
Oh, wow. Like I said, I was hooked from the first page. That was a pretty powerful opening, and I knew I was going to cry before the book was over. The impact of Gerry's death on Holly and the loss she feels hit me right in the head like a frying pan. I repeat: this was very mature and moving coming from someone so young.

What is so compelling about a list left by a loved one who has died? How does the list help Holly?
What a premise to base a story on! It was so intriguing and felt so novel! Gerry was gone, but he was still there with Holly through his notes, and I felt her anticipation and excitement as she waited until it was time to read another. Ultimately, though, the notes had to come to an end, but they were a way to ease Holly into letting Gerry go and moving on with her life, and it was such a bittersweet and thoughtful way of doing it.

Think about Holly's reaction to Gerry's karaoke instruction. How does the experience help her?
The karaoke! One of the best parts! A little lump came to my throat when I read Gerry had planned it months in advance, knowing he wouldn't be there with her and that she would have to go through with it for her own sake. It was good for Holly to step outside of her comfort zone and face an old fear with the actual karaoke, and then to be surrounded by family and friends without Gerry at her side. She had to find an identity outside of his wife, and the karaoke was just another step towards moving on.

Even though Gerry is dead, how does he come alive in the book?
See, now, he didn't really "come alive" for me. It felt more like hearing everyone talk about this wonderful person, but never actually meeting this person for myself, and that came as a disappointment. To be fair on Ms. Ahern, it's hard to resurrect the dead for the reader, and I think it would have been tough to pull off. It was such a shame for a character with such impact on the story to come off so...ghost-like, especially when the others were so vivid they just seemed to fill my head, but I guess it's only fitting that it worked out that way, given what the book is about.

Discuss who experiences a transformation in P.S. I Love You.
I'm taking the easy way out and going with the obvious answer. At the beginning of the book, Holly is a devastated widow. She won't leave the house, she won't eat, and she's lost the other half of her heart. I cried for her and with her. Then little by little, she starts taking baby steps towards recovery, and it's wonderful that Gerry was still able to help her move on, even while she mourned him. She has her triumphs and setbacks when she reverts back into the wreck she was at the first, but by the end she emerges stronger, a woman who has learned to shape a new life for herself, to find herself and a sense of purpose, and to just live, period. It started so sad, but it ended so hopeful I had a smile on my face when I finished reading.

All in all, I enjoyed reading this. It made me laugh, cry, and think, and as far as I'm concerned, that makes it a success with me. I was pestering both my mother and my sister to read this once I was done with it, and I would be quick to recommend it. I felt a sense of camaraderie with Holly that doesn't often happen with other books. She felt so genuine and so real, and it's rare that I feel so close to a character so quickly. That Ms. Ahern was able to pull that off was terrific.


Your humble book nerd,