wayfarers all

children's literature, childhood and culture (and anything else that strikes my fancy).

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Location: pittsburgh, U.S. Outlying Islands

carbon-based life form: thinking, reading and gardening. New College alum; current grad student writing a dissertation. I specialize in children's literature, media, and culture, and queer/gender studies, with a strong interest in 19th century British literature and culture. I like history, a lot.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Owl in Love

I had a spree of reading YA novels a few weeks ago - re-reading Chris Crutcher and being dazzled, among many other things - but one of them was my first read of Patrice Kindl's Owl in Love.

Owl Tycho, first-person narrator and heroine, is a were-owl; she shifts between human and owl. and happens to be in love with a human (her biology teacher). I won't say too much here about plot, because it happens to be something of a suspenseful book, but what *did* boggle my mind was Owl herself, as a not-so-human narrator.

I expected her to be human, and occasionally owl - much the way i imagine werewolves to be humans who resist, or are resigned, to their animal shapes. But Owl is an owl - even as a human body, she eats owl food (mouse sandwiches), and seems much more attuned to her owl/animal self than to her human shape. It's a really peculiar narrative trick that makes her simultaneously easy to identify with and wonderously Other and different.

Quite a good book. A month and a half on, and I'm still puzzling over this animal-identification business - the sign, to me, of a provoking text.

Lemony Snicket movie

It's been awhile since I posted here due to an unexpected personal crisis in the form of being suddenly, deliberately and without warning broken up with by my boyfriend of five years.

To help me keep it together in the immediate aftermath, my nice mom came down from Buffalo (in a snowstorm!) to stay with me for a week. One night we went to see Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events (the movie).

And I loved it!!! I'm quite a fan of the books, and I was curious as to how the film would handle the literariness and smartness of them. Also, it squishes the first three books into one movie, and does it marvellously.

Jim Carrey was awesome as Count Olaf and his various disguised characters. We (my mom and I) especially liked him as "Stefano, an Italian man," one of the funniest lines in the film. Olaf's theatricality and general absurd repulsiveness is in very good hands with Carrey. The kids were good, too, even Sunny.

Sunny's lines were a little too smarty-pants and way too modern (in a bad attempt at a sort of hip sarcasm), but since they were subtitled (brilliant!) I cut the writers a little slack. Klaus was assigned too much power - the brains and agency of the Baudelaires is shared out pretty equally in the books, but let's face it: Violet is the mover-and-shaker of the three. The rearrangement of chronology was an excellent adaptive decision.
The costumes and sets were killer (and nominated, like the score, for an academy award, though sadly lost - they did get the award for makeup).

Go see this movie. It is very good. Watch all the way through the credits - amazing track from the score by Thomas Newman, and even more amazing background animation by some genius (or geniuses). Really, the credits sequence is practically worth the price of the ticket/rental (my mom and I agreed on this).

Normally I loathe adaptations from books I adore, but this one really did quite an excellent job. and i await the ominous omnibus (and the next snicket film installment) eagerly.

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