Sunday, September 4, 2011

August 2011 Book Club Meeting

Last week, my book club went to see the movie The Help. We decided to forgo a book this month since we all were so busy with vacations, birthday parties, and back-to-school activities, and instead have a girls' night out. I, for one, sure needed to get away from it all, and I can't think of many things more fun than heading to a movie and dinner with some of my best friends.

Can I just tell you how much I loved this movie? I absolutely adored it. I admittedly don't get out much (and rarely see a movie) so that might have been part of the equation, but I thought The Help was incredibly well done. Often times, I'm disappointed with movies that are based on books that I enjoyed. However, that was certainly not the case with this one. I think they did the book justice!

I have absolutely no idea how to review movies, but I can tell you that I was extremely impressed with the acting. So many of these women were fantastic and I'm betting that just might be an Academy Award nod or two. I laughed and I cried, and I really can't ask much more from a movie than to be entertained like that. And cry I did. My friends were making fun of me because I cried through half of the movie. And I have a feeling that it wasn't a pretty cry because I am pretty sure I was sniffling too.

For our September meeting (which is only a few days away), we will be reading LEARNING TO DIE IN MIAMI: CONFESSIONS OF A REFUGEE BOY by Carlos Eire. At first, I wasn't thrilled with this selection because it wasn't literary fiction, but the more I look at this book, the more I think I'm going to like it. Plus, it's something different for our group and I think we can all benefit from a change. And I have a feeling that this book is going to teach me a lot!

Summary: In his 2003 National Book Award–winning memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana, Carlos Eire narrated his coming of age in Cuba just before and during the Castro revolution. That book literally ends in midair as eleven-year-old Carlos and his older brother leave Havana on an airplane—along with thousands of other children—to begin their new life in Miami in 1962. It would be years before he would see his mother again. He would never again see his beloved father. 

Learning to Die in Miami opens as the plane lands and Carlos faces, with trepidation and excitement, his new life. He quickly realizes that in order for his new American self to emerge, his Cuban self must "die." And so, with great enterprise and purpose, he begins his journey. 

We follow Carlos as he adjusts to life in his new home. Faced with learning English, attending American schools, and an uncertain future, young Carlos confronts the age-old immigrant's plight: being surrounded by American bounty, but not able to partake right away. The abundance America has to offer excites him and, regardless of how grim his living situation becomes, he eagerly forges ahead with his own personal assimilation program, shedding the vestiges of his old life almost immediately, even changing his name to Charles. Cuba becomes a remote and vague idea in the back of his mind, something he used to know well, but now it "had ceased to be part of the world." 

But as Carlos comes to grips with his strange surroundings, he must also struggle with everyday issues of growing up. His constant movement between foster homes and the eventual realization that his parents are far away in Cuba bring on an acute awareness that his life has irrevocably changed. Flashing back and forth between past and future, we watch as Carlos balances the divide between his past and present homes and finds his way in this strange new world, one that seems to hold the exhilarating promise of infinite possibilities and one that he will eventually claim as his own. 

An exorcism and an ode, Learning to Die in Miami is a celebration of renewal—of those times when we're certain we have died and then are somehow, miraculously, reborn. -- Free Press

13 comments:

iwriteinbooks said...

Oh I'm so glad that The Help was as good as the book! I always worry with movies especially with ones that are based on emotion-based books.

bermudaonion said...

My book club is supposed to go to see The Help this week. It's a great movie for a group of women to see. I hope it's not too crowded at 4:00 on Thursday.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love when book clubs do ancillary activities like that! I wish our book club did more movie tie-ins, but we're still working on the idea of food tie-ins!

Dizzy C said...

I am looking forward to seeing The Help. I was hoping it would bring those powerful characters to life

carol

Sandy Nawrot said...

I didn't get to see The Help with my book club (football practice - bah!) but I did see it with my kids, and we loved it. My book club did the same thing with Shutter Island, which was really fun.

Charleydog said...

I didn't see the movie but our bookclub read The Help. I loved it.

Jo-Jo said...

I'm glad you all liked this movie! I'm hoping my book club can go to see it also, but it so hard to get a day that is good for all of us to get together! We are actually discussing this book on Wednesday so I can't wait!

bybookorbycrook said...

I rarely watch a movie based off a book that I've read. I have been disappointed too many times. But everyone says that is not the case with this one. We'll see...maybe when it comes out on DVD...

Beth F said...

I wanted to go see The Help but I'm not sure we'll make it before it leaves town. :(

One nice thing about book clubs is that they get you read things you might not otherwise get to.

lsl_scrapper said...

My book club read the Help about a year ago and went to see the movie the first weekend it was out. I didn't go; I had other commitments! And since I very rarely go to a movie...maybe once every 10 years...its not likely I will go to this one. But the whole book club enjoyed the movie and thought it was well done. The concensus by almost everyone I know who has seen the movie after reading the book is positive. Unusual!

Michelle said...

How much fun is that? This is why I wish I could find a local book club, one that wasn't affiliated with Barnes and Noble. I need to remedy this situation...

Kristen said...

I got to see The Help back in June for a special screening and I loved it. It was so hard not having people to talk to about it at the time!!

Will be curious to see what you think of your bookclub book. I have Waiting for Snow in Havana but I haven't read it yet.

Serena said...

sounds like a great night out for the ladies of the book club. Looks like the next read for the book club will be interesting. I've read a poetry collection about cubans in miami that was very autobiographical...from Richard Blanco and boy was that fascinating.