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