Wednesday, October 20, 2010

10/10/10 Reviews: #7 - Rainwater

Book Review: Rainwater by Sandra Brown

I grabbed this book as one of many during a $1 clearance sale binge at one of my favorite bookstores. I’d never read Sandra Brown, and I don’t tend to read thrillers/suspense, but the cover and description didn’t look like either. At $1, there was no risk in giving it a try.

The acknowledgments at the beginning of the book note that this one is different than most of Brown’s work. Apparently, that’s true, if she writes thrillers. Rainwater is not a thriller. In fact, it’s very much literary/mainstream fiction.

I was charmed by the old time setting and the ease of the language. The characters are very full and real. Ella, the ‘widowed’ boarding house owner with an autistic son, is immediately likeable and nearly feels like a friend by the time we get to the second chapter.

I did raise my eyebrows a touch at the “Rainwater/autism” bit being a constant reminder of Rain Man. I get the point of it being called that, but I couldn’t shake the similarity. That’s my only criticism of this beautiful novel. It’s political, showing the error of Eisenhower’s cow-purchasing program that was supposed to help farmers not lose their farms in a very real, personal way. It’s optimistic through the days of the depression, which can extend to any time that feels bleak. It shows human error and cruelty, but also human resilience and honor and courage.

This one is highly, highly recommended, even at regular retail price.

Maybe I’ll give one of her “normal” books a try, as well.
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Music Review: Unmistakable, Jo Dee Messina

This is the third Jo Dee Messina I’ve bought. Her first was very young-hearted, fun, and kicky. Her second was still on that level but raised a notch to show her growth as an artist. Unmistakable is much like the rest of her work: down to earth, casual, real, lightly emotional, and highlighted by her beautiful voice. “I’m Home” is my favorite of the new tracks, highlighting the comfort of being at home with someone who makes you feel relaxed and peaceful. The acoustic remakes of “Because You Love Me” and “Stand Beside Me” are also very nice.

Oh, I also appreciate that she’s in jeans and a long-sleeved tee on the cover instead of showing as much as she can and dressing like a pretentious Barbie doll. It reflects how unpretentious her music is.
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Movie Review: Casanova (2005)

Who can resist Heath Ledger? It is truly sad that we lost such a talent so early. While catching up on some of his roles I hadn’t yet seen, I threw this one in my queue. A nice choice. Don’t expect to take it seriously. Expect to chuckle at clever lines and grin at his adorable charm even while playing the part of the bad boy with a good heart. Expect wonderful scenery – who can resist Venice? – and period costumes. Expect a touch of “As You Like It” (Shakespeare). And expect a fun evening of quirky entertainment with glimpses of actual social commentary entwined.
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Legal Note: No review was requested or compensated.

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