Thursday, September 1, 2011

End of Summer - And A Book Review

I've been busy painting, really, so not much blogging.  I have added the Nativity Scenes and some more arks to the Etsy shop.  Yesterday, to blow off steam (locked up at home alone is the only disadvantage of being a self representing artist/crafts person) I just walked the isles of the Kroger Marketplace way out in west Little Rock.  Usually, I shop for vittles at Sams Club and Wal-Mart in North Little Rock cause that 's closer to us and cheap.  The very few things that Wal-Mart doesn't carry (like Dreamfields Pasta) I get at the Kroger, also in NLR.  However, not all Krogers are created equal.  The Kroger Marketplace is a huge store.  Lots of gourmet goodies and ready to eat deli yummies. They carry sheets and furniture. You can lunch on the cheese samples.  My brother had expressed disbelief that kohlrabi was not available in the greater Little Rock area but if it were to be found it  would be at the Kroger Marketplace produce department.  I had to go do some errands so this was just a bit of fun time.

They have a gas station so on exiting the store I put fuel in the car and *%#! The car wouldn't start.  I have a cute little Hyundai Accent that we got two years ago when the "Cash For Clunkers" program paid us over $4000 for our van which had 375,000 miles (I wanted it to turn 400,000 but it was starting to hesitate at every intersection and all were amazed that it made it to the dealer on it's own power.) The little blue car needed a jump and a battery - it had given a few hints that it was needed but I thought it had more life in it.

Best Loved Hubby will always come get me, and did, but he had to wind some things up at work and he was good enough to first stop at home to get the BL Kid who had to be at work so I sat in the car for 2 1/2 hours and waited for rescue.  Not all was lost.  The big Kroger Marketplace has many temptations and I had succumbed to buying a marked down copy of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
So, to ignore heat, annoyance and the steely eyes of the Kroger employees I read it.  I read it all.  It's been on the NYT Best Seller List.  Amazon has it listed as one of The Best Books of the Year So Far.  I'm sometimes leery of  big awards. What is considered amazing lit by some is often offensive or just boring to me. This time I wasn't disappointed, I was entranced.  (Maybe I would have liked having a phone book to read to pass the time but I think this really was good.) The "hook" in the book is that the story is accompanied by real vintage photos of children in odd or mysterious poses.  What makes the book so good is it's a great story written well. The photos aren't a gimmick but do enhance the story.

Our hero, Jacob, is very close to his Polish grandfather who was the only one of his family to survive the Holocaust. He tells Albert tales of the wonderful children's home on an island in Wales that rescued him and shows him photos of the strange children that he shared a home with.  He also served in the English Army and tells tales of fighting the "monsters" and has lots of military hardware to show for that time. Jacob, now a teenager, has come to realize that this must be a tall tale concocted to help his beloved grandfather deal with the horrors of that war and the immense pain of loosing his family.  The traumatic death of his grandfather and his grandfathers mysterious instructions to Jacob just before his death lead Jacob to the island where the his grandfather lived as an orphan and a meeting with the unusual children in the photos.

This book shifts from the here and now to magical realism with ease.  The photos that are actual vintage photos become an important part of the story.  The photos remind me of the art done by one of my favorite Esty arts, Emily Martin.
Bear Dance Print

  Her pretty but pale people are reminiscent of original versions of fairy tales where the bear does eat the little girl, but we're fascinated anyway. By the way, Emily is doing a new book based on a series of prints she did about an imaginary orphanage. 

Thumbs up for Miss Peregrine!  Thumbs up for BL Hubbs!  Thumbs up for new battery!

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