Maisy ❤ November 2015

reading time: ca. 3 min

Only three more days until we take off to South Africa! Aagh, i'm so excited! Not only have i never been to any African country, but i also can't wait for the biting cold winter to be replaced by summery heat, jungle and the Indian Ocean (skinny dipping... ;)). 

Since i won't be having access to the internet nor the time to put together blog posts, i've prepared a number of posts for you that will be published over the course of the next three weeks on the usual scheduled days Wednesday & Sunday. I hope you'll enjoy them!

Also, it's Saint Nicholas today, so merry Saint Nicholas Sunday to you :)
Read: Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell)

I remember well when the "booktuber" Priscilla from TheReadables recommended the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell as her favourite love story or romantic novel. I also remember thinking that Rainbow was the coolest first name, and that the cover of her books in their colour-blocking style looked very cool. I then decided to listen to the audio book of Eleanor & Park and was quite disappointed. 

Not only was this not at all the best love story in my opinion, but it was full of clichés and stereotypes (e.g. Park's haircutting overly ambitious Korean mom, the nerdy curvy redhead who gets bullied for her looks and is also seen as an object of sexual desire - i was also bullied in school during my adolescence, and i was a blonde, athletic, joyful girl instead of the stereotypical "chubby unfashionable redhead"). Apart from that, i suppose that the emotions of an sixteen-year-old teenager (though they behave as if they were 13 or 14 if you ask me) are portrayed pretty authentically, but for me as a grown-up reader this means a lot of cheesy, butterflies-in-the-tummy talk. Everything seems so overly intense and romantic - and while this is probably a pretty accurate depiction of the emotional carousel of an adolescent girl, it was actually rather dramatic and annoying to read about (or to listen to, to be exact - perhaps this was due to the audiobooks, i'm not sure). The addressing of issues such as domestic abuse, child abuse, molesting, bullying and body image was great though!

Even though i was mostly disappointed by Eleanor & Park, i picked up Fangirl, which i had heard so much about on the internet, and dived into it. Fangirl is a coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. The very first pages already convinced me that this was more up my alley, primarily because it didn't portray a smarmy teenage girl, but an introverted freshman at university (much more relateable for me), Cath, along with her much more outgoing identical twin sister Wren. It's just more grown up and less dramatic. Cath has anxiety issues (another aspect i can relate to) and spends a lot of her free time writing fan fiction for a book series about a boy magician named Simon Snow (a clear reference to the Harry Potter series).


Contrary to Eleanor & Park (sorry, i don't want to run it down, but especially in comparison with Fangirl this performs even more poorly for me), Cath's relations to her both male and female fellows are much more complex, for example she shares a passionate interest in writing with Nick, who doesn't become her love interest though, but rather a rival, whereas the smiley Levi (love his name), first thought to be her room mate's boyfriend, ends up to be her boyfriend, who is not only handsome, loyal, kind-hearted and adorable, but also has his negative sides to him such as kissing another girl at a party after Cath doesn't seem to return his feelings. 

The writing and observation skills of Rainbow Rowell (this is not a pseudonym but her actual name - her siblings are called Forest, Jade and Haven) are refreshing. The book, as well as Eleanor & Park actually, speaks directly to the reader, and i love that about Fangirl. Another book reviewer put it that way: "It's like Rainbow Rowell writes in peanut butter and stolen moments and lazy eyelash wishes." I thought this was quite fitting, because Rowell writes quirky, detailed characters that are different and honest, lazy and anxious and peanut butter munching

I liked the antisocial, awkward and weird Cath because i can relate to certain aspects of her behaviour, both as a popular fanfic writer and as a new college student, which for the most part was enjoyable, funny and occasionally moving. I have my own history of social awkwardness and anxiety, so I related to a lot of the strange and hilarious things she did, including her desire to hole up in her room and eat protein bars and peanut butters because she wanted to avoid the awkwardness of the cafeteria. I actually did a very similar thing when i was in my first year of university and didn't get along with the people i shared a house with. I also enjoyed the fan fiction aspect. I'm not a fanfic reader/writer myself, though a bunch of my friends are both, but I have been very involved in fandom (Lord of the Rings for me) and I spend a lot of time writing.

So... yes, I like the characters and the dialogue, but I feel there is something lacking in the plot/story arc of the two Rowell books I've read so far. I guess they are introspective "coming-of-age" books that don't really have much of a story, and even though I quite like character-driven stories, I tend to feel like not much has happened or been achieved by the novel's close.

Watched: Inside Out (Pete Docter, Ronnie Del Carmen, 2015)

source: imdb

I love-love-loved the animation film Up, and since Inside Out was done by the same directors, i needed to watch it too.

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it's no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley's main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

Inside Out is a great family movie. Not only because it deals with the issues of a family moving to a new place, but also because it's the perfect mixture of humour and sadness (or rather Joy and Sadness), laughter, quirkiness and depth. Even though the film is what we come to expect from Pixar (universal moral themes, perfect balance between comedy and sadness, and visually stunning animation and action sequences), I didn't feel that it was repetitive. The film hits all the high notes, with perfect intonation, and with discipline and passion. The amount of emotions displayed in the film is varied and immersive, yet not overwhelming. The film executes such clever ideas with simplicity and ease, leaving us to feel for the characters rather than worry about the "science" of it all, or even being worried about "not getting it".

Even though the film evokes a number of laughs and giggles, i didn't leave the cinema with a feeling of all around happiness, but rather a feeling of bitter-sweet nostalgia, matching the film's core message: Life, as you grow older, can not be experienced in clean categories such as joy, anger, sadness, fear and disgust, but only in combination.

When talking about this to my boyfriend, who watched it with me, we came to the conclusion that it's not only a great movie for adults because it surpasses the merry superficial fun of comedy movies with a profound message, but also because children should not only be faced with feel-good movies and silly, cheery characters, but also with the knowledge that it's okay to be sad. That it's a part of life, and a crucial one even. Without sadness, there wouldn't be joy nor forgiving, but only emptiness.

Maisy rates: 9/10 

Listened toThe Lion King: Full Soundtrack

Since my boyfriend is taking me to the Lion King musical in Hamburg for our anniversary next week, i am currently preparing myself by listening to the Lion King soundtrack on repeat, haha!

Apart from that my playlist hasn't been very interesting:

Boss by Fifth Harmony
Leva's Polka by Loituma (currently working on pronouncing the lyrics and learning them by heart)
Waldschrein by Equilibrium


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