A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, on things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game! - Blurb from Amazon.com
I was introduced to The Westing Game by a co-worker, two co-workers in fact. They insisted I had to read it, it was a classic they said. And I'm glad I did.
What I liked about The Westing Game was that it was a simple mystery. It didn't have so many twists and turns where you couldn't keep up. It wasn't filled with too many subplots that is deterred from the main story. It was the type of mystery that you had to pay attention to the smallest of details for they all fit in perfectly to the conclusion.
I enjoyed the dynamics of the characters. I thought they were just kooky enough to not be annoying, but to add flavor to the story. I also like the second subplot mystery of trying to figure out who each of the characters were: who was the bomber? who was the bookie? who was the thief? At least if you couldn't figure out the main mystery it was fun figuring out the character mysteries.
All in all, I really enjoyed The Westing Game and was glad that my co-workers recommended it to me.
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Since her parents' bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out. - Blurb from Amazon.com
There's just something about Sarah Dessen. She definitely has a format to her writing, but it's a format that works for her. The last book I read of hers was Along for the Ride I couldn't help but noticed some of the similarities between that book and What Happened to Goodbye.
First you have the new girl, this is the girl that comes to a town she's never been before and tries to assimilate herself. The difference is that McClean tries to hide her true identity. Second you have the all-knowing boy. This is the boy that the girl finds herself attracted to and learns from him. She fights the attraction at first but then she accepts it and goes with the flow. In the end this relationship is what changes her, it's what makes her a better version of herself.
Next are the random friends. These are the group of kids that she finds herself enjoying their company. These friends show her a life outside of being a loner. They show her that true friendship has meaning. Last are the parents. There's the father. This father is sort of a loner to the girl but she truly loves the father and really wants to make it work. Then there's the mother. In both instances the mother is the outsider to the daughter. The relationship is turbulent, but in the end the daughter learns to accept her mother, to love her mother for who she is.
In the end it becomes a little predictable, but what draws you into it is the nostalgia of it. Being an adult reading the young adult novel, it brings me back to my high school years to my teenage years and it makes me smile. This is why I think this formula works.
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This movie took years to make and it's final release came with mixed feelings. Fans of Lois Lowry's dystopian novel didn't really like the adaptation and I can definitely see why. The major themes of the story was there: society oppression, the downside of conformity and "sameness", the fight to be human again. But I think some of the downsides to the movie is what made the fans gripe about it. It's something that stood out to me. I didn't hate the movie, but I also didn't like it. It just felt blah to me. In some cases, I think blah is worse than hate.
Before I get into my famous lists, let me start with the one thing I did like about the movie and that was the cinematography of going from grey to color and back. I think it was a nice visual indicator of Jonas' awareness. It was in fact something that happened in the book: the red apple, the slight changes at the Ceremony of the Twelve and I think the movie makers did a god job of using that aspect in the movie. Especially when he runs away with Gabe. The scenes he was in was in color and the scenes back in the community were grey.
Now for my list of major changes:
1) Jonas age. They changed him from a 12-year-old to a 16-year-old. This is common with movie adaptations. I allows for an older audience and more drama. I didn't mind this change.
2) The love interest and triangle scenario. This is what I minded the most. Did they really need to enhance Fiona's character to make her a love interest. She was a secondary character in the book. Lois did show hints of what could have been, but the movie took to another level and with that level come the hint of a triangle with Jonas, Fiona and Asher. I really didn't see the need for this.
3) The escape scene. This was drawn out for the purpose of the movie. I get it. An action scene to build suspense. It just didn't seem to work.
4) The Giver. I think Jeff Bridges could have been a good Giver if it wasn't for the character changes that were made. In the movie, the Giver seemed to be suffering from PTSD. He's isolated from the community, angry, has a seizure in which he accidentally gives Jonas a memory of war. The book is not like this. In the book, the Giver is a kind man who's just worn out and tired of all the memories he's contained. Something that lessens as he gives those memories to Jonas.
As I said, I didn't hate or like the movie. It just was.
Welcome to the archived section "For Readers". Here you will find a collection of all previous posts written. So, if you're afraid you missed something, no worries. It's listed here for you anytime.