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A Book Review: “Unbroken”

Say you are going about your busy day, and you start to think about the character in the book you are reading, and you wonder what’s going to happen next. When that happens to me I know that I have found a treasure in that book. The best thing an author can do is enchant the reader into caring about one of the characters. This is what happened to me while I was reading Unbroken, a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand. I found that I instantly liked Louis Zamperini, the hero of this story. When I was not reading the book, I felt like I should be because I didn’t want to leave Louie stuck in an awful place. Even though the story was in my mind, I had to keep it moving so that I could find some peace for Louie.

When Louie was younger, he was a little trouble maker, but his brother helped him channel his energy into being a runner. Louie worked hard through high school and became a star athlete by breaking records when he ran the mile. Soon he was off to the 1936 Olympics. I believe that all the stamina that Louie developed as an athlete helped him continue on his journey to survive his trials during World War II and beyond.

I try not to read books that are about war because as Bird, Louie’s arch enemy said after the war was done, “War is a crime against humanity.” It was difficult to read how people treated others during the war. There are very graphic scenes in the book, but since I now had gotten to know Louie, I kept rooting for him and hoping that his situation would get better. I also got to see how compassionate people can be, how they can learn to forgive and move on with their lives.

As you can tell by the title of the book, Louie did not get broken. Louie found a way to save himself, and witnessing his strong spirit could strengthen anyone’s resolve. The life he led is truly inspirational. It’s no wonder this book has been on the New York Times Best Seller List for 114 weeks.

If you can, try to read the book before it becomes a movie. The movie is going to be produced this year. Louie, at 96, will hopefully be able to be a part of the production.

You can find details about the movie here:  http://www.deadline.com/2012/12/angelina-jolie-director-unbroken-olympian-lou-zamerini-universal.

Now I look forward to see which will be better, the book or the movie?

It Wasn’t Like I Remembered

One day while shopping with the children, I saw a movie that I used to watch all the time when I was a kid.  I thought they would like to watch a movie that I watched when I was around their ages, so I bought West Side Story.  I watched this movie so much when I was younger that I memorized the words to every song.

When we got home, the kids did not seem as excited as I was.  I put the movie in the DVD player, we all settled in and got comfy, and suddenly I was sitting all by myself.  I guess the kids thought it was weird that boys were running and dancing around in very tight jeans, snapping their fingers, and looking for a fight.  I heard them utter, “Mom, this movie is weird.”  We didn’t even get to the part where Maria sings I Feel Pretty.  Not only did the movie look funny to them, it started to look funny to me too.  I decided that it wasn’t like I remembered.  I used to think that Tony was so cute, and that he and Maria made such a cute couple.  I was suddenly seeing through my children’s eyes, and I wondered what my fascination was.  I switched off the movie, put the DVD away on the shelf, and got busy with something else.

That experience brought me back to the time when we rented Fiddler on the Roof.  The kids sat down with me, and we got all comfy and ready to watch the movie.  Then they wandered off one by one muttering, “Mom, this movie is really weird.”  I sat by myself and watched the entire movie.  I did not remember it being so long, yet I watched mostly because I loved the songs.

Isn’t it strange when we haven’t seen something for a long time, and we somehow build up how much we liked it in our minds?  When we finally get around to watching an old favorite movie or show, it’s not what we remembered.  Do you think it has something to do with how the movies are now?  Do you think technology has made movie watching more fun or just the opposite?

I guess I will not even try to get the kids to watch Bye, Bye Birdie even though I think they would learn so much by watching my favorite part, the telephone scene!  If you don’t remember the scene, here’s a link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKhR8QtQ4do.  Was it like you remembered?