Saturday, April 30, 2005

Unexpected Development

I just finished reading Unexpected Development by Marlene Perez.

Perez's novel is funny, touching, and serious. The book's framing device is an essay she's writing in Senior Honors English: "How I Spent My Summer Vacation." (Megan agrees with you that it is a very lame assignment, particularly for an Honors class.) Since this is entirely in first person, the humor comes not from situations but from Megan's voice (sarcastic, funny, insightful) and her view of things.

Body image is central to this book: Megan has big breasts; since fifth grade, guys don't look above the collarbone. Megan deals with this by using humor, oversized clothing, and saving for breast reduction surgery. It was hurtful to read how many guys thought that Megan's chest size invited rude comments and allowed for touching. Her belief that guys are interested in her physical developments is shown as having some basis (freshman year started with an unwanted groping), but this summer her crush, Jake, is showing interest. Can Megan trust him? Can she trust her own feelings?

What is refreshing about this book: Megan's problems aren't solved overnight. By the end, she is more comfortable with the size of her chest and wearing clothes that aren't as loose & baggy, but she still isn't wearing clothes that fit. Perhaps I watch a little too much What Not To Wear, but I half expected a scene where Megan found out the problem was she was wearing the wrong size bra! That didn't happen, and her makeover was not so much a makeover as Megan becoming a little more comfortable with her body. What is also refreshing is the treatment of surgery: its treated seriously and respectfully. It's not dismissed as superficial.

Also with the like: the treatment of teen sex and sexuality, and Megan's own confusion over what she wants and what she wants. There are no rights or wrongs, just a lot of believable confusion.

Former lawyers have to be less picky about some details: I wanted the "groper" to pay! In court! And even though I know its realistic that people like that get away with what they do, I wanted justice. I wanted him sent to Oz.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Will the real Logan Echolls please stand up?

Rob Thomas, stop messing with my brain!

For the record, I am on the LoVe Boat. I like Logan & Veronica together: the acting of JD & KB is superb, they have chemistry, dialogue is wonderful, both are complex, and, now that you mention it -- the hot kissing scenes.

Right now in fandom there seems to be battle lines being drawn (nothing so bad yet as those battles over who Buffy dated, thank God.) Some think that there is something wrong about Veronica now being all ga ga over someone she described as "every school has an obligatory psychotic jackass. He's ours." The battle is shown in the pilot: Logan is nasty to Veronica; Veronica plants a bong in his locker; Logan smashes up her car.

Some of the theories so far: Veronica has low self esteem; Logan has some ulterior motives; Rob Thomas is giving in to the fans and already ignoring continuity; Logan has changed; the relationship shows the complexity of the show & the characters.

My favorite theory so far is that yes, Logan was an OPJ but as the later episodes revealed he was still hurting from Lilly's murder and all his bad behavior was because of that.

But: I've got a could be bunnies...

Oops. Wrong show.

Rob Thomas is a author who has written books for the teen audience and is well aware of some of the devices used in teen books. One is having the narrator be unreliable (in part because they only see from their POV) at the start of the book, and eventually realizing that other people have their own perspective on things. As the narrator realizes that these multiple, valid, perspectives exist, including ones not her/his own, the narrator becomes more reliable.

So -- why do we think Logan is an OPJ?

Because Veronica told us so.

Maybe Logan isn't an OPJ -- maybe that's just the way Veronica saw him. And now, as she gets to know him and sees him more fully, she realizes: yes, he acted like a jackass. But that doesn't mean he is one. And whatever he thought of Veronica -- bitter? vengeful? nasty? -- he has realized, that's not her.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Veronica Mars

I love this show; if it was possible to marry it I would, that is how much I love it.

I cannot say I loved Veronica Mars from the first; yes, there was the hype, but I was still feeling burned by the cancellations of so many of my shows. Roswell, Buffy, Farscape, Angel. I was tired. So I didn't even give it a try; and then Paris Hilton guest starred which was enough to say, I'm not going to watch.

But the buzz was so good and I turned it on -- and at first it was strong like, very strong like. And then I was going on vacation for a week and it only made sense to get DVR so that I could record the show and not miss it. And now I'm in love.

Why? Complex characters. Amazing writing. Story arcs. Consequences. Witty dialogue. Snark. Good actors -- in some instances, great actors. Clever editing. Wonderful use of music. Rob Thomas -- who knows how to write, how to create a story arc over an entire season, and is incredibly fan friendly.

I cannot wait for Tuesday night; yet at the same time, I want it to be over so that I can buy the DVDs to be able to see the whole mystery unfolds from the start.


Buffy once said, "I don't want trouble. I just want to be alone and quiet, you know, with a chair, a fireplace, and a tea cozy. I'm not even sure what a tea cozy is, but I want one." (Ep: Anne )

So welcome to my blog: with a chair, a fireplace, and a tea cozy.

And story. Because it's all about story: the stories we tell, the ones we believe, the ones we read, the ones we watch. The ones we want to believe in; the ones we're afraid of. The stories we tell because we're afraid.

And that is an example of my ramblingness. To be more concrete: I'll be posting about story as found in teen novels, television, movies, and whatever strikes my fancy at the moment.