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Jojo Moyes “Me Before You”

About a year ago I had read Jojo Moyes’ novel “Me Before You”, a love story between an under-privileged girl and a rich handicapped man who meet as Will (the leading male character) needs a caretaker and Lou (the leading female character) needs a job. These characters who come from two totally different worlds find love in the midst of their differences. The novel is strong, exciting, beautiful and devastating.

I cried my eyes out when it ended. I truly can’t think of another book I have read that had this effect on me. I generally am not a fan of romance novels as it is, because they always seem to have an ending just like the last and have the same cheesy story-line. If I ever am reading a romance novel, it’s because I occasionally feel like an easy-read, where the plot is simple and predictable, taking very little effort out of me to read it. I was shocked when I read this novel and it didn’t turn out to be this way. I was also equally shocked when I watched the movie last weekend and found out the movie is just as good.

How many movies are just as good as their novels? Hardly any. One to a million- never as good. This is why I am writing to you today, because I know book lovers like me always feel this way, yet we watch the movie in hopes that it will fulfill us the way the book did, and we are always a little disappointed.
Not this time.
The movie was fantastic and fulfilling to me as a reader. Shocking, I know.

There were a few little points in the movie where I wished it had reflected the novel better, but I think the movie did the best it could at reaching all of those important points without making the movie last longer than 2 hours. In the book, there are parts where the story isn’t necessarily progressing, but in those times we are learning more about the emotions of the characters. This, I think, is the biggest downfall of television. When we read, the story can pause and talk about something else, teach readers something about the characters that otherwise wouldn’t have moved along with the story as it was being told before. These are the subjects in books that we as readers miss out on when we watch the movie, and it frustrates us to the core. We learn more about characters and their relationship to the story in these little lapses in time in novels, and there is simply no translation of this concept in the television script.

The movie portrays the characters only in a dim light compared to that of the novel. But of course, this is to be expected as I had mentioned earlier. Lou’s character, although the movie does portray her this way, is an average-looking, unexciting, underprivileged girl. She has a few quirks that she finds unique, but knows they aren’t redeeming to others. The movie doesn’t describe her feelings towards herself quite at all, but the novel lets us know that she feels she is stuck in a rut, has dreams that she doesn’t believe she will ever achieve, and has a real hard time finding her purpose in her world and the world of her peers, especially Will’s. However, the fact that understood any of this through the movie is a win.

In a way, watching the movie brings the characters more to life than they were in the book. I think as readers we feel the presence of the characters through their emotions, but don’t usually understand them to be real people (of course, because the aren’t). And when we watch a movie based on a novel we have read, we end up very disappointed because the movie never reaches the high-point we got in the novel, leaving readers with no way to even compare the novel to the movie because they seem like totally different stories.

My point, readers, is that this movie did just that. It reached a point of comparison, to where now we can feel the presence of the characters through the emotions of the novel, and understand the characters existence through their actions and visibility through the television screen.

Will’s character in the novel is way more off-putting than it is in the movie. He seems very depressed and very angry, specifically to those who pity him and think they are helping, but aren’t. He’s vulgar, rude, and damaged, all qualities that we witnessed in the movie, but are better understood through the novel. The love Will has for Lou becomes evident way earlier in the novel than it does in the movie, and it is more dreadful to the reader that Lou is unaware. She continues her pathetic relationship with her boyfriend of many empty years, a reflection of her low-ambition that is understood by the reader. While watching the movie, this may not be as clear, however, when they spill their love for each other at the climax of the story, the revelation is is quite an event, and in my opinion, better than it was in the novel.

When Will and Lou finally express their love for each other, Will hits her with news that she absolutely didn’t want to hear. We find out about half way through the story Will’s plans at the end of the 6 month contract he made with his parents, and this is when Lou decides she is going to change his mind, to keep him here, and after she spends some time trying to change his mind about life and what he can still receive from it, she falls in love with him, and wants him to stay for her. This is the beginning of the devastating plot twist we all spent time hoping that would become a happy ending. It does not. It continues to be devastating as Lou decides to never speak to Will again, allowing him to do as he pleases without her having any part in it. We as readers (and viewers) have a huge knot in our gut telling her “Just be with him! You only have so much time!”, which is exactly how I felt while reading the novel, and then all over again when I saw the movie.

The movie was more heart-breaking (but beautiful) as we watch, literally watch, Lou unfold and expose the life she thought she wanted with him, but possibly knew she never would all along. I believe she learned that, in the end, Will was right about what she needed. He spent the whole story telling her that she could be so much more than a young girl working to pay her family’s bills and retiring in the same town she grew up in. He believed she deserved to see the world, to experience the things she only had dreamt of, but never thought she could, and growing bigger than life with him while he is grounded to his wheelchair. After his death, he gave her the means to go and experience life the way he wish he could have alongside her, but knew his health would keep her from doing so, and that she would allow it. He gave her the life she deserved, and he believed she deserved it without him.

DEVASTATING.

But really, it’s beautiful. It can be much appreciated by the reader and the viewer, and even by those like me who don’t even like romance novels. A love that we all dream of having, taken away so unfortunately, but only could have existed in the circumstances given to them. Truly a work of art, the story is brought to us through emotional elements in the novel and supported with advancement in the movie.

Through the look into the physical love between 2 characters who were unlikely to be lovable by anyone else, it was found in each other’s misfortune and celebrated for several more novels that Moyes continued to write. Please, readers, let’s find out what happens with Lou next, together, and hope that the sequel is just as good as the first.

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The Expections of Writers (by writers)

Hello Readers!

I have read blog posts and tweets from other writers where they talk about the writing process- the good and the bad that comes out of writing their ideas. Phrases, lines, sentences, paragraphs- all that come along while trying to figure out what to say to the readers, being great and also not so great.

It’s a funny thing really. As readers, we do expect to read some decent content, don’t we? Why else would be bother opening up our Twitter app or our WordPress reader? Or even a newspaper?

Sometimes we read a post and we laugh because we read it and think ,“Hmm, I have never thought of it like that”. Sometimes we read and think ,“Now that’s interesting, I didn’t know that”. And sometimes we read and think, “That is so creative, what a genius way of putting it”. Of course these are only a few emotions we get out of reading, because as you know, there are a million different emotions in a text (read a novel for goodness sake, and we’ll talk about emotion, right?).

Hardly do I ever read a text and think it was a total waste of my time, or wonder why the writer ever bothered. But as writers, we don’t give ourselves the same credit.

We writers stress a lot about what we are saying in our work way more than we do when reading the work of others. Which makes sense, we care more about our work than how someone else’s turned out. However, we tend to forget we all sit down with our pen to paper and have the same stressors as the next writer, and the writer before us that just made that first book-deal, or reached 1000 followers on their blog.

As readers, we want to read something good. Yes, it is that generic. As writers, we just want to write something good. Again, it is that generic. But we forget that when we write. The word generic when it comes to our writing really makes us cringe because we think every word we write needs to be spectacular. But do we expect the writer of the book we are reading, or blog post we are browsing through, to have been this perfect? No way.

I’m not saying everything we come up with is great content. However, I think all ideas are relevant. I have (many times) started off writing with one topic and ended with a totally different one. Clearly, that doesn’t make for a great content piece, but everything I had said I totally think was meant for the world to read.

Usually when this happens, I break up the story into several different groups and keep the relevant parts for the post I am working on save the others for later. By doing this I end up with several different blog posts summaries that I dig deeper into later, and everything I have to say does make it online.

Since I do this often, generally I work on one project and an idea pops up that references one of the brainstorming-sessions I had before, and therefore that previous idea gets some loose ends tied-up. And sometimes I realize that the old and new project actually relate, and they get mashed together to form a more in-depth content than what I had originally pictured when I started.

Isn’t that just perfect, my fellow writers?

I have seen many quotes on Twitter and other networks from famous writers that talk about the writing process (and oh, it is definitely a process- a hard one).

One of my favorites is one written by Jessica Brody:

“Don’t be afraid to write crap. Crap makes great fertilizer.”.

Yes, it certainly does Jessica Brody. We all needed to hear it. We all experience a similar writing process, with the fails and the wins, but they are all important as we grow our stories into popular blogs and big-seller novels.

I write you this message today (also as a reminder to myself), on a day, like most, that I know you are struggling to say the right thing, to say that everything you have to say can be great with the right organization and context to support it. Yes, it really is that simple. You already know that as a reader since you read “crap” like this all the time, and keep coming back (wink).

I wrote this at 10pm on a day that I decided I needed to spit something out after not having written anything in about two weeks. You can do it too.

You have something to say, so say it, and write it so I can read it. I’ll air-clink my glass of wine with you afterwards.

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“Turtles All The Way Down” Book Review

 

Hello Readers,

I have met my new favorite book.

It’s crazy to say that since I have read hundreds, how could just one be my favorite? That’s what I thought until last night at 4am when I finished this one.

It’s Phenomenal.

John Green- Phenomenal.

It’s a story of a teenage girl, going through normal teenage girl things, and some not so normal. But what part of life is ever normal? And who is to say your life is more normal than mine, or that the grass may be greener on the other side? It never is, so it seems.

Dead family members, stress anxiety, irregular friendships, wondering what life really means- but mostly an adventure. The 2-dimensional view of this book is a few friends get together to find a missing person in order to receive the $100,000 reward. Of course, there is more to it than that, and lives become at stake for the teens who just want their father back.

From the first page of the novel:

“But I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.”

“Of course, you pretend to be the author. You have to. […] You think you’re the painter, but you’re the canvas.”

Already John Green has you hooked with his reversed personification. What’s more in this book is the close-up view of millennials.

I read somewhere recently where someone said, “The students of the present generation are the first to not take their cultural identity from books.” This book was clearly written for this generation of young adults, and basically is the most relate-able book I have ever encountered. As far as what I take my culture from, I don’t know. But John Green seems to get it.

Aza, the main character, suffers from anxiety, to say the least. Constantly feeling like she is trapped in her own body that will inevitably kill her one day, her mind spirals out of control with the notion that she something is hurting her that she can’t control, and she won’t ever know when the bacteria is killing her because her mind will be taken over by then, by the germ.

Aza says eventually, “Rather it hurts is kind of irrelevant.” Also, “True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.”

As I said, this is the part that is not so normal about her teenage life, but obviously, a frequent problem young adults deal with every day. Also, something that isn’t mentioned much, especially in a fiction novel such as this one. Thank you, once again, John Green.

The novel is quite humorous. I found myself laughing in many instances, especially at the narrator’s best friend Daisy. She is strong and a light to be around. Hilarious, and afraid of nothing. A little self-centered, but caring. A great counter-part for Aza, and a real reflection of a millennial.

In chapter 6, she receives a dick-pic as fan mail for her Star Wars fan-fic blog. She states:

“I mean, how am I supposed to react to a semi-erect penis as fan mail? Am I supposed to feel intrigued?”

Aza replies:

“He probably thinks it will end in marriage. You’ll meet IRL and fall in love and someday tell your kids that it all started with a picture of a disembodied penis.”

This is so 2018 because we all know dick pics hardly ever go over very well, especially as an introduction, and is always fun to talk about with your girlfriends at an Applebee’s with a coupon in hand. It would even be more cliche if we found out the perpetrator had taken the pic with a flip phone (haha).

Daisy also compares her new boyfriend’s looks to that of a “giant baby”. And later decides she doesn’t want a relationship with him, as they are difficult, but to instead be “friends with benefits”. Of course, a total 2018 reference as we live in the world of Tinder and such high divorce rates, it seems silly to even be in a traditional relationship anymore. Or so it seems.

When Davis comes in the picture, life hardly changes much for Aza, which we hoped it would. But again, does that happen in real life? Hardly is it ever convenient. Davis is the oldest son of our missing person. His father has become missing to escape a fraud and bribery investigation, leaving his two sons behind with the estate and it’s workers to take care of them. Aza and Davis knew each other as children, and Daisy convinces Aza to reach out to him in order to find the whereabouts of his father to collect the reward. At this point, I found myself thinking this was going to be a book of revelation and closure for the characters, as they may find a valuable lesson that is unclear at this point of time, but I was wrong.

In chapter 7, I made a note saying I thought this might end up being an interesting crime novel. At this point, the book is giving a lot of insight to the trouble Davis’s father is facing, and the peer-investigation between Daisy and Aza is intriguing. After chapter 19 I wrote in the margin, “For a while, I thought this was an adventure novel, not anymore.”

The novel moves forward with the relationship between Aza and Davis, and Aza and herself. She constantly is questioning the meaning of “me”, with her therapist and her peers, but mostly with Davis. Both Aza and Davis have a dead parent, and both constantly feel misunderstood by their remaining parents. It seems as though neither of them has a close relationship with anyone, even Aza and Daisy, who are best friends, seem to not really know much about each other, and the secrets they tell are on the surface.

Once it seems that Davis and Aza are dating (use the word dating loosely), they connect on a level that only the two of them can understand and seems like a once-in-a-lifetime event for the beloved characters. I understood in chapter 13 that John Green has his unstable characters fall in love to prove their presence. That they are relevant, even when they don’t think so.

In reference to Davis, John Green inserts many quotes from inspirational authors in this novel, along with some online-journaling of Davis’s. I thought about how creative this is, to write a story inside of a story, a story that is not the author’s, but also it is. John Green is able to write in words and sentences that flow so well that it seems like it comes easily to him. I couldn’t help but be envious at this point.

Daisy’s motive of the investigation was to earn the money so she could quit he minimum-wage job and live a prosperous life as a high school student. To Aza, although she was doing it for Daisy, she wanted to help Davis and Noah more, and later learned that that was more important than a large sum of money. Our characters to tie up their loose ends by the end of the book, and I am glad for that, but also wanted to read so much more.

Our characters to tie up their loose ends by the end of the book, and I am glad for that, but also wanted to read so much more. On page 260 I thought to myself that I know there are only 20 pages left but so much more than I want to know that it would definitely need to take up more than 20 pages. Heartbreaking and unsettling as it seems, it was incredible. John Green is a master of breaking my heart and putting it back together with scotch tape, which somehow I am okay with, although it is not the same as I felt before, I am okay with it. Bravo.

Read it.

 

 

 

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Motivated Blogging

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Hey Readers!

We all experience the same struggles as writers, and especially as bloggers. Not knowing what we are doing wrong when can’t get followers- it’s hard to get noticed! Especially in the beginning.

I read this book yesterday that is basically the months we have all spent gathering information on how to blog from the internet, all rolled into one book.

Amazing right! Too bad we didn’t all find it earlier.

Although the first half of the book is teaching you how to physically start a blog (picking a domain, a hosting site and figuring out what you want to write about), there are still some amazing tips in here that help out even us who have been blogging for several months (or years)!

For instance,

  • Tips on how to make money (which I think we can all appreciate)
  • Tips on social media- how to take advantage globally!
  • Examples of what great blogs look like
  • What Google looks for with SEO
  • How to stay organized! (thank you for that one)
  • Staying motivated through all the mess we call life
  • And of course, how to get and keep followers

That last one is what we all really want, right? To BE READ. Not all of us are here for the money or to come off as know-it-alls about our subject. We all simply want to be influences on other thinking-minds and to be noticed by our peers. We keep typing away and hope that it makes a difference.

This book told me that it does, usually, make a difference.

There are 250 million blogs online, and a majority of them are abandoned after year 1. The trick is to keep moving forward because it takes time as all things do. What we are passionate about, we are definitely not the only ones, and grouping ourselves with like-minded people and their blogs can really make a difference in your view of your own purpose.

Sitting at the screen and not knowing what to write, or if people even care what you say, is just you in your own head. All the rich bloggers out there KNOW that you care, otherwise, they wouldn’t be such awesome blogs, right? HELLO. EARTH TO BLOGGERS. You are here for a reason. Tell us about it, whatever it is.

And tell me, what do you struggle with the most? Also, read this book.

“Blogging for Writers” by Robin Houghton

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Online Bookstore Launch

Hello Readers!
I have finally launched my online bookstore that I have been dying for months to get done. I sell used books online right here from my website!

Has anyone ever found inspiration in a dream they have had?
I woke up one morning after a few months of being active on my blog and really getting serious about my writing career. I dreamt that along with my blog and freelance writing aspirations, an online bookstore would add even more excitement to my new realization that I was meant to be a writer after all.

If you have read some of my previous posts, especially the ones when I was still and undergrad, you know that I have struggled with my confidence as a writer for a long time. I spent most of my college career trying to find something sensible to do with my passion for writing and books, because being a writer, and making a career out of it, seemed like a real reach for the stars.

But here I am!

And it just keeps getting better and better.

My bookstore includes several different genres for your liking, and I am adding more and more books each day.

Here is the link: https://readforthesouls.com/shop/

If you visit my website (www.readforthesouls.com), it also pops up under the menu.

Furthermore, I am taking requests for books if you have something in mind but are having trouble finding it. All of the books are $5.00 plus shipping!

Happy reading everyone!

 

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Abby, a Mistress

I found her.

A person could see her unmistakable long, dark hair from across the grocery store. That’s where I saw her, at least.

My hair- short and blonde. He told me he liked my hair shorter, and when I cut it he told me I had never looked better. That I was even more beautiful that day then I was the day he married me.
There was never a time like the world we lived in when we were newly-weds. Being 7 years ago doesn’t seem like that long ago.
I never dreamed of leaving him, and I definitely never thought it would come to this.
A mistress.
Late nights at work, going to the bar with his friends- he still always had time for me. We had been on many dates as a married couple, several vacations, and countless late nights of talking and swooning. He kissed me goodbye every morning before he went to work, told me he loved me every day, and always made a point to make me feel beautiful and like I am the luckiest girl in the world.
But here I am. In the grocery store that I have been coming to since we moved here 7 years ago. Buying everything that fills our house with holiday aromas and dinner every night. This is where I buy his favorite coffee, no other store in town carries it. I have gone out of my way to come here for him, and today I found her here.
She is beautiful, clearly. He really did pick a good one. And she looks nothing like me, even better for him I’m sure.
I bet she never complains about his dirty clothes laying on the floor, or about how he walks through every room in the house while he’s on the phone, constantly picking things up and moving them around without even realizing it.
I’m sure she is an amazing lover, she probably does more than I ever would for him. “Tough Luck”, I always tell him. She probably has a closet full of lingerie that she wears for my husband, some that he might have paid for, with the money he makes for “our family”, as he calls it.
Should I have done better? Should I have catered to his every want and need and never had an argument? Wear high-heels when I do the dishes? Make myself be his whore every night after his long day at work? I could have ironed all his clothes, picked up all his messes, cleaned for 4 hours every day, wrote him loves stories and day-dreamed about him all day. Did I not do enough, just by loving him and being his home to come to every day?
Oh, please.
I am a human being, just like him. He should have known better, and he should have remembered the love we had for each other every single day.
Not fucking women like her.
I found out about her by accident.
Cleaning the house, no doubt, while he was at work not thinking about me, or her either, I’m sure.
She wrote him a note and he left it in his shorts from 2 weekends ago, when he told me he went to see his old friend from high school that just moved 2 towns away from us. “Sounds fun!” I said. And no, it was not stupid of me to not think he really meant he would be with someone else.
The note said “Think of me tonight while you are with your wife because I will be thinking of you when he comes home. -Abby”. What an amateur, I thought. Did she really think he did his own laundry or cared enough to clean out his pockets at the end of the day? Or did she think he would fold it up and keep it like a trophy of their undefined love? Don’t make me laugh.
I told you, she is nothing like me. I would never dream of sleeping with another man. Even now I can’t imagine, because I remember our wedding and how the basis of our marriage and our love was made that night. I knew then there would never be another man that I could look at the same way as I do him, and I knew that I would never feel the same way about love or how it feels because that night it was truly the best night of my life, where love was redefined.
It was better for him that she doesn’t look like me, but not because she is better or more beautiful, but because it would only make him feel guilty. And honestly, what is the point on cheating on your wife with someone that looks like her?
Abby, however, has no idea what any of that means. I feel sorry for her, truly. Does she think she can find that in my husband since she can’t find it on her own? Please. She has to find a way to stop being so pathetic, and she needs to find that without my husband.
I see her in aisle 9 as I walk by. I stop and stare for a minute, and remember that she is not better than me. Most women might feel that she is, of course, because my husband picked her over me. But actually, he didn’t.

He found her, at a bar I’m sure, and it was fun for one night. And then he thought maybe this was the life he wanted, being her play toy on nights they can both ditch their spouses and be together. Does that sound like a relationship to you, Abby? Pathetic. It sounds pathetic to me.
He didn’t find me at a bar on a drunken night like he did you. We met at a luncheon for a company we both were applying for 8 years ago. We talked all night and he took me on dates for several weeks before we slept together, which I’m sure wasn’t the case with you.
Perhaps it has been fun, running around with a woman who looks like she hit puberty about 5 years ago. Her body is rockin’, I’m sure, and she makes him feel young again, I bet. She looks nothing like me, as I said. What I mean by that is I look better. Funny, isn’t it? He still makes love me right after making love to you. Is that petty sex, you think? Doubtful. The sex with you is fun and meaningless, but my body is where his home is, and its the only place he has ever made real love to a woman.
So, Abby, have fun, you pretty little thing. I could honestly not care less. Anything he’s ever told you about his feelings for you, or feelings he may have for me, they are all a lie. An adult would know that, so surely you could use that explanation.
We’ll fight about it later, I’m sure, at my own timing and with my full control. No, it’s not over. However, I may decide that it should be, later on my own terms.
I’ll get what I want, out of both of you, when the time comes. And I promise you this, I won’t be the one feeling stupid when it’s all over.