Category Archives: Rant and Rave

Book Review: “Maggie’s Dream”

Maggie’s Dream – by Leslie Tall Manning

  • DougInNC book Review

Author Manning quickly and crisply sets the stage, establishing the view from inside the title character’s head. Scene setting is terrific, with the writer clearly and consistently establishing who, what, when, and where. Her prose hearkens the time period using images of life in 1940s Baltimore and oft-forgotten brand names.

The confused Maggie of Chapter 3 faces uncertainty, saying, “It’s hard to know what I want when I haven’t had it yet.” The path to finding that core desire captivates the reader until she declares for “A life filled with magic and wonder.” Maggie lives before any Disneyworld dream, but Manning magically marshals vibrant visions in the heroine’s head. Continue reading Book Review: “Maggie’s Dream”

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Book Review: “Look Homeward, Angel”

Look Homeward, Angel– by Thomas Wolfe

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Look Homeward, Angel is considered a great work of American literature. Yet, paraphrasing the author to describe this novel and the days I spent in it:

  • “A book, not brief, a bore. … Time lost, O’ Lost!”

I usually enjoy descriptive prose and creative turn of phrase, but a novel ought to have a sufficient story to which those elements are attached. I did not find that story in this introspective on the author’s youth.
Continue reading Book Review: “Look Homeward, Angel”

Love Never Dies -Musical

Why see it:
-Soaring music with whispers of “Phantom of the Opera”
-A set that is bigger-than-life and full of moving parts
-The voice of Meghan Picerno as Christine
-Not necessary to be a fan of “Phantom”

Summary and thoughts:

This sequel is set ten years after “The Phantom of the Opera” musical ends. The Phantom now keys a sideshow named “Phantasm.” But rather than living in the sewers below the Paris opera house, our beloved, feared, sartorial, oratorical, organ-playing, full-of-angst villain/hero has become established in a Coney Island, NY, establishment.

He is the hidden face behind a circus-like vaudevillian effort with characters big and small, oddities, monsters, and his featured performer. She is Meg Giry, daughter of Madame Giry, who engineered the post-opera escape from France for this trio to stay together. Meg wants nothing more than to please the one still known to her as “Master.”
Continue reading Love Never Dies -Musical

Book Report: “Pretending to Dance”

Pretending to Dance, by Diane Chamberlain

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  • “More than a Review”

“Good golly, Miss Molly.” That quote from my years growing up predates the years of our main character Molly. Another mismatch is that I am not the target audience for this novel. Neither of those aspects kept me from appreciating the work.

Good golly, Molly has issues; make that ISSUES. The antagonist of this story is Molly’s past, or as she clearly says, “My past is in my way, … a roadblock, holding me back, keeping me from moving forward. I have no idea how to make it go away.” Continue reading Book Report: “Pretending to Dance”

The Help (2011)

Watching “The Help” for a second time was well worth the hours. I’m usually captivated by historical perspectives and stories about writers. This film covered the former fine, but did not adequately characterize the efforts and angst of the author for my taste; that’s okay, it was about “The Help.” For a movie with excellent coverage of the author,  see “Genius.

The acting was good on all sides, including featured roles for Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, seen on the 2017 big screen in  “Fences” and “Hidden Figures,” respectively.

Would the book be better than the movie for this story? Perhaps I should read Kathryn Stockett’s novel.