[Sex and Sensibilities] My Own Private Walden

Astigirl, by Tweet Sering. Reviewed by Mary Ann Marchadesch for Sex and Sensibilities. Image from http://astigirl.blogspot.com/.
Astigirl, by Tweet Sering. Reviewed by Mary Ann Marchadesch for Sex and Sensibilities. Image from astigirl.blogspot.com.

Mary Ann Marchadesch takes a look at what it means to be an Astigirl in this review of the book by Tweet Sering.

The 19th century American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau went into the woods “because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”[note] With Thoreau and her Astigirl muse, Angelina Jolie, for inspiration, Sering ruthlessly (yet lovingly) dissects family relationships, past romances, and childhood ideals; she re-examines her adolescence through the filter of ten or so years; she embarks on new and terrifying adventures (entering writing contests, auditioning for theatre roles… energy therapy? To willingly subject yourself to that takes some inner fortitude. Or maybe that’s just me) and comes out not only more aware of her limitations, but also of her strengths. With each essay in the collection Sering deftly and delicately skewers long-buried doubts and insecurities and by “going back to zero”, as she puts it, creates a new beginning for herself.

Basically, what Astigirl is saying, with lovely bits of humor and touches of irreverence, is this: I chose to do this, I saw it through, I came out of it not necessarily unscathed, but definitely more aware of who I really am and what I really want to do. The unspoken challenge for the reader is: Are you astig enough to do that, too?

Originally published on Sex and Sensibilities.

[Fully Booked Zine] A life of plenitude

Dante Gagelonia ponders the life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

While the concept of magical realism came about years before Garcia Marquez published One Hundred Years of Solitude, it was his novel that best illustrated its spirit. One Hundred Years of Solitude did more than tell the story of a family: it did so in a way that demonstrated the way he saw the realities of Latin American culture, and of Colombian identity. Through the lens of metaphorical Macondo and by utilizing the complex shadows cast by the Buendía family, García Márquez depicted ideas, morals and realities that would inspire an entire generation of Latin American expression. The Latin American Boom of the 1960s and 1970s counted One Hundred Years of Solitude as one of its seminal works, and García Márquez as one of its four undisputed pillars alongside Mario Vargas LLosa, Carlos Fuentes and Julio Cortazár.

From latintimes.com
From latintimes.com

There is so much more to García Márquez’s writing than what can be found in One Hundred Years of Solitude, however. While it stands as a capital city in the landscape of his work, his other novels, novellas and short stories still comprise the rest of a bountiful and detailed map. Each of his stories is different yet familiar, staying true more to a sense of being rather than to a strict sense of style. He would reference specific historical periods while generalizing locations, dissect emotions while obfuscating intent, and employ other fluid narrative techniques. It’s an elusive sort of vitality, giving readers a grounded sense of reality while leaving just enough unspoken. There is room to interpret, to feel, to explore.

Originally published in the Fully Booked Zine, June-July 2014.

[8List] 8 Side Effects of Adapting ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ into a Movie

Image from 8list
Image from 8List

Film adaptations of bestselling books are great for discussions of popular culture. For 8List, Patricia Calzo Vega wrote about The Fault in Our Stars:

So it comes as no surprise that TFIOS is one of the most anticipated movies of 2014. Like teen movies before it, it’s about becoming the best person you can be, experiencing love for the first time, and dealing with the curveballs life throws at you. Unlike previous teen blockbusters, there’s nothing magical, supernatural, or herculean about its characters. They’re just a bunch of crazy kids who just happen to have “a touch of cancer.”

Book-to-film adaptations are notoriously difficult to navigate: staying true to the book may mean missing out on the added depth and dimension that an expanded movie universe can bring, while too many deviations from the story may alienate its original audience.  Case in point: the movie tagline, “One sick love story,” was removed in later posters after Nerdfighters complained that it did not capture the essence of the story.

Read the full article here.