Reviews by ErinDurrett
Darkly Dreaming Dexter is the first book in the series about Dexter Morgan, a forensic blood spatter pattern analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department, a fictitious division of Miami-Dade. In almost all aspects of his life, Dexter seems like an everyday guy; good job, spends time with his sister, Deb, has a girlfriend, Rita, and enjoys her kids, Cody and Aster. But there is just one major difference…Dexter is possessed by a “dark passenger” with one compulsion: to kill. But Dexter is unlike his fellow murderers in one regard, he lives by a code, a code that says he can only kill people he determines to be guilty of violent and terrible crimes. This book is much like the first season of the television series “Dexter” in some ways, the characters are all there and share the same personalities with their living/breathing counterparts and the premise of the “Ice Truck Killer” on the show is known as the “Tamiami Butcher” in the book. One big difference is in the ending, where in the book, one of the major characters gets murdered, but lives on in the television series. (I’m not telling you, you’ll have to read the book!) Jeff Lindsay, which is a pen name for writer Jeffrey P. Freundlich whose biggest success is in fact the Dexter series, is great at writing the voice of his darkly dreaming endearing monster (and loves his alliteration too!). He creates a principle character that is so charming you can’t help but love him. Even though I truly enjoyed reading this engrossing tale, I think this is where the adventure stops for me, as I’ve been told the television series (that holds my loyalties) takes a different fork on the road than that of the remainder of the book series. Happy Reading!
Swear to Howdy is a very quick read about the challenges of friendship between two boys, Russell and Joey, after a prank of theirs goes terribly wrong. More than the first half of the book contains stories about the adventures of Joey and Rusty-boy and pranks they get involved with, which attests to the closeness and power of their friendship. In one such scenario, being charged with getting rid of squirrels a buck a pop, Joey accidentally shoots his violent and abusive father’s cat. Russell helps Joey bury the cat down by the river and “swears to howdy” he won’t ever tell a soul! The book turns serious when the boy’s recreation of the “lost ghost” causes a fatal accident and starts a secret that begins to eat at the two. I enjoyed this book, especially the language the author employs in telling Joey and Russell’s story. This book was written for youth, but is definitely enjoyable for adults too, as most of Mrs. Van Draanen’s books are. I’d recommend another book of the authors, Flipped, if you like this book. Silly at first, but serious towards the end, Swear to Howdy is a good way to spend two hours on a Sunday afternoon.
I admit it, I was at first weary of watching another "ripped from the headlines" crime film. However, after watching this movie, I ate my words. Alpha Dog is a severely intense film based on the real-life case of Jesse James Hollywood, a drug dealer in California's San Gabriel Valley who, in 2000, became one of the youngest men to appear on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. The names and some details of the cases have been changed, but the criminal circumstances remain the same: Johnny Truelove (Emile Hirsch) is furious with Jake Mazursky (Ben Foster), when Jake refuses to pay Johnny the money he owes him and then later vandalizes Johnny's house. Johnny and his buddy Frankie (Justin Timberlake) happen along Jake's 15-year-old half-brother Zack (Anton Yelchin) and hold him as collateral until Jake pays his debts. What begins as a casual, seemingly harmless situation escalates into a crisis of capital crime. The whole cast gave good performances even surprisingly Justin Timberlake, who definitely won me over with his cocky yet vulnerable charm. I definitely recommend this movie if you haven't already seen it!
Recently I saddled down to watch the Oscar and Emmy award winning Helen Hunt's 2007 triumph Then She Found Me. Then She Found Me, a film whose screenplay was co-written, directed, starred and produced by Hunt, depicts the story of April Epner, a 39 year old schoolteacher whose main ambition in life to is have a child of her own. April's hopes are put on hold on the day that her husband Ben (Matthew Broderick) leaves her. However, that same day she meets Frank (Colin Firth), the father of one of her students. Also, April's birth mother, a TV personality, played by (Bette Midler), enters her life and turns things upside down. This is a great film with superb performances by all leading actors especially Helen Hunt, Bette Midler and Colin Firth.
At the age of 93, Harry Bernstein started writing a book about his childhood in a mill town in Northern England, where an "Invisible Wall " seemed to separate the Jewish and Christian families. At the age of 96, Invisible Wall: a Love Story that Broke Barriers was published and filled with the memories of Harry's absent alcoholic father, hardworking loving mother, characters from both the Christian and Jewish side of the street, and of course the forbidden romance between his older sister Lily and a Christian boy, Arthur, that lived on the other side of the "wall". Berstein describes the neighborhood with vivid recollection and makes you feel as if you are walking the cobblestone roads with him. If you read and enjoy this book, you might try Bernstein's later memoir The Dream centering around his family's journey to America when he was 12.