Reviews by ErinDurrett
Fireflies in December
Fireflies in December is the debut novel of Jennifer Erin Valent about a 13 year old girl, Jessilyn, and her parents taking in her best friend Gemma, after Gemma's parent were tragically killed in a house fire. The problem is, the year is 1932, Gemma is black, the Lassiters are white, and they live in a small Virginia town. Jessilyn is the character of dreams, taking cues from her father and speaking out against the threats coming from her small prejudiced community. The tone and speech in the novel take you to the south to a time where the people faced struggles not only from the Depression but from intolerance as well. The plot of this novel reminds readers of the evil that ordinary human beings are capable of doing, even in the name of righteousness. If you don't mind some moderate religious undertones, this book is heart-warming yet bittersweet and reminds us that even in the face of violence and terror, goodness can still surround us.
Recently, my friend literally tossed this book in my lap. Smashed is a very interesting take on the excessive drinking of middle class girls in America and how it affects their lives and futures. In this memoir, Koren Zailckas delves into the reasons and motivations behind her excessive drinking which she believes is the reason so many girls decide to drink...unhappiness. Zailckas talks about how at whatever age you start drinking, that is the age you act when you emerge from the disillusionment of drinking. When Zailckas quit drinking she felt wholly unprepared to take on the role of responsible adult because alcohol had allowed her to stay at the maturity of the 14 year old who started the habit. She also explains that while kids are taught that drugs are always dangerous, alcohol is perceived as an acceptable rite of passage. Her book reveals the dangerous truths of excessive/binge drinking and the effect it has on girls today.

If you like this book, other recommendations are Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors and also Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp.
The Fountain
Spanning over one thousand years, and three parallel stories - one each from the past, present, and future - The Fountain is a story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of our existence in this world. The movie The Fountain is a wonderfully symbolic film about trying to hold on to the one person most important in your life and then, in the end, learning to let them go. In the film, Tom Creo (Hugh Jackman), is a scientist trying to cure brain tumors in rhesus monkeys after learning his wife Izzi (Rachel Weisz), is dying from a brain tumor. At home, while stargazing, Izzi points out a golden nebula to Tom, describing it as the Mayan underworld. She also shows Tom the book she is currently writing, set in the age of conquistadors, titled The Fountain. Past Tom is a conquistador in Mayan country that searches to find the tree of life, so that he and his queen (Izzi) may be together for eternity. Future Tom is a space traveler, traveling with an aged tree encapsulated within a bubble towards a golden nebula. Kept young by compounds he produces from the tree's sap, Future Tom ponders the hundreds of years of travel that have been all to see Izzi again. All past, present, and future versions of Tom take us on a journey as he seeks his true desire - eternity with his love.
For those of you who enjoy movies based on true events, Breach is for you. Breach is based on the true story of what is considered to be the greatest security breach in US intelligence history. It is a film about Robert Hanssen (portrayed by Chris Cooper), a former top Russian analyst for the FBI, who turned traitor and started giving classified information to the Russians for financial pay-offs. Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe), is an aspiring agent who gets assigned the task of watching Hanssen and reporting back to Agent Kate Burroughs (Laura Linney). If you have always wanted a career in intelligence and are addicted to intelligence films, like I am, this electrifying spy vs. spy thriller is a must see!
This book has it all!
Looking for a fun read? It seems one of the newest trends in books is to have more than one genre assigned to your book, like Mystery/Romance, or Action/Comedy. In the Book: Agnes and the Hitman, second collaborative work by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer bring together action, romance, the mob, cooking, lots and lots of comedy and even a man getting eaten by an alligator! The book is about Agnes, a food columnist, whose dog is almost repeatedly dognapped, while Agnes has to try to put on a wedding for her best friend's daughter in less than a week. After defending herself with a frying pan, Agnes calls in Joey, ex-mobster, the local dinner owner and one of Agnes's closest friends to help calm down the chaos. Joey sends for Shane, his nephew and a governmentally contracted hitman to watch over Agnes for the week and then the fun ensues! Agnes and the Hitman is a..."comic caper and raucous romance … laugh-out-loud funny … Agnes is a feisty likeable character worth rooting for."