Friday, 25 May 2018

A Silent Voice

Shoya Ishida starts bullying the new girl in class, Shoko Nishimiya, because she is deaf. But as the teasing continues, the rest of the class starts to turn on Shoya for his lack of compassion. When they leave elementary school, Shoko and Shoya do not speak to each other again... Until an older, wiser Shoya, tormented by his past behaviour, decides he must see Shoko once more. He wants to atone for his sins, but is it already too late...?

This is a heart wrenching story that had me crying by the end of it, so I suggest watching it with a box of tissues nearby. It tackles for me an issue that is very close to my heart - bullying - and its affect on both the person that torments as well as the person who is tormented. I haven't seen a story like this that covers both aspects of one of the most horrible aspects of growing up.

It was hard to feel sympathy for Shoya at first. He was a little kid true but his behavior was inexcusable. However, that said, you watch him change on screen to become a different, better person. One who realizes how awful he was and doesn't want to be like that anymore. I felt the first pangs for his character when I realized he was on a mission to make things right before he took what he thought was his only way out.

This story also twists the view we have of the victim. We all understand that the victim is not to blame for their actions, they are often portrayed as struggling through with the strength of conviction in their innocence, but not Shoko. In Shoko we can see her struggle is more in believing that it is not her fault, that she blames herself for being different, that she see's it as her fault for coming into their lives and upsetting the balance of things.

Its a story not only about seeking redemption, but learning to forgive yourself, to find strength in yourself, to become more than you were and to find who you are.

A Silent Voice is available from Amazon or is currently streaming on Netflix

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Dusty Pages Review: Wolf Hollow

Annabelle has lived in Wolf Hollow all her life: a quiet place, still scarred by two world wars. But when cruel, manipulative Betty arrives in town, Annabelle's calm world is shattered, along with everything she's ever known about right and wrong.

When Betty disappears, suspicion falls on strange, gentle loner Toby. As Wolf Hollow turns against him, and tensions quickly mount, Annabelle must do everything in her power to protect Toby - and to find Betty, before it is too late.

This is a well thought out tale with a very sad ending. I enjoyed the pace with which the book progressed and the characters had depth to them that let you get to know them. I think there is a great moral fortitude to this tale. It touches on several things such as how important the truth is, that you shouldn't cry wolf, not judging people by how they look, and that sometimes its more important to do the right thing than it is to do the lawful thing.

I felt pretty deep considering I found this in the second for preteens at the bookstore but I am also glad to see a new generation of writers who are not dumbing things down for them. Trusting them to understand the bigger world around them, if not while reading the book, but later when they come back to look at it as an adult.

I felt little sympathy towards the Betty character despite how the story progresses for her. I knew a lot of girls like her when I was a child. Girls who became bullies because it made them feel better, or special, or powerful. If I were to analyze her background more, I am sure there would have been something there that would have explained how she came to be as she was. However with Annnabelle as the protagonist, my focus was on her rather than on her opposition. I would have like as this was a fictional tale for justice to win out, however the realism threaded through the story right from the beginning made that outcome less than likely with every page.

I give it

Monday, 21 May 2018

Why we like things to end properly?

We like to things to end. Think about it for a second and you know its true. Not necessarily to come to an end, but to end properly. I'm not necessarily talking about having a Happy Ending, though I have to admit by large they are the more popular kind of ending. Who doesn't like to see the young maiden ride off into the sunset with her White Knight after over coming all the evil they had to overcome.

There are lots of books out there with sad ending. Where what we wanted to happen hasn't, but still we can tell from that last chapter this is the finale. Sad or not, its a proper ending where you know that what you reading has come to a stop, a full conclusion, from which you can move onto the next story. As a writer I often work out how I want a story to end and then work from that understanding to get myself from the point at which the story begins to that ending.

What I don't like, and you see it more and more, more frequently with visual media like films but especially with TV shows, is the cliff hanger or no resolution endings. This is the type where the action just stops mid flow. You can tell there is more, or their is a conflict still raging within the characters or story. In writing this if often a sales tactic in order to make the reader buy the next book in a series in order to gain their resolution. I imagine it is also the same for the TV shows, but the amount of shows that get cancelled between seasons leaves a vacuum of unresolved plot lines.

I'm talking about closure I suppose. As important as it is with events in our real lives, it is also indispensable in the fantasy lives we choose to involve ourselves in. I like a book, and more prominently, a series of books, to tie up all the loose ends neatly by its conclusion so that I have the sense that although the lives of the characters could go on, I have successfully seen them through what would be the most eventful period of their life. Sometimes I do wonder what becomes of characters after the narrative ends but its is rarely something explored and largely it is something we have learned to dismiss to enable us to move forward.

I have only seen one writer compile a compendium from A to Z listing what became of the various characters, both main and side, that she created during the length of her series. That was Charlaine Harris after the end of the Southern Vampire Mysteries. A nice idea to be sure, but for someone like myself, it could spark more curiosity that is good for me.