Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Right off the top you gals, this one is a tough read.

Not tough in the sense that it’s a slog or that you have to push your way through. Kind of the opposite, actually. I was propelled through this book, captivated by it, couldn’t put it down. I usually read on the train on my way to work, but this is the first time I can remember that I would read all day before my shift, read while walking to and from transit, and only put it away when my boss started giving me the side eye. It’s not the writing that’s tough, it’s the subject. This book is about hunger, yeah, but it’s also about suffering and humiliation, about craving love and comfort and acceptance, about never finding it, or finding it and not recognizing it, finding it and losing it, finding it and having it not be enough. This book is about a lot of things and none of them are easy.

When Gay was a small child she went through something horrendous, something that changed her and altered the course of her entire life. I’m not going to get into what the event itself actually is (I tried a couple of times and just…read the book. Gay was there, it happened to her, and she’s a better writer than me anyways), but I will warn you that it does have to do with sexual violence and it’s…very difficult to read. Gay’s great talent as a writer is her voice, her ability to make you empathize and relate to her, to connect with and feel like you understand her. In anything else of hers that I’ve read that’s a strength, and it’s a strength here too, it’s just a complicated one. It hurts to watch somebody you’re connecting with suffer so much.

I’ve never read a memoir quite like this one, one so concerned with the body. It makes sense, it’s what this part of her story is all about. The invasion of it, the effort she went through to change it, the consequences of that change. She has such an interesting view of the body as well. For myself, I see my body and me as one. There’s no difference, no space, between the two. But Roxane constantly refers to her body as a structure separate from herself, as a prison, a fortress, a cage, a cave. Always things that you can either hide or be held in. For her, maybe that’s not that far from the truth. She used food to turn her body into a stronghold. Big, imposing, impregnable, but inescapable as well. Sometimes she loves her body and how strong it is, sometimes she hates the limits it puts on her, but she’s always aware of it, in a way I’ve never experienced. Things that most people take for granted are constant sources of stress and anxiety for her: shopping, going for walks with friends, getting on an airplane, going to events (she tells a story about an event that she had to speak at where there was an elevated stage, about three feet off the ground, and no stairs. After visibly struggling in front of the audience to get on to the stage, eventually having to be helped up by some of the other speakers, she sat on the flimsy, thin wooden chair that they’d placed on the stage for her and heard a crack. She was able to use the strength of her legs to take her weight off the chair enough so that it didn’t break, but she was so humiliated by the experience that she threw up in her mouth and had to swallow it), and even what she can and can’t eat in public. She says to a friend that offers her chips at one point that people “that look like me don’t get to eat food like that in public.”

Which brings me to my next point. Can we please, as a society, just stop being shitty to people about their bodies? The constant comments and intrusions that Gay has to face from people all the time, the humiliations, are unacceptable. No person should be subjected to that kind of treatment. And I know, I know, you say that you’re concerned about their health and whatever, but let’s be honest here, you’re really not. You’re trying to make yourself feel good about your own body, your own flaws, by framing somebody else’s as being worse. You’re putting someone else down to make yourself feel good. It’s what children and bullies do, so grow up and cut it the fuck out.

This book is, without a doubt, one of the rawest and most intimate memoirs I’ve ever read. And so universally human too. I felt myself constantly surprised by how relatable I found it. I may not have experienced the trauma that she has, or lived in the body she’s lived in, or done the things she’s done, but I kept seeing myself in her reactions and desires. Her hungers are the ones we all feel, for food yeah, but also for love and affection and respect, safety and security and comfort. For peace. I hope she finds it.

Recommended for those who like intimate, personal accounts of tragedy, those who like intelligent, sharp takes on difficult things we don’t often talk about, and people who don’t mind ugly crying on a bus full of strangers. Really though, read this book.

VBR

 

Borderline by Mishell Baker

And how is everybody doing on this delightfully chilly, wonderfully cloudy, hopefully soon to be rainy day? And yes, yes, I know, ya’ll love it when it’s sunny and warm and sticky and disgusting outside, but I’m a west coaster at heart. I live here because I love the rain, and there has been nooooone of it for months. Let me have these few days before the heat ramps back up and it gets unbearable again.

Wait…are we talking about the weather? Is this where we’re at now? Is the magic gone? How do we get it back?

Talk about books, you say? Don’t mind if I do!

This is a novel that’s completely built on the back of its protagonist. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all here for weird urban fantasy settings and fairies and all that jazz, but I’ve read a lot of that kind of thing. The world building in this one is pretty solid. The rules are well laid out, but not so well laid out that there isn’t some mystery left, the fantastical elements come across as well worn and lived in, and there’s enough difference in the characterization of the fey for them to seem fresh enough (there have been sooooo many books about fairies that it would be next to impossible to come up with a completely and entirely original take. I don’t expect that. I just want you to put enough of a twist on them, on any common fantasy character you write about, so that I can recognize them as your faeries or werewolves or whatever). But the world building alone, with a more vanilla character at its centre, wouldn’t have been enough for it to stand out amongst its contemporaries.

Millie Roper, on the other hand, would draw the eye in any crowd she was in. I don’t know what it is about underdogs that people love so much, that I love so much. Maybe it’s seeing them think their way around problems. If you’re the big guy, the powerhouse, you don’t really have to do that. You just bash your way to the finish line and bobs your uncle. The game’s yours. But putting characters at a disadvantage forces them to be clever (if the writing is good. There’s nothing in this world that bothers me more than a hack writer who puts their character in a problem they can’t solve and then just cheats their way out of it). It turns every encounter they have, every obstacle they run up against, into a puzzle. How do you fight somebody twice your size? Who’s stronger, faster, better trained? How do you beat somebody who can give you a heart attack just by touching you? There’s nothing that we like more than a good puzzle (right? I know I kinda just spoke for everybody, but I can’t be alone on this one) with a clever solution.

Millie is the underdoggiest underdog who ever underdug. She’s got a boat load of mental health issues (borderline personality disorder, mild brain damage, and PTSD, both from her recent failed suicide attempt and the implied sexual assault that played a part in it) and a bunch of physical handicaps to boot. She tried to kill herself a year before the book opens and lost both of her legs in the attempt. She’s got prosthetics, good ones, but it’s still difficult for her to get up stairs or get out of vehicles. Running is generally out of the question. So is standing for too long. Plus she can’t even wear them too soon after getting out of a shower or if her skin gets irritated. The lady’s got about as many hurdles as a person can have. The weird thing was though, despite the fact that the book (and Millie) never forgets about the difficulties that she faces just getting around, I started to. She’s such a tough, smart, capable jackass that, over the course of the book, I forgot to think of her as the underdog. When she came up against challenges that seemed insurmountable, the question changed from “if” she was going to be able to do it, to “how” she was going to get it done.

Recommended for folks that like urban fantasy, darker faerie stories, and protagonists that may be assholes and complete trainwrecks, but are still the smartest person in any room they decide to stand in.

VBR

 

Ps. Just as a side note, I didn’t mention the representational aspect of this novel in the body of my review because it had nothing to do with why I bought it or enjoyed reading it, and it seemed a little…false to bring it up while I was talking about it. I’m here for more representation of all different types of people on the page, and think this book does a good job of getting across some of the daily difficulties (although don’t quote me on that. It felt authentic in the moment, but she could have made all of it up whole cloth and I wouldn’t know the difference) of what it would be like to live with certain physical and mental issues. Baker treats them realistically (sometimes Millie is a straight up jerk), but with compassion. Her story is sad, reaaaally sad, but it’s not a sob story. She’s not made to be pitied. It’s very well done. So if you’re looking for more of that stuff in your books, this is a good place to get it.

 

 

The Devil All The Time by Donald Ray Pollock

Well howdy there friends! It’s been a little while. How have you been? How’s your life? Now that I’m finally done organizing bachelorette parties and almost balling while trying to give speeches and drinking my body weight in fermented, tasty beverages, we can finally get back to the thing that brought us all here: delightful, delicious, wonderful books.

Or, you know, this one.

Now before we get into the review I want to make clear that there are things that I did really like about this novel. Pollock is a hell of a writer, and even when I wasn’t having any fun, I was still burning through it, pulled from one situation to the next to see where it lead. That’s enough, in my opinion, to classify this as a good book, even if it’s not a particularly enjoyable one.

Unfortunately, you can be the wordsmith of our age, writing the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read, but if your character work is lacking, you’re going to lose me. The reason that I read is to experience other people’s lives, to slide myself into the brain of someone else. It’s why I’m here. And I’m not against doing that with a vile person every now and again, but…they have to feel real. I have to buy it. Every character in this book was a caricature. All of them the vilest, slimiest, most self-serving pieces of trash that humanity could come up with. So over the top in their quirky grossness that they didn’t even really seem human anymore. The first time he introduced a couple of them I was intrigued, the second time a little wary, and by the fourth or fifth just tired of it. If they weren’t dumb and vile to their bones they were evil. If they were neither, if there was a single ounce of goodness in them, then they were pathetic and doomed to suffer. It was just an unending slog of sadness and pain, with nowhere to look for redemption of any kind.

Maybe that’s the crux of this whole thing. No redemption for anybody. And yes, I know, not every story needs it, not everybody needs to find absolution, but I don’t feel like there was a single satisfying character arc in this whole book. Shitty people kept being shitty till they died from it, nobody got any better, nobody learned any lessons, nobody did anything at all, except for damage and wound and die. Even the main character, the one I think you’re supposed to relate to the most, doesn’t change much. After the first thirty or so pages he grows into a man who uses violence to solve his problems, and that’s where he stays until the end. And he is better than the others, but he’s not good. He’s motivated by a slightly more moral viewpoint than almost anybody else in the novel, but he’s still brutal. He may not want to kill, but when he’s backed into a situation where he feels like he has to, he does. Over and over again. To the point where it’s tiresome, where I didn’t see what the author was trying to say, if he was trying to say anything at all.

I’d recommend this book for people who like southern gothics that tend towards the gritty and filthy and violent, people who like their characters as gross and mean and pathetic as they can get them, and anyone who doesn’t mind a story where the morale is “people are shitty and will probably try and kill you”.

VBR

 

 

It’s Too Hot To Write And I Have A Wedding To Go To

Hey there errybody! Just to let you know, the write-up for this week (which I’ve already started!) is probably going to be a little on the late side. One of my best friends in the world is getting married in a few days, and I’m in the bridal party, and there’s…just so much work that goes into that. Not, obviously, as much as the person actually getting married, but still. Just a ton of stuff to do. And also it’s like forty fucking degrees Celsius where I’m at and all I can really manage to think in my brain hole is “hot. need water. so hot.” Again, I have an idea already that I’ve started on, and maybe I’ll take another crack at it tonight when it cools down a bit, but don’t hold your breath.

I also realize that I’ve been writing a lot of these “sorry for the delay!” posts over the last few months but…it’s been a really busy summer you guys. So much going on. I haven’t had time to do nearly the amount of writing that I wanted to, and a good portion of the time I have devoted has been to my fiction writing, but I promise it will even out a little when the summer calms down a bit. Writing this blog is one of the most fulfilling and fun things that I’ve done and most of that has to do with you gals and your kind messages and support. You’re the best! And I can’t wait to get back to talking to ya’ll about books a little more regularly. Anywhoodle, I’m going to go sit in a bathtub full of cold water. Bye!

Love,

VBR

League of Dragons by Naomi Novik (Temeraire Wrap Up)

Ugh, you gals, I finalllllllllllllllllly did it!

Sorry that took so long! It’s partly because this was one big-ass series (9 books), and partly because during the last week I got a weird stomach flu that kept me from doing anything other than throwing up and ruining my best friend’s birthday. But I’m here! I did it! Yay me!

This series was great. I loved it from the first book, but early on there were a few problems that I wasn’t really sure how she was going to address. How do you make somebody root for colonial England, knowing what they’ve done? How do you then set them against Napoleon, when he’s treating his dragons better than those he’s fighting? How do you reconcile what you know about the world, with the belief system that your main character is going to have because of the time and place that he came from? This was set in a pretty savage part of human history, right in the thick of European colonialism, a time and place with countless political sticky wickets to get stuck in.

And honestly? I think Naomi Novik did about as good of a job as a person could do. She skillfully separates your sympathy from the government that’s fighting the war to the people fighting it, by pitting them against each other whenever the government does something immoral (like still supporting the slave trade, or deliberately spreading a disease among the rest of the dragons in the world, to give British aerial forces superiority) and showing them as being as foul and self-serving as they were (and are, and have always been). By the end of the books Will seems to have completely transferred his sense of duty from said government, the thing he used to look up to, to just the general good of the world. He does what needs to be done, no matter where that is or who it’s for. He makes it easy to cheer for him.

I spent some time on Will’s (the main character, other than Temeraire) personal growth in the last post, so I won’t go on and on about it here. Suffice it to say that he continually learns his way past his problematic English ideas about women, and doesn’t seem to really have any problem with racism or homophobia (to be fair, he does get hellllla uncomfortable when one of the party tells him that he’s gay, but I felt it was more his upper-crusty British mortification at somebody having to reveal anything personal about themselves to him, especially about sex, than it was homophobia). He’s a good character, easy to love and stand behind.

As for Napoleon, even though he does seem to have some good points about the treatment of dragons (who in this universe are intelligent and feeling creatures), she makes it pretty clear that his motives are selfish and that he’d do anything to get the supremacy that he craves. The sheer amount of bodies he climbs over to get what he wants solves the problem of connecting with him too much pretty neatly, though Naomi still manages to write him in a way where I didn’t hate him. I still understood him and why he was doing what he did. I had some sympathy for him, just not a lot.

One of the other things that I really, really dug about these books was getting to see how Novik had imagined our world would be changed by having these big, hulking, thinking weapons in it. Because dragons were everywhere, the invention of cannons as effective means of waging war didn’t knock askew the balance of power the way that they did in our world (it was actually more complicated than that, but I’m trying to keep this blog post from completely getting away from me). I’ve always wondered what the world would have looked like if British (and other European) people hadn’t fucked it so hard, if they’d left American and African cultures to develop unmolested. Novik takes a run at what that would look like and it’s great, smart and well thought out. About as good as anybody not within those cultures themselves could’ve done. It scratched a fiction itch I’ve had for a long time. Plus it was just satisfying to see the English try and do all the shitty things that they’d done throughout our history, but fail miserably.

As much as I loved the books, I do have one bone to pick with Naomi Novik, and it’s this: Tenzin and Will. Are you kidding me? You spent the whole series building this beautiful relationship between the two, where they depended on and anchored one another, where they understood and cared for each other (Tenzin was the one that stopped Will from compromising himself morally when he was in despair over being branded a traitor. And when Will lost his memory, seeing Tenzin was the thing that brought it back. Not Temeraire, not his essentially adopted daughter, not his friends. Tenzin) and in the end…nothing. Well, not nothing. They built a wonderful life long friendship blah blah blah. But I was expecting, hoping for, more. It would have been nice to finally get a relationship in fiction between two masculine, heroic characters that generally identify as straight (if you, like me, are looking for varying representation of LGBTQ people in fiction, hit up Black Sails. It’s way, way better than it’s lousy first season would have you believe), and it really seemed like that’s what she was building up to, and then just…nope. I know you can’t always get what you want, but I really, really wanted this and was super disappointed when it didn’t happen.

Okay! I recommend this series for alternate history nerds, dragon lovers (I feel like that might mean something weirder than I meant it to. No judgement!), and anybody who likes long-ass, satisfying, well written, well-thought out fantasy series. Novik put a boatload of work into these books, and it shows. It’s been a while since I liked a series this much.  Just more gays next time please!

VBR

 

Ps. I did have one more tiny quibble that I just can’t bring myself to leave without mentioning. In one of the books Will loses his memory, which is a story trope that I haaaaaaaaaaate, and one that went on for a lot longer than it should have. I’m not really sure why she included it. The story doesn’t seem like it would’ve changed that much if he’d known who he was all along. I kind of held out hope that it was to set up how important Tenzin had become to him, but that ended up being nothing so…yeah. Not really what that was about, but it wasn’t for me. If you’re like me and you hate that kind of thing, be warned, it’s a big portion of one of the biggest books. Other than that though, dive in!

 

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin

I know, I know, I know. You’re tired of hearing about Game of Thrones. Trust me, I am too. Twitter has nothing else to talk about and my Facebook feed has been clogged with review posts and spoiler posts and theory posts. Hostelworld even sent me an email to let me know about the “Game of Thrones locations” that were on sale. It’s reaching Star Wars-esque levels of cultural saturation (I went into a grocery store one time during the Force Awakens madness and, I shit you not, saw a Star Wars themed bag of oranges. I mean, just…what?), and I bet you’d all rather read about something, anything, else.

BUT! Here we are. And despite the super cool dude persona I’ve been cultivating by bucking all the trends, seeing the Game of Thrones-y stuff out there has reminded me of how much I love the Song of Ice and Fire books, and why.

These novels are essentially famous for two things: their extremity and their bleakness (three, I guess, if you count the world building, which is bananas good and in depth). They’re hella violent, chock full of sex (mostly not of the romantic, vanilla variety), and filled to the brim with terrible people doing horrible things. Nothing ever goes right for anybody and whenever it does seem like everything might, finally, work out, somebody does something selfish or terrible and everything falls to pieces again. The thing that people don’t often talk about though, is why these books are so brutal and bleak, and what it means.

Brace yourselves, I’m about to get very mildly controversial: George R.R. Martin has written one of the best long-form anti-war series of all time. The world he built is harsh and unfair, yes, but that’s because it’s a world at war. There’s constant commentary about how badly the common people are used for the personal ambitions of the rich and powerful, how little violence solves, how futile and fleeting and empty conquest or power can be. The countryside of Westeros is cracked and fractured, its people broken and hungry, and for what? The leaders who have used that blood to buy them power rarely hold it for long, and when they do they usually find that it’s not exactly what they were expecting. More often than not they meet an end that’s even more undignified and bloody than the people they stepped on to get to their crowns. The horrors he depicts in his series aren’t just for shock value or to serve as a counter-weight to the lighter, fluffier fantasy fare that was popular when this series first arrived, they’re meant to convey his genuine disgust at warfare and the way it had often been treated in fantasy up until that point.

Which leads me to my next point about this series. There have been some accusations levied against the books and their treatment of women as misogynistic. Now before I embark on the sticky wicket that is trying to explain why I don’t think those accusations are entirely fair (with one notable exception), I’m going to acknowledge straight off the bat that what I think doesn’t really matter. If you’re wounded by something, or offended by something, somebody telling you that it’s neither dangerous nor offensive doesn’t really mean anything. The fact that you pulled it out of the text is evidence enough that it was there, somewhere. You get from a story what you get from it, and I can’t, and wouldn’t really want, to change that. I just have a different interpretation of it, and since this blog is my own personal exercise in self-indulgent word spewage, that’s what you’re about to read. Unless, you know, you don’t want to. You’re an adult and the internet is filled with other places to read things. But, if you do stick around and just disagree, please, counter-interpretations in the comments! I’m interested in hearing about the different ways people see and think about things. Just nothing using scenes from the show as a basis for your arguments please. They’ve made some choices there that are different from the novels, ones that I feel absolutely no desire to defend.

Truly awful, terrible things happen to women in these books. They’re beaten, they’re raped, they’re murdered. They’re caged and kept and traded in marriages for political advantage. And while I agree that the behaviour towards women in the books is misogynistic and gross as hell, I don’t think the books themselves are. Those acts are never framed as a positive or (again with one exception, which I’ll get to at the end) used to titillate. The people who commit the acts are depicted as the monsters that they are, and often meet ends that are as cruel as they deserve. The treatment of women by patriarchal societies in wartime (and, you know, always) is one of vilest parts of human history. It’s not pleasant to read about, and I totally get it if it’s inclusion in the books makes you just not want to bother with them at all, but it does fit with the theme of the novels. He’s shining a light on all the ugly parts of war, even the hardest ones to look at, to strip away the nobility and glory and honor that normally gets heaped on them by the genre. At least, that’s what I think (and hope) he’s trying to do. Do I think he always pulls it off perfectly? Hell, no. Our introduction to Dany in the first novel is a particularly bad example. I read something by him a little while ago pushing back against the criticisms of his books by saying that Dany’s wedding night was handled better in the novels than in the show because Drogo asks permission before they sleep together, sort of, but…no. Dany’s a child, around thirteen years old, and Drogo is a grown ass man, which, no matter how you frame it, is pretty fucking gross. Not to mention that she’s in a strange environment, surrounded by only him and his people, with no friends or support, no idea what would happen if she displeased him. That, in no way shape or form, is a situation which is conducive to consent. Plus, the writing of that scene is really…ooky. It’s a major mistep, but not representative of the books on a whole.

There’s also just a ton of strong, badass ladies in his books that either use the rules of the patriarchal system that they’re trapped in to their advantage, or just disregard them completely. Cersei may be vile and short-sighted, cruel and self-centred, but she’s a force of nature. Arya and Brienne are some of my all-time favourite characters, in any stories, and Sansa gets far less credit than she deserves.

Anywhoodle! Just to wrap this up I’ll say that while I loved all these books, and think they’re all definitely worth reading, the first is still probably my favourite. It was so different from anything that I’d read at the time, so completely new, and the ending of the Ned Stark storyline is still, to this day, one of the most bold, surprising things I’ve read in a fantasy series.

Recommended if you like your fantasies big and sprawling and complex, if don’t mind watching people you’ve grown attached to fail and probably die, and if you’re not put off by whole paragraphs devoted to the description of various types of glazed meats.

 

VBR

Back to Books!

Heya folks!

Just wanted to let you know that I will be back to blurbing about books every few days very soon! I’ve been doing a little more varied stuff lately and that’s partly because this summer has a much higher than usual number of movies I actually want to see, and partly because I haven’t quite got through that series I was telling you about (Dragons. Napoleonic Wars. Stiff, upper-crusty British men with too much pride). When I put down the last book (probably early next week?) I’ll do a big wrap up of that and then get on to more single, stand-alone books that can be finished and written about once every three or so days. So if you’re worrying that the purview of the blog has changed, fret not (although I will still write about whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like writing about it), all will be back to normal soon.

VBR

Spiderman: Homecoming

*Disclaimer at the top: This post, because of my undying and forever love for Peter Parker, is looooonnnggggg. Continue at your own peril.

You gals, you gals! They did it! They finally did it!

I’ve never really gotten on the nostalgia train. They’ve been aiming things from my childhood at me for the last ten years or so and, despite the fact that I loooooved that shit when I was a kid, still love some of it (I am an unrepentant cheesy comic buyer. Give me alllll the X-Men melodrama), I’ve mostly just let it sail right past. The ones that I have watched (most of them being comic book movies) have been bad to just fine. And that’s not to say that there are no good comic book movies out there. Logan was incredible! Deadpool is really fun! Captain America: Winter Soldier is really underrated as an action/spy thriller. But the characters of those movies weren’t a part of my childhood and they didn’t make me feel how I felt watching those stories as a kid (Logan was probably the closest, but Wolverine has never been my favourite member of the X-Men. I’ve always liked the big, sappy team stories better).

When I was growing up Peter Parker was my boy. I’ve talked about it on here before, but the early 90s cartoon version of him, with that terrible turquoise and blue striped shirt and super, duper 90s hair, was probably my first crush. But not only was I macking on his fine, mom-jeans-wearing ass, I also looked up to him. I remember watching him struggle and suffer to do the right thing, putting his relationships and his school work and his job in jeopardy again and again because of his desire to help people, and thinking “that’s who I want to be.” I idolized him. I pestered my mom into buying me Spider-man everything and climbed anything I could find (to her almost constant frantic dismay). I would’ve given my right arm to have a live action Spider-man movie.

So when I finally got one in 2002, I was really stoked. It was the first piece of directly aimed at me nostalgia-art and (even though at that point I was a teenager who refused to show enthusiasm for anything) I could barely contain myself. And after watching it, I remember telling people, somewhat frantically “That was pretty good, right? Like, I know it wasn’t perfect, but it was…okay. Like some of it was okay, right? RIGHT?!” I hadn’t got that feeling I remembered watching the cartoon as a kid, nowhere close, but I hadn’t hated it either (although I, to this day, can’t stand to watch Willem Dafoe in anything. He’s…such a bad actor, you guys. Awful). Over the next few years I had that experience again and again, with steadily diminishing returns, until eventually I stopped going. I haven’t seen the last X-Men movie and I won’t see the next one. I turned the Spider-man movie before this one off a quarter of the way through. I didn’t get what was so great about nostalgia. It seemed an awful lot like disappointment to me.

So I went into this one a little…nervously. If people hadn’t already hyped it up so much, I probably wouldn’t have even gone. I’m tired of watching big, dumb, loud action movies with the names of characters I loved when I was a kid attached to people who act nothing like them.

You gals, this movie knocked my fucking socks off. I’m usually a stone-faced bitch in movie theatres (I’m not sure why. I think it was just drilled into me at a young age that you’re not supposed to make noise/move/breathe when doing so could be bothering somebody else), even if I really like a movie you wouldn’t be able to tell until the credits have rolled and we’re talking about it after. If I absolutely love it, or something super clever happens, it might get a slight smile. This movie had me grinning from ear to ear the entire time. I laughed out loud, in a theatre full of people. I cried a little. And I left with a little nugget of joy in my chest, reminded of how much, and how purely, I used to love this kind of stuff as a kid. I feel like, for the first time, we had people who actually loved the character doing the movie. This was my Peter Parker, struggling and bumbling, constantly sacrificing what he wants to do the right thing. Failing a lot, but never giving up. And he was a kid, finally (And yes, I know, he’s twenty one and you’re all super relieved about it). He was awkward and insecure, but also sometimes over-confident in that way that only teenagers can be. Ugh, it was all just so good.

Okay, that’s probably enough nerd gushing for one day. Just go watch this movie, it’s really good. Even if you’re not a lifelong fan, there’s plenty there for you to enjoy.

VBR

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